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What would the world be like without sound? All of us can imagine to some extent what it would be like to be blind – we simply have to shut our eyes.

It’s much more difficult to imagine being unable to hear speech or music or the dawn chorus, or even the clatter when you drop a pan or your own ‘ouch’ when you stub a toe.

There may be sounds that you would rather not hear – the throbbing music leaking from a fellow passenger’s headphones, the road drill outside your office window, the car alarm that goes off at two o’clock in the morning, your nextdoor neighbour’s lawnmower disturbing a lazy summer afternoon in the garden… yet wouldn’t it feel strange if you couldn’t hear them?

Follow on for our self-test questionnaire to find out if you have a hearing problem.

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Have you got a hearing problem?
Have you got a hearing problem?
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Do you have difficulty hearing or following what is being said in the following situations?

  • Listening to the television when the volume is adjusted to suit someone else.
  • Talking on the telephone.
  • Having a conversation with someone in a busy place, such as a street, shop or restaurant. Having a conversation with several people in a group.
  • Listening to someone against a background noise, such as a whirring fan or running water. Having a conversation when you can’t see the other person’s face full on.
  • Talking to women or children – even though you can hold conversations with men without any difficulty.

Do you often:

  • Ask people to repeat what they’ve said?
  • Misunderstand what people say?
  • Agree or nod even when you’re not sure what’s been said?
  • Feel that other people mumble when they talk?
  • Turn up the radio or television to a volume that others say is too loud?
  • Have to watch other people’s facial expressions or lip movements to understand what they say?

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