“Meetings at school are much easier to follow!”
Alex Slight is Head of Design Technology at a south London school. The married father of two has been teaching for over 25 years, and can usually be found in the workshop, classroom or IT suite most days of the school year.
Alex keeps fit and cycles up to 20 miles to school each day on busy London streets, navigating the increasingly heavy traffic.
Around four years ago, Alex had an infection from a cold that spread to his ear. After an appointment with his GP, he was referred to a specialist who confirmed that the nerve endings in his ear were damaged and who told Alex that the hearing loss would be permanent.
Since losing the hearing in his left ear, Alex has struggled to hear his family and students, and started to feel unsafe on his daily commute as he became aware of ‘blind spots’ created by his hearing loss. He found it hard listening to students with the background noise of the workshop or trying to hear them over the sound of machines.
At home, his wife and children often had to shout when in another room and meeting friends in the pub was difficult as he would simply zone out of conversations.
Coping with background noise was one of the hardest things to deal with, whether in a restaurant or bar. Meetings at school had started to become challenging, as he would need to position himself so that he had his ‘good’ ear facing the right direction.