More than 25% of over-50s keep health issues a secret

'What is important to remember is a problem shared is a problem halved, and sometimes carrying the worries of a health issue can do more harm than good'

Six out of 10 older British people say they don't tell anyone about their health problems so they don't worry their friends and family
Six out of 10 older British people say they don't tell anyone about their health problems so they don't worry their friends and family

One in five over-50s are keeping their potentially serious health issues a secret, a new study claims.

Research commissioned by hearing aid manufacturer Signia suggests a large number of older British people have not yet told their friends and family about their health problems.

These problems range from hearing loss to heart disease and arthritis to mental health issues.

One in 10 of those surveyed said they have been keeping this information to themselves for longer than 12 months.

Six out of 10 said they do not tell those close to them about their health problems so as not to worry them, and another 29 per cent said they feel “too embarrassed” to share the details of their condition with others.

One in three of the study’s respondents said they would feel self-conscious wearing a hearing aid.

However, half said they worry about their hearing failing as they grow older and 43 per cent recognise that wearing a hearing aid would improve their quality of life.

Maarten Barmentlo, Signia’s marketing lead, said: “As we get older it is natural for our health to become more fragile, and it’s a lucky few who make it into old age without acquiring something to worry about.

“What is important to remember is a problem shared is a problem halved, and sometimes carrying the worries of a health issue can do more harm than good.”

Of the 20 per cent of those surveyed who said they were keeping an illness secret from their friends and family, two thirds said they were happy to disclose the nature of their illness for research purposes.

Over half said they would be most likely to confide in their partner about their health concern, followed by their best friend.

Thirty per cent said they have had a loved one disclose a health concern to them in private, which they haven’t told anyone else about.

However, 11 per cent said they have later discovered their partner was keeping their own health condition a secret from them.

More than half of those surveyed who are worried about their hearing said they regularly have to ask people to repeat themselves.

A third said they sometimes pretend they have heard what has been said, and a quarter said they make up a response in reply and hope it’s the right one.

However, 39 per cent of the survey’s respondents said there is still a stigma attached to wearing a hearing aid which may put them off talking to their doctor about having one fitted.

Maarten Barmentlo of Signia added: “After decades of listening and living a louder life, it’s not unreasonable to expect our ears to have lost some of their lustre, and British people shouldn’t feel deterred from wearing a hearing aid if they feel they need it.

“Hearing aids have long been associated as being out of date and not at the cutting edge of today’s cool technology and we wanted to change that perception.”

SWNS​

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