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Helping Veterans With Hearing Loss

Veterans' Hearing Fund

It is Remembrance Sunday on November 12 when services and parades will take place throughout the country. They mark the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian personnel in the two World Wars and later conflicts.

A report called Lost Voices, published by The Royal British Legion, revealed that UK veterans under the age of 75 were three and a half times more likely than the general population to suffer hearing problems.

More than two-thirds of British troops returning from Afghanistan suffered from severe and permanent hearing damage, according to a study into side-effects of the conflict.

And defence documents have shown that of 1,250 Royal Marine commandos who served in Afghanistan, 69% suffered hearing damage due to battle noise.

Almost all people who enlist are exposed to high levels of noise, from small arms fire, engines and blasts.

Support for veterans

The extent of hearing damage among service personnel was one of the reasons why the Royal British Legion launched its Veterans’ Hearing Fund. This helps veterans who suffer hearing loss during their service and who can’t be helped by the usual channels.

The fund may pay for hearing aids, peripherals or therapies such as lip reading.  It applies to veterans across the UK. The aim is to help every veteran have the very best hearing technology available.

To be eligible for help from the Veterans’ Hearing Fund applicants need to meet one of the following:

  • Have a war pension or armed forces compensation scheme for hearing loss
  • Received a lump sum payment for hearing loss
  • Applied for compensation for hearing loss
  • Provided with hearing aids by the MOD
  • Have service medical records that show hearing loss

To find out more about the fund and to apply for help visit 

Protect Young Ears From Noisy Fireworks

Fireworks are a beautiful visual feast but the noise which accompanies them is often not so good.

The damage loud bangs can cause to our hearing could last for ever. This is particularly so in the case of children whose ears are more sensitive than those of adults.

No one wants to be a killjoy and enjoying fireworks on November 5 is a British tradition which most children love.


But many people may be unaware that the very loudest fireworks, if set off in enclosed spaces such as back gardens, can cause long-term hearing damage or tinnitus, a constant ringing in the ears.

Many parents are unaware of the permanent damage booming fireworks can have, says charity Action on Hearing Loss. Any sound over 85db can be harmful to hearing and a firework display averages around 120dB, which is the equivalent of a jet taking off. But there is no reason to stop youngsters from enjoying Bonfire Night on Sunday by taking some simple precautions.

Adults can protect their hearing with earplugs but children, whose ears are more sensitive, should wear ear defenders.


Hearbase managing director and audiologist Mark Scutchings said: “Most people know about the need to be careful when handling or watching fireworks but the danger to hearing is largely ignored or not even thought about.

“People, especially children, should wear some form of hearing protection if fireworks are being set off close by.

‘Their tiny ears can be more sensitive than adult ears to certain high-pitched sounds. The best way to protect your child’s hearing is by using ear defenders that are specially designed for children. Exposure to loud sounds can cause noise-induced hearing loss or tinnitus.”

Earplugs and defenders are easily obtained so this Bonfire Night make sure everyone’s hearing is protected.


Hearing Loss And Stress: How They Are Connected

Wednesday, November 1, is International Stress Awareness Day when we are encouragedHearing loss and stress to be more aware of the stress in our lives and how it affects us.

Most of us know what stress or anxiety is and have probably suffered from it from time to time. But did you know that chronic stress can actually cause or worsen hearing loss and tinnitus?

Chronic stress has been defined as a state of tension which lasts for some time, caused by internal or external sources, which may lead to different physical conditions.

This kind of stress can increase or cause hearing loss or tinnitus because of changes in circulation. There are tiny hairs inside the ear that depend on the flow of blood for survival. These little cells can be slowly destroyed with a lack of nutrients or destroyed at once when blood stops flowing within the ears.


Chronic stress plays a large part in slowing or stopping blood flow. The overproduction of adrenaline during stressful moments can reduce blood circulation in the inner ear or even stop it. This can cause hearing loss over time, including sudden hearing loss when circulations stops completely. This kind of sudden hearing loss is usually reversed when the stress disappears.

One study found that about 53% of those with tinnitus said their symptoms started at a stressful period in their lives, or got worse at a stressful time.

The symptoms of hearing loss due to stress include:

  • A stuffed or blocked feeling in the ears
  • Pressure or pain in the ear
  • Loss of hearing in one or both ears or muffled sounds.

Hearing loss and tinnitus can cause stress in the first place. If you’re having problems with your hearing or tinnitus make an appointment to see one of our audiologists.

Today’s hearing aids are sophisticated and better at helping people to hear in many different situations. Some have features which can ease tinnitus and help reduce stress.

If hearing loss is causing you stress ring us on our freephone number 0800 028 6179 to book your free initial consultation



Link Between Hearing Loss And Iron Deficiency Anaemia

People with iron deficiency anaemia have more than twice the rate ofanaemia hearing loss as people without the disorder.

Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in the US came to this conclusion after examining more than 300,000 adults with hearing loss.

When the researchers looked at the types of hearing loss, the overall risk for sensorineural hearing loss in people with iron deficiency anaemia was 82% higher than for someone without the blood condition.


The risk of a mixed hearing loss (a combination of sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss) was 240% higher than for people without iron deficiency anaemia.

According to the author the study only shows a connection between hearing loss and iron deficiency anaemia. The study does not prove that the one causes the other.

In the study the researchers checked the prevalence of hearing loss in more than 300,000 adults from 2011 to 2015. The adults were between the ages of 21 and 90, with an average age of 50. 56.6% were women, 43.4% were men.

The study was published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery.

