AT 67 years of age, Aileen O’Rourke has been gradually losing her hearing for the past 20 years.
With the launch of Tasmania’s third Specsavers Audiology store in Hobart last month, Ms O’Rourke is now excited about easily getting her hearing checked.
Ms O’Rourke realised she needed to do something about her hearing when she was constantly finding herself asking, “pardon?” whenever she was in a conversation.
“I find myself lip reading during conversations or asking people to repeat themselves constantly,” she said.
“I’m turning the television up very loud and putting the phone on loud speaker.
“If I have guests over and there’s a lot of background noise, I’ll even find myself trying to lip read a television show.”
With audiology services opening so close to home, Ms O’Rourke is confident that she will be able to find a solution to her hearing issues and find her way back into the conversation.
Ms O’Rourke said her hearing loss had been gradual.
“It’s one of those things that just got away from me until I realised that I just couldn’t hear clearly anymore,” she said.
“It may also be hereditary, as my father suffers from hearing loss.”
When asked about what she’s most looking forward to once she has addressed her hearing, Ms O’Rourke mentioned being a part of conversations again.
“I find it difficult to hear conversations in any environment, and really struggle in situations when the person may not be looking directly at me,” she said.
“I’ll also be happy for my children to stop asking me when I’m am going to do something about my hearing.”
Pip Muir, new owner and audiologist at Specsavers Hobart, said she was looking forward to building connections with people and helping them to communicate better in their everyday lives.
She’s encouraging all locals who might have concerns about their hearing to book a free 15-minute hearing check.
“People find that their world expands when their hearing is addressed,” she said.
“Often, hearing loss is gradual and there are sounds they don’t even realise they’re missing.
“I often hear people say, ‘I never realised my car indicators made that ticking noise’ or, ‘Now I can hear when my kids talk about me.’
“Currently, it takes most Australians seven to 10 years to acknowledge they have hearing loss before they act – if they do anything at all.
“That’s nearly a decade spent suffering in silence.”
Ms Muir said over the years, she had personally seen so many cases where hearing loss affected a person’s confidence and independence.
“This includes isolation and sometimes people stop attending activities they enjoy as they just can’t hear well enough to follow conversations,” she said.
“As we all know, social isolation and a lack of independence can lead to a whole range of both mental and physical conditions, especially for our older members of society.”
One in six Australians experience hearing loss, yet only one in three does anything about it.
In addition to this, Specsavers research has shown that more than half of adult Australians (57 per cent) have experienced moments where they felt concerned about their hearing.
Specsavers’ executive director of audiology Darrel Magna said the new hearing service was giving Australians a more accessible solution to hearing loss by providing the clear, low prices and expert service that the Specsavers brand had become well-known for.
“By offering audiology services to our customers, we’re hoping to normalise hearing tests and assist hearing loss earlier – before it affects a person’s life,” he said.
“All customers at Specsavers Hobart will now have a free hearing screen included as part of their overall health check in store.
“We don’t want Australians to have to wait up to 10 years to do something about their hearing challenges, especially if it means they can’t live their lives to the fullest.”
If you feel your hearing isn’t as good as it should be, the store is currently taking bookings for free 15-minute hearing checks.
If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the following tell-tale signs, you may benefit from expert advice from Specsavers:
- Do you have the TV or radio turned up louder?
- Do you find telephone conversations hard work?
- Do you ask people to repeat things?
- Do you have difficulty following conversations in groups of people?
- Has someone suggested you might not be hearing as well as you used to?
If further testing is required, comprehensive hearing assessments are being offered for $49.
If you require hearing assistance as a result, Specsavers has a range of hearing aids designed and built by leading manufacturers, which feature cutting-edge innovations in hearing assistance.
Specsavers Audiology is accredited as a qualified hearing service provider by the Australian Government Hearing Services Program, which provides eligible people with access to hearing services such as hearing assessments, subsidised hearing aids and aftercare services.
If you think you might be eligible, you can apply for the Australian Government Hearing Services Program online or via post.
For more information or to book a hearing test, visit www.specsavers.com.au/hearing or phone Specsavers Hobart on 6223 5792.
Caption: Local resident Aileen O’Rourke gets her hearing checked by Specsavers Hobart audiologist Pip Muir.