Since retiring, Steve has volunteered at hearing aid user support sessions in his local area, retubing hearing aids, providing new batteries and sharing information with other hearing aid users.
He also volunteers at local information stands, using his sense of humour and his own experience of hearing loss to engage and support people with hearing loss and tinnitus. He said:
“I believe the work we all do at RNID can help people to see the benefits of detecting hearing loss early and managing it.
“Our local support sessions give hearing aid users the opportunities to get essential face to face support. This simple maintenance and the opportunity to share experiences is very rewarding to me personally.”
Steve’s own hearing aid journey began when he was 6 years old. He said:
“I’m 63 years old and I have been a hearing aid user since I was 6. My hearing loss was picked up by an NHS hearing screening in primary school. I went for a hearing test and was given my first box hearing aid which I had to wear under my shirt in a harness. As a 6-year-old, boy did I hate that hearing aid, but I did as I was told and wore it, and for that I’m grateful to my parents.”
As hearing aid technology improved Steve went from analogue to digital hearing aids, and started working in pharmaceutical sales, where he learnt to tell people about his hearing loss and how they could support him. He said:
“Very quickly I learnt that there was nothing wrong with asking for help, especially when it was to do with my hearing, whether that meant asking someone not to cover their mouth or to make sure they faced me when talking.”
“I’d encourage anyone with hearing loss to seek support from RNID in addressing hearing loss and getting used to hearing aids – I wish I’d found them sooner.”