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  • Hearing loss and cognitive decline - is there a link?

    Can hearing loss lead to cognitive decline?

    Did you know that leaving hearing loss untreated can increase the risk of dementia? That’s according to several recent studies. In this article, we look at the key details in this research into hearing loss and dementia and explain why it is so important to have hearing loss tested and treated.

    The link between ageing, hearing loss and dementia

    In April last year (2019), the Ear Foundation, an independent charity based in Nottingham which supports people of all ages with hearing loss, unearthed some of the most compelling findings related to the link between hearing loss and dementia. It concluded that ageing had led to growing numbers of people with hearing loss and cognitive decline. It was found that some 60 per cent of adults who have dementia also experience hearing impairment. They also discovered that more than 90 per cent of adults with dementia who live in “aged care” also have a hearing impairment.

    The Ear Foundation highlighted that hearing loss has been linked to impaired communication and in turn, social isolation and loneliness, which can be health threatening. Their report underlined the importance of health systems to invest in tackling hearing loss, in order to help people maintain the “social connectedness” which can be so vital to brain health.

    A key factor

    While there does appear to be an undoubted link between hearing loss and cognitive decline, as a report in the Practical Neurology online journal pointed out: “It has not been proven that cognitive impairment (including dementia) is caused by hearing loss or that cognitive impairment causes hearing decline.”

    The publication highlighted several shared underlying mechanisms behind hearing loss and cognitive decline, which are; overdiagnosis, widespread neural degeneration, sensory degradation or deprivation, cognitive resource allocation and depletion, and social isolation and depression.

    Is hearing loss a crucial clue?

    Hearing aids could cut the risk of dementia

    Another thorough body of work was a study conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the United States. Its research – conducted over a ten-year period – also supports the theory that hearing loss is associated with a larger risk of cognitive decline. The investigators suggested that “hearing loss may help identify individuals at greater risk of cognitive decline and might provide insights for earlier intervention and prevention,” making it clear that regular tests with an audiologist and the timely provision of hearing aids could be a way of cutting the risk of dementia.

    The value of a hearing aid

    In July 2019 the Times reported a study which concluded that wearing a hearing aid later in life could protect you against dementia, as well as slow brain ageing. The research found that people who wore hearing aids, primarily to address hearing issues, also saw their cognitive functions more effectively maintained. The impact measured was amazing – this study found that those who wore hearing aids had brains which performed eight years younger on average

    The raft of various studies has found that, at best, there is a huge potential for a link between hearing loss and cognitive decline. Now the onus is on health systems, as well as the public, to ensure that timely hearing tests are carried out as a matter of course.

    Hearing loss and cognitive decline – where to find out more

    The experts seem to agree that treating hearing loss provides protection against gradual cognitive decline. If you are beginning to find it difficult to hear in certain situations, don’t allow it to get worse, book an appointment for a hearing test and consultation with one of our audiologists. We provide comprehensive testing using state-of-the-art technology, personalised treatment and ongoing support.

    Read our article “What to expect at a hearing assessment” to find out what’s involved.

    Or please fill in our online contact form to book a hearing assessment.

  • Hearing loss in young people

    Why hearing loss is becoming more common in young people

    We accept that hearing loss is something we may have to deal with as we get older. However, a growing number of young people are now reporting hearing loss to some degree. The World Health Organisation estimates that 1.1 billion people aged between 12 and 35 are at risk of losing their hearing. Below are a few of the problems causing hearing loss in young people, and how we can prevent it.

    Modern technology

    With the rise of modern technology, including personal listening devices, stereo systems, and surround-sound cinema, young people today are being constantly exposed to loud noises. Prolonged exposure to loud music is known to cause tinnitus and even permanent hearing loss. To prevent damage, turn down the volume on your musical devices and consider wearing earplugs to live music events.


    Studies have shown that alcohol may inhibit your middle ear’s acoustic reflex, which tells your muscles to contract in response to loud noise. The less sensitive your acoustic reflex, the more at risk you are of damaging your hearing. To prevent this, consider reducing your alcohol consumption when you know you will be exposed to loud noise, such as at a live music event.

