Encouraging men to take early action with their hearing this Men’s Health Week is war veteran, Shannon O’Loughlin of Junction Hill. Shannon hopes others will take advantage of the free help available to detect hearing loss, a health issue often ignored by men.
Like many men, Shannon has been exposed to noise in the workplace. However his work in the Australian Army was more dangerous to his health than most occupations. Shannon’s twenty years of service included missions to Somalia and two tours of East Timor.
“During my work with the military I was constantly exposed to gunfire explosions and over time it does take its toll,” said Shannon, who was often without hearing protection on patrols.
Years later Shannon lives with the affects of hearing loss, a condition more common in men than women due to noise exposure at work, military service or recreational activities.
“I would find myself in conversations having to ask people to repeat themselves… and only catching bits of what was being said,” Shannon explained. “Compounded by the constant ringing in my ears from tinnitus.”
“It took me awhile to get the courage to do something. The catalyst was my wife saying ‘Do something now’. It was getting to the point that she was fed-up. If I didn’t do anything about it, it would be detrimental for work, home and everything else.”
Research shows that men put off getting help when they need it most, with many men not realising that their hearing has deteriorated, or they put off doing anything about it. In fact, men access health services 30 to 40 per cent less than women.
Earlier this year Shannon visited Australian Hearing in Grafton and as a veteran was fitted with a hearing aid for his left ear and a Sound Oasis Therapy System to relieve his tinnitus.
“The hearing aid has helped considerably and I’m pleased I went out and did something about it now. It’s so refreshing to be able to hear things again. Sounds are a lot clearer and crisper. It has reduced the amount of times I ask people to repeat themselves. My wife and kids are happier. The Sound Oasis Therapy has been the best thing ever for my tinnitus.”
Now a Health and Safety Officer in the mining industry, Shannon adds that men should take the first step of a simple hearing check, “Bite the bullet and just go out and do it. Don’t be afraid and wait until it’s too late. You want to enjoy life.”
Australian Hearing is rallying men to have their hearing checked for free when the Australian Hearing Bus visits the following locations. No appointments necessary and all adults welcome.
Australian Hearing Bus Itinerary
Wed 15th June, 9.30am-1.30pm: Grafton U3A Men’s Shed, Old Brewery, North St, Grafton
Tue 21st June, 9.30am-12.30pm: Palm Lake Resort, 1 Orion Dr, Yamba Tue 21st & Wed 22nd June, 1.30pm-4.00pm: Yamba Bowling Club, 44 Wooli St, Yamba
Wed 22nd June, 9.30am- 12.30pm: Gateway Lifestyle Yamba, 36 Golding St, Yamba
For more information call 131 797 or visit www.hearing.com.au