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Iceni Magazine | March 3, 2021

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Older Brits are ‘keeping quiet’ about potentially serious health issues

Older Brits are 'keeping quiet' about potentially serious health issues

One in five 50-somethings are ‘keeping quiet’ about a potentially serious health issue, it has emerged.

Research revealed a worrying number of older Brits are yet to tell loved ones they have problems ranging from hearing loss to heart disease and arthritis to mental health issues.

And even more alarmingly, one in 10 have been keeping the information to themselves for longer than 12 months.

Six out of 10 said they are keeping schtum so they don’t worry their loved ones, and another 29 per cent feel ‘too embarrassed’ to share the details of their condition with others.

It also emerged one in three would feel self-conscious wearing a hearing aid.

That is despite the fact half of Brits over 50 worry about their hearing failing as they grow older and 43 per cent recognise wearing a hearing aid would improve their quality of life.

Maarten Barmentlo of Signia, which commissioned the study, said: “As we get older it is natural for our health to become more fragile, and it’s a lucky few who make it into old age without acquiring something to worry about.

“What is important to remember is a problem shared is a problem halved, and sometimes carrying the worries of a health issue can do more harm than good. “

Of the 20 per cent of those who were keeping an illness secret from loved ones, two thirds were, however, happy to disclose the nature of their illness for research purposes.

If they did have a worrying health concern, 58 per cent of Brits over 50 would be most likely to confide in their partner, followed by their best friend.

Thirty per cent have had a loved one disclose a health concern to them in private, which they haven’t told anyone else about.

Though 11 per cent have later discovered their partner was keeping their own health condition a secret from them.

More than half of people who are worried about their hearing admit to regularly having to ask people to repeat themselves.

A third admit to pretending they have heard what has been said, and a quarter admit to making up a response and hoping it’s the right one.

Despite this, 39 per cent of those surveyed by admit there is still a stigma attached to wearing a hearing aid which may put them off talking to their doctor about having one fitted.

Maarten Barmentlo added: “After decades of listening and living a louder life, it’s not unreasonable to expect our ears to have lost some of their lustre, and Brits shouldn’t feel deterred from wearing a hearing aid if they feel they need it.

“Hearing aids have long been associated as being out of date and not at the cutting edge of today’s cool technology and we wanted to change that perception.

“At Signia, we are aware of the stigma which many people feel is attached to wearing a hearing aid.

”Our aim at Signia is to help consumers overcome stigmas and anxieties attached to failing health by developing designs, such as the Styletto range, so people can feel comfortable and be positive about their self-image.

“Styletto has implemented the best possible technology to ensure that not only does the product deliver incredible sound, but is also a very user-friendly device.”

Article by Grant Bailey

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