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Case Study: Trudy’s Story – Confronting Hearing Loss

Our Receptionist, Trudy, has been struggling with her hearing for a while and decided to take the bull by the horns and do something about it. Here’s Trudy’s story: 

For quite some time I knew I had a problem with my hearing but never really thought about it and just ignored it. One of those things that you just keep putting off.

There had always been the odd joke with my partner and I with the kids, as I would have to ask them to keep repeating things, or I would just miss a conversation altogether.

My Mum has hearing loss and has had since a very young age, so I kind of knew I probably had my mum’s genes with regards to hearing issues.

Weeks, months pass by, and it’s always something you keep putting off and never putting any time aside to do something about it. Life gets in the way; always too busy with family and never putting yourself first.

Then we experienced the Covid pandemic –

After returning to work after 12 months of working from home, returning to the office I noticed a dramatic difference in my hearing.

Maybe it had always been there, but as I had never been out of that office/clinic environment for such a long period of time I quickly noticed, and I started to struggle with my hearing. I wouldn’t be able to hear my colleague sitting across from me unless she faced me and I was probably lip-reading half of the conversation. It then became embarrassing to ask so many times for things to be repeated, it also became exhausting. Even the TV in the house seemed louder.

In October I finally gave in and asked for help from the audiologists at the clinic. It was scary to do so, to take that step. I knew something would be picked up on the audiogram, but I didn’t know what, and that worried me.

I knew I was in safe hands though. Celeste is amazing. She is very calm and reassuring, making sure I understood everything before moving on to the next stage. She confirmed what I already suspected, so when she told me I had a hearing loss it wasn’t a surprise – but still upsetting having it confirmed especially when I’m not even 40 yet! But hearing loss can happen at any age.

I didn’t feel rushed into deciding on what I needed to do next, I just needed to take my time to absorb the information and consider my options.

Over the next few months, I opened up to close family and friends about my hearing loss. It was over the Christmas period that I decided I needed to do something about it.

I was coping, and had been for ages, but why should you just cope and get on with it when there is a solution?

In January I decided to take the next step and try a pair of Starkey hearing aids from angli-EAR Hearing.

It took me a little while to get used to the feeling of having something in my ear. And of not being self-conscious about people seeing them! However, to my surprise, when I told my partner that I’d been for a hearing aid fitting he asked when I was going to have them to take home. I replied “they are already in my ears!” He honestly couldn’t see them, they are so discreet.

Getting used to something new takes time, no matter what it is. The Starkey app I installed on my phone is fantastic and allows me to adjust my hearing aids depending on what background environment I am in. Celeste has set me up on ‘Office Mode’ for when I am in the office. This is more of a directional microphone setting so I can hear clients talking when I am greeting them at reception and block out the sound around me. This is great when reception is busy as the microphone in my hearing aids recognise where the person speaking is located and “zones in” on them whilst automatically reducing any background noise.

They also have connectivity features which means that using Bluetooth I could connect to my phone to stream phone calls and music directly to my hearing aids.

I loved the Starkey sound quality, it is very sharp and clear. I also trialled a pair of Phonak hearing aids to see which I preferred and found these to be a better fit for my ears. They too have the directional microphones, app controls and connectivity. I think it all comes down to personal preference and which type best suits the fit of your ears.

As the weeks went on during my hearing aid trial, I was able to pick up new sounds that I hadn’t heard before – like the fridge!! Apparently, it’s been making a noise on and off since we moved house 2 years ago – I could now hear it!

When the children walked away from me muttering under their breath (as teenagers do) they were surprised when I answered them back!

I do feel I can relax more when I go out with friends and family, and I don’t have to worry about missing anything. And it’s far less exhausting trying to keep track of conversations.

My hearing loss is something I wish I had sorted out sooner as a simple solution has been life changing!