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Hearing and Vision Q1 2022

Hearing well matters: stay connected to your loved ones

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Kathryn Lewis

President, British Academy of Audiology

Hearing health is a vital part of healthy ageing. Good hearing helps people stay connected, reduces loneliness and supports health and wellbeing. If you hear well, you live well.


One in five people in the UK have a hearing loss and it is estimated 20% of the population will have a hearing loss by 20311. Hearing is a vital for communication; when this is affected you can find yourself withdrawing from conversations and social situations which could lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness2.

Noticing the signs of hearing loss

Frequently turning up the TV volume, asking people to repeat what they’re saying and struggling to hear when in noisy surroundings are all signs of a hearing loss¹. Hearing loss can be a slow and gradual process spanning several years. It can take a long time to recognise the signs, so when you do it’s important to have your hearing checked.

Hearing is a vital for communication; when this is affected you can find yourself withdrawing from conversations and social situations which could lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

You can have your hearing assessed either by visiting your GP for an NHS audiology referral or going directly to a private hearing aid dispenser. The earlier you can see a professional the better, as research shows that keeping people engaged and active by adopting hearing devices can significantly reduce age-related cognitive decline.3

Your hearing assessment appointment

Visiting an audiologist will involve a physical examination of your ears, some questions about your health and lifestyle and some hearing tests. The health and lifestyle discussion will help to ensure any options provided address your concerns.

Solutions to help you hear better can be a combination of communication advice, hearing technology and other assistive listening devices. The settings of any hearing aids provided will be tailored to your hearing level. Together with your audiologist, you can agree which setting options you would like to try – from completely automatic, extra settings for music or in noisy places, or perhaps connectivity to your mobile phone.

If any technology is provided, the audiology professional will go through maintenance and use of any devices and can point you in the direction of a range of support services that may exist in your local area.

Don’t live in silence or isolation when, through a couple of appointments, you could be hearing well and living well again.

The British Academy of Audiology is the largest association of professionals in hearing and balance in the UK. Our membership extends internationally and provides services in both the public and private sector.
The BAA aims to help its members to develop in their professional skills, provide a benchmark for quality and professional standards and promote audiology as an autonomous profession.

[1] RNID 2022, Facts and Figures (Online) https://rnid.org.uk/about-us/research-and-policy/facts-and-figures/ [Accessed 03 March 2022]
[2] NHS England and Department of Health (2015) Action Plan on Hearing Loss (Online) Available at: https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/act-plan-hearing-loss-upd.pdf [Accessed 16th May 2019]
[3] Asri Maharani PhD, Piers Dawes PhD, James Nazroo PhD, Gindo Tampubolon PhD, Neil Pendleton PhD. Longitudinal Relationship Between Hearing Aid Use and Cognitive Function in Older Americans. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society Volume 66, Issue 6 2019

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