10 sounds that go first for people with hearing difficulties – including raindrops and café conversation

A poll of 1,000 adults who experience hearing issues found the sound of raindrops or the ping of a microwave were also among the first sounds to disappear.It also emerged people are more likely to have a tougher time hearing a man’s voice than a woman’s, as their hearing deteriorates.

Others also struggle to hear a tap dripping, clock ticking and the doorbell going.

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More than one in four feel it has been hard to adapt to their hearing problem, with 49 per cent admitting they were in denial about their hearing issues for a long time.

But now, 51 per cent ‘would give anything’ to have their hearing back to full.

The research was commissioned by Specsavers as part of its Lost & Found campaign, which highlights how a quick simple hearing test and hearing aids can help people rediscover these lost sounds.

Championing the campaign, musician Jools Holland said: “This has made me realise even more how important it is to look after your hearing and has brought it home to me the sounds I would miss if I lost my hearing.

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“Those ambient sounds that are part of our everyday existence that we perhaps take for granted – like birdsong and rainfall and the buzz of a bumblebee – they give context to our world.

“It would be terrifying to lose my hearing; it’d be the end of my world.

"I am just so grateful that, despite being a musician nearly all of my life, when I had my hearing tested, no damage had been done.

“I know musicians who do suffer from tinnitus and hearing loss but am happy to say that I have escaped the harm that loud sounds can inflict on your long-term hearing.”

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Musician Jools Holland who is supporting Specsavers' campaign Lost & FoundMusician Jools Holland who is supporting Specsavers' campaign Lost & Found
Musician Jools Holland who is supporting Specsavers' campaign Lost & Found

Consistent loud noise can cause irreversible damage

What’s more 18 per cent say their hearing struggles are a daily worry, while for one in five (21 per cent), it is on their mind several times a week.

And on average, they have been living with their problems for more than seven years.

The research, conducted by OnePoll, also explored the tell-tale signs of hearing loss – with one in five often being asked to turn the volume of the TV down.

For 22 per cent, they are regularly turning the volume up too loud when they are speaking on the phone to someone, while a quarter frequently struggle to hear what people are saying to them, and 27 per cent then find themselves having to ask them to speak louder.

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Unfortunately, 63 per cent admit they find situations where lots of people are trying to talk are exhausting.

Gordon Harrison, chief audiologist at Specsavers, said: “Our research shows that 59 per cent of people worry about their hearing at least once a week.

"Everyone’s hearing is unique which is why it’s so important to protect your hearing especially if you’re noticing changes or are surrounded by loud noises, particularly at work.

“Not only can loud noise cause pain, tinnitus and a temporary loss of hearing, long-term exposure to noise can cause permanent, irreparable nerve damage, that may not show up for a number of years.

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“The best thing to do is to make sure that you never listen to your music above 60 per cent volume, give your ears regular breaks, and when you know you’re going to be surrounded by loud noise make sure to take hearing protection with you.

“Prevention is always best, so if you notice any changes in your hearing, make sure to get a free check by your audiologist.”

The 10 sounds first to go for people with hearing difficulties

  1. Conversations in a café or bar
  2. Mobile phone ringing
  3. A person humming
  4. Phone tone dialling
  5. Raindrops
  6. Microwave ping
  7. Fizzy drink can open
  8. Pedestrian crossing signal
  9. Phone ringing
  10. Train station announcement bongs
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