The importance of hearing aids

untitled (31)It is widely reported that about 11M people in the UK suffer from hearing loss and of these around one fifth, have sought professional help and been prescribed hearing aid(s). It is estimated that from the point at which the average person becomes aware of the impact of hearing loss, that it takes 10 years before they will seek professional help and benefit from such solutions where they are appropriate. A recent American study has concluded that access to Hearing Aids may be more than a way of improving the lives of people suffering from loss of hearing. The conclusion of this 25 year study is “Self-reported hearing loss is associated with accelerated cognitive decline in older adults; hearing aid use attenuates such decline.” The wider benefits of addressing hearing loss is something that few of us are aware of. In many settings hearing loss is a hidden disability and the sense of isolation that it creates for many people costs all of us. The lost contribution in discussions of some of our friends and colleagues may not change the world, but it can impoverish all of us. However the issue of hearing loss is not just relevant to older adults, it also impacts young children. A recent study by the Welsh Government which led to a change in the law showed that 51% of young deaf people achieved at least five GCSEs at A*-C including English or Welsh and maths (Level 2+) whereas the results for the young people who do not suffer from hearing loss is 55.4%. The law that was introduced provides additional support to children with a range of disabilities as they navigate their education. It is vital that we raise the profile of hearing loss in both our young people and their educators, as well as among older people who are impacted by age related hearing loss in addition to the health related hearing loss that impacts young people. The UK benefits from several high profile charities that assist those who suffer from hearing loss. One is called Hearing Link and based in Eastbourne. They have created the idea of Loop up groups that help to raise the profile of hearing loops, a feature that is as important as a wheelchair ramp in a building that you or I make use of. It vital that we all support such activities, just as much as we need to consider if the American study might have some relevance for us or someone we know.

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
This entry was posted in Charities, Deaf & Hard of Hearing, Education and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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