A ten-year struggle
Mother-of-three Lisa Beckwith, from Bingley, West Yorkshire, first noticed her hearing loss about ten years ago, but delayed getting it tested. She admits that this was “due to vanity, pride and a refusal to acknowledge I was getting older.” Ten years is a long time, but the World Health Organization (WHO) says that 9–10 years is the typical length of time people wait between realising they have a hearing problem and taking action.
During this period, Lisa’s habits changed; she started avoiding social situations, such as nights out at busy restaurants and group get-togethers. This is why untreated hearing loss and social isolation often go hand in hand. Lisa remembers, “In big group get-togethers, or in a noisy restaurant, I really struggled to hear what was going on, so I adapted my behaviour when it came to going out and socialising, and avoided these situations.”
Lisa admits that her hearing loss came on gradually, which is often the case, and which is why it often takes people a long time to seek help. “It was just little things at first, like having to ask people to repeat themselves, having the TV on too loud and people walking into the room and saying, ‘turn it down’.” These ‘little things’ are often the first signs of hearing loss, and it’s also often our family members and close friends who’ll notice these changes in our hearing first.