Chime survey sheds light on stigma around hearing loss


To mark World Hearing Day this week, Chime, the national deafness and hearing loss charity, wants to challenge the perceived stigma around hearing loss.

He reminds Mayo residents worried about a deterioration in their hearing that they can contact their centre, St Mary’s Head Office, Mayo PCCC in Castlebar, for free advice and assistance.

Its most recent survey found that 59% of respondents said that people who develop hearing difficulties delay buying a hearing aid because of the ‘stigma’ associated with them.

The survey was conducted among a sample of the Irish population aged 50 and over, which it claims is the age at which hearing loss begins for many people.

Brendan Lennon, Head of Advocacy, Research and Public Affairs for Chime, said: “We are asking people in Mayo to take a hearing test the same way they would take an eye test or have their blood pressure checked. .

“One of the biggest problems with overcoming the stigma of hearing loss is that people don’t talk about it enough. Due to concerns about ageism and perceived social embarrassment, people deny it, hide it, or ignore it.

“The truth is the other way around. If people take action to combat the deterioration of their hearing, their quality of life improves exponentially. Research has shown that 80% of people who wear hearing aids report having improved their mental and social well-being in relationships and I wish I had had them sooner.”

The survey notes that “many successful people are known to wear hearing aids, including former US President Bill Clinton, actor Steve Martin, actresses Whoopi Goldberg and Jodie Foster, alongside singer Chris Martin of Coldplay and American singer and television personality Will.i”. a m’.

Among other key survey results, 43% said they had noticed deterioration in their hearing over the past five years, but only one in four had taken action to address it, such as going to at a hearing. test. More than half said they never told anyone about their audition. When they did, it was more often with family members than with their GP or ear specialist.

73% agreed that hearing difficulties have a significant impact on a person’s social life and 77% agreed that the issue of hearing loss is largely ignored and needs more attention.

According to the charity, Ireland has a low usage of hearing aids compared to other developed countries, dispensing less than half the number of hearing aids as the UK per capita. The two main barriers were cost and perceived stigma. Recent changes to subsidies have helped overcome the first hurdle, but not the second.

According to Chime, hearing loss is the third most common health problem in adults and the most common in older adults. Additionally, the charity says that 8% of the adult population need audiological support – that’s 300,000 adults in Ireland – but only one in five receive it.

Lennon continued: “Because of the well-documented mental and social risks of hearing loss on quality of life, we call on the government to follow the call of the World Health Organization by developing a screening program at the population scale that helps people take action sooner.”

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