For some time now I have been struggling to hear, and I know the reason.
For eighteen months, I drove each week to from Cornwall to London ( which is a twelve hour round trip ) passing the time by listening to insanely loud rock music! By the end of my Cornish adventure, I realised I was having to ask people to repeat themselves. My kids told me I was getting old and deaf!
Asking me to do something about it because I was becoming boring, I took myself to the hospital where my beliefs were confirmed – I had lost the whole top layer of my hearing.
Knowing that my ‘problem’ was caused by something acceptably ‘cool’ I didn’t feel ashamed as a result of my deafness. I never felt any stigma attached to that fact, or feel any embarrassment – in reality, I quite enjoyed laughing at my own expense.
This was all a long time ago, and things now are different for me. I am no longer asked why I can’t hear – people just put it down to age – and that is so depressing, but also I know I was being unacceptably vacuous.
I realised I was having to ask people to repeat themselves. My kids told me I was getting old and deaf!
Despite my own lackadaisical feelings about my inability, thousands of people out there of all ages are struggling with deafness, leading to isolation, struggles with communication and even safety – if you can’t hear an alarm, or a car horn, for example, you could be at real risk.
As an ageing population, the problem is also growing – particularly for those who spent the eighties and nineties with their Walkman’s plugged in full blast!
According to the RNID (Royal National Institute for Deaf People) there are more than 11 million people in the UK with some form of hearing loss, or one in six of the population. By 2035, it is estimated that there will be 15.6 million people with
By 2035, it is estimated that there will be 15.6 million people with hearing loss in the UK – that’s one in five. More than 900,000 people in the UK are severely or profoundly deaf.
And it isn’t just the elderly. More than 40% of those 50+, so merely middle-aged, report some kind of hearing loss. As we increasingly struggle against ageism in the workplace for example, that is a worrying statistic.
Any kind of disability is difficult for the sufferer, that goes without saying. But for people with sensory issues, like deafness or blindness, it’s life changing.
We take our faculties for granted, and I bore on about how fed up that I can’t watch some TV without the subtitles on. Just to put ourselves in their shoes and feel their loneliness and isolation, is maybe something more those in positions of power should think about.
There are things that can be done – support with hearing aids, technology that talks and aids for minimising the effects of Tinnitus, but people have to know how to access these, and at the moment it can take up to 10 years for someone to even acknowledge that they have a problem.
I can live independently – but how many of the aforementioned suffers can’t? More awareness and resources must be made to support those living with these conditions.
For help and support with deafness, visit Action Hearing Loss.
It was last year when the idea of a site for other women like me dawned – active, busy and ambitious women who just happen to be older.
Firstly it was going to be just fashion, but very quickly I realised that if I were going to write anything – then it would have to have more meaning than just that.
I decided to incorporate lifestyle and wellbeing and make the whole thing truly interactive and inclusive. I felt that with these issues covered, then there really was no end to what could be discussed and discovered – and who may benefit as a result.