Deaf Awareness Week is run on an annual basis by the UK Council on Deafness, taking place this year between the 2nd – 8th May 2022.
The aim of the campaign is to highlight the impact of hearing loss on everyday life and increase visibility and inclusion of Deaf people. Emphasising the importance of mental health, and empathising with underrepresented groups amongst Deaf as well as raise pertinent issues of deafness being overlooked in education, health settings and the workplace.
Youth Trust counsellor Bev has written a short blog for us about Deafness and hearing loss.
As it’s deafness awareness week we at The Youth Trust have been thinking about hearing loss and deafness. In the UK there are approximately 11 million people who have such difficulties, of these 8 million are over the age of 60. That’s 1 in 6 adults! Think about how many people you meet in a day, you probably meet a few!
There are things we can do to protect our ears. Did you know that inside our ears we have tiny bones and hairs that help us to hear? It is these that can be damaged if exposed to too much loud noise. For example, it’s a good idea if wearing headphones or earbuds to have the volume at a low level. And if we’re going to be exposed to loud sounds, say maybe at a concert or festival, it can pay to wear ear defenders. These are like headphones, but they reduce the sound that can reach your ears. Some people need these for their work, can you think of a job where it could be noisy?
Older people with hearing loss can become isolated and lonely as joining in conversations can be hard. They get lost or feel embarrassed about saying “pardon” too often. This means they may avoid being with others. There is some evidence to say that this can lead to cognitive decline (meaning they can’t remember things as well as they used to.)
The good news is that there are things we can do to help with hearing loss, such as wearing hearing aids. It’s estimated that 6.7 million people could benefit from wearing a hearing aid, but only 2 million do so. Some of our team wear them, myself included, and I see it as the same as wearing glasses (which I also do!)
So, if you think someone may be struggling to hear you make sure you look at them when you are talking, however there is no need to shout or to speak differently. And, if we think our hearing is not what it was then it is important to go to our GP. It may be something as simple as having excess ear wax and you don’t want to be missing out on all those conversations and wonderful sounds around you!