Irish people will put up with poor hearing for up to 15 years before seeking help, it was claimed today.
Experts said hearing problems will affect almost one in six in the country, but many fail to look for a medical opinion.
Audiologist Keith Ross said while people will get their sight checked after just three years of problems, research shows Ireland’s lack of action on hearing loss.
As part of Positive Ageing Week, the Hidden Hearing mobile hearing clinic will give free hearing screening tests in Dublin, Dundalk, Limerick, Letterkenny and Kilkenny.
“Having a hearing problem and ignoring it can cause you to strain your hearing, causing further deterioration in the ear, reducing your ability to hear and your quality of life,” said Mr Ross.
“Experiencing this stress and strain is unnecessary and is linked to other health problems.”
Research shows more than half of all hearing impaired people are of working age, with the number of under-55s affected growing each year.
Hidden Hearing said noise induced hearing loss from work or leisure activities such as sports games, concerts and stereos, is a common cause among this age group.
A noise experiment conducted at the All Ireland Football Final between Cork and Kerry last Sunday found the average decibel noise level for the entire game was above 85db – an exposure level which could damage hearing over time.
The healthcare provider said more than four in five of those who could benefit from hearing loss treatment fail to seek help.
It said ignoring hearing loss can have profound negative effects on peoples’ quality of life and overall wellbeing and can lead to less social interaction, lack of confidence, isolation, depression and irritability.
“We recommend people get their hearing checked once a year or more regularly if you become concerned about their hearing,” added Mr Ross.
“Noise-induced hearing loss can generally be prevented and by simply looking after your hearing you can help prolong it well into older age.”
For details visit www.hiddenhearing.ie