Janet retired at 65, but had been struggling for some time. At first she thought she had the onset of dementia, she was struggling to understand what people were saying, they laughed when she gave the wrong answers. Retirement, when it came, was a blessing.
Janet visited her Doctor who assured her that her mind was OK, but what she was experiencing was in fact hearing loss. Janet was referred for an audiology appointment and after a wait she was fitted with a hearing aid.
“At first I found it difficult to wear. Everything was amplified and my ears actually hurt. ”
After returning to the audiologist things improved for Janet.
“The audiologist was very good and after some adjustments it was better. I don’t hear everything clearly but I can get by. ”
On top of developing a hearing loss, Janet then started experiencing problems with her vision.
“I’ve always loved to read, but I found I was struggling with reading the print in books.”
Having worn glasses for a long time Janet thought that she must need an eye test – but things were a little more serious. Janet was told she was suffering from Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD).
“It was terrified at first. First my hearing and now my sight. How was I going to live by myself if I cannot hear and see properly?”
Janet was put in touch with a local association who visited her at home and advised on pieces of equipment which would help her manage her sight and hearing loss.
“Small things like, colour contrast made a big difference. Larger print books helped together with magnifiers. ”
“A loop system for the TV has made listening easier and a loud vibrating door bell lets me know when someone is at the door.”
Help is out there and there is a lot you can learn yourself to make life easier. Just ask your local authority adult services, voluntary agencies or Hi-VisUK.