Why it’s important to track your hearing health

New research suggests that a staggering one in two people know someone with a hearing loss, yet it can take years of struggle for many of us to do something about our hearing health.

John Swete Kelly, 65, had noticed a gradual deterioration in his hearing that constantly left him puzzled in group conversations and avoiding crowded venues, as “it was easier to disengage than engage”. As an avid cyclist, John found himself starting to miss other cyclists’ communications when out as a group.

John has seen major changes in his day-to-day life from his hearing aids. The aids are specially programmed to assist him while riding his road bike.

“Hearing loss or not, staying safe on the road is critical,” said John.

“My new hearing aids are specially programmed to automatically adjust depending on the environment I’m in. I also have a specific manual program added for my cycling, which I can activate via an app. This allows me to hear everything around me and has also helped with reducing wind noise.

I can now hear cues from other cyclists very clearly when I’m riding, whereas before I may not have known what was being said.”

Regular check-ups could save your hearing

Hear and Say Adult Hearing Rehabilitation Program Manager, Georgia Cambridge said that because a hearing loss could occur at any age and often progressed unnoticed, adding a regular hearing check to the to-do list was vital.

“Your hearing health impacts all aspects of life, particularly when you’re out on the road riding with friends or on your own,” said Georgia.

“It’s common not to notice a hearing loss until it begins affecting your lifestyle or interactions with others. In a sport like cycling it’s especially important to ensure you’re proactively staying on top of your hearing. It makes a world of difference knowing what options are available if an issue is identified.”

For John, his hearing aids have reopened a world of sounds that had started to slip away.

“It’s made a huge difference, allowing me to fully engage in conversation again. Rather than switching out of a conversation because I couldn’t hear the whole story, I’m fully immersed.

I would strongly recommend that people take the opportunity to get their hearing tested. Once you actually find out about what technology can enable now, it’s quite amazing.”

Bicycle Queensland’s Director of Education, Patrick Trowse, said that staying safe while cycling should be riders’ number one priority, and commended riders like John for keeping on top of their hearing health.

“There is a misunderstanding that people with hearing loss can’t cycle, but John is a perfect example of defying that. With the right gear and support, John can continue to ride a bike safely just like anyone else,” said Patrick.

Until the end of October 2020, Hear and Say are offering Bicycle Queensland members one free 30-minute hearing screen. To book your screen, please call Hear and Say on 07 3850 2111 and mention this offer. 

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