By Vicki Steers
Everyone could benefit from hearing aids – yet there are several major barriers to hearing the call of the wild and the whispers of your mates. Hearing aids allow you to hear even if you are without hearing aids. And they can actually improve your communication with others and with yourself.
To give you an idea of how good hearing aids can be, I was surprised by a recent report in The Guardian. It showed how the stately home owner, Larkhall House near Reading, is using a smartphone app to spread the awareness of the use of hearing aids to guests. This is most likely down to the success of things like new technology designed to improve hearing. That’s good news for anyone out there who has not yet had the chance to hear the end of the phone ring with much pleasure.
• Regretfully, there’s no smartphone app for deaf people.
• Are there smartphone apps for deaf people? Yes. My friend, Ammy, is very happy with her First Assist Induce Hearing Technology (FAME) Technology. It has helped her to regain full hearing following an early diagnosis of permanent hearing loss.
• More hearing is a very expensive proposition: the average hearing aid cost £7,000, and in addition a hearing aid that compensates for good and bad hearing equal £1000+ per day.
• Some problems with hearing aids, like bad quality or sensitivity, can be fixed by surgery.
• Sometimes hearing aids run out of batteries.
Hearing aids give you great new challenges but also many new opportunities. Many of my friends are currently engaged in their lifetime project of becoming better communicators. Whether it’s with our written words, with family or friends, with our public displays of emotion, or with our workplace skills, we all find that our communication is improved with hearing aids.
Many Hearing Aid Companies now feature a ‘nodgy tool’ as part of their slogan or their business cards to highlight the fact that their hearing aids offer hearing benefits for everyone, regardless of any previous hearing impairment.
Britain is spending almost £500 million a year treating hearing impairment but the actual cost to public health is likely far higher. This funding and education failure results in extensive suffering due to social isolation and illness. Other countries are spending less on waiting lists and investment in social care.
Hearing aids for All is a campaign to raise awareness of issues around hearing loss, and to empower everyone with hearing impairment to get the hearing aids they need. In addition, a Hearing Aid for All competition is also running in Britain to find new ideas for your hearing loss. There is an entry deadline of 3 April 2018.