ANNUAL hearing tests should be mandatory from the age of 55, say BIHIMA, the British and Irish Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association.
Latest research in The Lancet shows the prevalence of hearing loss in the general population more than doubles between the ages of 49 and 59.
Paul Surridge, BIHIMA chairman, said: “Many people don’t realise the effect that hearing loss can have on their lives and may be living with hearing loss and its comorbidities for several years before it is recognised.
“Systemic change is required whereby we see it as part of our routine healthcare to go for an annual hearing test. This is especially important in the older population who are more likely to develop hearing loss and suffer from its comorbidities.”
Hearing loss is a risk factor that can contribute to cognitive decline, falls in older people, and mental health problems.
It can affect independence, create employment difficulties, and make people feel isolated and less inclined to communicate with friends and family, leading to loneliness and depression.
Hearing tests can pick up hearing loss at an early stage allowing it to be treated and monitored. Regular hearing tests can be used to assess any further deterioration and treatments can be adapted as appropriate.
You can get free hearing tests on the NHS, but you need to self-refer through your GP – they aren’t given as standard. There are high street providers who will test our hearing for free too.