Combating hearing loss

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AUDIOLOGY South is hosting a free community event to give people the opportunity to learn more about noise-induced hearing loss and what to do if they have any.

Senior audiologist Simon Melville said hearing loss often snuck up on people, but there were options to improve their hearing.

The seminar will outline what hearing loss was, and how to reduce it, as well as how to access the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) for any potential hearing loss claims.

“Ideally prevention was better than cure, so ideally we want to prevent people ruining their hearing to start with. It is better to be aware of the potential situations, and prevent those situations.”

Mr Melville said the seminar would be especially useful for employers and employees who had noise (exposure) induced hearing risks at their workplace.

“Noise-induced hearing loss is often a hazard for those who work in noisy environments, like a construction site or dairy farm.

“The earlier hearing loss was identified the better, so people can retain what hearing they have.”

ACC may cover trauma-related hearing loss which could be a sudden loss of hearing, and noise-induced hearing loss which could result over a period of time, he said.

The seminar will also provide information about where to get help for those who already had hearing loss as there were various options, including hearing tests, potential ACC assistance (funding) and hearing aids.

Timing was an important factor, Mr Melville said.

“I would encourage people if they think they have noise-induced hearing loss not to wait too long.”

Mr Melville said although some people may have been eligible for ACC funding for employment-related noise-induced hearing loss, if they left it too late they may miss out.

“Although ACC are not ageist, they have a criteria… part of which is as you age you get points against you as part of an age-correction factor.

“Although they may have a work-related claim, waiting too long could make their claim invalid.”

However, Mr Melville also added the ACC process was a lot easier nowadays, with most consultations via a telephone interview.

“If the case was straightforward, such as being exposed to a consistent amount of noise, people may be interviewed by phone. If more information was needed then an ear, nose and throat specialist would also phone them.”

However, people could still opt to fill out a form if they preferred, he said.

“It gives people choice.”

The free community event will be held at the Invercargill Workingmen’s Club on Tuesday, July 17, 6pm-7pm. To register, phone 800 547 836.

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