From missing instructions in her hot yoga class to being excluded from vital business chat, area manager Laura Manca found herself suffering gradual hearing loss that became debilitating by the time she turned 50.
Describing feeling embarrassed, and even ashamed, by the stigma around hearing loss, it took gentle persuasion from a friend before she admitted the problem had deteriorated to the point where she needed more support.
The Edinburgh sofa firm boss was overwhelmed when she first trialled new hearing aids. “We went outside to take in the sounds and I was so, so overwhelmed by all the sounds I could hear. That’s when it hit me like a sledgehammer as to how much I’ve missed in life by not tackling my hearing issues sooner.”
She first sought help from the NHS 10 years ago, and while the care was excellent, it also triggered some traumatic and emotional memories of difficult times as a child. She was resistant to wearing the single hearing aid they offered and was in ‘denial’ about the extent of the problem for many years until a friend recommended going private.
Conor Lawson, audiologist at House of Hearing in Edinburgh, and the team completed a full health assessment of Laura’s hearing, before choosing a pair of high performance in-ear hearing aids, strong enough to do the job, but also discreet.
These were gradually adjusted in follow-up appointments as Laura adapted to a new hearing world.
“What I realised after I got the hearing aids is how anxious I was and stressed around my day-to-day living and work, of straining to hear, panicking and being anxious of what crucial information I was perhaps missing.”
She said: “I didn't realise how bad my hearing loss was, believe it or not, until I started wearing both hearing aids.
“I now go into work meetings with so much more confidence, because I know I'm going to hear everything.”
That experience isn’t unusual, says Conor: “For many people it happens gradually so they don’t even realise they are losing their hearing. Then, when they come to be tested it can be hugely overwhelming and can be a lot to take in.
“In Laura’s case, not having hearing aids that were adjusted specifically for her and her lifestyle was physically exhausting; she found her energy levels improved as well as her hearing. Even her balance was better once she had hearing aids that suited her.
“We take time working with people so they can adjust to this new stage in life.”
Laura is full of praise for the help she did receive from the NHS, but counts herself ‘blessed’ to be able to choose a more comprehensive service, with free follow-up appointments, advice, adjustments and a full range of hearing aid styles to choose from. She says she would recommend House of Hearing for their care and compassion and level of service. “You're in good hands and you’re looked after from start to finish, you know, through every step of your journey, you're looked after as much as you want or as little as you want. It's not intrusive.
“It’s worth every single penny, I 100 per cent don’t regret a moment of investing in House of Hearing.”
Find out more at https://www.houseofhearing.co.uk/