When the Falklands veteran sustained severe injuries after his ship the Sir Galahad was bombed and set on fire, his main focus was on getting through the operations which would help to save his sight and repair the injuries caused by severe burns. “I could hear what the doctors were telling me whilst I was in hospital, so I thought my hearing was okay,” he admits. “But I’d been a member of the Welsh guards shooting team and had operated mortars before I was injured, and over time the damage that caused started to become apparent. ‘I first noticed a change in my hearing twenty years ago. I was out running and I noticed a sort of ticking – I thought a moth had flown into my ear.”
Simon also started to develop tinnitus, which gradually became louder and lasted for longer periods of time. ‘It really got me down,” he says. “It’s like having a nag in your ear all the time.” “But it wasn’t until 5 or 6 years ago when his wife and children started to comment on how loud the volume was on the TV and to joke about him missing bits of conversations that he decided to take action to address his hearing. “I spend a lot of time doing public speaking, and in certain venues where the acoustics weren’t quite so good it was becoming more difficult to hear when people were asking questions – especially if they were all the way up on a balcony!”
After hosting an event for global hearing specialists Amplifon and learning about the hearing technology and expertise they could offer, Simon booked a test with his local branch and was impressed by the level of detail his audiologist went into at the appointment. “Talisha, my audiologist, was excellent,” says Simon. “She talked me through what would happen in the test and discussed with me in depth the hearing difficulties I encountered. “I’d been to the NHS about my hearing previously, and although
they were able to help, the test Talisha carried out was much more in depth.” “She identified all sorts of things which hadn’t been described to me before and she really helped me to understand the nature of my hearing loss and what could be done to address it.”
After exploring the different hearing aid solutions with Talisha, Simon chose LiNX2 9 hearing aids, which can be adjusted to work in
different environments using a smartphone app. “My hearing aids have made a big difference to my life already,” he smiles. “Dinner parties used to be a challenge, but now I can set my hearing aids to dinner party mode and pick up the higher, softer notes
of people’s voices.” “Using the devices in tandem with a multi-mic has been a real help in business meetings – I can pick up every word – I just have to make sure I don’t leave the room without it in case someone says something about me!”
As a big fan of everything from classical and jazz to bluegrass, rock and pop, Simon’s also found having hearing aids has helped him discover a new love of music: “I can pick up on lots of little things I’d missed when I listen to music now – all the higher, sharper notes, it’s fantastic.” He’s also found controlling his hearing aids from his phone easy to adjust to: “The phone app is quite simple to use, it’s a case of adjusting it to suit your needs in different situations,” he says. The hearing aids have also helped to ease his tinnitus, offering peace of mind and helping him to feel more positive about his hearing. “The great thing is I know I can rely on my hearing aids. If I have any questions I can go and speak to my audiologist any time, so I never have to miss a thing!” And Simon says he would encourage anyone who thinks they might have a hearing problem to go to Amplifon. “Go and do it. It’s all about enhancing your life, making it better and as enjoyable as you can, so give it a shot – if you don’t find out, you’ll never know!
Getting back to better hearing is a journey – I’ve got the ticket now.