The healthmatters blog; commentary, observation and review
One third (31%) of UK adults drink alcohol too much and are exceeding weekly alcohol guidelines, according to data from Britain’s Healthiest Workplace*, developed by VitalityHealth and delivered in partnership with the University of Cambridge, RAND Europe and Mercer. Britain’s Healthiest Workplace studies both exposure to health risks, and people’s motivation to make changes to their health.
- Britain’s Healthiest Workplace investigates the lifestyle factors people are looking to improve in 2017
- Exercise and weight the two health factors UK adults are most keen to change.
Drinking habits were shown to differ by age group. The study showed that people over 60 drink most regularly, drinking alcohol on around 10 separate occasions in any given month. This is very different to the drinking habits of young people, (aged between 18 and 30) who drink less regularly, but are more likely to consume more in a single session. On average, those aged between 40 and 60 tend to consume the most alcohol, (approximately 12 units per week on average). The research also found that men drink more than women, both in terms of how regularly they drink, and how much they consume in each session.
Surveying people’s attitudes to alcohol shows that changing this behaviour may be a challenge. Of the 31% who drink alcohol too much and exceeded government health guidelines, 56% were happy with the amount they drink and had no intention of cutting down; a further 38% recognise that they should drink less, but do not intend to in the short term, while only 6% reported being motivated to change.
Attitudes to other health risks, however, are very different. The areas where people appear most motivated are body composition and physical activity. While around 50% were at risk for having an unhealthy BMI, 78% of this group expressed a motivation to change. 41% of people were at risk for not exercising enough, and of this group 69% expressed a motivation to change. Only 12% of those at risk said that they were happy with the amount of exercise they are doing.
50% of people are at risk for following an unhealthy diet, with 34% of this group being motivated to change. Of 11% of respondents who were current smokers, 38% were either motivated to, or actively trying to, stop smoking.
|Lifestyle factor||At risk||Happy as things are/not interested in changing||Understands the issue, but does not intend to change||Understands the issue and is motivated to change|
|Alcohol||31% at risk of exceeding the governments weekly alcohol guidelines of no more than 14 units per week||56% are happy with the amount they drink||38% know they should drink less but do not intend to cut down||6% would like to cut down the amount they drink|
|Body composition||51% at risk of being outside the healthy BMI range of 18.5 and 24.9||17% are happy with their weight||5% would like to change their weight, but not right now||78% would like to change their weight|
|Physical activity||41% at risk of not reachingthe government recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week||12% are happy with the amount of exercise they do||19% feel they should be doing more exercise, but do not intend to change their lifestyle right now||69% would like to do more exercise|
|Nutrition||50% at risk of not eating a healthy diet (5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day).||40% are happy with their diet||26% feel their diet is not good, but do not currently intend to change||34% would like to change their diet|
|Smoking||11% at risk due to being a current smoker.||15% do not intent to stop smoking||48% would like to stop smoking but not right now||38% are either actively trying to stop, or are motivated to stop smoking.|
Shaun Subel, Strategy Director at VitalityHealth, said:
“The new year is often associated with resolutions and provides people with a great opportunity to make changes to their lifestyle after the excesses of the festive season. However, our findings show that people’s lifestyle choices are complex and changing them can sometimes pose a challenge. Often people do not recognise that their lifestyle is potentially damaging to their health, or are put off making changes until a future date, prioritising short term gratification over the long-term health impact.
“We’d encourage everyone to make sure they are aware of government health guidelines and motivate themselves to make positive changes to their lifestyle today, which can lead to significant health improvements in both the short and long-term.”
People who lead a more active lifestyle generally enjoy a better overall state of wellbeing and happiness than their less physically-active counterparts, according to new research. 44% of people feel wellbeing at its highest when playing sport or exercising.
The study* from Central YMCA surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults from across the UK and found that being physically active causes a 13% boost to wellbeing scores, while being less active depletes these scores by up to 19% – unveiling a 32% divide between the most and least physically-active in society.
The research revealed that those who lead physically active lifestyles attain the highest wellbeing scores – achieving 6.92 on an index of 10, against a national average wellbeing score of 6.13. In addition, almost half (44%) of research respondents said they felt wellbeing at its highest when playing a sport or exercising.
Commenting on the findings, Rosi Prescott, chief executive at Central YMCA, said: “These results confirm something we at Central YMCA have been aware of for a long time – physical activity greatly impacts our overall wellbeing and happiness. Our organisation works with people every day to help them lead more active lifestyles so we see first-hand how increases in physical activity can impact your mood, wellbeing and ultimately happiness. So, we’re not surprised that the research has shown those who are more active typically enjoy wellbeing scores that are up to a third better than those who are less active.”
