If you can’t hear, go get it sorted
‘When my mother and wife first suggested I needed hearing aids, I was like, nah, no way, I’m not going to look like an idiot! But now I totally can’t stand not wearing them; it's like having fingers stuck in my ears.’
Posted Wednesday March 11, 2020
Shayne Harris is a swing-lift operator from Dunedin. He’s worked for years in noisy environments, and most of that time was before workplaces were truly aware of the need for hearing protection. A swing-lift is like a tractor at full revs, he says, which is what caused his hearing problems. And although he’d had workplace hearing tests, every time was told he was ‘all good’.
‘Then I’d be at my mother’s house and asking why the TV was so low; how can you hear that, and she’d say “I can hear fine”. My wife would chime in that I was deaf and needed to see someone to sort it out. But the tests said I wasn’t, so there was no way I was going to wear hearing aids and look like an old man. I had a real complex.
‘But deep down I knew I had a problem. I’d go shopping in places like Resene with my daughters and they’d have to interpret for me. I couldn't understand what the person behind the counter was saying. And I'd be talking with people in other places where I couldn't hear and be nodding, saying, yeah, yep, yep, and smile and hope that it was the right response.
‘But the shear frustration of not being able to hear was getting to me. Then at the last hearing test the lady said “your hearing is way down, it's nowhere near what it should be”, and she organised for me to go see Anne at Audiology South.
‘At our workplace health and safety meetings you have to be able to hear what is going on. Our boss is a quiet speaker, so I was worried that he’d be telling us to do one thing, and not being able to hear I'd go and do it wrong.
‘After Anne tested my hearing and fitted me with aids I was completely blown away. I asked her if she was shouting, the difference was so amazing. “No,” she said. “I'm just talking normally.” And next morning while driving to work, astoundingly, I could hear the indicators ticking.’
‘It’s pretty obvious that I’m wearing hearing aids. People at work come up and tell me all about their hearing problems that they’ve done nothing about. I tell them to go get their hearing sorted. They may be scared of looking like an idiot, but really, if you can’t hear and do nothing that’s when you are truly an idiot,’ Shayne says.
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