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Should I go & see my GP about hearing loss? Really don't want to...

(20 Posts)
becstarlitsea Thu 02-Oct-08 11:54:12

Not sure why I'm so emotional about this. Maybe because I remember how people used to talk to my Grandad who went deaf - you know the whole "I SAID... Oh never mind then!" schtick, and now it's happening to me at a younger age. But I'm not sure how bad it is.

I had measles last year, quite badly, and encephalitis with it. I didn't notice hearing loss straight away because TBH I had so many problems (memory loss, debilitation etc.) that I didn't particularly notice. But it's becoming a bit more obvious now I've lived with it a while. DH says that I have the TV up so loud that it's unbearable, but when he turns it down I can't hear it. If there's another sound going on (eg. if the boiler is gurgling, or a train is going past (we live next to a train line), then I can't hear what's being said. The main problem is definitely picking out sounds when there is more than one sound going on. If I'm sitting talking to someone face to face with no other noise then there's no problem. But I tend to avoid meeting people in bars, and can't talk to anyone if they speak to me on the bus because I know I'll lose track of the conversation and have to keep asking them to repeat themselves (buses being noisy places!)

Is there even any point seeing the GP? I mean will he just say 'Yes, you're a bit deaf, go away and live with it?' I can't afford a private hearing aid, and I've heard NHS ones aren't so good, although my info might be out of date! And I feel a bit resistant to wearing a hearing aid, even if I need one. Which is probably silly. <sighs>

mumhadenough Thu 02-Oct-08 11:57:19

Yes its worth seeing your GP (hugs). It could be something as simple as fluid behind your ear drum and grommets could sort it, you might not need anything as drastic as a hearing aid!

Yes, adults get grommets too wink

hanaflower Thu 02-Oct-08 11:59:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

becstarlitsea Thu 02-Oct-08 12:08:16

grin I can't see very well hanaflower, and I used to avoid wearing glasses! Now I have contacts, so I can choose to wear glasses rather than having to wear them, and I don't hate them as much as I did. But as a kid I hated my glasses, they made me feel that I looked like a 'swot' and different from my peers and I used to fumble about without them, unable to see the blackboard or where I was going, just so that I didn't look different. I am clearly quite a silly person. Maybe it is just some congestion or something, rather than the encephalitis. That would be better. But dash it all, I'm quite upset about it. Which is indeed silly, as many people have far worse things to face.

Weegle Thu 02-Oct-08 12:20:03

Yes it's worth going.

And NHS hearing aids aren't so bad these days - the digital ones have come down in price so are more affordable for the NHS.

If you do have significant loss then hearing aids can be virtually unnoticed by people these days - only those that know me well even know I wear them as they are so tucked in to my ear. I can't watch TV and be fair to DH without them! Also makes things easier for me and I don't feel so isolated.

Please go and get a referral - you never know it might even be something that can be fixed.

becstarlitsea Thu 02-Oct-08 12:28:52

Thank you Weegle. DH would be so glad if we can watch TV together again without me sneaking up the volume every time he pops out. And it would be nice not to be so abrupt with people - I tend to kill off conversations quickly if I know I'm not going to be able to hear them well enough, I just get frustrated. My MIL must think I'm so rude - she has the TV going in the corner of the room all the time so I tend to not even try to get into conversation when I'm over there as I know I'll get lost... Dammit. But my hearing loss might not be that bad - you know it's hard to know how much other people can hear IYSWIM? Maybe everyone else is just mumbling grin

asicsgirl Thu 02-Oct-08 12:36:43

funny you should say that... i got my hearing checked a few years ago by an audiologist colleague as i was sick of not being able to follow conversations in pubs, asking dp to speak up etc. she said i was absolutely fine, so i went home triumphantly to say to dp 'see, you DO mumble!' grin

hope you get it sorted

becstarlitsea Thu 02-Oct-08 12:48:33

grin asicsgirl - if it does turn out that my hearing is normal I shall become a nightmare. I'll be all "Do speak up and enunciate! I have it on good authority that you are MUMBLING because my hearing is perfect!" Especially to all the people who have said "Oh never mind!" when I ask them to repeat themselves for the umpteenth time!

Sidge Thu 02-Oct-08 12:53:20

Do go and see your GP, it may be something as simple as ear wax or middle ear congestion.

Hoep you get sorted out easily.

twoboots Thu 02-Oct-08 13:01:46

it sounds like it is interfering with your quality of life to a major extent, a lot people who get a hearing aid don't realise how bad things were. nhs hearing aids may not be the prettiest, but the technology is sound.

