Celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli has revealed he has hearing loss and admitted he refused to seek help despite the potential damage to his quality of life.

The four-time Michelin star chef put up with poor hearing for years and was only recently fitted with a hearing aid, after finally recognising the impact on his life.

Putting hearing loss on the menu

In an effort to remove the associated stigma with hearing loss, he has teamed up with Specsavers hearing centres to launch a new campaign, ‘Putting hearing loss on the menu’. He hopes the initiative will encourage people to look after their hearing and seek help when they need it.

Jean-Christophe, explains: ‘I’ve suffered with hearing loss for as long as I can remember, but it got worse around three or four years ago.

‘When I found out I needed a hearing aid I have to say I wasn’t too keen on the idea, in my head I pictured a big, clumsy looking gadget that everyone would be able to see. But I was genuinely surprised after seeing how tiny it was, I thought I’d give it a go and was shocked at the difference it made. I didn’t realise how much I was missing before.’

View from the audiologist

According to Colin Campbell, professional services director at Specsavers, Jean-Christophe’s hearing loss is a result of his age and potentially a viral infection when he was younger.

Colin, says: ‘Jean-Christophe has severe hearing loss and tinnitus in one ear, but the other ear is completely fine, which is unusual.

‘It would appear his hearing impairment may of been the result of a viral infection, coupled with the ageing process that naturally affects everyone’s hearing.’

Age related hearing loss impacts heavily on social situations in busy bars and restaurants where catching all the conversation can be difficult.’

One in six people in the UK suffer from hearing loss, however the time taken from recognising hearing loss symptoms and seeking out treatment averages ten years.

As our population ages this number is set to grow, and by 2031 there will be more than 14.5 million people with hearing loss in the UK.

Raising Awareness

Jean-Christophe, who hopes his story will help raise the profile and awareness of age related hearing loss, adds: ‘A hearing test is free and quick and it could make the world of difference. We should think of hearing as something we can manage ourselves, just as we do with our eyesight, going for regular tests and taking control.’

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