Hearing loss support the focus of rally at Manitoba Legislature

Noreen Bone is now the proud owner of a pair of hearing aids.

“I can hear a lot better for one thing,” she said. “I’m always having a hard time with my hearing.”

Bone said she’s had hearing problems since she was young, but only recently looked into getting hearing aids.

“Don’t wait until you’re older before you get hearing aids,” she adds. “It could be a problem when you’re younger and carry on right through to adult age.”

According to the World Health Organization, hearing impairment can begin in some individuals as early as nine years old. Nearly 20 per cent of people in their 20s already have some degree of hearing loss, and seven per cent have permanent hearing loss requiring hearing aids. Fifty per cent have permanent damage by the age of 59.

“Hearing can be related to a lot of factors, such as dementia, cognitive decline, memory loss, and even social isolation,” says Edwin Lai, a hearing instrument specialist at HearingLife in Brandon.

Lai adds that maintaining overall health includes getting your hearing checked, same as you would for eyes and teeth.

“I now have replaced my hearing aids four times, and it’s a huge cost over your lifetime in general, as well as your working life,” said Jo-Anne Jones, the president of the Manitoba chapter of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA).

Jones said her own hearing difficulties started when she was 40. She said a provincial grant for people 65 and older to access funding for hearing aids is good news, but doesn’t provide support for younger Manitobans.

“The cost of a pair of hearing aids like mine at the moment are $7,000,” said Jones. “Those young people do not have the financial resources to afford the hearing aids.”

“I’m happy that I have my hearing back to what it should be,” said Bone.

A rally has been organized by the CHHA for Tuesday at the Legislature beginning at 12:30 p.m.

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