“For years I struggled without my hearing aids, which meant I couldn't keep up with conversations. But I wouldn't be able to do half the things I do today without them.
I’ve been severely deaf since I was born, but my parents only realised it when I was learning to talk and wasn’t pronouncing words properly. I was given hearing aids when I was four, and although they were big and quite unsightly, I did wear them. It was when I got to college that I started to worry about what people would think of me. I thought that being visibly deaf would blow my chances with girls, so, stupidly, I took them out in public, relying instead on lipreading, which meant I couldn’t keep up with conversations and missed out on a great deal.
It wasn’t until I was 27 that I finally embraced hearing aids and started wearing them full time. It was a turning point in my life – and my career. I started to do really well at work and my confidence just soared.
“Hearing aids don’t make you ‘old’, they keep you young! Embrace it.”
Being deaf has always made me feel like I had to do more to achieve ‘normal’, but when I achieve ‘normal’, I ask myself what else I can achieve! I know I set myself a high standard. But I never want anyone to say: ‘Oh he can’t do that because he’s deaf,’ because it’s just not true.
Everyone has their skillset, and obviously mine isn’t my hearing, but there are plenty of other things I excel at! I’ve always loved sport and being active, but in the last few years, I’ve set goals for myself, to try new sports like scuba diving or triathlons. I even ran the marathon this year for Action on Hearing Loss, to support the great work they do, which was a proud moment.
Whatever I’m doing, I’ve got my hearing aids in at all times. They are a huge help and I would encourage anyone who needs them to ignore any negative stigma and get them. It’s life-changing and removes so many barriers. I know there are lots of people who aren’t at the same point in the journey as I am, but I can only speak for myself when I say that wearing hearing aids has given me freedom to do more and be more. They don’t make you ‘old’, they keep you young! Embrace it.”