Weegle Thu 02-Oct-08 13:23:01

Also - be upfront with people. I know it's hard but if I say "pardon?" and someone says "oh it doesn't matter" - I explain why it does matter. I would also say to MIL that you can't hear her over the telly - ball is then in her court. If it turns out you do have a loss then I would strongly recommend lip-reading classes as they can help fill in the gaps of sentences you don't hear, or at least give you enough to go on. A course like that will also teach you techniques about how to make things easier e.g. your positioning to the telly, making sure the light is in front of rather than behind someone you're listening to, positioning yourself in the best place for hearing when you go out etc.

smartiejake Thu 02-Oct-08 13:33:08

Hearing aids have come a long way in the last few years.
The digital hearing aids you can now get are really good (actually better than some of the private digital ones you can pay thousands for.)

Both of my parents have NHS hearing aids and although behind the ear are small and discreet.

Please go and see the dr to be referred- waiting lists for audiology are very long and the longer you leave it the longer you will have to wait.

coppertop Thu 02-Oct-08 13:38:08

I have the NHS digital hearing aids and they are really good. Without them I can't really hear anything at all but with them in I can probably hear about 90% of what's going on.

I'd also recommend using the subtitles for watching TV (either digital or the Ceefax ones. They're a bit distracting at first but you soon get used to them. Dh has very good hearing but still keeps them switched on even when he's watching the TV by himself.

becstarlitsea Thu 02-Oct-08 13:52:59

Those are really useful tips, thank you Weegle and smartiejake. Glad to hear that if I do have a hearing aid they've improved a lot. I guess I have to pluck up my courage & call the doctor if I'm going to be waiting for a while for a hearing test anyway...

coppertop - how do I get the subtitles on digital? I can get the Ceefax ones on 888, but our signal is a bit weak, so they scramble sometimes (channel Five especially!) I'm not sure how to get them on my Freeview channels?

Thanks for all the very helpful & reassuring posts. I am very nearly steeled to call the drs surgery.

coppertop Thu 02-Oct-08 14:22:00

I have Virgin TV but according to this site you can get digital subtitles on Freeview too. It says:

"Both Sky and Freeview support subtitles (where the TV channel showing a programme chooses to supply a programme's subtitles). Most (if not all) of the set-top boxes for Freeview and Sky support subtitles.

Many Freeview boxes have a dedicated Subtitles button on the remote. The Sky remote control doesn't, but subtitles can be enabled via the "Services" button (then select "System setup").
Consult your set-top box manual for details of how to enable subtitles."

becstarlitsea Thu 02-Oct-08 15:46:04

Oh thanks coppertop, I've got subtitles working! Hurrah! You are very kind, much appreciated smile

emma1977 Thu 02-Oct-08 20:57:01

Go and see your GP, it may be a problem which is easy to correct. If not, then you can be referred on without much bother.

Get it sorted out. My secretary has bilateral digital hearing aids and it has transformed her life.

Spidermama Thu 02-Oct-08 21:03:20

DH is pretty deaf and refuses to go to the doctor. I want him to go to the doc because I think he's getting worse because he shouts when he's talking normally.

I have sensitive ears at the best of times and can hear very well so I have to admit it's really hard living with someone who shouts all the time. I can't help thinking that a hearing aid might help him hear better, and so talk quieter.

He does it to everyone. I've told him but he just keeps on shouting, unable to guage the volume. I see others wincing and I feel really embarrassed for him.

Sorry if this is hard to read. I don't know whether or not you shout so it might be worth asking your dh or close friends, but I think it's another motiviating factor towards getting it seen to.

Best of luck.

notcitrus Sat 04-Oct-08 20:45:24

See you GP, and get a referral to audiology.
it could well be something as simple as earwax, which the gp could sort on the spot.

or you may need hearing aids. i've had nhs aids for 20 years and the modern ones are excellent (private ones aren't better, just you get them quicker), and you can even get funky colours now - mine are black with magenta earmoulds, and i have coloured metal rings on my tubing. even so, no-one ever notices i have them!

but more useful than aids is getting the self-confidence to insist on using subtitles, meeting friends in well-lit places, ensuring people face you when talking and get your attention first, etc.

good luck!

notpregyet Sat 04-Oct-08 20:50:16

You can get a free hearing test at a lot of branches of specsavers. I had one and found i am missing low frequencies in my right ear. They referred me to the GP and he referred me to ENT and i'm on the waiting list.

TBH the loss doesn't bother me now, i'm just worried it might get worse so i'm glad to know i'm seeing someone about it.

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