Well known local artist, Brian Willis, is by his own definition totally deaf in one ear.
More recently he noticed that his other ear was starting to deteriorate.
Already a regular optical customer of Specsavers, Brian decided to try out the store’s hearing centre in Coleraine.
“Those who know me are aware that I’m totally deaf in one ear,” says Brian.”It’s only there to hold my glasses on.
“Sadly the other ear, the only good one left, has started to deteriorate. So recently, for the cost of a reasonably priced small second hand car, I was fitted with a hearing aid. And walked out of Specsavers into the cacophony of the new, unfamiliar, noisy world of Coleraine.
“I had a bit of spare time, so indulged in a few experiments. As usual the busking husband and wife team were belting out their “Oh-Be-Joyful” hymns, so I walked back and forth past them twisting my head from side to side to hear the difference. They kept smiling at me. I think they thought I had ‘seen the light’.
“Then there were the noises in my head. To me, my own voice sounded like God, booming and crashing about in my skull. I accidentally did a little belch (as you do) and looked quickly behind me quite expecting to see an embarrassed forty foot dragon having broken wind.
“So home I went, where the cuckoo clock frightened the life out of me, and flushing the toilet sounded like Niagara Falls. The TV newsreader shouted at me. The wife yelled at me (on second thoughts I was not wearing the hearing aid for that last bit) and even the cutlery drawer sounded like riveters working in the shipyard.
“However, tomorrow we are off to the woods to see the bluebells. I am looking forward to it. Mostly, and hopefully, to hear bird song that I have not heard for many years.
“It’s going to take a little getting used to, but I think I will eventually come to love my rediscovered sounds.”
Tracey Carson is the audiologist who looks after Brian: “Hearing loss is surprisingly common but because it often happens gradually people don’t realise how debilitating it can be. It can affect every aspect of life, especially in relationships with family, friends or colleagues.
“At Specsavers we can do a quick three minute screening test to see if a more thorough test is required. And if hearing equipment is needed we have styles and models to suit every hearing need and budget. We are delighted that Brian is so pleased with his new hearing aid and even more so to hear what a difference it has made to him.”