    Noise pollution

    Young people are reigniting city centre living. Whilst this is having positive consequences for the vibrancy of our cities, noise pollution is also on the increase. From traffic and construction work to community events, city centre living is a hazard for young residents’ hearing. Even living next door to a noisy dog can put you at risk. To prevent hearing loss, plant bushes and trees around your home to block out noise. Wear earplugs at night to give your ears a reprieve. Alternatively, invest in soundproof insulation to keep the city noise outside.

    Going forward

    There are many things you can do to prevent hearing loss in young people in our noisy, modern world. Going forward, ensure you get regular hearing check-ups. Identifying a problem early on is vital to avoid permanent hearing loss.

    If you do notice a decline in your hearing, consider seeking advice about hearing aids. Studies suggest that attitudes toward hearing aids are becoming more positive. Hearing aids are no longer associated with seniors or being slow. In fact, 60% of young people now say they “would not hesitate to use them, if needed” to solve their hearing problems for good.

    Hearing loss in young people – where to find out more

    If you’d like to find out more about how to protect your hearing, visit our Hearing Protection page. 

    At Help in Hearing we can advise on the most appropriate hearing protection from custom made solutions, in the ear monitors, electronic noise suppressors for those that shoot or a non-customised product, should you need something urgent for a one off event. We also supply customised swim moulds. If you’d like to book an appointment to discuss your hearing or have your hearing tested, please fill in our online form.

  • Signs You May Need a Hearing Test

    Signs You May Need a Hearing Test

    It is a fact that most hearing impaired people, who gradually lose their hearing, wait between 10 and 15 years to address the problem, usually egged on by a partner or close friend, who have become increasingly exasperated and frustrated with the television being too loud getting no response to their questions. This article looks at some signs you may need a hearing test, and what you can do about it.

    It’s also often thought that hearing loss only affects the elderly, yet more and more, it is happening to young people as well. Hearing loss among the young is most commonly talked about when it comes to personal music players and loud music. Being exposed to loud sounds on a regular basis is bad for your hearing (high frequency sounds are particularly damaging, so it’s worth getting good-quality headphones that pick up on bass well). It’s generally viewed as wise by audiologists to lower your music volume, but there are other potential causes for hearing difficulties, from wax buildup (known as cerumen impaction) to genetic factors. See the WHO (World Health Organisation) report on hearing loss among young adults and children.

    Signs of hearing loss

    So what are the signs of possible hearing loss – and what should you do about it? We’ve compiled a list of nine signs, if you have any of these, you should have a hearing test to establish if there is permanent damage and what is the best way to address it.

    You keep asking people to repeat themselves

    If your new favorite word is “Sorry?”, you may have hearing loss. This can be embarrassing or irritating for both you and the speaker, who may have to keep repeating what they’ve said.

    You can’t hear well in crowded environments

    Noisy Restaurant

    Do you find it difficult to keep track of conversations at parties, or in crowded cafes or restaurants? Maybe you think your hearing is fine because you can hear perfectly well in a quiet room, but if you’re in an environment where there are lots of other noises and interference, a poorly functioning ear will find it harder to sort out and understand information.

    You keep turning up the volume

    Turning up the volume

    If your partner keeps complaining that the TV is too loud, this may be a sign that you’ve lost “normal” perceptions of sound and volume. Or if you put the subtitles on all the programmes while you’re watching TV because you don’t catch all the information.

    Ringing in the ears


    Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is what we all experience after exposure to particularly loud noises (rock concerts are notorious causers of tinnitus). You might not experience this as ringing, it might be a buzzing, hissing, or other sound that relates to the malfunction of the inner ear. Tinnitus of any kind is considered as a warning sign of potential damage to the hearing mechanism. Tinnitus occurs when the brain becomes hyper-aware of the fact that it’s not picking up on enough sound on certain frequencies. If it continues way after the original loud noise or doesn’t seem to be connected to any event in particular, you should get it checked.

    Even if your ears aren’t ringing, if you regularly work or play in loud places you should be getting checked regularly. Exposure to loud volume noises is a common cause of hearing loss, so better safe than sorry.

    You don’t know what direction sounds are coming from

    Asking people to repeat themselves

    One of the signs of hearing loss is the inability to pinpoint where sounds are coming from, particularly in crowded places. It may seem strange to hear a noise apparently coming from nowhere in particular when everyone else assures you it’s the front door or your phone, but it’s part of having limited hearing.

