Leroy Dempster, a 40-year-old father of two from Coleraine has suffered from hearing loss for most of his life. His mother noticed that he wasn’t taking in a lot of the lessons in primary school and after that he underwent many operations to help improve his hearing. As a musician and someone who partakes in a lot of pantomimes, hearing is of paramount importance.
Audiologist Andrew MacPherson of the Coleraine’s Hidden Hearing branch nominated Leroy as part of the CSR programme the company is promoting to improve peoples’ hearing. When Leroy got the phone call to inform him he was chosen to benefit from the scheme, he was over the moon.
Leroy said “I was speechless when I got the call, when the news sank in I thought this was amazing. The quality of the hearing aids I am wearing is state of the art. It’s improved my life no end. I used to back off when in group situations, I was scared to get involved in case I missed something, but with my new hearing devices I know what’s going on around me. Before this, I might not have heard something the right way and I would come out with something random. And my friends would look at me as if to say – what is he going on about?”.
Audiologist Andrew MacPherson has been working for Hidden Hearing for 14 years and nominated Leroy for the company’s “Give Back” programme.
Andrew says; “I think Leroy is a good example of how hearing loss can affect people of all different ages. Leroy is only 40 but has had difficulty hearing from an early age. I think unfortunately there will always be the stigma that being hard of hearing means old age or ageing but in fact it is just a medical condition which can be helped with hearing devices and these days hearing aids are so discreet – you wouldn’t notice them.”
Andrew stresses the importance of getting your ears tested; “Isolation is so common amongst those hard of hearing. They just don’t want to go out and put themselves into situations where they know they cannot hear properly and they find it embarrassing. As Leroy said he was always taking care not to jump into conversations because he thought he might pick something up wrong. We all make mistakes hearing things at times, you mishear, and your friends can turn around and look at you like you’re an idiot – but if you have hearing loss and you’re getting that ten times a day it’s going to really damage your confidence. Hidden Hearing have some brilliant hearing aids – no one hard of hearing needs to miss out or live like that.”
Speaking from an audiologist’s perspective, Andrew advises on the importance of hearing health and encouraging loved ones and family to have their hearing evaluated. He says; “ I would advise anyone questioning their hearing capabilities to come in to Hidden Hearing for a screening and start small and give us the opportunity to introduce ourselves. We will check for wax and if there is any sign of a loss we will offer them a free full test if they happy to continue to the next stage. Also, if there was a more severe problem they will be referred on to get treatment for a more serious medical condition. Sometimes new circumstances like working in a noisy workplace can impact hearing or they may have wax lodged in their ears. We can offer people a free earwax removal service if the client is over 50. All hearing tests are free and we can send on their audiogram to their local GP.”
The Give Back Programme, which is an integral part of The Campaign for Better Hearing sees all branches of Hidden Hearing nominate a member of the community to get a free hearing device fitted. Hidden Hearing want to drive the message of the importance of good hearing and improve hearing health in those who they feel need it because life is worth hearing.
You can also nominate a person you feel could benefit from having a hearing test & that could be selected to receive a free pair of hearing devices through the Campaign for Better Hearings Give Back Programme. All you need to do is email: email@example.com and in the body of the email give your name, number, address and your nominee’s name, number and address & please write a brief summary of why you would like to nominate that person for a free hearing test and potentially a free pair of hearing devices.