A life without sound, isn’t always just silent, it can also be lonely. In a new initiative, the Gibraltar Health Authority and the Gibraltar Hearing Impaired and Tinnitus Association (GHITA), are currently attempting to build a voluntary register of people living in the Rock who are affected by hearing loss or impairment.
The register launched on Monday 24th September and will run until the end of October. Primary Care staff and GHITA volunteers have set up an information desk at the Primary Care Centre reception area (and at St Bernard’s Hospital’s main entrance) where questionnaires are available to collate the data and information.
Current statistics from the UK indicate approximately 41% of over 50 year-olds and 71% of those 70 and above, find it difficult to hear people speak. Of that number, over a third are either unaware of, or feel uncomfortable with seeking professional advice.
“Hearing loss” itself, is a broad term. It includes conditions such as deafness, Tinnitus, Meniere’s disease, Hypercusis and persons that are hard of hearing.Symptoms of Hypercusis include sounds, frequencies or volumes which are painful to hear and can cause temporary hearing loss. Meniere’s disease causes dizzy spells, sickness and a sudden reduction in hearing. Research also shows that 1 in 10 people are living with Tinnitus, a condition that causes a ringing, buzzing or other intrusive sound.
Clinical Nurse Specialist for Primary Care, Mrs Suzanne Romero commented: “I would like to thank Mr Triay, the GHITA volunteers and my collegues here at the Primary Care Centre for their efforts in helping organise and carry out this important survey, which will benefit those in our community affected by hearing loss.”
Minister for Health, Care and Justice, the Honourable Neil F. Costa said: “The purpose of the survey is to gather information which will help identify areas within our current services which may be improved to better cater for persons with hearing loss. Just as significantly, it will help raise awareness on hearing loss and encourage persons in our community, who may be affected by hearing loss, to seek professional advice. I would like to thank Mr Triay, GHITA, and my team at the Primary Care Centre led by Ms Suzanne Romero for their enthusiasm and hard work in leading this initiative.”
The survey runs until the end of October.