    You have difficulty hearing women or children

    If you’ve lost hearing in a particular frequency, you may find it particularly difficult to hear women and children, who naturally speak at a higher frequency than many men. This could be part of normal age-related hearing loss, where higher frequencies are often the first to go (a phenomenon known as presbycusis), and it should be checked and corrected sooner rather than later.

    You’ve had an ear infection or ear wax build-up

    If you’ve had an ear infection, or repeated ones, your GP might have told you to have a hearing test to make sure the infections haven’t damaged your inner ear. If you go for a hearing test, let the audiologist know if you’ve had an infection previously, so they have all the facts.

    You also need to pay attention to your earwax. If you have a history of earwax blockage, or notice that your inner ear is itchy or that wax keeps draining out of it, you may become aware of a hearing loss which can be easily corrected.

    You’re experiencing vertigo (dizziness)


    The inner ear is responsible for balance, which means that unexplained vertigo or dizziness is another sign that something may have gone wrong in your ears. If you experience dizziness when you’re sitting still on level ground or for no reason, an ear check would be wise.

    You feel stressed out from straining to hear what others are saying

    Exhausted and stressed out trying to hear

    This is an interesting emotional consequence: hearing specialists report that people who’ve started losing their hearing but don’t realise it often find themselves tired after conversations, because they’ve had to work so hard to hear what’s being said. This constant strain may make you irritable with other people, having to ask them to speak more clearly, yet defiantly insist everybody’s mumbling on purpose, making you feel upset about being left out.

    If that’s your experience, please see an audiologist and have your hearing checked.

    Hearing Clinics Covering Slough, Farnham Common, Marlow and Maidenhead

    If you live in the Slough, Farnham Common, Marlow or Maidenhead areas, please talk to us if you think you may have a hearing loss. We will arrange an appointment where we will test your hearing and advise the most suitable course of action.

    At Help in Hearing we carry out hearing tests in a friendly and comfortable environment using the latest testing equipment. Hearing tests require concentration but are not painful. We will discuss your lifestyle and medical history related to your ears and hearing in depth.

    Contact us if you would like to arrange an appointment.

  • Hearing loss and the link to dementia

    Love, Marriage and Mishearing

    Mishearing can lead to frustration and misunderstanding for one or both partners in a relationship, but how do you prevent mishearing in the first place?

    Patience is very important. Communicating openly can help you and your partner maintain a lasting, loving relationship.

    Here are some of the basic steps, which any couple can employ, to build and maintain strong marital relationships.

    Set Expectations – Educate Your Partner

    Understanding the logistics of your partner’s hearing can mean taking a big step forward in your communication. A hard-of-hearing person may take up to five seconds to process the answer to a simple yes or no question. And frequently, a hard-of-hearing person only catches a percentage of the words spoken, and has to guess the rest of the meaning. If you’re a hearing person, that can seem like a very long time, because you’re expecting an instant answer. Sometimes the hearing person might say things like “Never mind, it wasn’t important,” which sends out the message that the hard-of-hearing person is not important, although that is probably not the intent.

    Instead of allowing this to happen, the couple can ensure that the hearing partner knows what to expect in their communication. If you can both accept the reality that there is a cognitive delay in offering a response to a simple question, it will help.

    Partners should make sure each one understands the other’s capabilities. It’s important for the hard-of-hearing partner to understand how much the hearing partner can hear. It’s often the case that hard-of-hearing people think that hearing people could hear everything. But that might not be the case if the hearing partner is in one room running water in the sink or vacuuming, they might not be able to hear the other person. Ironically, the hard-of-hearing person can become frustrated if their hearing partner can’t hear them. Talking about this issue can help both partners understand each other’s perspective a little better.

    Make a Plan

    Planning ahead and discussing contingencies is an important part of setting expectations. Acknowledging any concerns can highlight the need to anticipate how hearing loss can alter or prevent communication in different situations.

    Communicate About Communicating

    Make sure your partner understands how you feel. Explain to your family the best way for you to be able to “hear” them, for example, ask them to talk to you if they’re facing you, so you can see their lips move and their facial expression and better understand what is being said.

    Communicating effectively with each other is the first step preventing mishearing. Educating others is the next. If you have new acquaintances, make it clear with them that you or your partner is hearing impaired. Openness is paramount to getting support from others.

