Child safety dependent on carers’ ability to hear

The Better Hearing Institute has implored parents to ensure that more elderly relatives who look after their children can hear well to ensure that their children remain safe.

“If your child’s babysitter is one of the 24 million people who need hearing aids and don’t have them, there could be serious problems,” warned Dr Sergei Kochkin, Executive Director of the BHI. “The risks of not hearing a smoke or carbon monoxide detector could be fatal, as they have been for some. Not hearing weather warnings could expose them, and your children, to a flood, tornado, or hurricane. Spending too much time speech reading while driving can cause a crash, as can failing to hear a siren.”

“Older children have been known to take advantage of an adult’s hearing loss and get ‘permission’ to do something the adult wouldn’t agree to if they understood what the child said. The emotional repercussions of untreated hearing loss, depression and anxiety, can also endanger your children,” he continued.

Recent research by the BHI found that:

  • 18 percent of baby-boomers (ages 45 to 64) have hearing loss.
  • 29 percent of people over 65 have hearing loss.
  • One in five new users of hearing aids do so out of concern for their safety or the safety of their loved ones.

“My advice for anyone who is concerned that a caregiver or family member can’t hear properly is to make an appointment with a hearing health professional (audiologist or hearing instrument specialist) for a hearing screening,” Kochkin said. Kochkin says that modern hearing aids can help most people hear better and provide a safer environment for themselves and others.