Hearing above the noise

Do your patients regularly retreat from social activities? Or often complain that background noise inhibits their ability to communicate well? With the right solution, you can further improve their hearing and their lives.

Hearing loss is one of the most common chronic disabilities in the world and is often considered a hidden or invisible disability. But even for those who wear hearing aids, it continues to negatively affect social interaction and relationships, primarily through its impact on communication and conversation. And while hearing care professionals are highly qualified at guiding and assisting patients, noisy environments are still presenting an obstacle for most hearing aid wearers.

Socialising plays an important role in everyone’s life – but background noise is the biggest enemy for hearing aid wearers. In fact, nine out of ten of them agree it’s the main problem they face when trying to spend time with friends and family, leaving them feeling excluded from conversations going on around them. Not only that, but 34% of hearing-impaired people have reported that this breakdown in communication has actually bought about a loss of relationships, including marriage.

Now unfortunately, as all audiologists will know, there is no way to completely eliminate background noise, but hearing wanted speech above unwanted noise is the ultimate goal for everyone.

Social impact

Although one in six of the UK population is hearing-impaired or hard of hearing, hearing loss isn’t the real problem hearing aid users face – hearing over and managing the noise is. What is relevant sound and what is relevant to hear? Without the proper support or technology to assist hearing aid wearers, some may withdraw from social situations or suffer from emotional distress and depression. Research also shows that it increases the risk of loneliness, particularly if socialising is impacted.

Of the 11 million hearing-impaired people in the UK, 91% claim they wouldn’t revisit a venue if the noise levels were too high; 79% have left an establishment early because it was too noisy, and three in four would go out more often if the noise levels were lower. And with 77% believing restaurants, cafes and pubs have become louder in the past five years, it doesn’t look like things are set to improve. While hearing aids and cochlear implants are becoming more sophisticated, unless venues are willing to adapt practices – such as playing background music or adding softer furnishings – hearing-impaired people will continue to suffer. But Conversor is working towards getting them back in the conversation.