The report also uncovered that those who had found themselves becoming more active over the last three years demonstrated an 8% uplift in wellbeing scores, while those whose fitness levels had decreased saw their scores fall by over a fifth.
Previous research from the Mental Health Foundation found participation in regular physical activity increases self-esteem, can help reduce stress and anxiety, and can work as a preventative measure when it comes to the development of mental health problems.
Rosi continued: “As we move into 2017, and many of us take on New Year’s resolutions, it’s a great time to reflect on whether we’re doing enough exercise in our daily lives. Even something as simple as a brisk 15-minute walk can make a world of difference. But don’t be fooled into thinking physical activity alone is the answer to better wellbeing and happiness – we need to ensure we have a good mix of exercise, mental stimulation and positive relationships in our lives if we want to truly reach our highest sense of wellbeing and self-satisfaction.”
*Participants of the nationwide study were asked to rate 14 statements to determine how various lifestyle factors, such as levels of physical activity, experiences of education, mental stimulation and relationships impacted overall wellbeing.
For the full report findings please visit: http://www.ymca.co.uk/
News from Nowhere has a commercial theme at the beginning of 2017, asking “what’s in the January sales for health and wellbeing seekers?”
Less is more as ‘mini facelifts’ look set to be biggest trend for 2017, with enquiries up 589% in past three months, and by 135% over the past 12 months,according to WhatClinic.com. The youth-enhancing procedure is set to continue its domination as a key trend for 2017.
Breast implants remain the cosmetic procedure of choice in the UK despite a slight decrease of 9% in enquiries compared to the previous year. Yet the numbers seeking this cosmetic enhancement surgery almost doubled those of the second most popular procedure, eyelid surgery. At number two on the top ten list, is eyelid surgery, with an 8% increase in enquiries, and an average cost of £2,691, in the UK.
Fat reducing surgeries also featured on the list, showing double digit growth in enquiries during 2016. Liposuction saw a 64% increase in enquiries and jumped to third place on the most popular procedures list. Enquiries for male breast reduction surgery, saw a 58% increase on 2015 figures and costs £3,567 on average. Despite its higher average price tag of £5,168 in the UK, tummy tucks have also seen a huge increase in enquiries in 2016, up 56% in the past 12 months.
Dr Foued Hamza, Cosmetic Surgeon, Queen Anne Street Medical Centre, London said of these figures, “More and more patients are seeking less aggressive and less invasive procedures, in particular ones that have faster recovery times. Patients are seeking ‘lunchtime procedures’ which means they are in and out quickly and get more subtle treatments.”
2016’s top 10 most popular cosmetic surgery procedures based on volume of traffic to WhatClinic.com
Change in enquiries over the last year
Average price UK
|1. Breast Implants||
|2. Eyelid surgery||
|5. Tummy Tuck||
|6. Fat Transfer||
|8. Breast Reduction||
|10. Breast Lift||
Don’t be alone with your New Year resolutions
Those thinking of making a lifestyle change this New Year might want to speak to a qualified GP first, according to private, on-line GP clinic ‘Push Doctor’. Whether it’s losing a few pounds, changing your diet, cutting back on drinking, quitting smoking or improving general wellbeing, having a doctor on hand to talk through and review progress could be important.
According to Push Doctor, getting advice from a medical professional could be the difference between success and failure for people seeking a positive lifestyle change in 2017, and with health and fitness at the top of many people’s New Year resolution list, it’s never been so important to speak to a GP.
The internet is filled with advice and information on diet and exercise, however following the wrong advice could be damaging to your health. A GP can help banish any dangerous diet myths and can provide advice on the safest way to introduce or increase physical activity into your daily routine, as if done incorrectly, these things could cause back ache, fatigue, joint damage and light headedness.
Push Doctor, offers access to one of 7,000 GMC-registered UK General Practitioners within six minutes. Eren Ozagir, CEO and founder of Push Doctor adds: “There is no better feeling than achieving a goal you have set for yourself, whether it’s losing a few pounds or getting on top of stress. The important thing to remember is that GPs are here to help and you don’t have to go through important lifestyle changes alone.”
On a slightly different note, the NHS Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) has obtained representation rights for hospital doctors. This makes it into a serious rival to the British Medical Association (BMA), which until now had a monopoly in negotiating about hospital doctors’ pay and conditions with the NHS. The BMA has lost some standing in the eyes of some junior doctors, after its failure to stop the introduction of a new contract for junior doctors see Junior doctors dispute.
