Living in a regional town with a population of only 1,500 residents, Tom Saunders can move from peaceful to noisy environments many times over the course of a day.
“I’m a builder and work by myself most of the time, so I often don’t need to talk to anybody. But it’s a pretty loud job too, what I do – deck guns, angle grinders, you name it. I also ride motorbikes and get involved in all sorts of outdoors activities,” said Tom, age 57.
“I’d noticed my hearing wasn’t great, but most of my friends also have hearing loss so we all talk a bit too loud. Everyone’s in the same boat, around lots of noise being tradespeople and farmers. If we’re having a beer together, you’ve got to say something 20 times before all of us get what’s being said.”
Determined to see what options were available for his noise-induced hearing loss, Tom headed to his closest audiology clinic – some 120 kilometres from home – and was shocked at the abruptness of the experience.
“I went to a hearing centre in town and they gave me a quick test, and then asked would I like hearing aids,” said Tom.
“Not only did I balk at the price a fair bit, I was also left confused – you don’t know whether you need them, or if it’s scam, or if they’re even selling you the best product at the best price.”
A chance conversation with a friend who worked at Hear and Say led Tom to book an appointment at the Ashgrove clinic, while on a visit to Brisbane.
“The difference between the two places was incomparable,” recalled Tom.
“The audiologist at Hear and Say, Georgia, spent considerable time going through various hearing tests and explaining everything to me with no time pressure. It was one thousand times better than the clinic I’d previously been to. Georgia was so thorough, whereas the other clinic did the test in what felt like 10 minutes and then the hard sell came on.”
Tom said he appreciated that Hear and Say offered independent advice that wasn’t tied to any one manufacturer, meaning he felt comfortable in the recommendations made.
Having now worn his new hearing aids for six months, Tom said he was “over the moon” with the results.
“I remember what initially got me really keen on getting my hearing sorted was meeting one of my friend’s young daughters. We were driving in the car and she was talking away in the backseat to me – but I couldn’t hear her. I wasn’t responding, so her mum had to say, ‘Oh don’t worry, Tom’s just a little deaf.’ That made me feel horrible, because I couldn’t even hear her. It was a real wakeup call to what I’d been missing all these years, and now we have a great conversation.
“I’m just so thankful to Hear and Say for the opportunity to fix my hearing, otherwise it wouldn’t have been sorted and I’d still be out there, missing out on so much. It’s improved my life 100 per cent.”