- Published on 19 March 2019
A ten-country survey carried out on World Hearing Day this March 3 has revealed big national differences between the fastest and slowest to seek advice and treatment for the onset of hearing loss.
The 2019 Global Hearing Loss Survey, set up and run by the private UK provider Hidden Hearing, has delivered results that suggest those in Northern Ireland and the UK respond faster to seeking attention when losing their hearing, with 63% of the over-18s surveyed in these countries acting on warning signs within six months. This contrasts with survey answers showing the longest delays in Australia, New Zealand, and the Republic of Ireland. In the latter, 22% wait five years or more before trying to get something done.
Across the survey, the main reason given by respondents for not seeking advice and treatment was the belief that hearing loss is a product of ageing and cannot be helped (36%). Almost the same percentage (35%) said they did not realise their hearing was deteriorating.
The survey suggests that the issue of stigma still casts a significant shadow, 25% of respondents claiming they were too embarrassed to report hearing loss.
Canvassing not only persons with hearing issues but also their family members, the survey's other focuses were broad, and included gathering opinions on: affordability of treatment; frequency of hearing testing; age ranges for noticing hearing loss; national comparisons of average use of hearing aids and likelihood of having a cochlear implant (CI) against global averages; behavioural aspects related to hearing aid use; awareness of the consequences of untreated hearing loss; awareness of links between hearing loss and other conditions (dementia; cardio; stroke; diabetes); feelings associated with hearing loss; and perspectives of family relatives.