The HCSA – which claims to have 3500 members – has in the past recruited hospital doctors who support the NHS, and now may attract discontents who may be less interested in the ideological differences between the two organisations and more interested in their combativeness with their employers. Unlike the BMA, the HCSA is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC). The TUC already has an affiliated organisation for doctors, the Medical Practitioners Union, now known as Doctors in Unite. Doctors in Unite has a very small membership, mostly of GPs, and does not have negotiating rights. In the trades union world GPs are weaker and fewer in number than specialists, just like they are in the NHS.
As today is the Winter Solstice, Shaun Subel, Strategy Director at VitalityHealth, has commented on the importance of a good night’s sleep.
Given that in the run up to Christmas, many people are exhausted due to work events, gift stresses and travelling to see family, this comment could work nicely for an online piece or for a wider feature about the importance of rest.
Shaun Subel, Strategy Director at VitalityHealth comments on the UK’s inability to get a good night’s repose: “The shortest day of the year is upon us and despite this being the longest period of night time, too many of us still fail to get a good night’s sleep. VitalityHealth’s Britain’s Healthiest Workplace data suggests that the optimal level of being asleep is between seven and eight hours a night. People who rest less than this lose nearly five additional days of productive time each year, which can be traced directly back to their lack of time asleep. From a health perspective, people with suboptimal amounts of rest also typically have more health risks than those with adequate periods of time asleep, resulting in a reduction in their life expectancy of around three years.
“While we are improving our understanding of the importance of good sleep, effective interventions in this sphere are arguably still lacking. We have seen that healthier people sleep better, and that making healthy lifestyle choices aids good sleep. As such, we strongly advocate that people engage in healthy lifestyles as this can have a profound knock-on impact on their sleep.”
Bold steps are needed to ensure UK science has a prominent place in the global economy after Brexit, says a Lords report out today.
The UK needs to retain current scientific talent and attract even more of the world’s leading scientists according to the Science and Technology Committee’s report A time for boldness: EU membership and UK science after the referendum. The UK should expand and enhance existing programmes. But it must also ‘search out the world’s most accomplished scientists and persuade them to pursue careers here’. The Government should send repeated signals to the global science community that the UK remains a welcoming place for talented scientists.
The report welcomes the major increase to science funding announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement.The Committee recommends that, in addition, the science and research budget should be re-based at an early opportunity to compensate fully for any reduction of funding from the EU.
Government must attract leaders to pursue career in the UK
UK scientific leaders should not to be consumed entirely with UK-EU negotiations and should explore scientific collaborations and shared protocols with the rest of the world – particularly where there is potential to build on existing relationships such as ones with the USA.
The UK should offer to host – in partnership with governments and funding bodies from other countries – one or more new, large-scale international research facilities. This would be a bold move to signal the UK’s global standing in science.
Uncertainty over the future relationship between EU and UK science is having a corrosive effect on the UK research base. But the Government has the power to mitigate many negative effects of Brexit and use it as a catalyst to address long standing underperformance in economic productivity.
Lord Selborne, Chairman of the Committee said:
“Positive assurances have been sent from the Government to UK science. We welcome the major increase in science funding announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement and the Government’s separate assurance that it will underwrite funding for approved Horizon 2020 projects applied for before Brexit.
“The UK’s outstanding reputation and performance in the scientific world depends critically on redoubling efforts to persuade many of the world’s most talented scientists to pursue careers in this country. Our proposal to find global scientific leaders will help to tackle this and nurture the next generation of research leaders in the UK
“It is vital the UK is still seen as open to scientific talent; the Government has the ability to send this message to the scientific community enabling us to become world leaders after Brexit and beyond.”
Key Findings from the report
Freedom of Movement
The report maintains that the Government should distinguish in the immigration statistics and the net migration target between students—holding Tier 4 visas—and other immigrants; and the Government should treat student numbers separately for immigration policy making purposes.
The EU referendum result and mixed messages from the Government could undermine the shared ambitions of the Government and the research community to welcome talented scientists to the UK.
We recognise that at this early stage, there is little documented evidence of scientists from other EU Member States deciding not to come to the UK because of the EU referendum, or of UK scientists deciding not to work in other EU Member States for that reason. But there is a clear perception in the scientific community that discrimination is occurring.
