Young Blacksmith Awarded New Hearing Aids: “being able to hear clearly on the phone is massive to me”
Talking to my family, my existing customers and potential clients is such a wonderful gift.
Matthew Blackwell, a blacksmith from Ottery St Mary in Devon, has been deaf since birth.
The 30-year-old has faced countless struggles throughout his life. Noisy environments were one of his biggest challenges.
“I’ve relied heavily on lip-reading all my life,” he says. “I found it hardest when people didn’t look at me when they spoke.”
It [hearing loss] made me feel really isolated, I would miss out on conversations, I wouldn’t know what was going on; I often felt left out
Matthew’s hearing loss also affected his professional life, once even misunderstanding a customer’s order. “He asked for his fire grate to look the same as the previous one; I misheard and made the wrong order. I created something completely different!”
He was sometimes late for work (before becoming self-employed) since he couldn’t hear his alarm clock, and admitted one of his greatest fears was getting trapped in a fire since he wouldn’t be able to hear the fire alarm.
But the attraction of better hearing and advances in hearing aid technology convinced Matthew to get his ears tested.
I have always struggled with being able to hear music; [this technology] has made listening to music a pleasure and so easy
Matthew received his hearing aids just before Christmas. With the COVID restrictions, they made a world of difference to him. “I was able to hear so clearly and join in with conversations that would have been hard to hear through Christmas music, with scarfs being used I had to rely on what I heard and less on lip-reading.”
The hearing aids also gave him the chance to visit Exeter Cathedral for Midnight Mass. It’s easy for sounds to get lost in such a vast space, but Matthew was able to “hear everything the ministers were saying and the choir singing clearly”.
The advance in hearing aid technology has also impressed Matthew: “I’m amazed by the fact that these new hearing aids are so small and discreet, yet they still have the processing power needed. Growing up with large bulky hearing aids, I’ve got used to the looks given to me and the questions asked… now to have them virtually unseen is rather liberating!”
My Hearing Doesn’t Define Me Any More
The last-minute changes to the Christmas visiting restrictions meant that, like many of us, Matthew couldn’t see friends and family as he’d hoped. But while he’d previously found phone calls “really difficult”, his new aids have helped so much: “I could hear what people were saying with so much clarity and ease it made talking on the phone and using video calls a breeze.”
Being awarded the aids through the Give Back Programme has changed Matthew’s outlook on life and he claims he’s now “infinitely happier about the future.” When asked what the programme meant to him, he replied: “It has given me access to a hugely better quality of hearing and life.”
And his friends and family have noticed the difference between his new aids and his NHS ones.
They don’t worry about him being left out any more.
The Give Back Programme
Each month, Hidden Hearing donates up to five pairs of hearing aids, one for every 1,000 free hearing tests we carry out nationwide.
The initiative is part of our commitment to get everyone in the UK to have a regular hearing check.
Click on this National Campaign for Better Hearing link for more information or to nominate someone who deserves to be awarded a pair of hearing aids.
All clinics remain open
With National lockdowns impacting England and Wales, and local lockdowns in place in Scotland, we wanted to let you know that as an essential healthcare provider, all Hidden Hearing clinics will remain open, in all towns. We have full health and safety measures in place, to protect our customers and staff from the threat of COVID-19, whilst at the same time helping you with all of your hearing health needs. So if you need an appointment or have one booked, we look forward to seeing you. If however you are choosing to stay at home, we can still visit you there.
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