ALMOST nine out of 10 over-50s* suffer from hearing loss but most are too embarrassed to admit it, new research has revealed.
An incredible 96.4% of Brits aged over 50* say that they have noticed deterioration in their hearing quality as they get older, according to the nationwide study by hearing care specialists Amplifon.
More sobering is that almost a third of those polled (32%) say their hearing loss means they “dread” social situations, even family events, because they can’t hear properly – leading many to avoid family parties or get-togethers with friends and thus heightening their sense of isolation.
And more than half (50.7%) refuse to accept or admit that they have hearing loss or deafness because it makes them feel old or isolated.
More than one in five (22%) of UK residents with hearing problems also don’t wear hearing aids even though they admit they really do need one and struggle without them.
And more than a quarter of over-50s (27%) estimate that their overall quality of life is reduced by as much as two-thirds as a direct result of their hearing loss.
Dr Chris Steele, TV’s This Morning resident doctor, suffers from hearing loss, and is working alongside Amplifon to help raise awareness of hearing loss and how it affects people’s day-to-day lives.
He believes that Britain needs to be made more aware of just how big an issue hearing loss and deafness is in the over-50s in 2012 and is encouraging the thousands who suffer in silence to get help.
He said: “Hearing loss and deafness is a massive issue among the over-50s living in the UK. I believe everyone over the age of 50 should have their hearing tested regularly.
“Thousand upon thousand of us suffer from a huge reduction in hearing quality, severe hearing loss or partial deafness and get no help at all because we fear the stigma that seems to be attached to it.
“Many people shy away from family gatherings and nights out with their friends because they find it difficult to hear. And some 43.7% say their hearing loss has had a detrimental effect on their relationship with their partner.
“All this makes them feel increasingly isolated as they withdraw from social situations. Many admit they feel depressed but are too embarrassed to admit they have a hearing loss problem because it either makes them feel old or somehow second-rate.
“It can affect everyday life in a big way – things many people take for granted, like driving a car, can become very difficult. Some 14.4% of over-50s admit they no longer drive because of hearing loss – that too adds to their feeling of isolation.”
The Amplifon study also reveals that almost six out of 10 over-50s (58.9%) say there is a huge stigma attached to hearing loss and deafness and, more shocking, is that more than four out of 10 over-50s admit they feel have become anti-social because of hearing loss.
*Amplifon surveyed over 1,000 people October 2012 Onepoll