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NZ health provider raises hearing loss awareness

Photo: File.

Kiwis across the country can take part in the Great Big Hearing Check 2020 throughout March, as a nationwide hearing health care provider looks to raise awareness of the impacts of hearing loss in New Zealand.

The month-long initiative is being promoted to highlight the World Health Organisation’s World Hearing Day today.

This year is focused on the importance of having regular check-ups to reduce hearing loss.

Triton Hearing provider is partnering with pharmacies, stores and employers around the country to offer free hearing checks.

Over 880,000 New Zealanders currently live with hearing loss, which is estimated to cost the economy around $1 billion per annum.

Triton Hearing audiometrist Fabian Straube says noise-induced hearing loss is a problem in New Zealand due to the prevalence of loud environments and the persistence of the classic Kiwi ‘she’ll be right’ attitude – particularly within the workplace.

“We see a lot of people with noise-induced hearing loss in New Zealand. Because we have an extensive farming community, a large trades sector and a sizeable manufacturing industry, a lot of Kiwis work in environments where they are regularly exposed to noise.

“While there’s more awareness now of the need to use personal protective equipment, the issue is that people can be quite lax around using the hearing protection for a short-duration activity. For example, they might say: ‘I’m not putting my hearing protection on just to put a nail in the wall’,” says Fabian.

“But it’s that repetitive exposure over time that chips away at your hearing and accelerates your hearing loss.”

Workplace-induced and age-related hearing loss needs to be detected early to avoid further damage and improve the options for treatment.

Untreated hearing loss can have a significant impact on quality of life – not only for the individual but also their partner and family – and ultimately result in greater permanent damage.

“The brain is often under a lot of pressure trying to understand what someone is saying, and it has a negative impact on memory if hearing loss goes undetected.

“Hearing loss is increasingly being identified as a risk for a range of long-term impacts, from social isolation to the onset of dementia.”

New Zealander’s can protect their hearing by:

- wearing earplugs or noise cancelling earmuffs in a loud environment – particularly if the noise is prolonged

- keeping music to volume levels below 85dB for duration of a maximum of eight hours

- having regular hearing check-ups

- knowing the signs of hearing loss to get it treated as soon as possible.

To be part of the Great Big Hearing Check 2020, check hearing for free at participating Unichem and Life Pharmacies, Farmlands stores, Triton Hearing clinics or online at greatbighearingcheck.co.nz.

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