villager article - My story

Articles from The Villager part 1

Andrew Hyde is a hearing aid audiologist and has established Hear in the Community based in Mortimer, serving the communities of Berkshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire.
Throughout his 14 year career, he has raised awareness of the benefits of maintaining our ability to hear by catching hearing loss at its early onset.
“Nothing wrong with my hearing,” is probably the thought that runs through your mind as yet another advertisement for hearing aids lands on the door step or catches your eye in print.  But how can you be sure?

An Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) consultant said to me when I was 9 or 10 years old that I had a mild loss of hearing and that as long as I sat at the front of the class nearest the teacher I would hear all right. As I’m sure you recall, most teachers have to go “walk-about” the class-room! The impact my hearing impairment had on my education and my earlier chosen careers was significant, to say the least.

At the age of 17 and after several unsuccessful operations on both ears in attempts to rectify my difficulties, I was fitted with only one of those “big” behind the ear analogue NHS hearing aids. This seemed to make everything louder. I was offered no guidance as to what to expect when hearing aids are worn for the first time so my hearing aid, along with 1000s like them, spent much of its time in the drawer. It wasn’t until I was training to become a hearing aid audiologist that I learnt about auditory rehabilitation which is the gradual process of acclimatisation by the brain to “new” sounds.

Nearly everyone’s hearing deteriorates very slowly through age and we do forget how well we used to hear and to some extent, we learn to compensate. How can we be sure how well we still hear? For each year our hearing deteriorates, it can take one month to “get used to” wearing hearing aids. This is significant when you consider that many people will allow their hearing to get progressively worse for 10-15 years before arranging to have a hearing test.

The concept of preventative care and medicine has been with us for quite some time.  Is it not as much about maintaining our quality of life, as opposed to allowing our quality of life to diminish to such an extent that improving it can be an uphill struggle?
We are bombarded with facts about which diet to follow or how much exercise to take in order to reduce the risk of this or that disease. If we apply this logic to our most vital sense, our hearing, does it not make sense to undergo a hearing test periodically?

Can you afford not to maintain your ability to hear as well as possible?
In the forthcoming coming issues, Andrew will cover some aspects of audiology and what it’s all about, some global facts and figures about hearing loss, answer the real question as to why we “put it off” and possibly such gems as the “meaning of life…!.” Read on….