SOUTHAMPTON is no longer suffering in silence thanks to the largest ever nationwide free ear check that aims to tackle the UK’s hearing loss epidemic.

A total of 1,000 people in the city took advantage of the free MOT for their ears, stepping into specially designed hearing booths to pinpoint any problems.

Specsavers Hearing Centres is on a mission to check the hearing of one million people across the UK as part of their south Check the Nation tour to tackle the hearing loss epidemic that is set to hit as the population gets older.

It is estimated that 14.5 million will suffer from hearing loss in less than 20 years’ time, becoming more common that diabetes or cataracts.

Nicola Simmons, audiologist at Specsavers in Southampton, said: “We were really pleased with the level of support in Southampton.

Statistics show us that, on average, it takes ten years for someone to do something about their hearing loss.

“We know that a big part of the reason for this delay is because people are embarrassed about admitting they are having hearing problems.

“By going out into the community to talk to people face to face, we have been able to discuss the problem openly, which goes a long way to normalising hearing loss.”

Colin Campbell, Specsavers Hearcare director, added: “The Sound Check the Nation tour has been incredibly successful so far and we would like to thank the people of Southampton for having the courage to come along and show that having your hearing checked is not something to be scared of but instead can change your life for the better.”