HEARING HELP: Veteran Shannon O'Loughlin of Junction Hill encourages other men to get their hearing checked during Men's Health Week.
HEARING HELP: Veteran Shannon O'Loughlin of Junction Hill encourages other men to get their hearing checked during Men's Health Week. contributed

Sound advice sends clear message for Men’s Health Week

WAR veteran Shannon O'Loughlin, of Junction Hill, is encouraging men to take early action with their hearing this Men's Health Week.

He hopes others will take advantage of the free help available to detect hearing loss, a health issue often ignored by men.

Like many men, Mr O'Loughlin has been exposed to noise in the workplace, however, his work in the Australian Army was more dangerous to his health than most occupations.

His 20 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 Mr O'Loughlin, who was often without hearing protection on patrols.

Years later he 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. "That was compounded by the constant ringing in my ears from tinnitus.

"It took me a while 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 Mr O'Loughlin 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," he said.

"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."

Australian Hearing is rallying men to have their hearing checked when the Australian Hearing Bus visits the local locations. No appointments necessary and all adults welcome.


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