It’s high time to take your hearing seriously
Nearly one in five Kiwis can’t hear as well as they should. A 2017 report commissioned by the National Foundation for the Deaf estimated 880,350 people in New Zealand suffer from some form of hearing loss.
The report, Listen Hear! New Zealand: Social and Economic Costs of Hearing Loss in NZ, put the cost to the healthcare system at $131.8 million and productivity losses at $552.4 million. Audiologist Janette Thorburn explains why regular hearing checks are vital.
It’s a slow burn
It’s not breaking news that ageing is the most significant nt cause of hearing loss, but Janette says it’s something that can easily creep up on the best of us. “It usually starts in your 50s and progresses very slowly, making it sometimes difficult to detect because the person becomes used to adjusting around the loss.”
Medical specialists are on a mission to make good hearing a priority for healthy living and are urging people to have it checked during their regular health visits. “Everyone over 50 should start to have their hearing screened every two years,” advises Janette. “It’s just like getting your blood pressure, teeth and eyesight checked – it’s all part of ensuring you stay as healthy as you can.”
It’s not pricey
As part of a public awareness s programme, you can get a hearing screening for free. “You’re asked to listen to a series of sounds and indicate e when you can hear them,” Janette tells. You may be able e to get some help from the Ministry of Health towards the cost of hearing aids.
Hearing loss affects one in five people in NZ.