SHOPPERS in Milton Keynes were encouraged to have their hearing checked for free in a bid to reach millions across the UK who have undiagnosed hearing loss - but are failing to address it.
The Sound Check the Nation hearing booth was at Specsavers in thecentre:mk as part of a pledge from Specsavers and Action on Hearing Loss to carry out one million free hearing checks across the UK before October.
According to the World Health Organisation, adult onset hearing loss will be one of the top 10 disease burdens in the UK by 2030, above cataracts and diabetes.
The Mayor of Milton Keynes, Councillor Alan Richards supported the campaign by having his own hearing checked.
Qazi Ehtsham Rashid, hearing audiologist at Specsavers hearing centre in Milton Keynes said: “It’s time to normalise hearing loss and show how many options are available to those who suffer from it; having a free hearing check is the first step.
“It is estimated that up to four million people in the UK would benefit from a hearing aid, and that this figure is set to increase. So instead of suffering in silence, come along to the Sound Check the Nation booth and see what a difference a few minutes can make to the rest of your life.”
The Sound Check the Nation booth allows participants to have their hearing checked in a private setting in a convenient place, with a qualified Specsavers audiologist on hand to answer any questions and assess their results.
Research shows that, on average, there is a 10 year delay between symptoms and treatment for hearing loss. Almost two-thirds of Specsavers hearing customers surveyed in 2011 first noticed deterioration in their hearing more than five years before their first check-up, with the final trigger for most being the realisation that they were now really struggling to hear conversations. In addition, a third said they only took action on the insistence of their family or friends. This, combined with the number of people in the UK who experience hearing loss - one in every six - means by 2013 it’s expected 14.5 million people will have hearing problems.
Action on Hearing Loss, which celebrated its centenary in 2011, is working in partnership with Specsavers hearing centres to remove the stigma associated with hearing loss and encourage the four million people in the UK with unaddressed hearing loss to take action.
Action on Hearing Loss chief executive Jackie Ballard said: “Prevention and early diagnosis can significantly reduce the impact of hearing loss, which can lead to social isolation and increased mental health problems. By having hearing checks for free during our tour, online or at one of Specsavers hearing centres, early steps can be taken to improve lifestyles in years to come.
“Anything we can do to remove the stigma and encourage people to take action and seek help as soon as possible will have a huge impact.”