Jeff Alcock, 46, from East Sussex has been awarded a free pair of digital hearing aids from high street hearing specialist, Hidden Hearing.
The award is part of Hidden Hearing’s support for the National Campaign for Better Hearing, to help raise awareness of the importance of having annual hearing tests.
Jeff’s story touched the Expert Judging Panel, consisting of GP and health broadcaster, Dr Hilary Jones and royal correspondent and celebrity ambassador for the Campaign for Better Hearing, Jennie Bond. Both judges decided Jeff was a worthy recipient of the advanced hearing aid system.
Jeff’s hearing loss was caused by an unprovoked assault, which occurred after a work function in Lewes. On his way home, Jeff was assaulted at the railway station,
“I was punched and fell to the floor banging the back of my head, my attacker then kicked me in the front of my head. When I woke up, I found myself in a hospital bed, apparently after having spent three days in a coma and with two skull fractures. I then spent four days in the Critical Care Unit. When I came round, I was heavily sedated and couldn’t even remember that my wife was pregnant, and I had no sense of taste or smell, and couldn’t hear.”
Prior to having his hearing aids fitted, Jeff struggled with every area of life that involved communication. A day after his son Beau’s birth, he missed a crucial phone call informing him that his new-born baby had been transferred to the Special Care Unit with some complications. He says, “I missed out on being there for my wife and baby at such a difficult time. My neighbour finally managed to wake me, and I made it to the hospital early the next morning, but it was one of hardest moments I’ve ever had to deal with.”
Jeff says, “A week after Beau was born, I was informed by a healthcare professional that I wouldn’t be able to be in the house alone with my son, as I wouldn’t be able to smell smoke in the event of a fire, hear him cry, or smell if he needed changing. That was when I decided I needed to make some big changes and went to get my hearing tested at my local Hidden Hearing centre in Hove.” Jeff was subsequently nominated by audiologist Bruce Cruickshank for the hearing devices when he heard how Jeff’s hearing loss was seriously affecting his everyday life.
Jeff’s career as a financial consultant was also impacted. He says, “I couldn’t return to work immediately after the assault due to my injuries, but when I did return a couple of months later, it was really apparent that I was struggling. My sales figures were significantly down, and my colleagues just didn’t understand – they often took the mick out of me.”
Local audiologist Bruce says, “Jeff’s hearing loss is quite a unique case, but because his loss happened so suddenly, it was important to fix it sooner rather than later, to ensure he didn’t miss out on important moments in his life. Many people ignore their hearing problems until it’s too late, which can affect their health and quality of life. This campaign is a great initiative and we’re encouraging everyone in the area to get a free hearing test at their local Hidden Hearing centre.”
Jeff says, “I was completely gobsmacked when I found out I had won. Being fitted with my hearing aids was really emotional – I could hear my wife properly again and for the first time ever, my baby son Beau. I was very tearful, it was such an amazing experience. I’ve started a new job, which is still in the same field, but now I have so much more confidence and communicate with people without worrying about my hearing – it’s a great feeling.”
He adds, “If you have difficulty hearing, you CAN get it sorted. Hearing is a priority and is life-changing. I’m so grateful to Hidden Hearing for giving me the opportunity to hear again, I have a huge smile on my face now, with tears rolling down my face! I’ve been through so much and to have one of those negatives turned into a positive means a huge amount.”
Each month, Hidden Hearing donates up to five pairs of hearing aids, one for every 1,000 free hearing tests they carry out nationwide. The initiative is part of Hidden Hearing’s commitment to get everyone in the UK to have a regular hearing check.
For more information on the National Campaign for Better Hearing or to nominate someone who deserves to win a pair of hearing aids click here.