The ‘Connect And Be Heard Report’1
found that Australians feel ‘unheard’; are frustrated, disconnected and excluded. In fact, 89 per cent of Australians have experienced first-hand what it feels like to be ‘unheard’.
For many senior Australians, this is nothing new, with the report revealing that one in five Australians aged 55+ believe they are not being heard because of their age (19 per cent). This is even higher for those with hearing loss (22 per cent).
When we are heard we feel respected, valued and connected. So, what is the next step in ensuring hearing health is not overlooked?
Unheard and isolated
Feelings of frustration, isolation and anxiety are regularly identified by those suffering from hearing loss when they first seek help.
While friends and family often try their best to support loved ones who are suffering from hearing loss, in certain situations it can be too difficult to accommodate. Those struggling to hear will find themselves pushed to the side at family gatherings; because when they can’t hear, they can’t contribute to the conversation.
Unfortunately, this can be a familiar situation in aged care. If hearing loss is not identified when a resident arrives, their care experience can be frustrating for the resident, carers, other residents and visiting family members.
Feeling heard can mean the difference between healthy and positive relationships with family members, friends, and those we rely on for care; and feelings of frustration and isolation.
A fractured relationship and feelings of being at odds with those around you can be a sign of the impact of hearing loss. The toll of hearing loss is felt by all, but for the person who cannot hear, the effort of trying to tune into conversations and stay across key moments can be stressful and draining.
When a person is continually ‘unheard’, it starts to erode their confidence and sense of self-worth in more profound ways.
While one in three Australians believe they fail to achieve cut-through when speaking because their audience is too distracted to listen to them, for the rest, it is personal. From thinking their opinion is not valued (28 per cent) to simply being too boring to be heard (18 per cent), it’s enough to dent anyone’s self-belief in their own value.
Around the people who know us well we can often hide the tell-tale signs of hearing loss, such as asking a person to repeat themselves or trying to guess and fill in the blanks when we can’t hear.
This is much harder to do when you are meeting a person for the first time, navigating new experiences in a care environment or trying to fit in with a new group. If not addressed, the person will struggle mentally and emotionally.
There is a strong link between good hearing health and our emotional wellbeing that cannot be ignored. Regular hearing tests are essential for all Australians, especially those aged over 50 or those in care.
Aged care facilities must prioritise consistent hearing health, testing and the correct maintenance of hearing devices to ensure residents feel heard, connected and respected.
Booking an initial hearing screen with Connect Hearing is free and takes just 15 minutes. For 99 per cent of our clients, their hearing loss will be manageable, and technology today allows for almost invisible solutions. To book a free hearing screen click here.
To read the ‘Connect And Be Heard Report’, visit: www.connecthearing.com.au/forms-brochures/connect-and-be-heard-research-report/