Hearing Awareness – Rhona Campbell 2 August @ 18.00

Thu 2nd August 2018 at 18.00 - 20.30

Hearing Awareness – Rhona Campbell 2 August @ 18.00

Hearing Awareness – Rhona Campbell 2 August @ 18.00

The problems associated with hearing loss and the difficulties of those confronting deafness were highlighted by Rhona Campbell at Thursday’s meeting of the Club.  Rhona is employed by Action on Hearing Loss, Scotland, which works in communities around Scotland to support people with hearing loss, including hearing-aid care and specialist employment support.  As Rhona explained, to the surprise of members, there are some 945,000 people in Scotland who are deaf or have hearing loss.  Overall, one in six of the population in Scotland, and across the UK, experiences some level of hearing loss. Within that total, there are 13,000 people for whom British Sign Language is their first language. 

Age-related hearing impairment can begin to be experienced by those aged 50 plus, though it can occur at an earlier age where damage to the ear has been caused by exposure to excessive noise levels. This has now become increasingly prevalent in younger people who listen with headphones to music on smartphones or other devices. As Rhona pointed out, the level of sound at which damage to the ear can be caused is lower than most people realise: a level above 80 decibels is potentially damaging.  With sound levels in clubs often reaching 110 decibels, the potential for damage to hearing is obvious. However, other factors can contribute to hearing loss, for example chemotherapy, other aggressive drug treatments, or simple ear infection, can cause temporary or longer impairment. 

Looking at how to react to an impairment of hearing, Rhona pointed out that the latest digital hearing–aids are markedly better than their predecessors: they are much smaller, and have significantly improved quality of sound..   One surprising fact is that the batteries in hearing aids need to be changed at least once a week.  Rhona’s advice was that anyone concerned about their hearing should go for a free test to Boots or Specsavers. The result of this can lead to an appointment with a GP, with subsequent referral to an auditory unit.

On a related issue, Rhona indicated that one in ten of the population suffers from some degree of tinnitus which can be experienced as, for example,  a ringing, whistling or buzzing in the ear.  Ways of helping to manage this include diet and exercise. Even aromatherapy has been found to be beneficial in some cases.

Of great importance is the relationship established with someone who has hearing loss or deafness.  Rhona’s advice was that primarily one should be sympathetic and aware of the difficulties being experienced by those concerned.  It is important not to mumble – or shout!  Worst of all is to be dismissive by saying “Oh it doesn’t matter” if you are not initially understood.

Thanking Rhona for her talk, Speaker’s Host Alasdair Mackie shared members’ surprise at the prevalence of hearing loss.  It was obvious that this was an issue which had very much captured members’ attention.