THOUSANDS of Scots are missing out on dream holidays because of their hearing loss.
Almost a quarter say their hearing problems have led to them being far less adventurous when it comes to travelling.
A third even went as far as to say their hearing problems made them feel anxious when they went on holiday or travelled somewhere new.
The research, by hearing specialist Amplifon, involving more than 2,000 people who suffer hearing problems. It found that New York, Madrid and Tokyo were perceived as among the noisiest travel destinations in the world.
Barry Downes, Amplifon’s professional services manager, said: “The world becomes a smaller place for people with hearing loss if they don’t take steps to deal with their problems.
“Many admit they become less adventurous when choosing a holiday, not just in terms of the destinations they pick but also the types of activities they take part in.
“One of the most uplifting things about going on holiday, especially if it involves travelling abroad, is being able to immerse yourself in a new culture, which involves taking in the sounds as well as the sights.
“Being able to hear properly is therefore integral to the quality of the experience.
“A third of those surveyed also said their hearing loss made them more anxious about travelling, which is understandable given that they may have problems picking up important information such as flight announcements or details of planned excursions.”
William Allan, 57, from Irvine, Ayrshire, is one of many who found his hearing problems were holding him back as he and his wife Valerie tried to tick off their holiday bucket list.
Top of their list of destinations was China, but what should have been the trip of a lifetime turned into a nightmare because poor hearing stopped William from fully appreciating all the country had to offer.
He said: “We’d been looking forward to travelling for so long but when we eventually got to China I spent the whole time shackled to the tour guide because if she moved too far away I couldn’t hear what she was saying.
“The whole trip was a nightmare to be perfectly honest because the fact I couldn’t hear properly had a real impact on the quality of the experience.
“You need information to make proper sense of the sites you are visiting, whether it’s the Terracotta Warriors or The Great Wall of China, otherwise you’ll never appreciate their full historical value, so from that point of view, China was pretty frustrating for me and I came away thinking ‘why did I bother?’”
His nightmare trip to China was a turning point, after which he decided to be fitted with a hearing aid.
Allan said: “One good thing came out of that trip to China – it forced me to make the conscious decision that if I ever went on a long-haul holiday again, I must be able to hear properly. I waited four or five years before seeking professional help and I regret that, because it’s time I can’t get back.
“After getting a hearing aid fitted, we went to Vietnam and Cambodia last year and the whole experience compared to China, from a hearing perspective, was like night versus day.
“Apart from hearing everything the tour guide said, I also felt more confident in my ability to hear conversations properly so, from a social point of view, the whole experience was far more enjoyable.”
The National Scot