East Antrim Stewart Dickson, MLA, is supporting an innovative publicity campaign on behalf of charity Action on Hearing Loss, encouraging everyone over 55 to take a hearing check.
“This is a simple check which only takes a few minutes and it can be really beneficial – losing your hearing can isolate you from friends and family so I would ask anyone with worries about their hearing to get the check.”
It takes, on average, 10 years for people to get their hearing checked and unaddressed hearing loss can lead to social isolation. The charity’s ‘Isolation’ campaign is encouraging people across Northern Ireland to take quicker action when they notice a problem with their hearing.
Adverts featuring family snaps that have been split up to reflect the isolation felt by both the person with a hearing loss and their loved ones are appearing across Northern Ireland. The ads direct people to take Action on Hearing Loss’s hearing check at www.hearingcheck.org.uk or 0808 808 0213 and to seek information and support from the charity.
A television advert will also be broadcast on UTV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, featuring a local couple who will explain the impact that hearing loss has had on their family and relationships.
Richard Hanks, 68, who volunteers for Action on Hearing Loss, says: “It took me 13 years to get my hearing checked from when I first noticed a problem. The deterioration in my hearing was slow and my deafness just crept up on me. It became exasperating for friends and family needing to constantly repeat what they were saying at social events, and it got to the point where I wouldn’t start conversations because I knew I could not sustain them. I ended up sitting in silence, thinking ‘you’re never so lonely as when you’re in company!’
“Hearing aids make a wonderful difference to my hearing and I’m thankful for them every day – when I put them in each morning it’s like the world wakes up! Not many people resist wearing glasses when they get older and it should be the same with hearing aids. If you’ve difficulty hearing, I’d advise you to get your hearing checked straight away so you can start benefiting from hearing aids and keep up with conversations and jokes with your loved ones, which is such a rich part of family life.”
Northern Ireland Director of Action on Hearing Loss, Jackie White, says “Relatives can be the key in encouraging people to take action when they are having difficulty hearing and we that hope our new ‘Isolation’ campaign inspires family conversations about hearing loss in homes across Northern Ireland. We want people aged 55 or over with age-related hearing loss to get their hearing checked quickly so that they can hear more clearly during special occasions and maintain their quality of family life. ”
For more information about the ‘Isolation’ campaign, visit www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/Isolation
For more information on hearing loss and deafness contact Action on Hearing Loss’s Northern Ireland office on telephone / text: 028 9023 9619