    Take Joy

    All relationships have bumps in the road, but the partners who can work through these issues together—and take something positive from them—are the most successful. You may get frustrated, and you may bark at each other, but hopefully you can end up laughing about it.

    Preventing mishearing

    In most cases, mishearing is preventable with routine hearing checks throughout life.

    Our hearing clinics in Farnham Common and Marlow are fully equipped with the latest cutting edge testing facilities, thus enabling us to carry out entirely accurate hearing assessments, and consequently advise on the best possible solution, should a client wish to proceed with our recommendation.

    Unlike widely advertised high street/national outlets who are basically affiliated with one major hearing aid manufacturer, we are proudly independent. This means we can give entirely unbiased advice about the most appropriate hearing aids that we feel best suit each individual. We deal with all the major hearing aid manufacturers, Phonak hearing aids, Oticon, Widex and GN ReSound to name but a few and supply all types of hearing aids, including the latest digital hearing aids and invisible hearing aids, such as Lyric hearing aids also known as hidden hearing aids.

    If you’d like to discuss hearing loss or mishearing, either your own or a friend or loved one, please contact us.

  • Tips for Travelling with Hearing Loss

    You may travel for work, you may travel for pleasure – either way the chances are you will be planning a trip over the summer this year. But travelling with hearing loss presents its very own challenges, which can make for an interesting adventure! Here are some tips for travelling with hearing loss from our friends at Phonak.

    Tips for Travelling by Plane

    • When booking a flight, always sign up for flight change alerts via text or email. If someone else books the flight for you, follow up with the airline to ensure you receive updated information by phone or email.Try to book a seat up front where the flight crew can find you and communicate with you if needed.
    • Notify the flight staff and flight crew of your communication needs and ask them to let you know if there are any travel changes.
    • Leave your hearing technology in place. Hearing aids and cochlear implants do not have to be removed before going through airport scanners.
    • Airlines prohibit deaf and hard of hearing persons from sitting in exit row seats for safety reasons.

    Tips for Travelling by Car

    • If you’re the driver and you lip-read or sign/cue, teach your passengers to insert pauses in their conversation when your eyes are on the road.
    • Ask passengers to use an FM system in order to deliver the conversation right to your ears. This allows you to keep your eyes on the road at all times.
    • Use a Bluetooth phone system to provide hands-free access to calls.

    Tips for Travelling by Bus or Train

    • If there are no visible names for each stop, enlist the help of a nearby passenger to let you know when a certain stop comes up. Another trick is to count the number of stops until yours. Buses and trains that have visual displays of stops and information are most helpful.
    • Tell a fellow traveller or an attendant that you have hearing loss so that you don’t miss any safety announcements.

    Tips for staying in a hotel or resort

    • Some hotels have a visual signal alert for the doors and alarm clock. Ask for details of these at the front desk or when you make your reservations.
    • Many hotels use universal remotes with the one-click “CC” closed-captioning button. No more having to go through five menu screens to turn on the captioning!
    • If you’re travelling without an alarm clock and the hotel doesn’t have a visual alarm kit, one trick you can use to make sure you wake up early: Drink a couple of glasses of water before heading to bed. This will wake you up on time!
    • If you’re travelling internationally, you may need an outlet converter to charge your rechargeable batteries for your implant or hearing aids, or to plug in your electronic devices.

    If you have any other tips for travelling with hearing loss, we’d love to hear them, just add a comment below.

    If you’d like to discuss hearing loss, either your own or a friend or loved one, please contact us.

  • Causes of Hearing Loss

    In the last few decades, researchers have made tremendous advancements in hearing technology, even for the most profoundly deaf. In most cases, hearing loss is now a treatable condition, providing new opportunities for people, and their families, touched by a hearing loss diagnosis. In this article we look at the main causes of hearing loss.

    The condition is probably more common than you might think. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the most prevalent disabilities for newborn babies, as well as aging baby boomers. Approximately one of every 1000 infants and one in three people over 60 have hearing loss. It can occur before birth or over a lifetime, and affect only one ear, or both.

    To understand what makes hearing loss such a common condition, let’s look at how the ear works and see what causes hearing loss.

