A young person's point of view.
Everyone assumes only the elderly suffer hearing loss. A young writer, who lives alone in London describes how it feels to slowly enter a world of silence at the age of 29.

I first realised something was wrong with my hearing when my boyfriend, a softly spoken Scot, kept complaining that I didn't laugh at his jokes! Also I liked the TV at ground-shaking volume and needed to ask people more often to repeat things.
Sometimes tiring of taking 20 minutes to get past "How are you?" I'd take a wild guess at what was being said. The results were both surreal, humiliating or both. It was a year later before I eventually visited my GP and received a referral to the Audiology Clinic. After the audio test I was shown the graph and my hearing levels were well below the normal. I had two head injuries in the past which more than likely caused the damage to my cochlea and the audiologist couldn't therefore say if the hearing loss would get worse.

When I first started to use the hearing aids, I hated them; large clumsy things and I was convinced people were staring at me in the street. They magnify all sounds, not just the ones you want to hear, which means you can hear the person talking to you twice as loud but the clatter of traffic is also twice as loud! I felt shop assistants were speaking to me as though I had an IQ of a child.

Deaf people are generally seen as stupid or old. In many adverts for hearing aids elderly models are used. I'm not old and I hate being fast-forwarded into the same category as bed jackets and stair lifts. I do not have anything against being old - I'd just like to get there after being young!

Deafness does have its advantages:
It aids sleep - you could start a World War 3 in my bedroom and I'd snooze through it. I live next to a railway station and can barely hear the trains and I can't hear car alarms, police sirens or hear unwanted callers on the telephone.

The disadvantages are more insidious; I try to avoid parties, street cafes and business meetings. I miss general chat, overhearing people on buses or catching whispered conversations. I hate apologising all the time, forcing people to repeat things and making me feel stupid. Pillowtalk tends to suffer - some things in life were definitely not designed to be repeated three times!

In my world, even with hearing aids; my dog never barks, no one raises their voice and even though I attended a friend's wedding I couldn't hear a thing in the service. It's a different world, but I am becoming quite fond of it.