It's World Hearing Day and with more than 700,000 Kiwis affected by hearing loss, there is a lot more that we should know about hearing loss and how it impacts sufferers.
While some might assume that hearing loss if something that only affects the old, it's simply not the case. Nearly half of cases, like former Bachelorette and National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing advocate, Lily McManus, are aged 20-65.
It's not easy living with hearing loss, with over 90 per cent of people affected admitting to suffering from depression or loneliness. So what can we do to help them?
According to hearing aid manufacturer Oticon, Kiwis need to first acknowledge the widespread impact hearing loss can have on everyday lives, and that comes first with understanding what others are going through.
World Hearing Day also marks the release of the yearly World Health Organisation (WHO) Report on Hearing which presents critical data underlining the number of people suffering from hearing loss, many without treating it.
Here are seven things you might not know about hearing loss from the WHO report:
1. One in six New Zealanders has a hearing loss – that's more than 700,000 Kiwis across the nation.
2. While many think hearing loss is only something that affects the very old, 300,000 people with hearing loss are in the working-age of 20-65.
3. Hearing loss is one of the top three medical conditions for people over the age of 65, after cardiovascular disease and arthritis.
4. Fifty two per cent of people have moderate hearing loss and 90 per cent of people with hearing loss experience depression, isolation and hopelessness.
5. WHO reports that the current number of people with disabling hearing loss globally is 466 million, and predicts that this could rise to over 900 million by 2050.
6. It's not just your grandma taking hers out, currently WHO data shows that only 17 per cent of those who could benefit from wearing a hearing aid actually use one.
It can be really challenging to get in on the conversation when most hearing aids focus on direct sound - who only wants to hear what the loudest person in the room has to say?
7. It's not just about your ears - BrainHearing research proves that your brain is actually more important for hearing. The brain identifies the signal and recognises it as sound from the environment or to understand speech.