Millions of Brits are putting their hearing at risk EVERY day, according to research.
Our ear drums most commonly get a bashing when exposed to high volumes at music concerts and at sporting events – and when operating loud machinery.
Four in ten UK adults unknowingly endanger their hearing on a daily basis and one third don’t take ANY precautions to protect it when exposed to loud volumes.
But one fifth don’t consider the impact loud noises could be having on their hearing.
The research also revealed a staggering 19 per cent have hearing loss and 21 per cent suffer from tinnitus – a ringing, buzzing or roaring sound in the ears.
Commissioned by Oticon – creator of Opn, the world’s first internet connected hearing aid – the research of 2,000 UK adults also found almost three quarters have never had their hearing checked by a hearing care professional.
Thomas Behrens, Head of Audiology at Oticon, said: “Noisy environments can be a real struggle for anyone with hearing difficulties.
“Consequently, avoiding social situations is a very common outcome of hearing loss.”
“Hearing loss does not only affect the ability to hear sound, it also puts a strain on the brain as it tries to interpret meaning in words, organise sounds, orient sound direction and refocus, especially in noisy environments such as restaurants.”
“This can leave people feeling very isolated and alone, and can potentially lead to serious health effects including stress and depression.”
Almost half of UK adults regularly jeopardise their hearing by listening to music at a high volume – with 28 per cent admitting they do this on a daily basis.
And one in five could be affecting their hearing because they don’t use hearing protection when working in loud environments.
Fifty-one per cent ‘occasionally’ find they can’t hear what others are saying to them – while 41 per cent said they have to ask people to repeat themselves or speak louder.
Amid this, around half find it tiring trying to follow the conversation when there’s lots of background chatter.
Among those with hearing loss, the most common side effects are withdrawal from social situations, difficulty concentrating and feeling stressed.
The research also found one third are worried about their hearing and 32 per cent believe their hearing is getting noticeably worse as they get older.
Forty per cent admit that they prefer to have the volume up high when speaking to people over the phone which could indicate their hearing ability has declined.
And almost a third of those polled said that they are asked to turn the volume down by others in the room when watching TV because it’s too loud.
Twenty-two per cent of UK adults believe they need to have their hearing checked by a hearing care professional.
However, 32 per cent of those with hearing loss said that they haven’t even thought about getting hearing aids.
Of those that have considered using hearing aids, 22 per cent would feel too self-conscious wearing them.
While 17 per cent would be worried about the size of the hearing aid and 14 per cent are put-off because they see them as a sign of getting old.
Thomas Behrens added: “Hearing aids have the reputation of being brown, bulky and generally not cool and this has clearly deterred people from wearing them.”
“Thanks to advances in hearing aid technology, many hearing aids are now small and discreet, fast and dynamic.”
“Oticon hearing aids also work in harmony with the brain to help people hear better with less effort helping them open up to a new world of sound.”
“Hearing can decline slowly over a long period of time which can make it both hard to recognise and easy to ignore – so ideally people would get their hearing checked from time to time, just as they would their eyes.”
TOP TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR HEARING:
1. Wear earplugs – and remember they only work if properly fitted in the ear canal
2. Use ear defenders for kids as it can be hard to properly fit ear plugs
3. Keep your distance from the big loudspeakers
4. Use an app to measure the sound level at concerts or in other high noise level situations if you are particularly concerned