By Carien de Jager

The third of March is World hearing day.  This day aims to create awareness around hearing and hearing loss.  Why do we need a day to be aware of our hearing?  Every day is filled with communication and interaction with our family friends and co-workers. “The art of conversation is the art of hearing as well as of being heard.” ― William Hazlitt, Selected Essays, 1778-1830. We should be able to identify whether we have a hearing loss or not.  Right?

Wrong!  There are millions of people around the world that are experiencing hearing difficulty, but does not recognise it as hearing loss.  “I can hear perfectly in a small group, but it is the noise that interferes”.  “My wife’s speech is very unclear.  I am fine listening to men.  She should speak more distinctly”.  I struggle to hear the conversations on the television.  Young people should take elocution lessons to help the speak more distinctly”.  These are just a few of the comments made by clients before their hearing is tested.  Hearing loss is a decrease in the ability to perceive sounds. It can be partial or total, sudden or gradual, temporary or permanent. It can affect one ear or both. In general, the risk of hearing loss increases with age.  Due to the slow nature of hearing loss, people tend to be unaware of the progression of hearing loss.

Signs of hearing loss:

  • Perceiving that people mumble
  • Frequently asking people to repeat what they have said
  • Difficulty following conversations in restaurants or other noisy places
  • Turning up the volume on the television or radio to levels that are bothersome to others
  • Trouble understanding at the movies or theatre, houses of worship, or other public gatherings
  • Difficulty understanding people when their faces cannot be seen
  • Difficulty understanding conversations in a group
  • Impatience, irritation, or frustration during conversations
  • Straining to hear conversations
  • Hearing ringing, roaring, buzzing, beeping, or other noises in your ear(s) or head

Hearing is an integral part of our connection to our families and friends.  “Blindness separates people from things; deafness separates people from people.” ― Helen Keller

It is never too early to have a hearing evaluation. The sooner a hearing evaluation is conducted, the easier the treatment and the better the results. Anyone who suspects hearing loss should see an audiologist for a hearing test.

Have your hearing screened this March and reconnect to your world. Hear your world in harmony again.