Hearing aid anyone?

By 2005, over 278 million people around the world suffered mild to severe hearing loss in both ears, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). But 50% of hearing impairment is avoidable through prevention, early diagnosis, and management.

However people invest large amounts of time and money in their health by having their eyes tested, attending to dental needs and exercising, but pay little attention to their hearing.

Oticon’€˜s Lezanie Bakker, urged the public to look after their hearing as it is also one of the most invaluable senses.

‘€œIt is absolutely necessary for every single individual to protect their hearing as far as possible.   Hearing loss has far reaching consequences on a person’€™s quality of life and it is essential for every single person to realise how precious the gift of hearing is,’€ she said.

According to Widex, a hearing aid manufacturer, hearing defects mostly affect people below the age of 65 which goes against the common belief that hearing impairment only occurs among older people.

Bakker explained that hearing defects in babies disturbed the development of their communication skills, therefore making it critical to test a baby’€™s hearing ability as soon as possible.   Once a hearing impairment is diagnosed either a cochlea implant or a hearing aid is introduced to reinforce the baby’€™s hearing.

‘€œThe earlier the hearing loss is identified and treated, the least effect it will have on the development of the baby,’€ she said.

For older children, a hearing defect could mean falling behind in their performance at school a result of not understanding the teacher. Fitting a hearing device can improve a student’€™s learning performance by up to 25%.

She said that one in every two adults experienced difficulties understanding a conversation in a noisy environment while most adults experience difficulties in hearing at certain stages of their lives.

There is a range of hearing devices available that are programmed to suite people’€™s various hearing needs while enhancing their lifestyles. ‘€œIt is necessary to consult a hearing care provider a regular basis in order to help the individual make an informed decision and to identify problems before it’€™s too late.’€

Signs of a hearing loss:

· You can hear people talking but can’€™t understand what they are saying, especially when there are more than two people talking or when there is a lot of background noise.

· You have difficulty hearing what is said on TV and turn up the volume higher than other people like it to be.

· People must be facing you in order for you to understand what they are saying.

· You feel that others do not pronounce or say their words properly.

· You find yourself guessing what others have said.

· You ask for things to be repeated.


  • Health-e News

    Health-e News is South Africa's dedicated health news service and home to OurHealth citizen journalism. Follow us on Twitter @HealtheNews

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