    The ear is a pretty amazing bit of Mother Nature’s engineering. It’s made up of three parts: The outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. All three parts work together to turn sound into something the brain can translate.

    Sound is made up of vibrations in the air. The ear captures these sound vibrations, and then converts them into electrical signals that are received, interpreted, and understood by the brain. Hearing loss occurs when any of the three parts of the ear is damaged, or prevented from functioning properly. Hearing loss is grouped into two categories: congenital (hearing loss that’s present at birth) or acquired (hearing loss that happens after birth).

    Causes of Hearing Loss

    Congenital Hearing Loss Causes Acquired Hearing Loss Causes
    Drug or alcohol abuse during pregnancy Aging process
    Genetic factors Chickenpox
    Gestational diabetes Ear infections
    Preeclampsia Encephalitis
    Prematurity Flu
    Rh incompatibility complication Head injury
      Noise exposure
      Ototoxicity (damage caused by medications)


    Hearing Clinics Covering Slough, Farnham Common, Marlow and Maidenhead

    If you live in the Slough, Farnham Common, Marlow or Maidenhead areas, please talk to us if you think you may have a hearing loss. We will arrange a confidential appointment where we will test your hearing and advise the most suitable course of action.

    At Help in Hearing we carry out hearing tests in a friendly and comfortable environment using the latest testing equipment. Hearing tests require concentration but are not painful. We will discuss your lifestyle and medical history related to your ears and hearing in depth.

    Contact us if you would like to arrange an appointment.

  • Lyric Hearing Aids - Is your head in the sand when it comes to declining senses?

    Is your head in the sand when it comes to declining senses?

    Lyric Hearing Aids Research Study

    Phonak, the manufacturer of Lyric Hearing Aids, conducted a recent survey which focused on attitudes to ageing.  As part of the research, we were also keen to find out how hearing factors when it comes to people’s general health regimes.

    58% of people have never had their hearing checked

    The research revealed that while most people get their vision, blood pressure and teeth checked on a regular basis, 58% of people have never had their hearing checked – that’s despite 30% of those surveyed thinking it should be checked up to once a year.

    Not knowing hearing tests are available, where to find them or thinking they can’t afford them are the reasons 42% cite for not having their hearing checked more regularly. Over a quarter (27%), meanwhile, just ‘get by ok’.

    Saying “pardon” is more noticeable than wearing a hearing aid

    For those who may be concerned about correcting their hearing loss with a hearing aid because other people may notice it, they need not worry – over three quarters of people (76%) think that someone saying ‘pardon’ is more noticeable. It may be a lack of confidence in the technological advancements of treating hearing loss that’s holding people back from dealing with the issue – people are more than three times more confident that developments in the treatment of sight issues are more advanced.

    Lyric Hearing Aids – like a contact lens for the ear

    Audiologist and Lyric Business Manager at Lyric Hearing Aids, Tania Rodrigues shares her thoughts on the results: “Hearing tests are readily available and free in most cases, and for anyone with hearing loss the technological innovation when it comes to hearing aids is far more advanced than people realise – Lyric, for example, is like a contact lens for the ear; it’s completely invisible and stays in for up to three months at a time. So there’s no excuse for neglecting your ears, whatever your age.”

    Fill in the form on our contact page if you’d like to have a confidential hearing test at our Farnham Common or Marlow audiology clinics.

  • Top 5 Frequently Asked Hearing-Related Questions

    Whether young or old, born with reduced hearing or learning to live with gradual hearing loss, each of our clients has a different story to tell. Our goal, however, always remains the same – to improve the quality of life for people living with hearing loss. So here we share our knowledge on five frequently asked hearing related questions.

    1. How common is hearing loss?

    It’s probably more common than you think. About 800 million people around the world are affected by hearing loss.

    There are 10 million people in the UK (approximately 1 in 6) living with some form of hearing loss. And 6.5 million of those are estimated to be over the age of 65. That means the rest are either at school, college or university or are of working age. So you’re not alone in living with reduced hearing.

    Studies show that approximately 65% of people with hearing loss experience mild hearing loss, 30% moderate and 5% severe or profound hearing loss.

    2. What causes hearing loss?

    Hearing loss can be the result of damage to the outer, middle or inner ear.

