Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The shame of wearing hearing aids

Just read this BBC Blog site titled - The shame of wearing hearing aids

Im 54 and self taught myself to Lipread until it was discovered at the age of 10 i was severely hard of hearing.

A loud family and a quiet boy put in a class behind my year and then put at the back of the class so the noisy kids were up front near the teacher.
I started wearing hearing aids at age 10 and hated them with a vengeance, people treated me like I was a "simpleton" as my grandfather called it.

When behind the ear aids became available I was one of the first kids in the country to get them and the NHS supplied an amplivox aid. It was years later before I was allowed to have two. At last I had aids that were cool and I zoomed up a year at school - allowed to sit at the front and scraped by with an O level or two.
Careers advisor's assured me that getting a supermarket job was ideal and to expect any more was just being silly.

I stopped wearing hearing aids for 30 years.

Sheer bloody determination and a laser like path into the technology of Film Television Theatre Lighting beaconed and I had a brilliant career in Theatre Cinema Advertising - running my own Laser Display company - and teaching Computer Graphics at Thames Valley University.
As co founder of The Terrence Higgins Trust I appeared on many interviews and always managed to convince myself that nobody could guess I was deaf. Or was it simply the fact that I am allergic to hearing aid pink. ?

My local audiologist listened to my story and suggested Clear Aids yep the body of the aid is transparent - the circuitry in gold is seen through the plastic - fantastic. Im the envy of every bluetooth mobile tech gadget freak in town - So ok im a 55 year old big kid with a new toy - but I have enjoyed wearing these aids over the past two years.
Now I looped the TV audio (My neighbours are so grateful) and im enjoying others company more than ever.

Im encouraged when I see Eastenders that have two young cast members wearing hearing aids and I wish we had more examples. Perhaps a hard of hearing detective that miss hears a conversation but gets the clue. If your deaf you will know what I mean ;)

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