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Specialist urges people to get hearing checked

Audiologist Lia Zamora. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

A new audiology clinic has opened in Masterton, with its owner urging people not to put off getting their hearing checked.

Audiologist Lia Zamora opened her new business two weeks ago with the hope of providing affordable hearing healthcare to the community.

“What I love about this job is that I get to be in a profession that involves the art of human interaction and the science of hearing diagnostics and technology.

“It’s always a special moment when I see hearing aid wearers in town or in social gatherings enjoying being engaged in conversations,” Zamora said.

The clinic’s opening came as Specsavers research found an estimated 83 per cent of New Zealanders over the age of 40 felt concerned about their hearing.

More than half of Wairarapa residents over the age of 40 [58 per cent] had not had their hearing tested in the past three years.

“Our research is concerning as it’s clear that many Kiwis are aware of hearing issues but aren’t doing anything about them.

“Being able to hear and engage in our surrounding environment is important for our health and well-being. As well as being the thief of joy in social interactions, hearing loss can lead to social isolation, mood changes, and depression. The quality of relationships can be compromised as a result,” Zamora said.

She urged people to get their hearing checked at least once every three years.

“I would encourage everyone over the age of 40 to see their local audiologist for a regular check-up. However, if you ever notice a change, you should visit sooner. There is more we can do to help if we catch
any issues sooner.”

The research indicated reasons for not seeking help after noticing hearing loss were thinking the problem was minor [65 per cent], the cost of seeing a professional [22 per cent] and thinking the problem would go away by itself [14 per cent].

Masterton resident Sally Caldwell was Zamora’s first customer at the new clinic. She had noticed a significant deterioration in her hearing over the past two years.

“My hearing has started to decline, and it’s having a huge impact on my life at this point – both at work as a nurse and with friends and family. I’m worried someone will tell me something important and I’ll mishear or completely miss what was said. Having hearing aids will hopefully be life-changing – I’m just looking forward to being able to enjoy the buzz of a crowd and a simple conversation again.”

Customers aged over 40 who visited the optometrist would be offered a free five-minute hearing screen as part of their standard eye check. The store was also taking bookings for free 15-minute hearing checks.

Zamora’s Masterton clinic was the latest in a string of audiology services rolling out across the country. Specsavers had been offering audiology services to customers in Australia for three years.

Hearing checklist:

  • Do you have the TV or radio turned up louder?
  • Do you find telephone conversations difficult?
  • Do you ask people to repeat things?
  • Do you have difficulty following conversations in groups of people?
  • Has someone suggested you might not be hearing as well as you used to?

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