Fiona Mactaggart MP attended the launch of the Hearing Screening for Life Campaign in Parliament this week, which is calling for Hearing Screening to be brought in for everybody at the age of 65.
Hearing loss is a major public health issue affecting over 10 million people in the UK – one in six of the population. It impacts on communication, causing difficulties for people interacting with their family and friends, and can lead to social isolation and depression. It reduces the ability to access services including healthcare and can exacerbate or lead to other medical problems. In particular, new evidence suggests that there is a link between hearing loss and dementia.
Despite the difficulties it can cause, there are an estimated four million people in the UK with unaddressed hearing loss. It takes people an average of 10 years to seek help after they start noticing symptoms. By the time many people seek treatment, aged around 75, their ability to adapt and benefit from a hearing aid is greatly reduced. The number of older people in our society is growing, and the issue of unaddressed hearing loss will become increasingly prevalent unless action is taken now.
Fiona Mactaggart MP said: “I have always been hard of hearing and it began to get worse after my 50th birthday so I know that this a debilitating condition. There almost nine hundredthousand people in the South-East with moderate hearing loss or worse, out of a total population of 7 million. Each one of them has a harder time talking with their family and friends, accessing vital medical care, and many will also suffer from other conditions which even harder to treat when set alongside hearing loss. I am delighted to support the Hearing Screening for Life campaign in the hope that we can help all these people and their long-suffering loved ones.”
Michelle Mitchell, Director General, Age UK: "One of the most devastating elements of age-onset hearing loss can be the social isolation it brings. Imagine not being able to hear and communicate with your loved ones, or describe how you feel to your doctor or carer. Undiagnosed, it can also be a real drain on your family and friends as well. A simple and cost effective way to cut through this denial and all the other debilitating effects is to have hearing screening at the age of 65.”