Appreciating the soundtrack of nature
British TV presenter and gardening expert Nigel Colborn has revealed his 20-year battle with hearing loss and the impact hearing aids have had on his life.
Having been fitted with a pair of its hearing aids, Nigel is joining forces with Specsavers to raise awareness of age related hearing loss. He’s also on a mission to show how important your hearing is to appreciating the outdoors and gardening.
The former BBC Gardeners World star began to notice his hearing was deteriorating aged 50, when he struggled to hear higher frequencies noises such as children’s voices, a key indicator of age related hearing loss. However, after being told by a doctor that hearing aids would not benefit him, he had to learn to cope with the condition for years.
Nigel says: ‘When I first noticed the signs of hearing loss I visited my local GP to see what help was available. Unfortunately at the time digital hearing aids were not on the market and I was told that a hearing aid would not help. I spent the majority of my 50s learning how to cope with my hearing impairment, with difficulty.’
Hearing again for the first time
Eventually fitted with hearing aids in his mid-60s, it dawned on Nigel how severe his hearing loss was. Every day sounds such as the singing of birds and buzzing of insects returned, and a visit to the opera was like ‘hearing music again for the first time’.
Nigel continues: ‘As a gardener and naturalist, hearing is vital in allowing me to properly appreciate the outdoors. The garden has its own soundtrack, the singing of birds, the chirp of crickets, the rustling of leaves. A sufferer of hearing loss who doesn’t wear hearing aids simply cannot enjoy this ambience. Your hearing is crucial when it comes to enjoying the garden.’
Colin Campbell, professional services director at Specsavers, says: ‘Nigel, although having struggled with hearing loss in the past, has addressed his hearing and his condition. Unfortunately, there are a huge amount of people who suffer in silence. Hopefully Nigel’s story will help encourage people over the age of 50 to go for regular hearing checks.’
Take a test
Nigel is now hearing sounds he didn’t realise he had lost and can’t help but raise a smile each time it happens.
‘Some of the changes I notice with wearing hearing aids are sounds you didn’t even realise were lost, such as the sound of your own footsteps or the wind rustling through the trees, being able to re-discover these every day sounds gives an incredible sense of pleasure.
The impact hearing aids have had on my life is indescribable, I cannot stress enough the importance of regular hearing tests. They are free and easy, and could change your life.’