Brits Afraid of Hearing Aids

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A recent poll on hearing aids reveals that only a fifth of the population has had a hearing test compared to over 90% who have been to the optician.

The fact that more than twice the number of people would feel happier wearing glasses than a hearing instrument demonstrates that people probably still think of hearing instruments as clunky, protruding, banana-shaped devices.

Almost a third of British people would not feel comfortable about wearing a hearing aid concludes a recent survey from Siemens Hearing. This contrasts to over 80 per cent who said they would be comfortable wearing glasses.

"The majority of Brits seem to be stuck in a time warp when it comes to their perception of hearing," says audiologist Rob Ryman at Siemens. "The fact that more than twice the number of people would feel happier wearing glasses than a hearing instrument demonstrates that people probably still think of hearing instruments as clunky, protruding, banana-shaped devices."

"If this is the case, it's hardly surprising that our hearing is relegated on our list of priorities," he added, pointing to statistics which show that 81 per cent of people have never had a hearing test, compared to just 10 per cent that have never visited an optician.

1 in 7 people suffer from hearing loss in the UK but with so few people having hearing tests, many are not aware of their impairment, especially if it is only slight.

The reluctance to use hearing aids is often based on the view that they are unfashionable, but Rob Ryman argues that it wasn't long ago that glasses were viewed in a similar way. "They haven't always been the trendy, hi-design fashion accessory they have become today," he says.

To counter this perception, Siemens Hearing has launched a new range of digital hearing aids that are both fashionable and discreet. Coming in smaller sizes and changeable colours, the new hearing aids can be matched to clothes and even be linked to MP3 players.

For a free online hearing test and for more information on new generation of hearing aids visit the Siemens Hearing site at http://www.siemens.co.uk/hearing.

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Susannah Wyeth
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