World Hearing Day – Hearing for Life

World Hearing Day – Hearing for Life

Don’t Let Hearing Loss Limit you

Every year the World Health Organisation (WHO) celebrates ‘World Hearing Day’ and the information distributed around this unique event is of real interest to those with hearing loss.  For about 10% of those people with hearing loss, their condition will lead to further complications that may or may not lead to a severe to profound loss of hearing.

The Facts

The WHO have stated that 5% or more of the world’s population suffer from hearing loss. Even if you apply that to Scotland alone that could be 270,00 people. Or put another way, the combined population of Dundee and Falkirk put together. 

Locally the UK’s leading charity devoted to hearing, Action on Hearing Loss, state that 11 million people in the UK have hearing loss and that’s 16% of people today!
Of that population worldwide who experience hearing loss, a massive 83% of them are in need of the assistance of hearing aids but don’t use them. Of course, for many of these people accessing hearing aids can be difficult, especially in poorer countries where there is little or no infrastructure around delivering hearing tests and hearing aids. 
To reinforce their message of ‘Don’t let Hearing Loss Limit You’, the WHO also state that everyone with untreated hearing loss would benefit from hearing rehabilitation of one sort or another and 59% of those could use a hearing aid.

Hearing Rehabilitation

The WHO has identified that the following four areas of rehabilitation will be of real help to patients experiencing hearing loss in the coming years.

  1. Hearing aids and cochlear implants. 90% of patients experience nothing more than normal, age related hearing loss. The great news is that hearing aids are more effective than ever with new technologies allowing them to perform well in background noise and connect wirelessly to smart devices. The candidacy for cochlear implant users improves all the time for those whose hearing loss has gone beyond what a hearing aid can do for them.
  2. Auditory and speech rehabilitation. Again, where hearing aids alone can’t help, this sort of rehabilitation is crucial to allow patients to communicate as well as they would like.
  3. Sign language and communication. Some patients will lose all of their hearing and when this happens additional communication tactics like lip reading can support.
  4. Assistive technologies and services. Beyond hearing aids there are lots of technologies that can help, and these include alerting devices, amplifiers for TV and remote microphones. All House of Hearing audiologists would be happy to discuss any of these assistive devices in your appointment. Or you can email us with your query directly at enquiries@houseofhearing.co.uk

Hearing Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation remains one of the most important pillars that supports a patient’s ability to hear well again. That is why at House of Hearing we invest in the facilities and longer appointments to allow our audiologists to support patients with time and valuable coaching on how to make the most of their hearing aids.

The WHO then go on to explain how good hearing rehabilitation can be of use to those patients, those around them and ultimately the world.

  • Increased access to education. Logically children and young adults will do better in an environment where they can hear well. 
  • Greater employability and earnings. In today’s world, hearing loss needn’t prevent someone from getting or carrying out a job. 
  • Lower costs related to depression and cognitive decline. Now that there is white paper evidence to demonstrate the link between untreated hearing loss and cognitive decline, it is really important that we prevent as many patients as possible falling into this higher at risk group .
  • An integrated society. Good communication is at the heart of any society that performs well. Better hearing ensures that patients with hearing loss don’t get left behind.

Why the unmet need?

With so many people needing treated for hearing loss it is worth exploring why there is such an unmet need. There are of course many reasons but the WHO state the following as the principle areas for concern:

  1. High cost of hearing aids and cochlear implants. This is relatively speaking of course. One country’s idea of ‘high cost’ is not the same as another. Many populations simply can’t afford good, or even acceptable hearing care.
  2. Lack of human resources and services. Similar to the costs, recruiting and training the right audiology professionals takes money, a lot of it.
  3. Low awareness of the benefits of hearing rehabilitation. Unfortunately, the great stories that can be told here get lost in all the other health care ones.
  4. Stigma of hearing loss and hearing devices. For the profession of audiology, one of the biggest challenges to be overcome. Audiologists know that even when everything is in place to deliver great hearing care, the support can still be resisted simply because the patient is unwilling to admit defeat and conceded that hearing loss is affecting them. 

Of the points above, we at House of Hearing believe that points 3 and 4 have the biggest influence in our local populations. Many people when first experiencing problems with their hearing just don’t know that professional hearing care is available on their High Street and instead seek the advice of their GP first. If patients were aware of how easy it is to access audiological clinics in the same way they can seek advice from dentists and opticians then it would be easier to tackle this problem.

How can this gap be bridged?

The WHO’s position for developed countries is as follows:
‘Countries should develop and implement policies that ensure easy access to high quality, affordable and safe technologies and services’.  

At House of Hearing we believe that this would be of great benefit to patients especially if those policies were built with their best interests at heart. Imagine a world where patients experiencing hearing loss knew exactly how to deal with that once they felt it was having an impact on their lives or the lives of those around them. Patients in the UK should be able to quickly access services that deliver on the promise of better hearing in a location local to them.

If you would like to make an appointment to talk with one of our audiologists, then give us a call on 0131 220 1220 or click here to complete the online form.

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Our Clinics

All House of Hearing clinics are in town centre locations and accessible to public transport and parking. Home visits also available if mobility is an issue.