We recommend that the Government, through its global science and innovation network, or the British Council, should perform annual surveys around the world assessing the UK’s reputation in the global scientific community as a welcoming place to pursue a scientific career. The results of these surveys should be published.
The Government must ensure that it has appropriate scientific advice during the Brexit negotiations. The voice of the scientific community should be heard alongside the voice of business during the Brexit negotiations and in making future alliances.
Proton Partners International Ltd has received formal planning permission to build a new private-sector cancer treatment centre in Reading, Berkshire. Proton Partners will invest £30 million in its cancer centre in the Thames Valley Science Park and will offer proton beam therapy among other conventional cancer therapies.
The Reading centre will be the third to be built in the UK by Proton Partners and will help to meet growing demand for proton beam therapy, a specialised type of cancer treatment that is not yet available in the UK. Two other Proton Partners centres are under construction –in Newport, Wales and in Bomarsund, Northumberland.
The Reading centre will include facilities for proton beam therapy, a linear accelerator, as well as a CT suite and an MRI. It is expected that each Proton Partners centre will be able to treat up to 500 patients a year and will accept NHS patients, medically-insured private patients and self-paying patients.
Mike Moran, chief executive officer of Proton Partners, said: “We are delighted that our new centre will be built at the heart of one of the most exciting health and life sciences projects in Europe. Located just off the M4 corridor and with connections to Heathrow, this centre will make proton beam therapy available to patients from the South of England as well as international patients”.
Some people don’t mess about
‘Defend our NHS Wirral’ doesn’t like the local Sustainability & Transformation Plans so on December 9th a group of them arrived at the offices of Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group and delivered multiple letters and many signatures to every single CCG board member telling them they must not sign any STP-related contracts in December. DONHSW opposes the STP, every single local council opposes it – and it would be, in DONHSW’s collective opinion, a dereliction of the CCG’s duty to help implement the STP. There’s a report and photos on their Facebook page
There is no escape!
Pharmaceutical companies should still be preparing for EU General Data Protection Regulation in the New Year – regardless of Brexit – according to John Culkin, Director of Information Management, Crown Records Management.
Pharmaceutical companies should think twice before cancelling or delaying preparations for the forthcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), as the UK prepares to push ahead with Brexit in 2017. The new Regulation, due to be in force in May 2018, aims to create a ‘one-stop shop’ for data protection across the European Union. Some of the key aspects of the bill include huge fines for data breaches, new rules around the collection of personal data and new rights for European citizens to ask for data to be deleted or edited. Many firms will also be required to appoint a Data Protection Officer.
It is tempting for businesses to think that because the UK intends to leave the EU this regulation will not apply. That isn’t the case. Although an independent Britain will not be part of the Regulation, in reality it will still be impossible to avoid its implications.
The Regulation governs the personal data of all European citizens, providing them with greater control and more rights over information held about them. So any company holding identifiable information of an EU citizen, no matter where it is based, needs to be aware. With millions of EU citizens living in the UK, too, it’s hard to imagine that many businesses here will be unaffected.
The same applies to data breaches involving the personal data of European citizens. So it will still be vital to have a watertight information management system in place which allows businesses to know what information they have, where it is, how it can be edited and who is responsible for it.
Even though the UK has voted to leave the EU, data in Great Britain & Northern Ireland will continue to be regulated by the current Data Protection Act, which was passed in 1998. It will remain in place after exit, at least until Parliament decides to introduce a new law or amend it.
It’s worth noting that the UK’s data protection laws precede EU legislation by more than a decade, and go beyond the current requirements set out by the EU, for instance with the power given to the ICO to issue fines. It’s pretty hard to see data regulation in the UK varying much from the essence of the EU GDPR which, after all, we have been heavily involved in drafting over the last few years. Having clear laws with safeguards in place is more important than ever in the modern world with a growing digital economy that relies on the safe sharing of data. So if businesses think that leaving the EU is suddenly going to change the agenda it is a dangerous stance to take.
Failing to prepare for the Regulation could leave businesses open to fines, loss of reputation and – just as importantly – see them miss out on a chance to make the most of their data.
Financial pressures threaten to block a majority of UK adults from a choice of social care services to suit their individual needs, according to new research from national homecare provider Prestige Nursing + Care which sheds new light on the extent of the escalating funding care crisis in the UK.