    Typical problems with the outer ear include a build up of ear wax and infections of the auditory canal. This type of problem can usually be addressed easily. But time is of the essence, so it’s important you act quickly to avoid hearing damage.

    Inflammation, fluid behind the eardrum, perforations of the eardrum and otosclerosis (a stiffening of the bones in the middle ear) are the most common problems to interfere with your middle ear function. Most outer and middle ear problems can be eased with medication or surgery. If this is not possible, you can compensate your permanent hearing loss with a hearing aid.

    The majority of hearing issues concern the inner ear with the natural aging process being the most common cause. But loud noise, some types of medication, or skull fractures can also have a negative influence on hearing ability. These influences damage the fine hair cells and affect the transmission of signals to the auditory nerves. Usually, inner ear hearing loss cannot be addressed medically. In most cases, this type of hearing loss can be corrected with a hearing aid.

    Hearing loss caused by an outer or middle ear defect is called conductive hearing loss. Damage to the inner ear, is called sensorineural hearing loss. If both types occur together, the condition is called mixed hearing loss.

    3. What are the signs of hearing loss?

    Symptoms often develop over time so you might not notice straight away. Quite often it’s a friend or relative who will be first to spot the signs. These can include you finding it difficult to follow conversation. Feeling like people are always mumbling whilst talking to you. Changes in your speech or you talking more loudly. Missing what people have said or asking them to repeat themselves. Maybe you can’t hear the TV or radio so well. Or you feel tired when in a busy or noisy social setting due to having to concentrate more.

    4. What will happen if I ignore my hearing loss?

    Your everyday life may become increasingly difficult. You may find watching the TV or taking phone calls become a struggle. You may start to avoid social gatherings, going out to dinner or the cinema, which could make you feel more cut off from the world.

    At work, you are likely to feel less productive. Meetings could become difficult to deal with. Tiredness can set in and you might start to lose confidence.

    All of this will result in you probably feeling stressed, a bit anxious and less able to relax. The subtle changes taking place in your daily life and routine will take you out of your comfort zone.

    5. What should I do if I think I am experiencing hearing loss?

    The best advice we can give is to get your ears checked by a professional audiologist as soon as possible. Don’t put it off. Worrying about your hearing will make matters worse. The sooner you address your fears, the sooner you’ll start to enjoy life again.

    Book a confidential hearing test in our Farnham Common or Marlow hearing clinics.

    Read about the different types of hearing aids available today.

  • Is your relationship struggling because of hearing difficulties?

    Hearing loss can be hard on relationships.

    Hearing loss can be exhausting and frustrating. It can mean misunderstanding words or saying the wrong thing.

    People with hearing loss may give up struggling to listen, and their spouses, children, grandchildren, and friends may stop talking to them or may get irritated because they have to repeat themselves all the time. A survey by the National Council On Aging (NCOA) on hearing loss found that almost one in two people said that relationships with their partner, friends or family had suffered because they couldn’t hear properly and a third had lost touch with friends or seen their marriages fall apart as a result of the breakdown in communication caused by hearing loss.

    Untreated hearing loss can cause isolation and depression. It can also hurt the emotional and physical health of the spouse. In some cases, it can even lead to divorce. Sex life can also be affected.

    The NCOA also found that when people used hearing aids, many saw improvements in their quality of life. Family relationships improved for 66 per cent of users, mental health improved for 36 per cent, 34 per cent said they had greater independence and a better social life, and 8 per cent of them said that wearing a hearing aid had improved their sex life too.

    If you think you’re only suffering from a “slight” hearing loss now, it might not seem like such a big deal, but treatment is often more beneficial when started early. In the past, hearing aids were clunky, but now they’re smaller, more discrete and available in a range of styles and colours so you can personalise them to suit your own taste.

    Find out about the various types of hearing aids available on the market and if you’d like a free hearing test, please contact us to book an appointment at our Farnham Common or Marlow hearing clinics.

  • Joanne Milne and cochlear implants

    Joanne Milne hears for the first time after having cochlear implants

    At Help in Hearing we know just how amazing hearing technology has become and just how much it has advanced over the years. But for Joanne Milne having cochlear implants has changed her world beyond belief hearing for the first time.

