1 in 6 people may find it difficult to hear a conversation. By the age of 50 this is 42% of us, rising to 71% after 70. Yet approximately 40% of those have never worn a hearing aid.
Around 10% of people in Gibraltar have Tinnitus and for about 300 people this affects their quality of life. Little is known about the number of people who also have Hyperacusis (noise sensitivity). Meniere’s disease, a disorder of the inner ear that causes severe dizziness (vertigo), ringing in the ears (tinnitus), hearing loss, and a feeling of fullness or congestion in the ear, probably affects 50 Gibraltarians mostly over the age of 40.
People with hearing loss may use British Sign Language (BSL) or they may lip-read. They could have a hearing aid or cochlear implant.
The Gibraltar Hearing Issues and Tinnitus Association Support Group (GHITA) is a registered charity that runs a support group who meet once a month giving guidance to anyone requiring it, offering advice about the help and equipment available in Gibraltar and signposting people to other services.
The aim of GHITA is to increase awareness about ear health, rights to services, and to give support to people suffering with hearing loss issues including Tinnitus, Meniere’s or Hyperacusis. GHITA is active throughout the year, giving talks to schools, charities and Government departments about Deaf Awareness.
Worldwide there are 432 million people who are deaf or have a significant loss, including 34 million children. By 2050 this will rise to 900 million.
Having an informal chat over coffee with others with the same issues is often the best way to come to terms with hearing loss. Meeting with other people going through the same journey can prove therapeutic and complements existing therapy or help in the absence of any support. Everyone is welcome to join us for a coffee and a chat. Please keep in touch via the Facebook page at Gibraltar Hearing Issues & Tinnitus Association (GHITA & BSL Club). The support group meet on the first Monday of every month except on a Bank Holiday or during August, and the next three meetings will be held on 1st July 2019, 2nd September and 7th October from 17.00-18.00.