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See how Emma's life has been switched on

Emma, mum-of-two from Ruislip
lost her hearing at a young age.
Read on to find out more about
her story an how subtle hearing
aids have improved family life. 


"I can now hear my family in all their noisy glory!"

 

Emma Palmer lives with William, son Jacob (4) and husband Josh, an RAF fire fighter, in Ruislip. Family life has become a whole lot better for mum-of-two Emma, since she’s been fitted with her new hearing aid. 

Emma said: “I had to take great care when crossing a road, particularly with my two children. Their safety is the most important thing to me. I found it very stressful and potentially dangerous, not being able to locate where a sound was coming from.”

Social situations were the worst for her, as she couldn’t locate the sound, always putting herself in a physical position where she could hear and, without knowing it, had become a competent lip reader.

When I first had my son William, Josh would say, Emma, William’s calling you and I’d mumble sorry! My sons enjoy going to the cinema but it’s so loud with the background noise that I couldn’t hear what people are saying and used to hate being dragged along.

She first noticed she had a hearing problem when she was a teenager, the amount of ear infections she suffered from resulted in scar tissue growing over the ear drum which meant the only way to deal with the issue was to go under the knife.

At the age of 18 she had the first of two operations, in which doctors tried to remove the additional tissue, resulting in a haemorrhage in one instance. Unfortunately, the tissue always grew back and so operations were deemed to be a complete waste of time for her.

She went down the NHS hearing aid route too but, as a teenager, she was worried about the stigma of hearing aids and didn’t want to wear them. 

Even though it was difficult, Emma lived with her hearing loss for years. She married Josh and went onto have two sons William and Jacob. The hearing loss became more apparent when her first child arrived. 'Emma, William's calling you' Josh kept saying, Emma wouldn't hear her son calling out to her. She avoided certain situations due to her hearing loss like going to the cinema with her sons which is something they loved to do!

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In March 2019, Emma got a call from her sister Hannah. 'I've entered you in a Hidden Hearing competition I've seen on Facebook to win a hearing aid' she said. At first Emma didn't know how to feel about it. Her sister Hannah had nominated her on behalf of her son William and on Emma's 30th birthday she got the call from Hidden Hearing to say she had won! A couple of weeks later she had her new hearing aids fitted, they were so small she couldn't even see them.

Speaking since having her new hearing aid fitted, Emma said: “It’s wonderful, I can hear the birds, the low hum of the traffic...  and the boys squabbling!  I can enjoy the cinema too now and we recently went to see Toy Story 4.”

Emma’s family life has become so much better. It is less stressful.  Living with hearing loss would put a strain on her relationship.  Emma says, “I used to snap at my husband. I would tell him to speak louder but he already was!”

“Now, I don’t care if people even notice my hearing aid. I wear my hair up and don’t mind.  If you have a hearing problem and are worried about the stigma of wearing a hearing aid, don’t.  Just think about how your life will be enhanced. Give it a go. My life’s been switched on, and yours will be too!”

Ear Infections - The Facts

An ear infection is caused by a bacterium or virus in the middle ear. This infection often results from another illness — cold, flu or allergy — that causes congestion and swelling of the nasal passages, throat and eustachian tubes.

Ear infections are very common and more often than not go on their own within 3 days, so you won’t always need to see your GP. However, if you still have the infection after those initial days then you will need to seek treatment.  This may begin with managing pain and monitoring the problem, sometimes, antibiotics are used to clear the infection.

Some people are prone to having multiple ear infection, this can cause other serious complications or like Emma’s case – hearing loss.

What to look for

Symptoms of an ear infection tend to start quickly and include - pain inside the ear, high temperature of 35C or above, difficulty hearing, discharge coming out of the ear, a feeling of pressure inside the ear and itchy, irritated scaly skin in and around the ear.

How to treat an ear infection yourself

There are a few ways to help relieve any pain and discomfort from an ear infection. You could use painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, place a warm or cold flannel on the ear and you could maybe remove any discharge by wiping the ear with cotton wool. Things you shouldn't do is put anything inside your ear to remove ear wax, let water or shampoo get in your ear and do not use any decongestants or antihistamines. 

Preventing infections

To help prevent an ear infection of any kind, follow these tips, keep your ears clean by washing them carefully, make sure you dry your ears completely after swimming or taking a shower, don’t smoke, and avoid secondhand smoke as much as you can, try to manage your allergies by avoiding triggers and keeping up with allergy medications and wash your hands thoroughly, try to avoid people who have colds or other upper respiratory problems. 

For an overview of ear infections and to learn more about illness that cause hearing loss click here