Hearing aids, Edwina Currie, and me

Post on 23rd July 2018

I recently attended an Oticon product event and felt compelled to write down some of the key points of the day, as sometimes I forget how hearing aids can change lives by letting customers maintain their current lifestyle.

One of the more interesting presentations was on brain hearing and included a section about hearing loss being the main cause of preventable dementia (ref: The Centre for Applied Audiology research (CAAR). This linked nicely to our charity of choice, Alzheimer’s Society, and made me realise that it is an important message that we need to keep communicating as it impacts so many people now and also in the future.

Another speaker on the day was Edwina Currie (Ex MP and Junior Health Minister). She is now an Oticon ambassador and enthusiastic hearing aid wearer. I was taken by how Edwina had gone from being so against wearing hearing aids, having considered them a symbol of old age, to being a total convert – almost evangelical! What had changed her mind?

Edwina explained how proud she is to be a baby boomer – born after the war and one of over 15 million people over the age of 65. This age group are now wealthier than ever, with more home owners and final salary pensioners than ever before. She also explained how her generation now expect to live to 90 years of age or longer and by knowing this, they plan for it!

Edwina went onto say how she wants to avoid hospitals whenever possible when trying to maintain her quality of life. She wants to carry on working as it is very important to her to feel useful, she certainly does not want us to feel sorry for her. More importantly, she is definitely a customer, not a patient. This outlook on life shows how times have changed and how we as private hearing providers can support this generation’s needs in a local, high street environment by ensuring they sustain their current lifestyle.

It was while public speaking on cruise ships that Edwina realised she was struggling to hear the audience questions.  “You can only ask for them to be repeated so many times,” she explained. This prompted her husband to persuade her to have a  hearing test. From here, she did her research, chose her supplier and was prescribed hearing aids.

For Edwina she has never looked back.  Her hearing aids have allowed her to embrace an active life and maintain her standing of living for longer, with the added bonus of feeling younger than her years.  She is proud of her hearing aids, and likes the fact they are discrete, but is also happy  to show them off at times. Ultimately, Edwina feels she is back in control.

This talk reminded me that, although hearing aids may only be little things, they can have such a huge impact on a person’s quality of life. We must remember every day that as a provider we are not only giving someone the power to hear more clearly but also helping them to live the life they want to live. Not bad for a day’s work!

Author: David Obbard, National Hearing Sales Manager

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