- Nearly three-quarters (72%) of people who expect to need social care will have to make do with whatever they can afford, with just 27% expecting to have financial freedom of choice
- Majority feel the state rather than individuals should fund care provision, despite cuts to social care budgets
- But in reality, only 33% of future recipients believe government will provide for them, compared with 51% who currently receive care
- 30% have no idea how they will fund care; and 42% of current recipients feel they cannot afford sufficient care
- More people are willing to pay for gardeners and personal shoppers than professional carers
Stark reality of a lack of choice
Nearly three quarters (72%) of people who expect that either they or a close family member will need social care* in the next ten years are resigned to having to make do with whatever they can afford, even if it is not what they would prefer or best suited to their health requirements.
One in three (30%) who expect to need care have no idea how they will pay for it. Barely a quarter (27%) believe they will be able to pick and choose from care services without worrying about the cost.
Only one in three (33%) believe the government will provide for them or a family member if they require care in the next decade: significantly lower than the 51% of current care recipients and their families who say they currently receive government funding. The contrast highlights the fact that, while state-funded care services are already stretched, the future prospects look even starker in light of the UK’s ageing population and continuing pressures on public spending.
Among current recipients of care and their families, the majority (69%) feel the care they receive is good value for money, yet 42% report that it is insufficient for their needs and that they simply cannot afford more. More than one in ten (13%) feel that the care they or their family member receives is not delivered how or where they want it to be.
Care costs still seen as a government responsibility
Despite doubts over the availability of government funding, Prestige’s findings show that the majority of UK adults retain the view that social care funding should be provided by the state. Half (51%) feel this should be universal while 36% support means tested care depending on individual needs.
Barely one in ten people (11%) believe they should have to use their own savings and assets or that family or friends should have to help out with paying for care.
Similarly, nearly three in five (59%) believe that care workers’ services should be available to the public free of charge, with just 41% saying they would be willing to pay if they needed them. The findings suggest that people are less willing to fund their own care needs than a variety of other services, including taxi drivers, gardeners, cleaners, personal shoppers and lawyers. Only doctors, dentists, surgeons and physiotherapists have fewer people willing to pay for their services [see table 1].
Table 1: Which of the following services would you be willing to pay for if you needed them?
However, the reality of the care crisis facing the UK is that many people will find themselves having to pay for their own care. People with more than £23,500 in savings and assets have to fund their own social care in England. Plans to raise this threshold have been shelved until 2020 as the Government struggles with care provision for growing numbers of vulnerable elderly people. Recent research from Age UK also suggests that cuts to care funding mean that 1.2 million elderly people don’t receive the care that they need: an increase of 48% since 2010*.
Despite the fact that a growing number of people face having to fund their care privately, many are unprepared to do so. Nearly two in five (38%) people say it is not realistic to save up and pay for care while also saving for retirement, and a further 40% say the same while raising a family.
Jonathan Bruce, managing director of Prestige Nursing + Care commented on the findings
“It is worrying to see that so many people do not know how they will pay for care and that a majority do not want to pay for a carer. The expectation that care is free at the point of use for everyone is understandable, but the reality is that the sector is under severe financial pressure, and more and more people are likely to have to fund care privately without relying on Government support. The inconvenient truth is that, in order to receive the quality of care we all desire, it is becoming increasingly necessary to make a significant contribution towards it.
“It’s equally troubling that so many people say they will be left having to make do with whatever level of care they can afford, as getting the right care makes an enormous difference to a person’s wellbeing. If the model of UK care provision is going to become increasingly reliant on self-funding, it is hugely important that people are made aware of these costs early on and supported to make adequate provisions.
“Good quality care rests on skilled professionals to deliver it, and without sufficient funds, it will be impossible to attract the workers needed to meet the growing demand for staff. There is a skewed sense of value at play when it comes to paying for professional services, and as a society, we also need to reappraise attitudes towards the vital services that care workers provide.”
FirstCare, the absence management specialists, predict that this December will see UK workplace absence hit a new high. Across the UK, the company predicts, a total of 23 million working days will be lost in December, delivering a huge knock-on effect to both UK productivity and increased pressure on the NHS.
- Increase will result in 4.6 million days lost in December
- Coughs, colds and flu remain at the same level as 2009
Importantly, this significant increase has been driven by mental health issues becoming the most common cause of workplace absence in the UK, not the traditional issues of seasonal illness and musculoskeletal injuries. In total, FirstCare predicts that 4.6 million working days will be lost to the UK economy in December as a result of mental health issues – an increase of 13% in the last year alone. In contrast, coughs, colds and flu and musculoskeletal injuries have remained broadly constant for the last seven years.