Read more about this study 

Big Ben Silenced To Protect Workers’ Hearing During Repairs

Hearbase managing director Mark Scutchings has been interviewed on air over theBig Ben decision to silence Big Ben while renovation work takes place to the clock and tower at the Houses of Parliament.

BBC Radio Kent presenter Lembit Opik interviewed Mark on Tuesday morning. This followed the decision to stop the famous clock’s “bongs” for four years to protect the hearing of workers carrying out repairs.

Big Ben’s bongs sound at 118 decibels, which Mark said meant there was a health and safety justification for silencing them while renovation takes place.

“In a working environment we have to take noise seriously when the levels are in the region of 80-85 decibels,” Mark said. He added that 118 decibels was “an awful lot louder than 85 decibels.”

“If a noise level reaches 120 decibels you can suffer immediate and irreparable damage to your hearing so this is pretty loud,” he said.

Hearing loss

“Because we take hearing protection seriously now and because employers have a legal obligation to protect the hearing of workers the amount of occupational hearing loss has markedly reduced.”

When people are exposed to noise levels higher than 85 decibels for a long period the hair cells in the inner ear are gradually destroyed, Mark said. This could lead to high frequency hearing loss.

A spokesman for the parliamentary authorities said: “The chimes are being stopped to provide a safe environment for the people working on the scaffolding.

Serious risk

“Constant proximity to the chimes would pose a serious risk to their hearing and would prevent efficient working. People will be working on the scaffolding day-in day-out throughout the works and, while protective headgear could be provided, it is not desirable for individuals working at height to have their hearing obscured as there is concern that the ability to hear each other and any alarms could be affected.”

The final bongs until 2021 will take place at noon on Monday, August 21.  The renovation includes taking apart the clock mechanism and examining and repairing each piece, fixing cracks in the tower’s masonry and repairing the frame that holds the bells up.

Big Ben will to continue to chime on special occasions such as New Year’s Eve and Remembrance Sunday.

To hear Mark’s interview on Radio Kent click here.

Free Hearing Tests While You Do Your Shopping

Hearbase audiologists are holding free hearing tests at Free hearing tests while you do your shoppingsupermarkets in Canterbury and Westwood Cross in Thanet over the summer.

They’ll also answer questions and give advice on hearing-related matters, such as noise protection, tinnitus and problems with excessive earwax.

Our audiologists will be at Sainsbury’s at Westwood Cross, on Wednesday, July 26, Wednesday, August 23 and Wednesday, September 20.

And they will also be at Notcutts Garden Centre, Newnham Court, Bearsted Road, Weavering, Maidstone on Tuesday, September  26.

No appointments needed

Tests are carried out in our fully-equipped mobile vehicle (pictured) which has its own hearing testing booth.

You don’t need an appointment – just turn up on the day for your free hearing check while you do your shopping.

Hearbase managing director Mark Scutchings said: “We have carried out these free hearing checks for some years now and we find that many of the people we see have significant hearing problems.

“Our environment is getting louder. As people are living longer it is important to reduce the risk of hearing damage at an early age. It is not just an issue for those over 60. Young people should be looking after their hearing now as well.”

Hearbase Audiologists At The Kent Show

Audiologists from Hearbase spent three days at theHearbase audiologsts at the Kent Show Kent Show at Detling with the company’s mobile testing unit.

They carried out hearing tests in its fully-equipped testing booth and also answered hearing-related questions from the show’s many visitors.


Leaflets and brochures containing information about Hearbase’s wide-ranging services were handed out. The audiologists also gave advice about tinnitus, hearing protection and industrial noise screenings.


Free Hearing Tests At The Kent Show

We’ll be offering free hearing tests at the Kent Show this weekend Free hearing tests at the Kent Show– with a chance to win some great prizes.

Everyone who has a free hearing check from our mobile unit (pictured) will be entered into a prize draw.

Our mobile is fully-equipped and has its own hearing testing booth. Our team of audiologists will carry out the checks and answer any hearing-related questions.

They can also give advice on issues such as tinnitus, hearing protection and balance disorders.

Win a prize

We’ll be at the show all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 7, 8 and 9 so come and find us at stand J5 123, have a free hearing check and be in with a chance to win a prize in our draw.

The Kent Show takes place at the Kent Showground, Detling, Maidstone ME14 3JF and is open from 8am to 6pm every day. It has plenty of displays, entertainment and local food. There are more than 400 exhibitors and trade stands and more than 300 competitions, activities and displays.

Find out more here.

We’re Supporting Deal Festival Of Music And The Arts

Hearbase is supporting Deal Festival by becoming a corporate Hearbase is supporting Deal Festivalfriend of the music and arts based organisation.

This year’s festival starts on Friday, June 30 and runs until Sunday, July 16. Most of the concerts, walks, talks and exhibitions take place in the seaside town of Deal.

This year is also the 35th anniversary of the festival. During that time it has grown to become one of the landmarks of the English music festival scene.

Mark Scutchings, Hearbase chief executive, said: “As a local company with a branch in Deal we are pleased to be involved with something as prestigious as Deal Festival.

“I feel that it is very important that businesses support this kind of event as a way of reaching out and being part of the local community.”

Supporting the festival in this way means that it can grow the event, create more year-round activities and support more young people to become musicians and artists,

To see all Deal Festival events click here.


Why The Elderly Need To Look After Their Health

Why the elderly need to look after their healthNew research has found that an elderly person’s state of health has a bearing on whether they will develop hearing loss.

A population-based study in Rotterdam, in The Netherlands, looked at  3,315 elderly people.

Risk factor

It revealed that an unhealthy lifestyle could lead to hearing loss among the elderly.

Smoking was a significant risk factor, as was alcohol and diabetes.

To read more on this study click here.


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