Eargym Founder Explains Regrets Over Her Hearing Loss

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Realising and accepting that you have hearing loss is not someone anybody wants to do. Just like other senses declining, the feeling of deterioration and its association with ageing can be a very hard thing to come to terms with.

However, not doing so can lead to greater regrets afterwards, a point made in an interview with Hello Magazine by Amanda Philpott, the founder of the online hearing care platform Eargym.

Ms Philpott founded the site after coming to acknowledge her own problems with hearing at the age of 52. A senior NHS manager, she realised she had a problem when attending a Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) and suddenly realised what had caused recent communication difficulties she had been experiencing.

“I put it down to the stress of the role taking its toll on me, but I was becoming increasingly irritated by people muttering in meetings,” she explained, adding: “I was frustrated by other people’s lack of communication skills before I realised I was the common thread.”

For that reason, the things she learned at the conference and her sudden realisation that the problem had been with her and not others came as a major shock, leaving her wishing she could have repeated the previous few years of her career.

She remarked: “If I’d sorted out my hearing, I think I could have handled things much better because I wouldn’t have had that additional unrecognised source of stress.”

This experience goes to show just why it is wise to book a free hearing test; not only does it mean you can get help for any ear problems you have, ranging from wax removal to having a hearing aid fitted, but you can also avoid associated problems like stress caused by not hearing what people are saying in work or social situations.

Wearing a hearing aid is not something most people are happy to do, especially if they are not in old age. Ms Philpott noted that the stigma that comes through the association of hearing aids with later life is a major deterrent to seeking help.

However, she noted, while the average age for a first-time user of a hearing aid is 75, it takes on average ten years from the onset of hearing decline to seeking help, so that figure could be a lot lower if people act sooner.

Speaking of her own experience of using hearing aids, Ms Philpott said it has been transformative of her quality of life. “I’d always hear birdsong on my dog walks, but with my hearing aids it was like being in an arena filled with birdsong,” she said.

Getting private help for hearing issues is not something everyone would think of doing. However, a recent RNID report found that many NHS service providers do not offer free hearing tests, despite clinical recommendations that they should.

Those who do get treatment privately, such as earwax removal, may find they are very glad they did. One such case is that of Helen Kendall, a 76-year-old from Bath, who already uses hearing aids and needs regular wax removal, or else she is unable to fully function as a choir member, in her art group and book club, or her voluntary work at a food bank.

Discussing her decision to pay for wax removal, she told Somerset Live: “It made a huge difference to my hearing and quality of life.