The report cited staggering statistics that an estimated 10 million people currently suffer from hearing loss in the UK. And by 2031, this figure is more likely to be nearer 14.1 million. The authors of the report urge that more should be done to detect problems with hearing earlier on.
Early signs of hearing loss are not always obvious
One of the biggest problems with detecting the initial stages of hearing loss is that many sufferers are not always aware there is a problem.
As the NHS warns:
“While hearing loss is sometimes sudden, it is often gradual and you may not notice it at first. Being aware of the early signs can help you identify the problem quickly.”
So what are the early signs of hearing loss?
According to the Better Hearing Institute, early signs that an individual might be suffering from hearing loss include:
. Frequently asking people to repeat themselves
. Finding it difficult to follow conversations that typically involve more than two people
. Having problems understanding women and children
. Believing people are mumbling and sound muffled even when they are speaking clearly
. Finding it difficult to hear when background noise is present, such as in a meeting room, in a restaurant, a shopping centre or at a conference
. Suffering from ringing in their ears
. Having the television or radio on a higher than average volume – regularly
. Being prone to lip read or watch people’s facial expressions in order to follow conversations
. Responding to conversations incorrectly or inappropriately
Someone suffering from the first signs of hearing loss may also feel emotionally drained. Being unable to understand what people are saying can cause anxiety. As the Bearing Hearing Institute warns, problems with hearing can also make people feel embarrassed about meeting new people. Consequently, sufferers can withdraw from social situations that they once enjoyed.
In light of the Report, International Longevity Centre UK is lobbying minsters to push the Government to implement action to address hearing loss. Speaking of the rising number of people suffering from hearing loss, Baroness Greengross, Chief Executive of the ILC-UK said:
“Since the 1990s there has been a steady rise in the number of people with hearing loss and this is only set to get worse – if we look into the future, there will be more older people and, unfortunately, many of them will experience hearing loss.”
Noise at work
When people are exposed to high levels of noise at work, it puts them at risk from hearing loss. In order to regulate noise levels at work, in April 2006, the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 came into force for all industry sectors in the United Kingdom. Two years later, the regulations were extended to the music and entertainment industries in Britain. And the UK is not alone, similar regulations apply around the world.
The aim of the ‘Noise Regulations 2005’ is to ensure that the hearing of workers’ is protected from the potential damage excessive noise levels can cause.
Employers are required to provide their workers with hearing protection if they ask for it and their average daily or weekly noise exposure are found to be between the lower (80dB – decibels) and upper (85dB – decibels) exposure action values.
Employers must provide their employees with hearing protectors and make sure they use them properly when their noise exposure exceeds the upper exposure action values (85dB or above decibels).
Noise measure equipment
In order to determine whether a working space exceeds the noise level exposure limit set out by the Noise Regulations, noise measurement equipment can be used. Devices such as noise dosemeters, noise-activated warning signs and sound level meters, provide accurate assessments of noise levels and exposure to noise levels at work. These instruments comply with most occupational noise regulations around the world.
Noise meter experts Pulsar have more than four decades’ experience providing pioneering noise monitoring equipment for measuring levels of noise at work.