If you know me well you’ll know that although I’m constantly attached to my mobile phone, I rarely ever make phone calls. I’ve struggled for years to hear people clearly in crowded rooms and using the telephone takes away any visual aids too. Working in Export Sales and Shipping this could sometimes be tricky, overseas telephone lines haven’t always been that great. I’ve joked with my Mum for years that she’s as deaf as a post, and one day I decided that I really needed to get my own hearing checked out. I wanted to know about ways of coping with hearing loss, and to see if I needed extra help. I ended up at the hospital having a full hearing test. I was advised that my hearing was borderline, but the wrong side of the line to get help. Work was great though, and added an amplifier to my phone to give me more confidence. This was all 7 years ago, and I wonder if I should get my hearing tested again. Going out for dinner or to a pub with friends is a struggle, I really can’t take part fully in the conversation, it’s often guess-work.
But if I thought my hearing wasn’t the best, I was sure my Mum had issues, and I think she’d agree now, that she didn’t want to admit that there was an issue with her hearing. She’s lived in Spain for 11 years, and is in her early 70’s. I’m pretty sure her hearing loss started way before she emigrated, but was never checked. I wish that we would treat hearing tests like eye tests, and have them regularly, in fact Specsavers Audiologists recommend that anyone over the age of 55 should have an annual hearing test.
A good family friend had her hearing test with our local Specsavers Audiologists a couple of years ago, and she has raved ever since about the service and her new hearing aid. Technology has advanced so much over the years. Hearing aids are discreet these days and I could see how the aid really helped her to cope with hearing loss immediately.
I kept bringing the issue up with Mum, either on our visits to Spain or on our weekly Skype sessions. It was often apparent that she really hadn’t heard what I’d said to her, even when I was sat right by her side.
Thankfully, Mum has finally had her hearing tested and was advised that her hearing was impaired in both ears. This was of no shock to anyone other than Mum, I think. She has hearing aids for both ears now, and for the first time in years can hear everything. Sounds she’s even forgotten about, as hearing aids don’t just make things louder, they help clarify the sounds around you, making sound filtering so much easier. Although I’ve yet to see her wearing her aids in person, via Skype and I can tell the difference with our conversations. I hope that Mum’s confidence will grow now she can really hear what’s going on around her. She is dealing with a foreign language as well, and I know how hard it can be to hear clearly when you fully understand the language being spoken around you.
My advice to anyone who thinks that their hearing isn’t quite up to scratch would be to seek advice. There is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about, I’d much rather be able to fully join in with a conversation, than feel like an outsider, looking in on a conversation through a goldfish bowl.
There are a number of symptoms for age-related hearing loss, I would say that Mum ticked all of these boxes:
TV/Radio volume is too loud for those around you
Struggling to hear dialogue at the theatre on when visiting the cinema
Struggling with telephone conversations
Things need to be repeated/misunderstanding of conversations
Struggling with group conversations where there is background noise
This video makes interesting viewing, how would a number of bloggers cope in a dining situation when their hearing was impaired?
If you feel that someone in your family could benefit from a free hearing test, all the information is available on the Specsavers Audiologists website, appointments can even be booked online too. They’ve also just launched the new Specsavers Hearing Check app which is available to download for free on the App and Play store on iOS or Android devices. Coping with hearing loss in silence really doesn’t need to happen in this day and age.
disclaimer: I am being compensated for this post, but my comments remain my own honest opinions