The average adult ‘puts up’ with worrying or annoying health symptoms for more than five months before seeking help, a study has found.
A poll of 2,000 adults found many are burying their head in the sand when it comes to their physical well-being – living with issues such as back pain or hearing problems for months, or even years, before they finally get them checked out.
More than one in twenty even admit to waiting at least a year before approaching a professional for advice.
Three quarters of Brits are currently putting up with a health concern they have ignored – with back ache the most common complaint.
Commissioned ahead of World Hearing Day (March 3), the study by high street hearing specialists Hidden Hearing, found many also ignore poor eyesight, headaches, hearing loss and digestive problems.
GP and medical broadcaster Dr Hilary Jones said: “It’s worrying to not only see how long people are leaving things before they seek help from a professional, but also that conditions such as hearing loss are on this list.
“This symptom now has strong links to other serious health conditions such as dementia, depression, heart health and diabetes.
“It’s important to get anything which is causing you concern checked out at the earliest opportunity.”
Emerging research has linked hearing loss with an increased risk of dementia, depression, heart health and diabetes – a relationship 57 per cent of Brits are unaware of.
And two in five admits to never having had a hearing test, despite worrying they could have a problem.
Almost half of those surveyed have held off on getting a check-up because they didn’t want to waste the health professional’s time, while 42 per cent confess to being in denial about issues when they arise.
But more than four in 10 admit that not dealing with a symptom as soon as it arose has led to the condition worsening before they finally got it treated.
And more than one in five say their reluctance to get things checked out has led to arguments with a loved one.
It’s not just ongoing symptoms people are putting off dealing with as half regularly delay or avoid getting a routine screening such as a smear test, eye test or hearing test.
But when it comes to daily hearing concerns, three in 10 have had to ask someone to repeat what they have said multiple times during a chat in order to understand what they are saying.
And an embarrassed one in five have even pretended to have understood what someone has said so they don’t have to ask them to repeat themselves.
Dr Laura Phipps from Alzheimer’s Research UK said: “We know that the brain plays a vital role in good hearing, and difficulties with hearing may be to linked to different types of dementia.
“The reasons behind this link are still being explored, but given the large number of people affected by hearing problems, it’s an important area of research.
“Alzheimer’s Research UK is funding a study to understand more about the link between hearing loss and dementia, and to understand whether supporting people in wearing their hearing aids could have wider benefits beyond just hearing.”
In response to this research, Hidden Hearing is supporting ‘The Campaign for Better Hearing’, which aims to encourage the public to take take care their hearing – just as they would look after their blood pressure, cholesterol or eye sight.
It also hopes to highlight the link hearing problems has with serious health issues such as dementia, heart health, depression and diabetes.
In association with this campaign, Hidden Hearing is donating up to five free pairs of hearing aids every month to people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford them – one for every 1,000 free hearing tests that they carry out.
The initiative is part of Hidden Hearing’s commitment to help everyone in the UK hear their best and live a happy, healthy life.
For more information on hearing loss or to book a free hearing test near you, visit here.
TOP 10 HEALTH ISSUES PEOPLE ARE CURRENTLY PUTTING UP WITH:
1. Back pain
2. Poor eyesight
3. Lack of energy/ lethargy
4. Muscle aches
7. Stomach pain
8. Digestion issues
9. Hearing problems
10. Acne/ bad skin