This worrying trend is set against a backdrop of absence continuing to rise year-on-year since 2011, bucking a 20-year trend of decreases. In that time, mental health issues have increased by 71.4% since 2011, with FirstCare predicting that, if the current trend continues, 2017 will be the first year that mental health issues are the most common reason for workplace absence.
Anecdotal evidence from FirstCare suggests that mental health issues are exacerbated by the increased pressures on finances and difficulties in balancing work and family life at this time of year. This goes against the widely held belief that seasonal costs and colds, plus over exuberance at the office Christmas Party, are to blame for people’s absence at this time of year.
Commenting on the findings, David Hope, CEO of FirstCare said: “Many of us look to the festive period with great anticipation, filling our calendars with work Christmas parties and gatherings with friends.
However, we should not forget that for some it is a highly stressful period. Many people feel increased financial pressures and find it more difficult than usual to balance work and family life. These are not new triggers for mental health problems developing, but become very acute in December.
Employers should be alert to this, and spot the signs of mental ill health early, before it develops into a long-term condition. Providing appropriate support for employees during this period will help to avoid disruption to work streams and projects, and to other members of staff who will be impacted by colleagues taking time off due to mental ill health.”
With Christmas just under weeks away, money worries has been revealed as the single biggest cause of stress for UK adults, according to new research.
- Worrying about money causes 33% fall in wellbeing scores
- 52% wellbeing divide between society’s most and least financially confident
Money worries were found to cause the biggest swing in wellbeing scores – creating a 52% divide between the most and least financially-confident people in the country. Other factors significantly impacting wellbeing include the quality of personal relationships and mental stimulation – causing 50% and 48% swings in wellbeing scores respectively.
The report from leading health and wellbeing charity, Central YMCA, surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,000 UK adults and uncovered that financial woes reduce overall wellbeing scores by a third.
The average Brit spends roughly half their monthly pay on presents at this time of year, according to Nationwide’s 2016 Christmas Spending Report. The same report also found that one in three UK adults regret how much they spend over Christmas, while up to a fifth are left suffering financially for three months or more.
Commenting on the findings, Rosi Prescott, chief executive at Central YMCA, said:
“As we move into what is both an expensive and stressful time of year, it’s likely that money worries will be heightened over the Christmas period. The financial stresses felt by people right across the country are symptomatic of the ever-growing financial inequality in the UK, and these worries and woes are enormously damaging to our overall wellbeing – affecting how we feel about ourselves and our lives.
“At this time of year, it’s important we try to strive towards a healthy balance of mental stimulation, physical activity and positive relationships – all which deliver a significant boost to how we feel about ourselves. Christmas should be seen as an opportunity to improve our wellbeing – reconnecting with relatives and friends, where we can, and encouraging those positive and healthy relationships.”
In total, the average Brit scored 6.13/10 on an index for their overall wellbeing.
For the full report findings please visit: http://www.ymca.co.uk/
New research produced by an audiologist at charity Action on Hearing Loss has highlighted the important role medical professionals can play in encouraging people with hearing loss to take action and get hearing aids.
The research, Experiences of hearing loss and views towards interventions to promote uptake of rehabilitation support among UK adults, sought to identify interventions that would successfully encourage the three fifths of those with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids but don’t have them to seek help.
Crystal Rolfe, an audiologist who is Head of London and the South East for Local Engagement England at Action on Hearing Loss, conducted the research as part of her MSc in Health Psychology at University College London.
She said: “While there is a huge body of evidence demonstrating the effects of the loss of hearing has on health and wellbeing, it still takes people an average of 10 years to take action and get hearing aids. This research demonstrated the enormous amount of stock many people put into the advice and expertise offered by trained medical professionals such as nurses and audiologists, and found that if they are proactive about raising a loss of hearing during consultations this plays a significant role in reducing this time.
“With 11 million people in the UK living with a loos in hearing – a number set to increase to 15.6million by 2035 due to our ageing population – it’s more important than ever to proactively address it. Hearing loss is associated with poorer health-related quality of life and depression and an increased risk of dementia, encouraging greater uptake of hearing aids is a cost-effective intervention that will make a huge difference.”
Action on Hearing Loss recommends that medical professionals emphasise the benefits of managing a loss in hearing early before using a hearcheck screener or similar tool alongside otoscopy; if the patient has a hearing loss they then need to be referred onto an audiologist.
The charity hopes the research will encourage GPs and medical practitioners to proactively identify and screen patients for hearing loss.
For more details on what GPs can do for patients who might have a loss in hearing to visit
To take a look at the full paper, please visit