“Hear This”

Nearly a third of people aged between 65 and 74 have a hearing impairment and this increases to nearly half of people over 75.   These are staggeringly high figures and yet you would not know it just from walking around.    Hearing loss, although common amongst elderly people, is very much a hidden frailty.    You can’t see it, there are no bandages, no white sticks and many older people don’t want you to know.

Increasing deafness is a sign of approaching old age – who wants to hold their hand up to that?   So they soldier on turning the TV up louder and guessing what people are saying to them.    My father did this all the time.    When asked any question, he would often answer “half past eleven” thinking you were asking him the time.  :-).  Irrespective of the question you had actually asked.

Yet this is a serious health problem which left untreated can lead to much more devastating conditions.   The most obvious is loneliness and isolation, as hearing loss gradually excludes them from joining in conversations.   Recent research at John Hopkins University in Maryland, has found that a third of the risk of dementia is down to hearing loss.

Unfortunately the NHS is deaf to this situation, with audiology services becoming more and more restricted.    Only 1 in 5 of the 6.7 million people who could benefit from a hearing test actually get one on the NHS.

Everyone else is left at the mercy of predatory private sector providers, who will often charge them a fortune for hearing aid, which should be provided free on the NHS.

So, it is not just double glazing salesmen, anti-ageing cosmetics suppliers, opticians who want to upgrade your spectacles every five minutes and expensive hearing aid providers, who take advantage of older peoples’ vulnerability.

Now the NHS is doing it too!

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1 Response to “Hear This”

  1. How does one comment on the sense of this article, and treat with respect the sentiments made?
    Without being disrespectful, with difficulty.
    I now go into my memory logic, and stir up some of that magic that may one call ‘loneliness’. If you can remember something else why not ‘blog’ or comment on this site, and become a friend or smiler??
    Over the garden wall-Norman Evans and can you ‘Hear Me Mother’ wait I hear you say, I must put on my spectacle’s to hear you more clearly, and pit in my hearing aids to see you more clearly, and fell you to make sure you are warm and living, and biff you over the backside with my stick, so you may have my full attention.
    That smart’ aiec’ of a sales person, and seller of ‘Snake oil’ be aware, like politicians your life is limited not by your years, but by your good intentions, and deeds.
    I do not believe there is anything more to say? other than do not be lonely, talk, blog, think, and express one self, and re-join the humanity of local society: Please do not let yourself become isolated, and insular!
    Like Norman Evans talk over the garden wall, or to the memory of your mother, or and listen watch the TV and radio, even if it is for the weather forecast.

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