When Grant Hubber finally had enough of tinnitus, he took a friend’s advice to “go see Audiology South about it as they’re pretty good,” and booked into the clinic.
“I was there to talk about tinnitus, but the tests said I was deaf! I couldn’t believe it! I thought of a family friend who had old-style hearing aids that whistled and were a nuisance to him. I didn’t want aids, or to have people think I was deaf.”
Industrial noise on the farm
Grant is a true-blooded Southlander who runs a 110-hectare farm grazing sheep and dry stock, and spends his ‘spare’ time as chairman of Borland Lodge Adventure and Education Trust.
“I lost quite a bit of hearing working on the farm: tractors and machinery, hunting and shooting, and I probably inherited hearing issues. We weren’t like today’s farmers who wear ear muffs. Out we’d go in open-top tractors into the elements wearing only parkas.
Adapting to hearing aids
“It takes time to get used to hearing aids. Even now if I've been on the farm without them, it takes a couple of days to readjust. My deafness is like fingers jammed in my ears and I’ll be asking, ‘What did you say?’ and talk louder thinking it is normal. But when I put them in I notice what I’ve been missing and think, ‘Wow that’s loud’.”
Advantages of modern technology
Grant upgraded his aids when he realised that voices at the back of meetings sounded muffled. “Technology has changed so much, so quickly, and the new aids are a big improvement. I got caught out in one meeting,“ he chuckles. “My phone rang so I jumped up to take the call, forgetting that with Bluetooth only I could hear it. I had to explain later why I’d hurried out. I wear the new aids on the farm more often too. My breaks are telecom times and it’s now easier to chat. Why anybody would have this technology and not use it doesn’t make sense to me.
Staying involved in life
“I was sceptical that audiologists could understood what my hearing was like, but Myra told me, ‘We try your aids out ourselves, so we understand your experience’. That’s what I call a truly personal touch.
“Hearing aids keep me included in life. It’s easy to be reclusive if you’ve got bad hearing. I know what it's like not wanting to look like a twit because you can't hear. But if nothing is done, things may get quite bad. So don’t avoid the process, go get hearing aids.”