Neuroscientist, business psychologist and change specialist, Dr Lynda Shaw is a successful professional speaker and mentor to CEOs but many of her clients would never know that she has significant hearing loss.
Dr Shaw from Chalfont St Giles says: “My father died when I was 39 and I was devastated and it started showing itself physically, starting with psoriasis on my scalp. One day I was talking to a friend and she said to me “You didn’t hear what I just said did you?” At that point it dawned on me that something was wrong with my hearing too and I just hadn’t been picking up the signals. I realised then that you simply don’t know what you can’t hear. When I sought help I was asked if I wanted to be part of audiology research being done at Cambridge University and they ascertained that my hearing loss was most likely attributed to severe shock and stress at the loss of my father.
“Although I realised I had a hearing problem I was still in full denial and thought if I just concentrated a little more I could manage. The problem was I was misinterpreting what I heard and that made me feel stupid and isolated. It was also completely exhausting.”
After five years of a heady mix of denial and struggling Dr Shaw went to her local audiologists Aston Hearing for help and was introduced to the world of hearing aids. “I still didn’t want to use a hearing aid and felt pretty fed up and slightly awkward that I was needing hearing aids in my mid-40s. My hearing loss got worse and everything was a struggle; I couldn’t work effectively, couldn’t talk on the phone and relationships deteriorated. I finally realised I could no longer operate without the technology of hearing aids so I bit the bullet and returned to Aston Hearing and together we carefully chose two new digital hearing aids that were just right for the issues I was facing.
“I can honestly say that outside of my family and close friends, my relationship with my audiologists, is one of my most important relationships. It helped me beyond anything I can imagine, it literally was life changing. I hear well, I have strong relationships, a successful business as a professional speaker and mentor to CEO’s across the country, I am extremely active, and I love life.
The thought that some people buy their hearing aids on the high street or the internet frightens me. Once you buy exactly the right hearing aid for you, despite the incredible technology these days, it needs to be fine-tuned several times and regular Microsuction is a vital aspect of looking after my hearing loss.”
Duncan Collet-Fenson, Audiologist & MD of Aston Hearing explains how hearing aids work: “At first it is often completely exhausting and frustrating to suffer from hearing loss. You can’t maintain your life as you once knew it for very long and many people feel isolated, anxious, angry and depressed. However, the solutions on the marketplace in 2020 are extraordinary. Hearing aids are discreet, smart and technologically advanced. The integration of smart phone technology means that hearing aids can be controlled by the wearer via hearing apps connected to mobile phones to stream phone calls, podcasts, music or television sound and the user can make adjustments as they need to on the app. It is life changing.”
Lynda says these days people don’t even know she wears hearing aids. “Hearing loss is invisible. Hearing issues are not spoken about in the business world, but it stops people, it isolates them, it can make high powered people feel at a loss which can affect the bottom line. To solve it we need to talk about hearing and how important it is and that there is a lot that can be done to help.”
Despite her success and confidence Lynda says she is still conscious of the acoustics and how to position herself when presenting at her professional talks and will always look around pre-presentation to see how she can best use the room to help her. “Funnily enough I am now an expert on the brain which includes the relationship between the brain and your hearing and I recently presented to a large conference of audiologists which may not have been a natural fit if I hadn’t experienced hearing loss myself.”