New research reveals that Australians don’t talk about hearing loss with friends and family, despite the fact it could be hindering their quality of life.
To mark World Hearing Day, David Campbell has partnered with Hearing Australia for their ‘Share your Secret’ campaign to raise awareness of the importance of speaking up about hearing loss with friends and family.
Findings from Hearing Australia’s ‘Share your Secret’ survey of Australians over the age of 50 released today, show that almost half (42%) of respondents have never discussed hearing loss with family and friends.[i] Nearly all (95%) respondents believe that people should talk more openly about hearing loss, but almost a half (42%) agree that stigma still exists.i
“It is normal for hearing to change as you get older, however it doesn’t need to stop you staying connected to the people around you and living the life you love. Hearing has been essential throughout my professional career and as a result I’ve noticed how it also impacts my personal life and bringing up my children. Having seen family and friends in the music industry struggle with hearing loss, I’m a strong advocate for speaking up and encouraging those around me to get the help they need. Don’t let hearing loss limit you,” says David Campbell.
We spoke to real clients to understand how they overcame stigma and to get help with their hearing loss
First we met Les, whose love of the outdoors is no secret. But the fact he wears a hearing aid is. Les said of his experience getting help from Hearing Australia, “They involved me every step of the way. They treated me as a person, not just a number, and they showed me through the processes – what was involved and what the recommendations were, and just made me feel so comfortable.”
The survey found over a third (33%) of the respondents said better hearing would improve their friendships and social life and acknowledged that they (48%) would miss the sound of loved ones’ voices if they experienced hearing loss.i
Despite hearing loss potentially hindering Australian’s ability to live life to the fullest, people are not taking action. One in four (25%) older Australians don’t recall ever having received a hearing test and more than one in five (22%) haven’t taken a hearing test in over five years.i
This may be a result of outdated views on hearing aid technology. Despite hearing aids now being modern, small and discreet, nearly all respondents (87%) said that they would be too embarrassed to wear a hearing aid, as they are “ugly and unfashionable” (26%).i These misconceptions could be preventing older Australians from celebrating the joy of sound.
We then met Kirsty, an accomplished lawyer and Hearing Australia client for the last 23 years. When she was younger, she had a bulky aid for a profound hearing loss, but her hearing aid is now so tiny that you can barely see it. Kirsty says, “They’re so small, you won’t even notice. And when they turn the hearing aid on for the first time, it’s going to blow your mind. You’re going to hear so much more and you’re going to be like “Why did I wait so long?” Honestly, I can’t tell you how good it is to be able to hear clearly for the first time.”
“Hearing Australia’s ‘Share your Secret’ campaign is a timely reminder for people to remember that they are not alone in their hearing journey. There are many modern solutions available that, if needed, can offer discreet support without stopping you from living life to the full. In fact, many of our clients believe that taking control of their hearing loss could be the secret to their success,” says Karen Hirschausen, Principal Audiologist at Hearing Australia.
Sherryl – whose secret to celebrating sound in her life is her weekly swing dancing lessons with friends recalls when she decided it was time to take action for her hearing loss, “I was feeling the beat a lot sooner than [actually] hearing the beat.” Since receiving her hearing aids, she’s gotten back into the swing of things. She says, “they’re a part of me and I wouldn’t be able to carry on without them. The joy I get from knowing I can hear better with my hearing aids in, knowing I can be part of a conversation. And I knew I was eliminating myself from that area of life… I was eliminating myself from the group because I couldn’t fit into what they were saying.”
“My message to those who are struggling with hearing loss is don’t hesitate, just get a test. Being able to engage in conversation with people, family and friends, is so much more important. Especially when hearing aids these days are so skinny, most people don’t even notice that I’m wearing them,” said Les, Hearing Australia client.
“This World Hearing Day share your secret and talk to your friends and family about your hearing. The good news is that you don’t need to book a hearing test alone, you can bring your partner or friend along as well. You never know – you may find they are experiencing the same as you,” says David Campbell.
From World Hearing Day, Hearing Australia is offering joint appointments for Australians to receive a hearing assessment with their friends or family. For more information and to book a hearing test call Hearing Australia on 134 HEAR or visit hearing.com.au.
Notes to Editors
About David Campbell
David Campbell (OAM) is one of Australia’s most popular and versatile entertainers. A proven television and radio host, he also headlines theatre, cabaret and concert performances as well as being a multi-platinum recording artist and children’s book author. David is currently a co-host of the national Today Extra show for the Nine Network. He also presents his own top rating, national weekend afternoon radio show on Smooth FM. Despite having such a fascinating and varied career, David’s favourite role by far is being father to his three adorable and adored children.
David has recognised the importance of healthy hearing through his career in music and entertainment and understands the burden of hearing loss through the experience of close family and friends. He has partnered with Hearing Australia to break down the stigma around hearing and encourage Australians to have their hearing tested.
Here for all Australians. Hearing Australia has been caring for Australians for over 70 years, helping thousands of children, adults, pensioners and veterans connect with their loved ones every week. Now, more than ever, good hearing is important to keep in touch with your loved ones and stay connected to the world around you. With more than 450 audiologists, we offer services through tele-services, online, in home and in centre, across over 170 locations Australia-wide. Our goal is to keep you connected to the people and life you love. No matter your age, no matter your hearing need – we’re here to help you celebrate sound.
About the ‘Share your Secret’ campaign
The 8-week campaign aims to raise awareness of the importance of speaking up about hearing loss with friends and family to help break down the stigma surrounding the issue. Hearing Australia is working with David Campbell who will be helping to highlight the importance of hearing health awareness and urging Aussies to reveal their best kept secret, hearing loss; and encourage them to get their hearing checked together with a loved one.
Les, Kristy and Sherryl each received a gift as a thanks for their participation in the ‘Share Your Secret’ campaign. Their statements are their own.
About the Consumer Survey
The ‘Share Your Secret’ consumer survey was conducted by Pureprofile on behalf of Hearing Australia. The total sample size was 2000 adults aged 50+ years in Australia. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17 February to 23 February via an online survey. Date of preparation: February 2021.
Vicky Saunders-Flaherty, Vicky.Saunders-Flaherty@hearing.com.au
[i] Pureprofile & Hearing Australia. ‘Share Your Secret’ consumer survey. Data on file. 2021.