“As I reflect back on 2020”
Christine Wright, from Stockport, received a state-of-the-art pair of hearing aids through the National Campaign for Better Hearing’s Give Back Programme.
She looks back on 2020, and how her new hearing aids have helped change her life.
“The most significant thing happened to me in January. Paul, at Hidden Hearing in Stockport, showed me how to link my iPhone to my hearing aids.
“I had been fitted with the aids back in the late autumn of the previous year and had not really been expecting much to change. My old NHS aids had been the best they could offer me, so I saw no reason why the new aids would be better. At first, I did not notice much difference but then my sister said that I had been able to hear her better over Christmas, and that I had responded when she had been talking to me out of sight, and therefore unable to lip read.
“In January, Paul fine-tuned the settings and linked my phone – results were almost miraculous. He tested the Bluetooth® setting by playing music from the radio.
“I was astonished at the clarity and richness of the sound. Although previously I could sometimes hear music if I was sitting in my car in a quiet place, my musical knowledge stopped around the late 1980s which was when my hearing deteriorated and left me unable to hear any ‘new’ music.
“I could often make out the tunes of old songs if the radio was on and would sing along to those (badly and still out of tune!). But there was nothing that I could identify in new songs and I definitely could not make out any lyrics.
“With my new aids, a whole new world of music has opened up to me. I still cannot hear the lyrics but the richness of the music has brought me real joy. I am forever pestering my godchildren, asking them to recommend new bands and singers and I am really enjoying being able to talk with them about music I like. In turn, they see me as somewhat ‘cool’ as I enthuse about a band they like!
“After he had checked that the Bluetooth® worked, Paul told me that I should be able to hear people on the phone, something I had not done for getting on for 30 years. When I got home from that appointment, I phoned my sister. She was used to me phoning her number (not texting her) if there was a problem and knew that there would be someone other than me on the other end when she answered. When I said, ‘Hello, it’s me; and I think I can hear you on the phone now’, she promptly burst into tears. It had been so long since we had been able to talk to one another.
“I had never spoken to my godchildren by phone before, and my close friends were also overjoyed that I could now phone them up for a chat and vice versa. I was having such fun testing new things out and realising that I stood a good chance of being able to hear what was going on if they were voices of people I knew.
“And then COVID-19 came along, together with the first lockdown. What for many people was a depressing and isolating time, my newfound communication technology meant I could speak to family and friends, FaceTime family abroad and join in Zoom services from my church.
“I was asked to do a telephone interview for Radio Manchester on behalf of Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and (with some help and forewarning of questions) I actually managed to do it! It was incredible to be able to continue giving support to the charity by doing this. Another wonderful benefit of my new aids was the fact that once lockdown happened and the roads were quieter.