For the last two years I have been working for Aston Hearing, involved in marketing, customer service and admin. I also have a huge passion for music, and have spent years going to gigs and clubs without using noise protection, taking breaks, making sure not to stand too close to the speaker – all the things I would advise a client to do now!
Over the past few years, I have begun to notice slight problems with my hearing. One-to-one I am absolutely fine, but when background noise is introduced it can be hard to pick up distinct words.
When I take a phone call with lots of people around me in our reception I have to really concentrate to hear the other person. In general, I would say that hearing is taking slightly more brain power these days than it used to.
This is a copy of my most recent audiogram.
* Alice has since moved to work for Which? Magazine – thank you Alice for sharing your story and help over the last couple of years.
Every frequency is under 20db, which means that sounds of all pitches don’t have to be very loud at all for me to hear them. The slight dip at 6kHz is a classic sign of noise damage, although I am still in the range of good hearing.
Seeing this audiogram, you would think I had only done minimal damage to my hearing, but further tests tell a different story. My speech-in-noise results show that I might have a mild hearing loss, as my scores for determining specific words with background noise were lower than my standard audiogram.
This is a classic example of ‘hidden hearing loss’ and shows how easily irreversible damage can be done. As much as I wish I had been aware of the risks earlier and had been more careful, I am still grateful for the knowledge I have now that will help me to preserve my hearing. From working at Aston Hearing I have already learned lots of techniques for good communication, such as facing people and speaking clearly, which will help me in the future should I lose any more hearing.
Aston Hearing have also helped me by fitting customised noise protection plugs which I now wear every time I go out. They are moulded to my ear canals and are really comfortable to wear, even for hours at a time. The filters ensure that every frequency is reduced evenly, so the sound quality is not affected, just the volume lowered. I actually prefer the sound through my plugs, as with them in I feel the bass more in my body, and I don’t have the uncomfortable ringing in my ears when I go home.
My personal project now is to try to spread the word about the importance of protecting your hearing. It’s really encouraging to see major clubs in London get involved with the All Ears campaign, but more can still be done.