Somerset opticians and audiologists are stressing the importance of regular hearing and eye tests this National Deaf Awareness Week (May 6-12), to help combat loneliness and social isolation.
Help those with hearing loss by looking after your eyes
As part of an awareness drive, Somerset Specsavers stores are highlighting how looking after your eyes can also help those with hearing loss. This is because people rely heavily on hearing and sight to communicate with others, and a lot of people with hearing difficulties use lip reading to help clarify what others are saying.
Research shows that older people in the UK can be left feeling lonely and isolated due to problems with their sight and hearing, and figures show there are an estimated 11 million people living with hearing loss across the UK. That number is expected to soar to 15.6 million by 2035.
However, regular testing can help detect potential problems early and the correction of sight and hearing problems can ensure people engage more with their friends, family and society, which in turn could help tackle feelings of loneliness.
Kayleigh Boley, lead hearing aid dispenser for Taunton Specsavers, says: ‘Evidence shows people suffering from hearing loss can end up feeling isolated and lonely as they struggle to communicate and join in with others. Both senses are crucial in making sure you can communicate as best you can.’
Top tips on easing social isolation
Somerset Specsavers stores suggest following these tips to help support someone with hearing loss:
- Maintain eye contact for the ease of speech reading
- Do not exaggerate your voice or lip movements, as this can distort your message
- Do not cover your mouth when speaking
- Say the person’s name before speaking to them to get their attention
- If they do not understand what you have said, try rephrasing your sentences rather than repeating them
- Try to chat somewhere which is quiet and with good lighting
It is recommended that everyone has an eye test every two years, or more often if advised by an optician. Those aged 55 and over should have their hearing checked each year, but anyone with any concerns should make an appointment with their Specsavers audiologist.