Two-thirds of adults have never had hearing test – despite symptoms

Adults prioritise treatment for everyday health complaints like colds, rashes, aches, and pains – but are a lot less likely to seek professional help when it comes to hearing loss. A poll of 2,000 consumers found 65 percent have never gone for a routine hearing test – despite 68 percent having experienced symptoms which could indicate they are struggling.

These include ringing in the ears (31 percent), mishearing what others are saying (28 percent), and asking people to repeat themselves on a regular basis (23 percent).

The research found 80 percent of those polled would seek treatment within a few weeks or sooner for ailments with flu-like symptoms, aches and pains, or lumps and rashes.

But when these “visible symptoms” were replaced with hearing loss as a symptom, the number of people who would seek treatment within a few weeks or sooner dropped to 55 percent.

And while 49 percent of all adults worry about losing their hearing, 36 percent admitted they would pretend it’s completely normal if they were to experience problems.

To mark World Hearing Day tomorrow (Friday, March 3), Specsavers, which commissioned the research, is encouraging the public to prioritise hearing health.

This follows a recent report by the World Health Organization, which stated 60 percent of hearing problems can be addressed through primary care.

GP and TV doctor, Dr Zoe Williams, who has partnered with the high-street eyecare and audiology experts, said: “The appearance of a red rash, lumps, bumps, or blurred vision are all aliments where we’d seek immediate tests and medical advice.

“However, people who have hearing loss don’t always seek support straight away – and unfortunately, the longer you leave hearing issues, the worse they can become.

“Hearing tests are an essential part of our overall health maintenance, and hearing health is integral within primary care.

“Luckily, audiologists form part of this primary care setting, and can address a range of hearing problems you may be experiencing quickly and easily.”

Among the top reasons for individuals not getting a hearing test was simply not believing their symptoms were a problem they needed to worry about (39 percent).

A fifth (19 percent) thought they were overreacting, and 13 percent thought they were too young to experience them.

But 28 percent were unaware the longer they waited to get their hearing problem sorted, the worse their hearing would get.

However the study, carried out through OnePoll, found 81 percent would book a hearing test sooner if they knew they could be at risk of losing their hearing.

Gordon Harrison, Specsavers’ chief audiologist, said: “Hearing loss affects millions of people in the UK, and we know that many people struggle for years before they take any action.

“It is important to get your hearing checked if you notice any changes, regardless of your age.

“Most of the time hearing loss happens gradually, making it harder to notice if you’re not hearing as well as you used to.

“The best thing to do is to make sure that you never listen to your music above 60 percent volume, give your ears regular breaks, and when you know you’re going to be surrounded by loud noise, make sure to take hearing protection with you.

“Prevention is always best, so if you do notice any changes in your hearing, make sure you seek expert help as soon as possible.”

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