Eamonn Holmes reveals hearing loss
He has spent almost 40 years bringing news and entertainment to our TV screens and radios, but now Eamonn Holmes has revealed that his career has had an impact on his hearing. When the 58-year-old This Morning and TalkRADIO presenter had his hearing checked as part of work protocol, he discovered it was deteriorating and now wears hearing aids.
When did you first notice you had a problem with your hearing?
The first time I became aware that I wasn’t catching everything was at my 50th birthday party. I remember there were lots of things going on – music and chatter – but I kept asking people to repeat themselves too many times. After that, at home, my wife (TV presenter Ruth Langsford) would say to me that the TV was really loud. I just kept turning things up.
When did you get your hearing tested?
I first got my hearing tested about seven years ago in line with my job. We have to wear ear pieces for television – bear in mind I have been in live television five days a week for nearly 40 years now – so that is a lot of ear pieces. There’s been a constant array of frequencies and voices pounding in my ear, so it didn’t really come as a surprise to me when I heard there was some hearing deterioration.
What did your audiologist tell you?
At Specsavers, I received the final analysis of exactly what is wrong. The audiologist said to me: ‘Look Mr Holmes, it’s fine, it’s in line with most men your age.’ I have a depletion of about 30% of my hearing. I was shocked – that’s a third of my hearing gone. I suppose the comforting news is that you realise that you’re not alone in this.
How has your hearing loss impacted on your life?
If I am in a party atmosphere and am trying to hear what people are saying, I have to hone in on a person’s face and look at their lips. You’re getting most things but every fourth or fifth word has gone, and there’s only so many times you can say to someone: ‘Pardon, excuse me, what did you say?’
How have your hearing aids helped?
I was shy about wearing my hearing aids and only wore them at home watching television or at the cinema, as I could put them in discreetly. But recently I thought I’d wear them to a social gathering and nobody even noticed. The hearing aids make such a difference – all those blanks are now filled in. It’s given me the confidence and made me relax, and it means I can join in and interact.
What advice would you give to people struggling with their hearing?
You wouldn’t think of going through life without a pair of glasses if your eyes weren’t good, so why should your ears be any different? When I discovered my hearing was deteriorating, I remember thinking I was far too young. But you have to realise the older you get the more things change and that’s all part of the aging process but this is something you can really do something about.
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