The members of BIHIMA are committed to understanding the experiences of those with hearing loss and allowing that feedback to shape the technology they pioneer.

In the fourth in our series of real stories of hearing loss, we tell the story of Clive, a retired engineer who has found that his interest in hearing technology has helped him continue his enjoyment of other technology (particularly the TV!).

“I first noticed a decrease in my hearing about 8 years ago when the wife complained the TV was too loud,” Clive explained. “To be honest, I had probably been suffering with hearing loss for a lot longer, but my wife finally encouraged me to have my hearing tested.“

He saw his local audiologist who fitted him with the right hearing technology to meet his needs – “and I have never looked back!“ he enthuses. “I am now able to use my hearing aids to better cope with crowds, background noise, and when in gatherings of people. My wife has also noticed my confidence boost. Being hard of hearing can sometimes be embarrassing, lonely and difficult. I used to struggle in noisy situations and would often mishear or lose track of conversations if it involved more than one other person. My life has definitely changed for the better.”

Clive’s former career as quality engineer for Sony means he is fascinated by the technology which is a key part of audiological care. He is keen to try out the latest designs and is currently on his third pair of hearing devices: “I am always interested in learning about the latest technology. My audiologist will always give me a demonstration of the latest hearing technology and explain in detail  how it works.”

It’s easy to detect Clive’s enthusiasm for the technology when he talks about the functionality of his hearing devices. “My most recent purchase was a pair of rechargeable RICs,” he explains, “I am now using these hearing aids via bluetooth with my mobile phone to stream phone calls. I also have the ability to use my hearing aids to link to the TV so it can pick up the audio output and stream straight into my hearing aids! This enables me to get better enjoyment via the surflink application. I can also connect to my tablet to play music through my hearing aids without having to put headphones on. And of course I am able to enjoy a better television experience without annoying my wife by having it too loud!”

Clive’s experience of waiting a long time before seeking help for his hearing loss is very common. Recent research compiled in the 2018 Eurotrak UK report showed that 71% of hearing device wearers in the UK said they wished they had got their hearing aid sooner. The same research showed that the top reason for this was that people reported having a better social life once they had been fitted with hearing technology – this also chimes with Clive’s experience of formerly lacking confidence in social situations. Indeed, Clive’s story is one of millions about the transformational impact of hearing technology and the positive effect on people’s sense of communication, community and overall wellbeing.

This case study is based on Clive’s nomination of his audiologist, Kim Spargo, for the Audiologist of the Year 2017 competition: www.audiologistoftheyear.co.uk.

Audiologist of the Year is a highly acclaimed award within the hearing industry, celebrating the exceptional work of hearing care professionals across Europe. Now in its eleventh year, the competition invites patients to nominate their audiologist to be rewarded for their exceptional hearing care services. For more information, please visit www.audiologistoftheyear.eu.

You can read the other stories in our series here: