It's no secret that there's a bit of a stigma surrounding age-related hearing loss - not surprisingly because it can often be age-related...and having hearing problems isn't something that older people always want to admit to.
Having hearing problems can lead to the assumption that someone is "old", and that's a big drawback when it comes to getting the issue sorted. Take a look (and comfort!) at some of the worst hearing myths around.
In fact, ARHL affects one in six adults, and because it happens gradually, you might not even notice it’s getting worse.
There are different types of ARHL depending on which part of the ear is affected. For example, if it’s the outer or middle ear, you may find it sounds like people are mumbling, whereas if your inner ear is affected it would sounds will be more distorted or with consonant sounds like ‘t’ and ’p’ might be harder to hear.
ARHL can be caused simply by ageing...but also by experiencing too much noise over too long a time. Ear defenders, anyone?
Are you often told that your TV or radio is uncomfortably loud for other people?
Annoyingly, to counteract ARHL we may find we edge the volume up over time. It’s a quick fix of course, but doesn’t really solve the problem.
Do you sometimes struggle to hear dialogue at the cinema or theatre?
We all know that some actors (they know who they are!) employ the method and mumble through their lines but if it’s a growing problem, it’s not them...it’s probably you.
Do you fake conversations at parties or in crowded venues?
Sometimes it’s embarrassing to constantly ask someone to repeat themselves, so you may have slipped into a habit of nodding and smiling to get through these situations.
Do you feel more isolated than before?
Have a good think about whether this may be down to ARHL. Often if communication suffers it can make you self conscious and less likely to actively go out and engage with your friends.
If you find you’re experiencing any of these problems, you should go and get a hearing check. At Specsavers, their three minute hearing check is a quick and simple way to find out. It’s free and you don’t need an appointment, just ask a member of staff in store. Then, if you need to arrange a full hearing test, that’s free too, and you may be eligible for help with the cost of hearing aids.