Living with a hearing impairment

Coming from a family of weak eyes and ears, hearing impairments have been something I have been exposed to from a young age. Always silently counting my blessings that my hearing wasn’t “that bad”, to constantly researching things I could do to help myself.

As I’ve got older, with immense stress, deterioration of my vitiligo, and various other circumstances, my hearing has also deteriorated 🙁 I went through various months of denial and making up excuses to hide me not hearing everyday noises. Due to the negative stigma attached to hearing aids, I was determined to not retreat to them.

However, one day, something just switched in me, after more and more incidents of mishearing/not hearing, I decided to bite the bullet and get checked out. After ordering some amplifiers off Amazon, I realised that I was indeed in dire need of help.

I initially went for a hearing test at Specsavers, where the audiologist was very rude in not hiding her shock at how bad my hearing was. She was also trying her utmost best to convince me that I needed hearing aids that cost over £2k. Slightly disheartened, I approached my GP to see what options would be available to me on the NHS.

Slightly dubious and expecting humongous non-discreet hearing aids, it was needless to say that I was highly nervous going to my first hospital audiologist appointment. The audiologist was so gentle and lovely that she put me right at ease. She spoke me through the various options and her recommendations, as well as time scales of when they could be fitted.

By some miracle, she not only managed to find some discreet slimline BTE (Behind The Ear) hearing aids, she also managed to supply them on the same day. I expressed my preference for a black model, which I felt would blend in with my hair easier, which she ordered ready for my next appointment.

Not many people know I wear hearing aids, my hijab and strategic hair placing have been amazing at helping me conceal this, as I am still not comfortable with the idea of everyone knowing. However, the only regret I have is not getting fitted sooner. I feel like I was living a half-life prior to hearing aids, I mean you wouldn’t walk around without glasses when you can’t see would you?

I am now able to hear sounds that I didn’t even know existed, which has not only helped with my confidence, but also made my practice in the classroom a lot easier. I would definitely recommend getting checked and I am eternally grateful for the amazing service that is the NHS.

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