Hearing loss has also been found to be one of the biggest concerns for New Zealanders when it comes to aging, second only to forgetfulness. The survey found that 45% of participants fear losing their hearing as they age, which is significantly higher than the global average of 35%.
The research, which surveyed 24,000 people in 14 countries, also looked at the health and happiness of those who wear hearing aids compared to those who don’t, before and after the tests.
Research reveals the importance of diagnosing and managing hearing loss in order to live happier and healthier lives, with 41% of New Zealanders with hearing aids saying they live happier lives after their diagnosis. Nearly one in three also reported an improvement in their relationships, and one in four said they had experienced a “life-changing” difference.
Despite findings suggesting that hearing loss is more widespread than believed, the survey indicates that New Zealanders are not taking appropriate steps to care for their hearing, with just one in four planning a hearing test at over the next 12 months. Comparatively, 39% said they intended to have an eye exam during the same period.
In addition, the main health problems for Kiwis are memory loss and dementia, according to 68% of participants, but 85% are unaware of the associated risk between hearing loss and dementia. Early treatment for hearing loss – before or during quarantine – is one of 12 modifiable risk factors for dementia, as recognized by a landmark 2020 study in The Lancet.
Meanwhile, it is estimated that one in four people worldwide will live with hearing loss by 2050, but up to a third will go undiagnosed and untreated.
“Hearing loss should not be linked to aging. The results indicate that those who sought help with their hearing reported being happier, leading more satisfying lives and having more fulfilling relationships,” said Michael, audiologist by training and regional director of sales and operations for Audika. Severn.
“On the other hand, The Lancet Study highlights risks associated with hearing loss on cognitive health.”
The new global survey was undertaken to support Audika’s latest initiative, “Love your Ears”, a nationwide campaign calling on New Zealanders to get their hearing tested to improve their overall quality of life.
The data demonstrates that treating hearing loss can have a positive impact on relationships. While many New Zealanders with hearing aids previously claimed to hear better than they could (37%), since having their hearing loss treated, more than half (51%) are now enjoying better conversations.
Additionally, more than a third say they now feel more connected to their family and there is less stress in their relationship.
“The benefits are clear – those in the research sample fitted with a hearing aid reported many improvements in relationships and communication with their family,” Severn said.
“We need to be kinder to our ears because you can reduce your risk of hearing loss.”
To reduce the risk of hearing loss, Severn recommends keeping the volume at a lower level when wearing headphones or earphones, wearing hearing protection when instructed to do so, and getting tested regularly and from an early age.
On World Hearing Day, Audika hearing care professionals are encouraging all New Zealanders to ‘love their ears’ and take a free online hearing check-up. Companies such as New Zealand Hearing, Bay Audiology and Audika offer free online hearing tests that provide immediate insight into your hearing status.
“We need to take our hearing loss more seriously, and there are accessible ways to take better control of your hearing health,” Severn said.
“Taking a free hearing test and wearing hearing aids can help you listen better, feel more connected and improve your quality of life.”
The survey was conducted by the YouGov Analytics Institute, a private research group. A total of 24,041 people aged 18 and over in 14 countries were interviewed from December 2 to 28, 2021, including 1,703 New Zealanders.