The Courier

Here’s a quick way to find out if you’ve got hearing loss| Video

SAY WHAT?: If you've ever subtly made a joke in a restaurant and the person opposite you made this face, you probably have hearing loss.

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Have you ever snuck out a fart in an elevator and despite the fact it made no noise whatsoever, everyone instantly knew it was you?

Have you ever been in a restaurant with a friend, lent forward and subtly made a zinger about the couple at the next table over, only to find out they’re both lip readers and heard every word you said?

Do you ever find yourself nodding along in conversations with your kids because everybody under the age of 30 mumbles these days and you can’t understand a bloody word of it?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, there’s a fairly good chance you suffer from age related hearing loss. 

It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. In fact, it’s not even uncommon.

Forty per cent of people over the age of 50 have some form of hearing loss. Men who’ve spent a life time working with power tools and around heavy machinery are especially susceptible. However, 85pc of men that could benefit from hearing aids never bother getting them.   

This is a big mistake, says local audiologist Campbell Stevens, because all you’re really doing is needlessly suffering when there is usually a simple fix.

“Hearing loss can be quite disabling,” Mr Stevens explained.

“When people struggle to follow along with conversations – particularly in restaurants or group situations – it can impact upon their desire to go out and interact with people, so some of them end up withdrawing...

“It can often be quite frustrating for the families of people with hearing loss too. Communication is a two way street. So, it’s frustrating for the people that are trying to convey the information and it’s really frustrating for the person trying listen to it.”

Because hearing loss is seen as part of the aging process – and the fact it occurs incrementally – a lot of people tend to ignore it. Or out of a misguided sense of pride, they simply refuse to do anything about it. However, this can actually be dangerous. 

“Another reason it’s important to get your hearing checked is so we can find out what’s causing it because hearing loss can sometimes be caused by an underlying medical condition,” Mr Stevens explained.

“If you don’t get it checked, you might not realise you have an ear infection or potentially even a brain tumor. So, if you have hearing loss you really need to act on it.” 

Once medical conditions have been ruled out, you can get on with finding for a technological solution to the problem.

As a qualified audiologist with almost 20 years industry experience, Mr Stevens knows all too well the stigma some people feel about getting hearing aids. But at the end of the day, he says, it’s not that different to a pair of glasses.

“The technology has really become very sophisticated and it has taken leaps and bounds over the past few years...” he explained.

“One of the skills of the audiologist is helping the patient find the right device for their lifestyle. So if they want something high-tech we can do that. If they want something a bit more straight forward and automatic, we can do that too.”

The age of the chunky old obtrusive earpieces are gone. In fact, the new ones are actually pretty cool. You can even hook some of them up to your blue-tooth devices and use them as headphones.  

As an independent hearing specialist Mr Stevens has no interest in pushing one particular brand of hearing aids over another. His only incentive is to help his patients improve their quality of life by finding a suitable device at an appropriate price point. That way, they can get back to living everyday to its fullest again.  

For more information call Ballarat Hearing Clinic on 5333 2999 today.

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