As CEO of a growing energy business, Neil Gordon has thrived on developing and running a new company, after initially planning to retire.
However, the 58-year old was left lip reading at meetings and feeling isolated from conversations as he battled with ongoing hearing loss – an issue which affects more than 40% of people over the age of 50.
Thanks to the hearing care team at Scottish optician and hearing care specialist Duncan and Todd, Neil has now seen a fundamental change in his personal and professional life after being fitted with hearing aids.
Married for over three decades and dad to three grown up children, Neil had been aware of problems with his hearing for several years.
Growing up in the Caribbean, Neil had suffered ear problems for most of his life due to the water and wind exposure he had encountered as a youngster. Known as ‘coral ear’, Neil has burst his eardrum 14 times and has had first-hand experience of hearing loss with his own father wearing hearing aids for more than 10 years.
However, it was his wife being tired of shouting and Neil running out of volume on the TV that really inspired the Milltimber local to get his ears checked out. Having been an eye patient of Duncan and Todd’s, Neil decided at his last check-up that now was the time to get his ears looked at too.
He explained: “I’ve been getting my eyes tested at Duncan and Todd for a number of years now and had always felt very looked after. At my last appointment, I thought it was about time to do something about my hearing. I was at the point that I was using subtitles for the TV and lip reading at business meetings, so wanted to find a suitable solution.”
Although Neil had been experiencing hearing loss for at least five years and had always expected it due to his problems in the past, he had avoided audiology appointments and the potential of hearing aids, due to feeling self-conscious about what this would mean for his ‘image’.
“With glasses, people come in and they’re now wearing glasses and you just accept it and get on with it,” said Neil, who runs Aberdeen-based Sentinel Subsea.
“However, someone comes in wearing hearing aids and you worry that this might make you look older, and not necessarily more ‘wise’ or ‘mature’ but going a bit ‘soft’ in the head.”
However, the team at Duncan and Todd put Neil’s mind at ease with the quality service and expert knowledge that they were able to share. Across all its practices, audiologists are on hand to take time and careful considerations with patients to help them hear better by finding the perfect hearing solution for them.
This includes a free screening test and hearing assessment, whilst also asking some questions about your lifestyle and everyday behaviours to best determine a suitable solution to treat your hearing loss. The dedicated specialists want to really understand the patient’s needs and match them with the correct device or solution. This may involve a simple service such as ear wax removal or transitioning into the use of hearing aids.
Modern hearing aids have evolved into communication systems which are available in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours and also incorporate the very latest technology.
For Neil, who was fitted with Starkey Livio i1600 RICs, the benefits have more than outweighed his initial concerns.
The wearable smart technology provides precise sound imaging, offering high quality performance at work and home, and in busy surroundings including outdoors and restaurants.
The aids work wirelessly together and scan the environment, adapting to give wearers the best result effortlessly when they want to hear speech in all sorts of environments.
David Carswell, audiologist at Duncan and Todd’s Union Street practice, said: “With more than 40% of people over 50 years old suffering from hearing loss, rising to 71% of people over the age of 70, the stigma attached to hearing loss is reducing significantly.
“Duncan and Todd is targeting patients over the age of 40 in the hope of making hearing difficulties something that patients are used to talking about before they suffer such loss.”
Neil concluded: “It’s been a fundamental change for me, and really has had a profound impact on my life. There are the benefits of them for work and life – listening to others, watching the TV, etc. But there’s also the absolute clarity of being outside and hearing birds singing and life go on around you. Who knew the world was so loud?!
“I can’t thank the team at Duncan and Todd enough. David was superb in treating me and helping me find the right device that would suit my fast-paced lifestyle. Now I don’t worry about missing anything in meetings and can enjoy my favourite programmes on TV without subtitles. It really has given me a whole new lease of life”
As an independent optician, Duncan and Todd Group offers hearing care services across 34 branches in Scotland, delivered by a team of 15 audiologists, and has invested in providing a dedicated space for audiology appointments, as well as an in-house staff training programme.
Services includes a free screening test, free hearing assessment and free unlimited service appointments as well as the latest digital technologies in hearing aids.