‘You don’t know you are dam­ag­ing your hear­ing’

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - FAMILY ALBUM - by Jenny Round

FREE hear­ing tests were car­ried out in east Kent as part of Deaf Aware­ness Week. Staff from Folkestone-based com­pany Hear­base took their test­ing equip­ment to su­per­mar­kets in Folkestone, Ash­ford and Can­ter­bury to raise aware­ness about hear­ing prob­lems and what can be done to avoid them. Com­pany di­rec­tor Sue Scutch­ings said: “A variety of peo­ple came along for the tests, from young to old. “Some knew they had a prob­lem and had been mean­ing to do some­thing about it but didn’t want to bother their GP, and oth­ers didn’t re­alise they were dam­ag­ing their hear­ing through their so­cial lives.” Mrs Scutch­ings, who runs the com­pany with her hus­band Mark, said peo­ple tend to have a hear­ing prob­lem for be­tween seven and 10 years be­fore they no­tice some­thing is wrong. The com­pany has been try­ing to make peo­ple aware of the prob­lems caused by loud mu­sic. Mrs Scutch­ings said: “Most peo­ple who go club­bing or to gigs don’t re­alise they are dam­ag­ing their hear­ing for the fu­ture. “There is also a gen­er­a­tion of peo­ple who lis­ten to MP3 play­ers for sev­eral hours a day and have them far too loud, which will cause them prob­lems.” More peo­ple are hav­ing to wear hear­ing aids at a younger age than in the past, but there is still a stigma at­tached to them. Mrs Scutch­ings added: “Hear­ing aids do not have the sex­i­est im­age, but peo­ple don’t mind go­ing to the op­ti­cian’s or wear­ing glasses and it’s no dif­fer­ent. “But they have changed a lot. You can now get a hear­ing aid the size of a fin­ger­nail – no­body would know you were wear­ing it.”

Pic­ture Gary Browne pd1201632

Au­di­ol­o­gist Zoe Hins­ley, from Hear­base, tests Alan Fraser’s hear­ing at Sains­bury’s in Park Farm, Folkestone, as part of Deaf Aware­ness Week

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