Sally's story

My hearing loss - when did it start?

When I was sixteen, I had a bout of measles.  I recovered from the illness quite quickly but an audiologist told me I had a significant hearing loss in my right ear (the left apparently was a bit better), and that my hearing was unlikely to come back.

What did I do about it?

I tried to pretend it was nothing really and just got on with doing the things that young people like to do, including listening to music.  While I was at school this was not too bad, but when I went off to university and needed to make new friends - well, that brought matters to a head.

My first experiences with hearing aids

Someone asked me if I would have to wear one of those 'contraptions' her granny used - as a teenager you can imagine how I felt!  However, the hearing aid (for my right ear) was not half as bad as I was expecting - although compared to today's small digital hearing aids, it lagged well behind in looks and performance.  Later, when I started working, people just seemed to take it for granted - and in quiet surroundings, I found the hearing in my left ear was just about good enough to get me by without relying on my hearing aid.

How am I doing now?

As I've got older, the hearing in my left ear has deteriorated to the extent that I now need to use aids on both sides.  To be honest, I wouldn't know what to do if I didn't have my digital hearing aids.  When I get up, I have a shower then put them in and, generally, that's where they stay, all day and every day.

Additional products and skills that have helped me

When I was given a hearing aid, I didn't normally wear it when at home - so that's when I was more aware of my hearing loss.  And when I was staying at my university's halls of residence, my biggest worry was not hearing when my boyfriend rang the doorbell!  I later realised that technology can help in many ways and that hearing aids, helpful as they are, are not the answer in every situation.

Do I have any words of advice for others?

Yes - don't leave it as long as I did before accepting that your hearing may not be as good as it once was, or you would wish it to be!  The person who lost out most was me - although, looking back, it was only a couple of years before I saw sense and got the help that I needed.


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