“My life is so much better in so many ways since I’ve started wearing hearing aids. Not only can I hear what people are saying now, but what's really exciting is what today's hearing aid technology looks like" says Susie.
Television and radio broadcaster, MC and author, Susie Elelman, is a much loved and respected Australian media identity. Susie has appeared on television shows including Good Morning Australia with Bert Newton, Studio 10 and her own national variety and lifestyle show titled SUSIE. She was part of the talkback team on Sydney’s #1 Radio station 2GB and affiliated stations Australia-wide and is a thrice published best-selling author.
Susie has partnered with Connect Hearing to share her personal experience with hearing health in the hope that other Australians with hearing loss will take action so they can live life to the full.
Susie Elelman and hearing loss
Susie has been aware for most of her life that she struggles to hear well in certain situations but has only been wearing hearing aids for the last 13 years.
“Hearing loss is something I feel I’ve always lived with; when I was at school, I would sit up the front of the classroom but never really knew why. On reflection I think it was because I struggled to hear even way back then,” says Susie.
When she was in her 20s and working in television, Susie recalls that her workmates would always say that she didn’t need a microphone as her voice was so loud.
“I didn’t realise until I trialled my first hearing aids, how much I was shouting and that’s because I couldn’t hear my own voice,” says Susie.
For Susie, her hearing loss didn’t happen overnight.
“Connect Hearing clinicians have worked with me to help determine the cause of my hearing loss and it turns out I had Ménière’s disease. It’s a disorder of the inner ear that in my case caused me to have several frightening ‘turns’, each of which I remember vividly,” says Susie.
Susie remembers the feeling of being a beat behind the joke
“For me hearing loss had a ripple effect; it started with missing or mishearing a word here or there and soon my brain was racing to fill in the blanks. Having a chat with family and friends starts to feel like hard work and not just for you, but for them too,” says Susie.
Before seeking help for her hearing, Susie remembers her frustration at not being able to hear and the exasperation and exhaustion of those around her from having to repeat themselves when she couldn’t keep up with the conversation.
“Mostly I remember the feeling of being a beat behind the joke, beyond the reach of whispers both trivial and special; being present, yet missing the moment. I felt isolated despite not being alone,” says Susie.
Similar to Susie’s experience, the Connect And Be Heard Report explores the emotions felt when Australians feel ‘unheard’, and how these feelings mirror those of someone with hearing loss. The report found that for two in five Australians feeling ‘unheard’ is a source of frustration, but for many it cuts deeper; a third have felt excluded, and three in ten have felt a sense of disconnection from being ‘unheard’.
How tech has transformed Susie’s life
Hearing aids can be life changing, offering Bluetooth connectivity, speech enhancement and background noise management. Hearing aids have also stylishly transitioned into the 21st century, with behind-the-ear, receiver-in-canal, in-the-ear, and invisible options now available.
“I’m currently wearing the ‘Phonak Paradise’ hearing aids that are connected to my TV and mobile phone via Bluetooth. I can answer calls by simply tapping my ear even if the actual phone is in my handbag. I rarely miss a word now as the audio comes through both my hearing aids, so it’s like listening to everything in stereo,” says Susie.
Susie’s advice for Australians
“My advice to those who may be struggling to hear is to get your hearing tested. If you’re asking those around you to repeat themselves all the time or you notice a family member or loved one is having trouble hearing you or they have the TV volume up far too loud, encourage them to get tested,” says Susie.
Often when we start experiencing hearing loss we can stop wanting to catch up with friends and we avoid loud public areas; as a result, we begin, sometimes unknowingly, to isolate ourselves and we can start to feel lonely.
Even if you’re not sure about your hearing, do yourself a favour and take the free three-minute hearing test online here.
Or book a free 15-minute free initial hearing check at your nearest Connect Hearing clinic by clicking here or calling 1800 693 277. It’s easy, painless and can really help give you back your life.
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