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Learn from others with hearing loss

If you think you have hearing loss, you are not alone. Twenty percent of the UK's population have some degree of hearing loss. That's about 12 million people.
Learning from the stories of others might help you on your journey to better hearing.

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Study shows: hearing aids may improve life quality

Hearing loss affects your life in different ways. And since it often develops gradually over time, it's hard know when to seek treatment for hearing loss.

People wait an average of 7–10 years before getting help. Once they are treated and experience the positive impact hearing aids have on their life, they often regret waiting so long.

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Watch Sandra’s story

“Embracing my hearing has been one of the best things for me, my family and my career.

It’s just improved year on year since I’ve had my new hearing aids.”

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Audio Visual
My hearing loss came when I was 38, it was quite a shock really. Sandra is walking through a reception area.
My husband at the time kept saying to me, “I’m talking to you, you’re not listening to me.” Sandra is shown sitting against a wall with a flowered pattern. She looks into the camera and is laughing.
And it started off as a mild hearing loss but in the last 20 years now it’s literally gone like that [motions a steep decline with hand]. I wanted to train to be a teacher. I’d gone back to do an IT access course. I couldn’t hear what the teacher when they were writing, when he had his back to me writing on the board, or any of the students in front of me, so I had to change tack.

It affected my family life, I think… the children – especially my middle son, he’s got such a soft voice. One of the things I used to despair at more than anything was when you had to ask them to repeat themselves and they’d say, “It’s alright Mum, it’s fine, doesn’t matter.” Well it does matter, you do want to be part of their conversation and I used to find that very upsetting. I’ve done a lot of nodding in the right places and sometimes you get caught out because it doesn’t always work.

I wanted to go to a networking meeting, but the thought of doing… They used to do these “you have to talk about yourself for a minute”. I couldn’t make out what the lady was asking me in front.
Sandra is now sitting on a sofa in a grand reception room while she is talking to us.
I thought: “there’s got to be something better out there that can help me,” and that’s where I discovered Hidden Hearing. Sandra is engaging lively conversation. She is sitting across a table from another lady in a dining room.
I think the service and support that I’ve got from Hidden Hearing has been first class, explaining why you should wear you hearing aids every day, and they check to make sure you’re getting on with them, if there’s anything that might need tweaking. Sandra is sitting in the grand reception room.

Sandra is again show engaging in conversation in a dining room. 

Being told that you need to wear hearing aids every day for your brain to adjust and get used to them. Sandra is laughing at what is being said by her companion in the dining room.

Sandra is again sitting in the grand reception room.

Well the hearing aids that I wear now are Oticon Opn and they’re more discreet, you’ve got tiny, tiny tubes that run down the side here [motions to ear]. For the first time ever I now wear my hair up so, you know, I can literally wear my hair up and I don’t feel ashamed. I used to feel ashamed of big thick tubes, so they’re quite discreet and the clarity’s wonderful with them. The camera is now focusing on Sandra’s hair from behind. She is pulling her hair up into a ponytail. Holding her hair with left hand, she is motioning to her right ear, gesturing to where the tubes on her old hearing aid would have been on the outside of her ear.
 With my hearing aids and my mobile phone – I absolutely love it – the fact that it’s all Bluetoothed into your ears. Embracing my hearing has been one of the best things for me, my family and my career. It’s just improved year on year since I’ve had my new hearing aids. I’ve now gone from a team of - I had three, I think, three years ago to, I think, we’re up to 67. The best thing about switching my life on with my newfound hearing is I’ve got my confidence back. I’ve got my wiggle back – that’s how I see it – and I’m loving life again. Sandra is sitting in a dining room, talking with a male and female companion. 

Sandra is sitting in the grand reception room.

  Screen fades to white and then the Hidden Hearing logo appears.
Audiologist Timothy Humpidge with a customer

"You lose your hearing without noticing it. You don’t know what you can’t hear. My job is to help you through that process, making you feel comfortable."

Timothy Humpidge, Hearing Aid Dispenser at Hidden Hearing
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Watch Alex’s story

“With my family life, I now have a happy wife; I have happier children because they don’t have to shout at me so much.

“My social life has been switched on with better hearing. Because now I can go to pubs and restaurants and really enjoy myself.” 

 

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Audio  Visual
I’m the Head of Department at a high school teaching Product Design. I first noticed my hearing loss about five years ago. Alex is pushing his bike through the entrance of his school.
I’d had a cold and I went to the doctor because my hearing hadn’t cleared up properly after the cold and he sent me off to a specialist, who then told me that my nerve endings in my ear had been damaged and I’d suffered hearing loss in one of my ears. Caption appears: Alex Slight, 51

Alex is talking in his school’s workshop.

Alex is walking through his workshop

During meetings at school, my hearing loss really meant it was a real struggle to hear what was going on. I’d often have to try and lip-read whoever was speaking or I’d have to turn so that my better ear was pointing towards them.

In the classroom environment, especially in my workshop it’s exceptionally important to be able to hear properly. I’ve got machines running, I’ve got students using dangerous tools – I need to know what’s going on.


