A new survey has highlighted how the majority of people in the UK are not worried about the risk of hearing loss, despite 1 in 6 people in the UK living with some degree of hearing impairment or deafness.
In the survey conducted by specialists Jefferies Solicitors, 67% of people responded that they are currently not worried about losing their hearing, with nearly 60% replying that they would only worry about it once it became an issue.
A surprising 40% of respondents stated that they don’t do anything to protect their hearing at all, including not playing music too loudly, avoiding noisy events and places and wearing ear protection during loud activities.
These figures are in contrast to the potential devastating effect that loss of hearing can have on people. Over 70% of respondents stated that losing their hearing would affect how well they could do their job. However, hearing loss is more common than people think – nearly 15% of the UK suffers from hearing problems with no knowledge of what to do.
Despite not worrying about losing their hearing, the majority of respondents are sentimental about which sounds they would miss. At the top of list, is hearing family’s voices, with 40% of the vote, followed by their favourite music at 18%. Half of respondents also associate a particular song with their teenage years and over 30% have a particular song that reminds them of heartbreak.
The survey also showed a lack of knowledge around the health issue: over 70% of respondents believe that the age group most at risk of hearing loss is 60-80+. However, according to recent research from the World Health Organisation (WHO), 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults worldwide are at risk of hearing loss, due to the increasing unsafe use of personal audio devices, including smartphones.
Michael Jefferies, managing director of Jefferies Solicitors comments: “The results of the survey were very surprising. Considering hearing loss is such a problem, we expected to find that people’s general awareness was higher. Instead, we found that the majority don’t do anything to look after their hearing, which is quite startling.
“Many of us go for regular health checks, eye tests and dental appointments, but leave hearing tests until it becomes a problem, when the damage has already been done. We have seen growing numbers of hearing loss claims at Jefferies Solicitors, particularly due to industrial work. However, we expect this number to rise after seeing these results. With the growth of smartphones and the use of headphones, a new generation of people is at risk of hearing loss. We would urge people to look after their hearing, even at a younger age. “