Awareness Week puts hearing on the health agenda

VIVA! Communications has been teaming with Sydney hearing clinic, Comfort Hearing Aids, to encourage the community to undertake complementary hearing tests this week as part of Hearing Awareness Week (August 26-31, 2013).

Hearing Awareness Week aims to highlight the risks associated with long-term exposure to excessive noise, often in the workplace, and to address the level of unmanaged hearing loss that has made it a National Health Priority.

When it comes to hearing health, Australia is faring poorly.

  • One-in-six or 3.5 million Australians are hearing impaired, deaf or have an ear disorder.
  • Over half the population aged between 60 and 70 have some form of hearing loss. This increases to more than 70 per cent of those over 70and 80 per cent of those over 80 years of age.
  • Men have a higher incidence of hearing loss than women, particularly older men, mainly due to noise exposure in the workplace and during war service.
  • Only one-in-five people with a hearing impairment actually wear a hearing aid.

Our public heath campaign has driven many Sydneysiders to undergo a free hearing check courtesy of Comfort Hearing Aids after their team took to the airwaves and to the streets of Marrickville and Petersham this week to spruik the importance of hearing health.

Audiologist Kim Lai from Comfort Hearing Aids at Petersham RSL offering free hearing checks to the community

Susan Helfand, senior audiologist at Comfort Hearing Aids, participated in 2SM talkback radio program, Talk Tonight with Graeme Gilbert for 1.20 hours on Tuesday, August 27 to discuss Hearing Awareness Week and answer listener queries regarding potential diagnoses, treatment and important hearing aid device information.

“The chat with Graeme was terrific. In particular, I was happy to have dispelled some of the misinformation out there about hearing aid devices,” Ms Helfand said.

Ms Helfand also spoke on local Marrickville radio station Skid Row and her free hearing check message was also published in local newspapers, online and via social media.

She said she was encouraged by the public response and interest in learning more about the importance of hearing health.

“Many people ranging from seniors experiencing tinnitus symptoms, to middle-aged men who have trouble hearing, possibly due to their noisy work environment, have since booked appointments with us,” said Ms Helfand.

Comfort Hearing Aids – a family-run business servicing the Marrickville community for more than 20 years – focuses on providing the hearing impaired with correct hearing aid devices and supporting patients and their families to better understand hearing loss.

Established by renowned ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon, Dr Stanley Stylis, who continues to work and consult in the business, the practice is an accredited provider for the Office of Hearing Services – the government program which supplies hearing aids to all pensioners.

 “For many years, hearing has been put on the backburner. Studies have shown most people wait, on average, almost 10 years too long before seeking professional help for hearing problems,” Ms Helfand said.

 “Hearing impairment is really the poor relative of visual problems in the attention it receives for our general health and wellbeing.”

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