My confidence has increased thanks to hearing aids
Rugby player Stuart Habergham says “everything has come alive” thanks to his new Amplifon hearing aids.
Stuart, a dad-of-two from Cambridge, no longer feels the need to apologise for missing parts of conversations and finds life at work easier too.
The 44-year-old health and safety advisor says his confidence has increased after undergoing a free hearing test and free hearing aid trial with Amplifon in Cambridge.
He said: “I'd noticed I couldn't always hear conversations and that leaves you feeling annoyed and like you look a bit stupid. I felt like I was always having to apologise to people for asking them to repeat themselves."
Health and safety advisor Stuart’s bilateral hearing loss occurred during his 17 years as a Royal Engineer in the armed forces.
“I worked around aircraft on deployment and helicopters on exercise,” he says. "We didn't always wear ear defenders – it wasn't always at the forefront of your mind – and that's when the damage was done. I initially thought I had tinnitus but soon realised it was more than that."
At the time, he says he tried several pairs of hearing aids but couldn’t find anything that truly worked for him.
Stuart first watched the England Deaf Rugby Union men’s team play against New Zealand in 2017. He has hearing loss over 40 decibels in both ears, making him eligible to represent EDRU at community and international level.
He said: “I knew straight away that I wanted to join but I didn’t know at the time whether I was deaf enough. It’s an amazing experience – you just feel like you’re accepted straight away because everyone is going through the same.
"There are no hang-ups – everyone is genuine and it feels like everyone is in the same situation as you."
As part of our sponsorship of EDRU, players were invited for a free hearing test and free hearing aid trial. They were then offered hearing aids at a discounted price.
He said: “I realised I needed to get a grip on reality and do something to address my hearing loss. Other tests I’d had previously were very salesy, but there was absolutely no pressure with Amplifon. The test was a lot more in-depth than I’d had before and I felt like everything was explained to me so I understood what was happening.”
Audiologist Darren Pattison suggested over-the-ear hearing aids would best suit Stuart’s needs – and, following the trial, he was keen to make the purchase.
“I can hear the whole range of sounds now – everything seems much more normal,” he says. “At work I can be talking to people who speak quietly but I have no problem hearing them now. There’s no more embarrassment and I’m much more confident.”
Stuart has also been impressed with the advances in hearing aid technology since he last wore devices. He said: “I’ve got settings for different environments and I’ve connected my aids to my phone via Bluetooth so I can easily switch between them.
“I always felt like there was a stigma around hearing aids but there really isn’t these days. Nobody mentions them and I’ve stopped feeling stupid in conversations.”
Stuart said he would urge anyone thinking about getting their hearing tested to take the plunge. “Just go and do it,” he adds.