‘I’m back’ – My story
I absolutely love music!
My name is Ian and I would like to share my story with you.
I am married with 3 girls so home has always been a little noisy! I have worked in sales most my working life and for the past 45 years music has been my passion, drumming my other profession. From Kenny Ball to King Crimson and Buddy Rich to Black Sabbath, audiences are as delighted today as we belt out the old classics.
And it still sounds great, or so I’m told!
Years of continuous, unprotected exposure to loud music has affected my ability to hear clearly. Back in the 70’s I remember leaving a rock concert, where the music stayed with me as ringing in my ears; the ringing continues today. I hate to admit it but I think there has been a continual deterioration ever since.
I spent years struggling to follow conversations but I would never admit it – I felt too embarrassed.
Listening to the TV, participating in sales meetings – it was all a challenge.
I first noticed that I was struggling to hear clearly when I was in a noisy environment, quite typically the pub or having a meal with friends, and I would say ‘pardon’ or ‘sorry, I didn’t catch that’. Sometimes the children would ask me a question and I just didn’t hear them properly and probably told them we needed bread instead of agreeing it was time for bed!
As amusing as it may have been to others, I was beginning to feel more and more isolated from the normality of daily life and excluded from conversations. I didn’t want to appear rude but I just couldn’t join in.
Everyone thinks I’m anti-social but it’s too difficult to follow what my friends are saying when we’re out.
As I became more and more frustrated it was easier to stay away.
The ringing in my ears didn’t help either as it stays with me all the time.
I now know this is ‘Tinnitus’ – noises in the ears and/or in the head – which affects about 10% of the population. I don’t think the degree of my condition is as severe as it could be as it doesn’t affect my sleep pattern but I do have a relentless high pitched whistle in both ears which I am constantly aware of. However, it seems I am in fine company: fellow sufferers include Bono & Beethoven, Schumann & Streisand, Van Gogh and Oscar Wilde. My family had noticed that I was withdrawing from social occasions; I decided to swallow my pride and enquire about a hearing test.
I did admit to myself that my hearing was never going to improve without help
I hadn’t had any previous experience with hearing aids so, following a chat with my own GP, I went to the local NHS clinic where I was diagnosed with ‘mild’ hearing loss.
‘Mild’ – it didn’t seem very significant so I didn’t take it any further.
But I did admit to myself that my hearing was never going to improve without help; when I saw an advert for a free home hearing test I parked my pride and booked an appointment. The diagnosis was now ‘mild-to-moderate’ hearing loss in both of my ears and we discussed options and solutions – all very effective but also quite costly for something that, should my vanity and embarrassment get the better of me, could become an expensive mistake.
With nothing to lose, I went back to the NHS clinic where they offered me a single hearing device and gave me the choice of which ear I would like to aid.
Like most, I am lucky enough to have both my ears and the result was unsatisfactory for many reasons: sound was unbalanced; the hearing device sat behind the ear, clearly visible and, although it did help my hearing to a degree, it could not compensate for my embarrassment.
We live in a digital age, an era of ever-evolving technologies where phones are smarter, cameras are sharper, where digital usually means smaller and hearing aids whisper ‘discretion’.
I was lucky enough to be introduced to an audiologist who took the time to explain the differences between the many types and styles available in a new era of digital hearing solutions including the very latest nanotechnology.
From the initial consultation that not only measured the extent of my hearing loss but scrutinised my lifestyle, I felt confident that together we would find the correct hearing solution that is exactly right for me. I had always hoped that one day I would be able to hear clearly again, to watch TV as a family, to go out in a crowd and that no one would ever know (or see) I had a hearing problem.
Now, the difference my new wireless and invisible hearing aids have made to my life is astounding!
I’m no longer isolated – I join in
I’m no longer excluded – I’m invited
I’m no longer embarrassed – I’m proud
I’m no longer away from it – I’m back
… and I’m back in the music