The most frustrating challenges for those with hearing difficulties include misunderstanding what people say, having to ask others to repeat themselves and being told to turn the TV down.
Research of 2,000 adults found 22 per cent believe their hearing is poor, and struggle with missing key parts of conversations, hearing someone on the phone and feel like they’re irritating others.
While 81 per cent of those with hearing issues have missed their phone ringing entirely.
But seven in 10 have been putting up with the issues as long as they can remember – with 81 per cent fearing it’s too late to do anything about the deterioration.
Martina McNulty, Specsavers Ireland audiology chairperson, who is based in Letterkenny, said: “The figures clearly show how a decline in your hearing can have a serious impact on your life.
“Often hearing can decline over a long period of time so it can creep up on people without really noticing, until there’s an obvious problem.”
“That’s not to say they shouldn’t seek help, as there are many ways to help improve your hearing.
“But it seems as though there may be a lack of understanding on how to protect yourself from the damaging long-term effects of loud noise, and how to improve your situation if you are struggling.”
It also emerged 82 per cent of those with hearing difficulties believe their issues have impacted their quality of life.
And according to 39 per cent, the deterioration has been a very gradual process.
But 79 per cent admit they often feel left out because of their difficulties.
It also emerged 45 per cent of all adults fear a hearing decline, yet 32 per cent of those with children don’t encourage their children to look after theirs while they are young.
Of the 44 per cent that do, they encourage them to turn their music down, take regular breaks when exposed to loud noise and avoid using cotton buds.
Nearly half (45 per cent) also admitted to ignoring warnings on smartphones about listening to music too loudly.
And only 13 per cent have had a hearing test this year, with the average test taking place every three-and-a-half years.
However, a third of those polled, via OnePoll, have never had a test at all.
Martina McNulty added: “It’s worth having your hearing checked if you notice a change in your hearing, no matter what your age.
“For those who are struggling, a hearing test can provide a real insight into the problem while providing solutions, which could significantly improve an individual’s quality of life.
“It’s definitely well worth getting your hearing checked regularly, to make sure you can continue to enjoy life to the fullest.”
TOP 20 HEARING FRUSTRATIONS
- Asking people to repeat themselves
- Finding it difficult to hear someone talking on the phone
- Missing key parts of conversations with friends/family
- The feeling that people are getting frustrated with me because I can’t hear properly
- Missing entire conversations because of background noise (like being in a noisy pub)
- Misunderstanding what people say completely
- People telling you to turn the TV down
- Struggling to hear when talking to someone with a particular accent
- Turning the TV/radio up really loudly
- Feeling anxious about the prospect of missing something important
- A constant ringing in the ears
- Not knowing where certain sounds are coming from
- Struggling to hear my favourite music
- Watching the TV with subtitles
- Avoiding events and conversations to reduce the risk of not hearing properly
- Missing announcements on public transport
- Having to try to lipread
- Feeling exhausted after attending social events, known as listening fatigue
- Not being able to hear birdsong
- Missing out on concerts
For more information about using your PRSI Treatment benefit entitlement available at Specsavers, speak to your local store or check out www.specsavers.ie/hearing/hearing-aids/prsi-treatments-benefit. You can also make an appointment online at www.specsavers.ie
Specsavers Letterkenny: (074) 916 7040
Specsavers Donegal Town: 0749742686