The survey they carried out found that the need to keep their television set constantly at a high volume was one of the initial key indicators for 44% of hearing loss sufferers in Northern Ireland that they had a hearing problem according to new research investigating hearing loss.
The research, conducted at Hidden Hearing Northern Ireland’s Hillsborough branch with people suffering hearing loss and their families, also revealed that advice from family and friends was one of the leading factors for those suffering hearing loss to seek help, with three out of five respondents (62%) saying that encouragement from their loved ones persuaded them to seek treatment.
However, despite the considerable impact on their lives, over three quarters of respondents (77%) waited over a year to seek treatment, often prompted by loved ones, who believed the sufferers were in denial. Almost half of those suffering with hearing loss (46%) felt their quality of life improved once they started wearing hearing aids.
The research also investigated the impact of the hearing loss condition on the family and friends of a sufferer. More than half of respondents (52%) said that conversations with their family member / friend suffering hearing loss became frustrating, with 27% saying that they had to ‘act as their ears, always filling in the blanks for them’. 43% said that the necessity for the TV or radio to be on a high volume setting continuously because a constant issue.
Audiologist Dermot O’Reilly from Hidden Hearing Northern Ireland’s Hillsborough branch said: “Hearing loss is one of the unspoken debilitating conditions, affecting many people’s wellbeing in Northern Ireland today.
“Our investigation with sufferers and their families in Northern Ireland reveals the negative impact that hearing loss can have psychologically and socially.
“But it also reveals that with treatment they can regain their confidence and improve their social interaction and relationships. Our message is to talk to your family and friends about hearing loss, talk to your GP or avail of a free hearing screening.
“Hearing loss doesn’t have to hold you back in life as it can be treated.
The research was conducted with 226 respondents from May to July this year.