Rugby player Beth Cooke no longer needs subtitles when she’s watching TV thanks to her “game-changing” Amplifon hearing aids.
Beth, a high school teacher, says her life is now much more flexible after a free hearing test and free hearing aid trial with Amplifon.
The 34-year-old, from Cambridge, previously preferred to use video calling when she wanted to speak to people so that she could lipread. With her new hearing aids, she can make calls using her mobile.
She says: “There were lots of things that I had to really think about and plan with my old hearing aids, but now I have so much more flexibility and situations are a lot more accessible."
Beth, a mum-of-two, has hereditary sensorineural hearing loss, which affects the women in her family and first started to notice some loss in her teens, and then her 20s.
“I'm an English and media teacher and I'd noticed it was starting to feel difficult in the classroom, where there was a lot of background noise,” she says. “I ignored it, as you do, but then my wife pointed out that the TV was always really loud, and that prompted me to get my hearing tested.”
After a hearing test, she started to wear aids in both ears, but still found she needed subtitles on TV programmes to avoid having the volume turned up too loud.
Beth joined England Deaf Rugby Union in 2018 as her hearing loss level made her eligible to play in both community matches and internationally. “I had imposter syndrome when I joined the team because I’m not profoundly deaf, but from the first session I found there was such a nice atmosphere,” she says.
Amplifon invited Beth for a free hearing test, which she found much more thorough than previous tests.
It was more than just being told that I was losing hearing – the audiologist explained the ranges and the environments that would be affected, and it was great to have that knowledge so that we could pick the best hearing aids for me,” she says. “The test was so easy and calm, and I always felt like I had options.”
Having not bought hearing aids for some years, Beth was surprised by the technology available and opted for a free two-week trial of rechargeable hearing aids with Bluetooth connectivity so that she can stream sound directly from devices.
Days into the trial she knew she was going to buy them. “When I first put them in, everything was a lot clearer and I noticed, particularly outside, that I didn’t get any wind interference, and they’re much more comfortable to wear,” she says. “I went to the theatre and, where sometimes I’d not been able to hear clearly, I could use the Amplifon app to turn up the hearing aids. It meant that, all of a sudden, something that was inaccessible before was now accessible.”
The app can be used to adjust the settings to adapt to different environments, which should make life in the classroom much clearer, she says, and she no longer needs to carry spare batteries.
Watching television has also improved, with the sound streamed directly to her hearing aids. Beth had always used subtitles previously but, during live events, these can be slow or inaccurate and can sometimes block parts of the picture.
“I watched the Six Nations and was able to hear all of the commentary as play happened, which was brilliant,” she says. “There are also a surprisingly large amount of TV programmes that don’t have subtitles so a few times we’ve sat down to watch something and not been able to. Now we have lots of TV to catch up on!”
Beth says she would encourage anyone to seek help for their hearing loss by booking a free Amplifon hearing test. “I’d definitely say just do it,” she adds. “Go and see what options there are because there are so many ways your life can be improved.”