Lis­ten UP!

It’s high time to take your hear­ing se­ri­ously

Woman’s Day (NZ) - - Healthy Living - Health Editor Penny Lewis

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.”

It’s ne­glected

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.

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