Loud and Clear White Paper

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09 May 2017

Loud and Clear White Paper

It’s no joke: hearing loss hits social lives of more than 80 per cent of people living with the condition, says new survey. More than three quarters of people (81 per cent) with untreated hearing loss say they miss out on jokes because of the condition

Almost 1 in 5 (18 per cent) say they stopped going out after developing hearing loss

90 per cent of people with untreated hearing loss say the condition has damaged their social lives, according to new research


A study conducted by global hearing specialists Amplifon found that nine out of ten people who have difficulty hearing struggle to keep up with conversations in pubs and restaurants, with many saying they constantly felt they missed out on jokes and excluded from friendly banter.

One in eight of the 2,000 people surveyed said they’d turned down invites to social events because of hearing problems and almost one in five (18%) said they stopped going out altogether.

The Loud and Clear survey, which looks at the impact of untreated hearing loss on people’s social, work and personal lives, also found that more than a quarter of people who experience the condition wait more than five years before seeking professional help, despite the negative impact on their daily lives.

Amplifon customer Rebecca Smith, who was born with hearing loss admits she struggled to build relationships at university after refusing to wear her NHS hearing aids as a teenager.

“As a student I wouldn’t really go out on Saturday nights even though everyone else was. I’d sometimes tag along but if we were in a noisy pub I just couldn’t hear what was being said - I’d have to rely on people’s body language.

“People saw me as anti-social and lacking in personality – they even told me I was boring, which really affected my self-esteem. Even the friends I was close to hated sitting next to me in the cinema because I’d constantly have to ask them what was happening,” adds 24 year old Rebecca.

“It was frustrating to feel like an outsider and I thought there must be something wrong with me because I didn’t enjoy socialising.

“I finally addressed my hearing issue when I started working in the electricity industry where hearing well was essential to my work. Getting my hearing aids with Amplifon has completely changed my personality – I’m much more confident and outgoing. The pub’s no longer a problem and I’m discovering a love of team sports which would have just been impossible for me without hearing aids.”

Amplifon customer Stephen Dalton-Morris, who developed hearing loss in his early sixties says family get togethers and social outings became frustrating as the condition meant he couldn’t join in the conversations around him. 

“My wife and I would go out with friends and they’d think I was grumpy and miserable because I didn’t join in, but I just couldn’t pick up what was being said,” says Stephen. “It got to the point where if I knew a social event was coming up I really wouldn’t look forward to it. I just became more and more withdrawn.

“We stopped going to the theatre because I couldn’t follow the dialogue – I even blamed bad acting when we went to see a production of Mama Mia rather than realising it was hearing loss that was the problem!

“Even at home my hearing would cause difficulties – my wife didn’t want to watch tv with me because I had the volume turned up so loud and she’d have to deal with any phone calls or the doorbell ringing because I just couldn’t hear. 

“When it got to the point that I couldn’t hear tannoy announcements in airports and at train stations I knew I had to do something. The hearing aids I was given by Amplifon have made a real difference to my quality of life – even when I’m in a big group with all the family I can pick up on jokes and really enjoy myself again.”

Amplifon customer Nadja Padrutt, who developed tinnitus and hearing loss in her late thirties admits she became ‘a bit of a recluse’ after the condition made her previously active social life impossible.

“I’d always enjoyed going to clubs and socialising, but my life changed overnight when I woke up with tinnitus and hearing difficulties after a night out. I found it hard to join in conversations with friends in the pub, and could no longer follow the plot of a film at the cinema because I couldn’t pick up most of the dialogue.

“My relationships with people began to suffer and I noticed that I was isolating myself more and more. I only really went out to go to work or shopping and would make excuses not to see friends.

“I put off getting professional help because I felt embarrassed – it would mean admitting I’d basically damaged my hearing myself.

“When I finally plucked up the courage to get my hearing tested at Amplifon and tried out my new hearing aids I couldn’t believe how much I could pick up. I’d always been the one who missed the punchline to jokes, but now I can join in conversations in busy pubs and restaurants, no matter how many people I’m with.”

Barry Downes, audiologist and professional services manager at Amplifon, said: “No one likes feeling left out, especially when a joke’s being told, so it’s shocking to think how many people are missing out on good social lives because they’re unable to hear properly.

“Our research has shown that leaving hearing loss untreated can impact on relationships with family and friends and lead people to adopt less active, less sociable lifestyles which can result in anxiety or depression.

“Yet many people fail to address the condition when they first notice a decline in their hearing.

“With hearing loss set to affect more and more of us as the population ages, we want to encourage people to treat their ears like their eyes or teeth and get them checked regularly so they can continue to lead active social lives.”

To read the whitepaper in full, please click here

Amplifon is offering a free hearing trial to anyone who has concerns about their hearing. For more information you can book an appointment through our website or call us using the number at the top of our website.

09 May 2017