BBC's Andrew Castle on his family’s hearing loss
Former British number one tennis player, Andrew Castle, has revealed his father-in-law’s hearing loss was causing major issues among his family up until very recently.
The 51-year-old Smooth Radio presenter, who is gearing up for his annual role as a BBC pundit covering Wimbledon, has announced that he was finding it difficult to keep the peace among his family, as his daughters were struggling to spend time with their grandfather who has age-related hearing loss.
Andrew said: ‘My wife’s father Anders is suffering from hearing loss and was finding it extremely tough to keep up with everything that was going on. My kids tried to avoid spending time with him as they constantly had to repeat what they were saying because he wasn’t able to hear them properly. I began to notice that he was asking us all to repeat things quite regularly, and my daughters found it especially frustrating.’
Coming to terms with hearing loss
Speaking about his struggle with hearing loss, keen photographer Anders Hilding said: ‘Although hearing loss is a part of the aging process, it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. Hearing loss can be such an isolating thing, and for me, it was really difficult – I have always been so involved with my family, so to think that my grandchildren were avoiding spending time with me is really heart-breaking.’
But Andrew and Anders both know that at 83, he’s not alone. In fact, according to a poll by Specsavers Hearing Centres, 38 per cent of people who struggle to hear conversations around the dinner table said they felt guilty for not having heard their child or grandchild calling them from another room.
The gift of sound
Andrew continued: ‘Fortunately, Anders now wears a hearing aid following a check at a Specsavers Hearing Centre and it really has made such a massive difference to our family.
‘My eldest daughter is making her West End debut this year so it’s vital that Anders is able to hear her perform – we’d be devastated if he had to miss out.
‘My youngest is also writing her dissertation so it’s great that she can share this experience with him. Before, Anders would join in with the conversation half way through, and Georgina and Claudia found this very frustrating.
‘Coming to terms with hearing loss is a difficult thing and it’s been quite an eye-opening experience for us all. To begin with, Anders struggled to accept that he was having difficulty hearing, despite myself, my wife and my mother-in-law all urging him to have a check.'
Advice from a professional
Colin Campbell, director of professional services at Specsavers Hearing Centres, said: ‘Hearing loss is something that affects everyone as they get a little older and it’s not surprising that Andrew and Anders have seen the family dynamic change as a result.
‘All too often, customers are encouraged to visit the store by a family member who has noticed deterioration in their loved one’s hearing. It can be a frustrating time for everyone involved and it can take a while to come to terms with hearing loss.
‘But it’s important to remember that you are not alone. In fact, one in six people in the UK suffer from hearing loss and there is plenty of help and advice out there to support anyone who thinks they – or someone they know - may be suffering.
‘At Specsavers, we encourage everyone over the age of 55 to have their hearing checked once a year, so if you think you might know someone whose hearing is deteriorating, suggest that they visit one of our hearing centres for a free hearing test from a fully-qualified audiologist.’
Enjoying family life
Following his hearing aid fitting at Specsavers, Anders, is beginning to realise just how much of family life he had been missing out on.
Anders added: ‘At first I was in denial that I had a problem with my hearing. My wife, Eva, has been telling me for a while that I needed to have it checked out, but it wasn’t until I was fitted with my new hearing aids that I realised just how much I’d missed.
‘I’m so thankful to her for persuading me to have it checked, and for accompanying me on my visit. At first I felt a little nervous about the whole thing, but the process was much easier than I’d imagined – the check only takes about an hour and you can walk out the store with your new aids on the same day in some cases.
‘I’m thrilled to be more involved with my granddaughters now – it’s great to hear all about their latest endeavours and be more involved with the family.’