Halifax audiologist says hearing loss is an ‘invisible disability’ that needs more discussion

By Meghan Groff

A Halifax audiologist says there's still a lot of stigma when it comes to those with hearing problems.

Dr. Greg Noel, the director of audiology for Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech Centres, calls hearing loss an “invisible disability.”

“People tend to think that if people have hearing aids, they're older, or less intelligent or only want to hear when they want,” he said. “And of course nothing could be further from the truth.”

He said, as a society, if we talked more about hearing loss, it would help reduce the negativity surrounding the issue.

There are also misunderstandings when it comes to hearing aids.

“It can take repeat appointments to fine tune the device to the person's listening needs,” he explained. “Technology is really advanced, so to make all the changes that are needed, it may require more than one visit.”

Noel also believes hearing loss prevention needs more attention.

He said workplaces are getting better at requiring employees to use hearing protection in loud areas, but many don't think to carry around ear plugs every day.

“From about 8 to 10 feet away, if you have to raise your voice over the noise that you're experiencing, it's a good idea to use hearing protection.”

Noel recommends getting your hearing checked every two years, or sooner if you notice any problems.

He said a doctor's referral is not required.

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