Alex is talking in his school’s workshop. 

Alex is giving a demonstration of how to use the machines in his workshop to two students.

If a student comes to speak to me, I need to hear what they’re saying. If it’s anything to do with health and safety, it’s really, really important I can hear the machines operating and if there’s any changes in the sound of those machines, I will know that something’s wrong. Alex is talking in his school’s workshop.

A student is cutting a piece of wood on a machine.

I cycle to work every day. I cycle from Beckenham to Wallington, which is about eight miles. I have to go over extremely busy sections of road, including the Croydon flyover. I really need my wits about me when I’m cycling to make sure that I stay safe and hear the vehicles around me. Alex is cycling in busy traffic.
I eventually went back to get my hearing checked again. I wear the Oticon Opn S. The best thing about my new hearing aid is it’s so unbelievably comfortable, small and compact. Relationships in your life, in your workplace are really, really important and without proper hearing, you’re always going to struggle. Now, I can get students to work more productively because I don’t waste any time with them. They tell me something, I answer them, they get on quickly. I’m not worried about what they’re doing because I have completely understood what they’ve told me.  Alex is working with a group of students in the kitchen of his school.
With my family life, I now have a happy wife; I have happier children because they don’t have to shout at me so much. Whilst cycling to work every day, I can now hear the traffic much more clearly, it’s less stressful and I feel much safer. My social life has been switched on with better hearing. Because now I can go to pubs and restaurants and really enjoy myself.  Alex is talking in his school’s workshop.

Alex is cycling to school in the morning.

Alex is teaching a cookery lesson at his school and helping his students.

Don’t let your hearing fade – get it tested and switch your life on. Alex is speaking directly to the camera.

White screen: Hidden Hearing logo.
 

5 steps to better hearing

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1. Know what the signs of hearing loss are
Signs of hearing loss
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2. Book a free hearing test at your local clinic
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Watch Katie’s story

“If I was to give someone with hearing loss advice, I would just say life doesn’t stop there – you can do anything.

“If you’re struggling with your hearing, don’t hide behind it – go and get your ears tested because you don’t know what you’re missing out on.”

Try hearing aids for 60 risk-free days

Audio  Visual
Admitting to yourself that you have a hearing loss is probably the hardest thing. I didn’t start wearing hearing aids until I was about 21 I think. Caption reads: Katie – model and salon owner.

Katie is sitting against a rack of weight bars in a gym. 

Zoom in on Katie’s head from behind as she’s pulling up her hair into a ponytail so that we can see her behind-the-ear hearing aid.

I got given my first pair of hearing aids about 18. Zoom out – Katie is walking across the gym floor, pausing to pick up a gym bag.
These hearing aids that I’ve been given by Hidden Hearing, they’re just amazing. Katie is sitting against a rack of weight bars in the gym
The technology is incredible. Zoom in on Katie’s head from behind as she’s pulling up her hair into a ponytail so that we can see her behind-the-ear hearing aid.
Now, they are just so, so small for the power that they have; they’re incredible really. They’re literally minute and they sit right behind my ear, so even if I was to wear my hair up, you can barely even see them, which is brilliant for me. When I went to Hidden Hearing for my hearing test, the test was so thorough, so that was really impressive. Katie is sitting against a rack of weight bars in a gym, talking to the interviewer who is out of shot.

She is removing her hearing aid from her left ear and presenting it to us in the palm of her right hand, to highlight how small it is. She is now putting her hearing aid back in.

Katie is jumping up onto a box, stepping down and then jumping back up again.
 Even now, after 11/12 years I probably would say that I haven’t completely accepted it still, and I don’t think it’s something I ever will. But the more I try to, the easier things become, and the more people you tell, the easier things become as well. If I was to give someone with hearing loss advice, I would just say life doesn’t stop there – you can do anything. Katie is putting her hands in to a bucket of chalk, now she is lifting a weighted barbell up to her shoulders.

Katie is doing chin ups on a bar.

Katie is using a cross-trainer bike.

It might be a little harder for you, but it will make you a stronger person for it. If you’re struggling with your hearing, don’t hide behind it – go and get your ears tested because you don’t know what you’re missing out on. Katie is dropping a weighted barbell, is climbing a rope in the gym and is skipping using a skipping rope.
For more information on Hidden Hearing, visit their website. The screen fades to white and the Hidden Hearing logo appears.

How to know when it's time to seek help

The signs of hearing loss can be vague and gradual, but they can also be obvious and sudden.

If you recognise one or more of the signs below, then it might be time for you to seek treatment.

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Difficulty following conversations
Difficulty following group conversations (especially when there's background noise)
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Phone conversations are unclear
You have trouble following phone conversations in both quiet and noisy places
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People seem to be mumbling too often
Sounds seem unclear, or people sound like they are mumbling when talking
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Difficulty locating sounds
You have difficulty locating where sounds are coming from
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Signs of tinnitus
You experience ringing or buzzing sounds in your ears (tinnitus)
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Turning up the TV too loud
Your friends and family say you have the TV too loud
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