    Joanne Milne’s story shows just how much difference it makes to your life to be able to hear. Hers is an extreme case coming from absolutely no hearing, but many of our patients experience exactly the same revelation when their hearing, which has faded or been damaged, suddenly becomes clear and changes their quality of life.

    You can read Joanne’s story below and watch her video online.

    But remember a simple change to the hearing of your loved ones or friends can make a big difference to your personal and business life. A hearing test takes a short while to carry out and is carried out in complete confidence at one of our clinics.

    Joanne Milne’s story:

    Watch the video of the moment Joanne is overcome by emotion as she hears for the first time after having her cochlear implants switched on

    They are seven simple words we all take for granted.

    But as Joanne Milne heard her doctor recite the days of the week, she was overwhelmed with emotion, fighting back tears and gasping to catch her breath.

    Until that moment the 40-year-old’s world had been silent.

    Born with the rare condition Usher Syndrome, Ms Milne has been deaf since birth and in her mid-20s the condition claimed her sight

    But last month Ms Milne underwent a life-changing operation to fit cochlear implants.

    Following the procedure, she faced a four-week wait for medics to switch on the implants to see if the operation had been a success.

    Hearing for first time, a video capturing the switch-on shows Ms Milne breaking down as she tells her doctor her own voice sounds ‘very, very strange’, before adding: ‘Wow, it is absolutely amazing.’

    The doctor tells the 40-year-old, from Gateshead: ‘It is a big, big, life-changing day.

    It is such a huge thing you have just achieved, you should be really proud of yourself.’

    Ms Milne said the switch-on has been the ‘most emotional and overwhelming experience’ of her life.

    She said: ‘I’m still in shock now. I have to learn to recognise what these sounds are as I build a sound library in my brain.

    ‘Hearing things for the first time is so emotional from the ping of a light switch to running water.

    ‘I can’t stop crying and I can already foresee how it’s going to be life changing.’

    ‘I’m so happy. Over the last 48 hours hearing someone laughing behind me, the birds twittering and just being with friends… they didn’t have to tap my arm to get my attention which a massive leap.’

    Since she was diagnosed as deaf, Ms Milne has made it her mission to mentor others living with Usher Syndrome
    She added: ‘Being deaf was just who I was. Unfortunately when I became registered blind things changed dramatically and for the first time being deaf became increasingly difficult.’

    The breathtaking moment Ms Milne’s implants were switched on was captured on video and shared by Ms Milne’s friend Tremayne Crossley.

    Moved by her courage Mr Crossley applied for Ms Milne to appear on DJ Lauren Laverne’s BBC 6music radio feature Memory Tape.

    His application said: ‘Jo has recently had a bilateral cochlear implant in an attempt to restore her hearing, this is being gradually switched on over five sessions.The volume has to be increased slowly to allow the brain to adjust to the new information coming from the ears.

    ‘Jo told me about a guy who went grey over a one month period due to the shock of hearing how noisy the world actually is.

    ‘It was with this in mind that Jo asked me to put a playlist of songs together, songs that I thought she needed to hear or that would form an ‘Introduction To Music’ playlist.

    ‘I said it would be an absolute privilege but when I sat down to start I realised how monumentally difficult it would be, and what a responsibility.’

    Mr Crossley chose a song from each year of Ms Milne’s life treating her to Paul McCartney’s Silly Love Songs, Kate Bush Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God), Prince’s When Dove’s Cry, Tracy Chapman Fast Car, Maps by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Radiohead’s Jigsaw Falling Into Place.

    Taking to Twitter yesterday Miss Laverne told her 300,000 followers how Ms Milne’s story had moved her crew to tears.

    She tweeted: ‘Just watched a video of today’s #MemoryTape recipient having her cochlear implant turned on and hearing for the first time. Studio in floods.’

    Hearing the moving feature, writer Caitlin Moran tweeted: ‘@NadiaShireen @BBC6MorningShow @laurenlaverne You might as well call this the ‘Crying Uncontrollably At The Amazingness of Life’ Tape.’

    Listener Ingrid Bronsgeest said: ‘You do bring some magic to peoples lives @BBC6Music that #MemoryTape story is amazing. Sooo emotional but happy tears too.x’

    Cochlear Implant Accessories

    At Help in Hearing we offer a wide range of cochlear implant accessories, including the AquaCase waterproof swimming case.