9 April 2014

How Can Detecting a Hearing Problem Early Help?

Warwick Medical School, in collaboration with the UK National Screening Committee, has developed a new five-day training course on health screening. The programme aims to assess when screening is appropriate and look at which screening programmes locally and nationally represent best value for money.

Early identification of any health problem is beneficial in terms of finding the right treatment or solution to manage the problem. National charities predict that by 2031 there will be 14.5 million people suffering from hearing loss in the UK. Currently, the figure stands at around 10 million – that’s one in every six people. Of that number, 3.7 million people are aged between 16-64 years old (of working age), whilst 6.3 million are 65+ (retirement age). About 2 million Brits are now turning to healthcare experts like Hidden Hearing to seek hearing aids and other treatment for hearing loss.

The statistics are striking – more than 70% of those aged 70+ and 40% of those aged 50+ experience some form of hearing impairment. There are at least four million people who are living with hearing problems but aren’t yet being treated – on average it takes an entire decade for people in Warwickshire to ask for help when it comes to hearing loss.

So, what are the early-warning signs to look out for? Hearing loss may be gradual or sudden. In the case of the former it is harder to spot because it may build up over a number of years. Sometimes it is easier to see the symptoms of hearing loss in other people than in yourself. Key things to look out for include having the volume turned up loud on the television or radio; difficulty making out a conversation by telephone; missing everyday audio cues like the doorbell ringing; not noticing or reacting to loud noises; turning your ear towards the source of a noise; not being able to follow a conversation, particularly if there are multiple people involved or there is background noise like music; talking unusually loudly yourself; fatigue from having to concentrate very hard to hear throughout the day.

According to the research, it is important to have regular hearing tests to identify any problems as early on as possible. Treatment is often much more beneficial if it is started early. Another reason to seek assistance as quickly as possible is that people facing the onset of hearing loss alone often suffer tertiary conditions, for example a reduction in confidence or problems coping in the workplace. A recent article in academic publication, The International Journal of Otolaryngology, claims that the use of a hearing aid is directly linked to reduced depression, increased life expectancy, as well as the ability to keep hold of a job.

The key is to look out for warning-signs that you or those you care about are struggling with hearing. The next step is to take immediate action with a screening test to check the problem out. A hearing test is painless and can take just 15 minutes for a shorter test or up to an hour for a longer one.
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1 comment:

  1. Treatments really bring about better and good results if they are started at the earliest.