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Low Numbers Seeking Help for Hearing Loss Prompt Action

29th August 2011

Low Numbers Seeking Help for Hearing Loss Prompt Action and New Hearing Aid

New research revealing just two out of ten people with hearing loss get help from a hearing care professional is being presented to Wellington and Manawatu audiologists as one of three new steps being taken to improve the figures.

Research involving 1500 people with hearing difficulties shows 7 out of 10 are concerned about their hearing loss but:

• Only 2 out of 10 are getting help from a hearing care professional
• 4 out of 10 are doing nothing; and
• 4 out of 10 are either looking on the Internet, talking to family or friends or getting some other information.

Hearing technology manufacturer Oticon New Zealand is releasing the research to hearing care professionals, along with expert local and international advice about how to get people with hearing loss feeling more comfortable about getting help and an advanced new hearing device designed specifically for people who have never had hearing aids before.

“We know from past experience and research that it takes people around ten years to do anything about their hearing loss,” says Karen Pullar, Audiologist and General Manager of Oticon New Zealand. “That’s ten years of a loss of quality of life.”

Untreated hearing loss can lead to increased frustration, fatigue, and social withdrawal and strain personal and professional relationships.

“Oticon is using the new research to work with hearing care professionals on what they can do to break down barriers to seeking help and accepting the benefits of hearing aids,” says Ms Pullar. “We are also taking the wraps off a new hearing device, the Oticon Intiga, which delivers instant benefits to the user– combined with a sleek ergonomic design and small size. We are optimistic Intiga will prompt more people to take action to address their hearing loss.”

“Hearing devices, no matter how advanced their technology, won’t make any difference if they are kept in a drawer.

“With Oticon Intiga, we aim to create an immediate effect – instant and obvious benefits from the start that motivate rapid acceptance and long term use.”

Intiga’s ultra-small shape hides well behind the ear and the almost invisible receiver wire and ergonomically shaped speaker ensure fitting comfort and retention throughout the day. The hearing instrument’s surface is smooth and unbroken with invisible microphone openings. Built-in Bluetooth capabilities allow Intiga to connect wirelessly to cell phones, becoming a virtual hands-free headset.

A separate independent study by Towson University (Maryland, USA) into the Oticon Intiga hearing device showed participants reported experiencing immediate and obvious benefits including comfort in ear, comfort with loud sounds, one-on-one conversation in quiet, speech in noise and own voice recognition, that resulted in immediate acceptance by the first time users. In addition, within the first week of the study, the majority of the participants indicated a determination to wear their new hearing instruments long term.

The research and the Oticon Intiga hearing device are being released to Wellington and Manawatu hearing care professionals on Tuesday 30 August 2011 at the Lighthouse Cinema, Petone from 8.30am to midday.

Oticon New Zealand is part of one of the oldest hearing aid manufacturers in the world. The New Zealand company was established in 1974, and today manufactures hearing technology including hearing aids.

ENDS

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