Deaf Awareness Week

03 May
This week is Deaf Awareness Week, a unique campaign that raises awareness and challenges perceptions of hearing loss and deafness across the UK.

Our Head of Audiology, Paul Jackson talks about hearing loss signs, treatment and tips for supporting someone with hearing loss.

If you don’t hear as well as you used to, you could be the last to know. Quite likely it’ll be your family or friends who notice first. They may complain about having to repeat themselves often, or that your TV is too loud.

Unfortunately, such comments are often ignored. People tend to wait an astonishing 10 years before they get their hearing tested. They’re far more likely to get almost anything else checked out; for some reason, they just don’t take their hearing as seriously as, say, their eyesight. Perhaps they think hearing loss is associated with old age, and they don’t want to feel old.
Around 15% of British people have some hearing loss, a figure that rises to 40% for the over-50s and 71% of people over 70. And one in 10 have tinnitus, an unpleasant and constant ringing in the ears.

Hearing loss can sometimes be easy to fix, it could be related to an unnoticed infection or a build-up of earwax. Without treatment, things could get worse and in some cases become irreversible, so it makes sense to get checked out.

More lasting damage can be hereditary, or can result from injury, disease or exposure to loud noise. And, of course, there’s the simple matter of ageing.

People often dread the thought of having to wear a clunky hearing device, perhaps one that whistles embarrassingly. But they needn’t worry. Nowadays they’re incredibly discreet, and some – called ‘invisible in the canal’ – are undetectable. Plus, you can choose the right solution for your own lifestyle, and even opt for one that delivers the quality of sound you prefer.

At Bayfields we offer free 30-minute hearing health checks, followed by a longer hearing examination should you need it – also free of charge. There are free trials of the most up-to-date hearing solutions, and low-cost microsuction should you have a problem with earwax. Test your hearing online or book a free hearing healthcheck here.
What can I do to support people with hearing loss?
There are lots of ways to support people who are deaf or have hearing loss. Here are some top tips from the UK Council on Deafness.
  • Face the person while you are speaking, don’t turn away
  • Repeat yourself if necessary
  • Never say ‘It doesn’t matter’
  • If the person doesn’t understand you, don’t give up!
  • Write it down or draw a picture
  • Speak one at a time, don’t talk over each other
  • Keep your mouth visible
  • Smile and relax
  • Don’t speak too quickly or too slowly