Keep an ear out for free checks
ENCOURAGING men to take early action with their hearing this Men's Health Week is retired school teacher Jon Wyatt of Sawtell.
Jon hopes others will take advantage of the free help available to detect hearing loss, commonly the most unaddressed health issue for men.
Although men often suffer hearing damage from noise in their workplace, Jon wouldn't blame his years spent in the classroom for the recent deterioration of his hearing, rather his genetics and simply getting older.
"I used to warn my students to be careful of what they whispered in class as I had such sharp hearing," explains Jon, who says his family noticed his rapid hearing loss in the past year.
"I finally realised how often I was saying, 'What's that?' or 'Excuse me?' during a normal conversation and it was embarrassing."
Research shows that men put off getting help when they need it most, with many men not realising that their hearing has deteriorated, or they put off doing anything about it. In fact, men access health services 30 to 40 per cent less than women.
"The worst thing is it can withdraw you from conversations," Jon said.
"Like deteriorating eyesight, you can adapt but it will deteriorate to a state that other people are also affected. If you just put up with it, you aren't really doing the right thing by the other people close to you."
Earlier this year Jon took advantage of free hearing checks at Australian Hearing and as a pensioner was fitted with a set of hearing aids. The result was immediate.
"I can hear much, much better," said Jon. "Everything was muffled before. It's like lifting a blanket off, everything is clearer... I should have done it earlier before my hearing deteriorated so much."
"If men know their hearing is crook, they need to get off their backside and do something about it.
"It's a non-event to have a quick hearing check and find out your options. If it can help improve your quality of life, why not?"
Australian Hearing is rallying men to have their hearing checked for free when its bus visits the Coffs Harbour Golf Club on Thursday from 9am to 2pm or call Australian Hearing Centre. on 131 797 or visit hearing.com.au.