Catharine Hart Great Listeners Interview

Catharine Hart Great Listeners Interview

Women are known to be great listeners – but don't always 'listen' to themselves.

Hearing Australia is urging women of all ages to celebrate the sounds they love by taking time out to think about their hearing health during this year's Women's Health Week (2-6 September).

"Hearing is an important part of life that helps keep people connected to the people and places they love," says Catherine Hart, an audiologist at Hearing Australia. "Good hearing plays a significant role in helping people stay active, happy and involved in the world around them."Hearing Australia is urging women of all ages to celebrate the sounds they love by taking time out to think about their hearing health during this year's Women's Health Week (2-6 September).

"Hearing is an important part of life that helps keep people connected to the people and places they love," says Catherine Hart, an audiologist at Hearing Australia. "Good hearing plays a significant role in helping people stay active, happy and involved in the world around them."

The topic is not often on most women's agenda, but now, Hearing Australia is encouraging women to put their health first and make positive changes to last a lifetime. This includes taking care of their hearing health. According to Deloitte Access Economics, the increase in hearing loss prevalence among Australian women is projected to rise to 23.5% in 2060.

Women's Health Week focuses on the fact that if women invest more time in themselves, they are likely to be happier and healthier. And that's great news for them and their loved ones. Women are typically the primary care givers in their families and communities, with Australian women more likely to provide care in all age groups between the ages of 18-74. In the 15-64 years age group 72.5 % of primary carers are women.

Hearing Australia is inviting women across the nation to take a free* hearing check to invest in their hearing health. The Hearing Australia team is on hand to guide women through what their next steps may be to help them rediscover the sounds they love. Sometimes people might need support hearing the television at a volume comfortable for others, hearing at noisy social events, or hearing friends and family on the phone.

"The sooner you can address hearing loss the better," adds Catherine. "We encourage people to consider a hearing check as part of their regular good health programme, like attending a fitness class, testing their blood pressure or visiting the dentist. There are also a number of proactive steps you can take to make sure your hearing stays in great shape."

Interview with Catharine Hart, Leading Audiologist

Question: Why should women put their hearing health back on their to-do list?

Catharine Hart: We know that women are great at taking care of others, so this Women's Health Week, we want to remind women to prioritise their own wellbeing. And since women are typically the primary care givers in their families and communities, Hearing Australia encourages women to really listen to their own health needs and not just for those they care for in their lives. Australian women more likely to provide care in all age groups between the ages of 18-74. In the 15-64 years age group 72.5% of primary carers are women so this is really a timely reminder for all women around the country to look after their own hearing health.


Question: What are the most common hearing health concerns of Australian women?

Catharine Hart: Many women start to experience difficulty hearing in background noise as they get older and this can interfere with relationships with family and friends. Some women may also experience ringing or buzzing type noises in their ears (tinnitus), especially after going to a loud concert or show, or listening carefully in a quiet room.


Question: Why symptoms are associated with these hearing issues?

Catharine Hart: Women may start to notice that they have to move to a quieter place in order to understand the person speaking with them. They may have more difficulty understanding children speaking with their fast, quiet speech and also people with strong accents. Women may start to avoid noisy places and situations like parties and events, which can then make them feel isolated and miss out on activities that they used to enjoy.


Question: Can you share your top tips to help prevent hearing loss?

Catharine Hart: Hearing Australia recommends three ways to help prevent hearing loss for women:

Hands up for headphones
If you use headphones to listen to music when you're out for a run or a walk, be mindful of the volume level – keep it below 80% of full volume and limit your listening time to no more than 1.5 hours per day.
It's also a good idea to invest in a pair of good quality, well-fitting, noise-cancelling earbuds or headphones. Not only will you appreciate the sound quality, you'll find you won't have to turn up the volume to listen to your favourite tracks to drown out the sound of passing traffic.

2. Reduce your risk
Increasing your distance from the sound source is one of the easiest ways to reduce your risk of excessive noise exposure. For example, if you're in a gym class with loud music, check where the speakers are and find a spot that's further away. Even better, have a chat with your instructor and request a lower volume - there's a good chance that others in the class are thinking the same thing!

3. Hearing protection
Sometimes it's not possible to avoid loud sound, such as when you're riding a scooter, using a leaf blower, or if you're at a loud music concert. In cases like these, be sure to use hearing protection. There are lots of different types suited to different situations.


Interview by Brooke Hunter
Photo by Liesl Leonard on Unsplash




MORE