Keighley Cougars chief executive Lisa Beckwith leads hearing loss awareness campaign

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The mother-of-three, 50, from Bingley, joins forces with organizers of the national LoveYourEars campaign, led by Hidden Hearing specialists, after finally taking action to deal with a change in her hearing earlier this year .

Lisa is taking part in promotions and sharing her story to encourage more people in their 40s and 50s to get tested sooner and tackle the ‘stigma’ that keeps many from seeking help.

She says: “I first noticed my hearing loss ten years ago when I was 40. Just little things in the beginning, like having to ask people to repeat themselves, having the TV on too loudly, and people walking into the room saying “turn it down.” ‘, and the children were shouting ‘mum, I called you and I called you and you didn’t answer’.

Lisa Beckwith, general manager of the Keighley Cougars.

“In large group gatherings or in a noisy restaurant, I really had a hard time hearing what was going on, so I adapted my behavior when it came to going out and socializing and avoided those situations. I also had a hard time with phone calls, so I started cutting conversations with family and friends short because I found them so tiring. I put off hearing tests for years. When I finally went for a hearing test in Leeds city center I was really surprised to find that my problem was not the volume but the clarity No matter how loud the TV was or how loud my voices were kids, it wasn’t the volume that was the problem, it was the clarity and pitch of the sound that kept me from hearing properly.When the audiologist said I needed hearing aids, I didn’t wasn’t shocked. I knew I’d put off wearing them for quite a long time. time. I think I put off buying hearing aids because of vanity and pride – I didn’t want to admit I was getting old.

According to Dr. Dalia Tsimpida, a hearing researcher, senior lecturer in public health and Senior Fellow of the Academy of Higher Education in Health Inequalities Policy, associating changes in hearing and wearing a Hearing aids that feel and look old are a common reason many people don’t seek help. Research group at the University of Liverpool.

Its nationwide research into the prevalence of hearing loss in England found that women over 50 are at a higher risk of not recognizing symptoms and are among the least likely to seek help.

Dr Tsimpida says: “People live with hearing loss for many years before seeking help. It’s time to move the conversation beyond hearing loss and aging and stop postponing action. It is a major but preventable health challenge that can have serious physical, social, cognitive, economic and emotional consequences on our quality of life. By taking steps to preserve our hearing, we invest much more in our future health and well-being.

Lisa Beckwith, head of the Love Your Ears campaign. ©Gareth Davies

Lisa thinks ignorance of the wider health impact of hearing loss and what wearing a hearing aid actually entails has played a big part in her years of denial.

“In my head, hearing aids were fuddy-duddy and for grandmas and looked like they were in the 1970s and 1980s, when they were these big things that whistled all the time and ran out of batteries. This just isn’t the case now.

“My hearing aids are incredibly discreet – you don’t even notice I’m wearing them. They are super comfortable and easy to wear and most importantly they have changed my life. I hadn’t noticed how tired I was and how exhausting it was to focus on people’s voices before wearing a hearing aid. I am more revitalized now and have a lot more energy.

Another benefit is the increased self-esteem that Lisa has certainly noticed since her diagnosis. “My job is very demanding and requires me to control a group of very rambunctious men. It can hurt your self-esteem when you can’t hear properly, but having my hearing aids gives me confidence to do so. dealing with the range of day-to-day issues and problems that arise in running a rugby club.

She adds: “We don’t mind having our eyes tested and wearing glasses if we can’t see, but hearing still can’t. We need to normalize the wearing of hearing aids in our 40s and 50s to eliminate the stigma.

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