Hearing Awareness Week runs from Monday 29 February, so it’s a timely reminder that one in six New Zealanders live with a hearing loss — this figure rises to one in three for those over 65 years. Many people with hearing loss will benefit from assistive listening devices.
Hearing loss is an invisible disability. It’s not always obvious to other people, but it can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. For many people, the strain and frustration they experience when communicating with others causes them to withdraw from their friends and family and restrict social activities.
If you think you might need a little help with communication, whether it’s on the telephone or in person, there are assistive aids available to help you keep in touch with family and friends.
A personal amplifier with headphones or earbuds is ideal for people who have hearing loss but don’t need hearing aids. The digital processor filters out background noise to deliver clear, more distinct speech so you don’t have to struggle to keep up with conversation. Use it when socialising in restaurants; in meetings at work; or when you visit the doctor or pharmacist and you can’t afford to miss important info. A personal amplifier is ideal when watching TV so you don’t have to turn the volume up so loud it annoys your family, and it can also connect to loop systems in cinemas and theatres.
The Care80 phone has an amplified receiver so you can adjust the earpiece volume to a comfortable listening level. It has an extra loud ringer and a flashing visual ring indicator to alert you to incoming calls. This phone is not only good for those with hearing loss, it’s also great for the visually impaired, with large, easy-read buttons and 6 one-touch dial buttons that you can customise with photos of your contacts – also great for people with dementia.
You can see the full range of communication products at the Life Unlimited Store website.
If hearing loss is affecting your day-to-day life, it’s vital you seek professional advice. Call Life Unlimited Hearing Therapy Services on 0800 008 011 to arrange a consultation. This is a free, Ministry of Health-funded service for New Zealanders 16 years and over.