Derren Wing, 49, isn’t quite sure how long he’s had hearing loss. Like many, though, it’s been noticeable for some years. His fiancée, Sarah, says it’s been “at least ten years. Maybe 13?” but admits that Derren would say it’s less, since he wouldn’t have known what he’d been missing out on. This echoes findings from the World Health Organization (WHO), who claim, “it often takes 10 years for an individual to recognise that they have a hearing problem (but a shorter time for significant others).” 1
Hearing loss denial
Derren, who works in construction, was previously employed in the print industry and accepts that his hearing loss was probably noise-induced. “I mean, you had three loud presses running and finishing equipment all in one room. And that was for 13 years, so that probably affected my hearing.” He didn’t realise at the time the damage this was causing and the effect it would have on his future hearing and so didn’t take the proper precautions. “I don’t think it was thought about much back then, not like nowadays.”
Even after getting a hearing test six years ago, Derren admits that he was still in denial, admitting he “just swept it under the carpet. I was in denial.” But Sarah knew that it was at least a step in the right direction, “It was confirmation that it wasn’t ear wax, or the way people talk, or people’s accents. It was proof.”
Rejoining the conversation
It wasn’t until he had a hearing test at Hidden Hearing, where he was able to try on a pair of hearing aids, that Derren was finally able to accept that he had a hearing loss. “Richard Mason, [Derren’s Hearing aid audiologist at Hidden Hearing Tunbridge Wells], actually put a pair of hearing aids on me. It was amazing. He put the radio on. He had Sarah ask me questions and she walked to nearly the front of the clinic and I was still answering them. And that was when I really noticed that I definitely had a problem.”
Since getting his hearing aids, Sarah feels that Derren is now able to join in the conversation again, having missed out on so much over the years. “Obviously we’re looking forward to the big things, like the wedding, but I think every day Derren’s learning about the little things that he’s missed out on too,”
Sarah’s biggest fear was that Derren wouldn’t be able to participate in their own wedding, since he wouldn’t be able to hear. With family coming from all over the globe, and having to have it postponed until the summer of 2022 due to the pandemic, Derren claims that his hearing aids will be “indispensable” on his wedding day, allowing him to be completely present. “It's only now I can hear that I appreciate everything I was missing!” And when it comes to the wedding planning sessions, Derren is definitely able to be “fully engaged”!
Treating hearing loss early can significantly improve your quality of life. Book your free hearing test today, just follow the link. Or you can take our online hearing test. It’s free, takes five minutes and is a great way to get a general idea of well you can hear.