Letting in the light: photo of Christopher and Signal: The Hub manager Paul

Letting in the light

Christopher is a grandfather in his seventies and has severe hearing loss. He describes trying out equipment which can help at Signal’s drop-in centre and the difference this has made to his family life.

“Over the past five years, my enjoyment of family get-togethers has been eroded by my inability to participate in a conversation with more than two people at once. At most of my family get-togethers there are normally about 20 people in one room, which overwhelms my hearing aids.

In ordinary social conditions I struggle to communicate my ideas, as often I cannot follow what is being said by different people. I need people to talk directly at me so I can attempt to lip read. This can be very trying for everyone! Communicating with my grandchildren can also be a problem, as they shout at me and I shout back.

“In ordinary social conditions I struggle to communicate my ideas,
as often I cannot follow what is being said by different people.”

My son’s in-laws brought me a leaflet about Signal: The Hub in Shrewsbury in Shropshire, so I took the bus from where I live in the east of the county and dropped in. I have found The Hub to be an excellent place for information about equipment that is available for people who are hard of hearing.

Letting in the light: photo of Signal: The Hub in the town centre

Signal: The Hub in the town centre

Unfortunately, my landline telephone proved not to work well with my particular hearing aids, so I visited The Hub again. After a couple of hours of talking, searching and testing, I became the owner of a different landline phone. As this was successful at home, I went back to The Hub to see what was available to help me in a group situation.

After another two or three hours of searching and testing, I decided that buying a pen-shaped wireless microphone which can connect directly to my hearing aids should help to resolve my problems in communicating with my family. The Hub manager Paul is very patient. This is what The Hub is about, having all the time necessary to understand the equipment and make sure it works for you.

I first used this new equipment with my son, who is normally a difficult person for me to hold a conversation with. We were outside the house cleaning the car and, although he was facing away from me and bending over, I could hear and understand almost all he was saying. It was marvellous. I was having a conversation with him without saying ‘You what?’ all the time.

“Using this new equipment for the first time
has been like letting the light back into my life.”

I once lived in a flat with a windowless bathroom. This was a miserable room to use, so I installed a window and the sunlight streamed in, making it a really pleasant room to use. Using this new equipment for the first time has been like letting the light back into my life.

In a family group I would keep quiet and just sit in the corner and try to listen, but now I am looking forward to family gatherings.”

Headline photograph: Christopher and Signal: The Hub manager Paul.

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