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My hearing loss started many years ago as like many others, I was subjected to high levels of noise due to the nature of my Service. The Royal Air Force at that time, did not provide adequate hearing protection for small arms fire and in fact, the defenders eventually supplied were a complete waste of time. The deterioration continued as jet engine noise at least, is not the quietest thing in the library of sound.
Obviously checked each year with an eventual medical downgrading but no assistance with hearing was offered or given during my time in the Service. I am probably speaking for many other Veterans out there who no doubt experienced the same.
I stumbled upon UK Veterans Hearing Help as they were looking for someone to attend events for them however, having met the team, I decided to take the journey of a better quality of life with support and care for my now even worse hearing levels.
My journey started way back in October of last year when I completed the application form for my medical record and surprisingly, they were sent to me within six weeks; I do recommend that when you complete the form only ask for your Audiology reports as that speeds up the process.
Then the slow down started after they have been sent to the Royal British Legion together with a hearing test result that I undertook soon after receiving the medical records. The first stage, known as VH1 after several months was acknowledge and accepted and my application sent to the second stage. This did confuse me somewhat as I had been medically downgraded by the RAF and, this should have pushed the application quicker.
Nothing from the RBL for months so excuse the pun ‘the silence was deadly’ as I had no idea if and when my application would be approved. Eventually after several months, the approval for funding was received however, this was once again slowed down due to the RBL financial department not processing the application.
Eventually I was notified by the staff that my hearing aids were ready for fitting and as it was June, I was in the middle of a busy event season as well as moving house so through my own fault they were not fitted until October. Another hearing test was made by a very competent Audiologist and, the hearing aids adjusted to suit my hearing loss frequencies. A quick overview on how to operate them, link them to my mobile phone and how to set up the Television unit was made with a future appointment made to ensure that they were the right hearing aids for me.
I have to admit they take a bit of getting used to but my Phonak Audeo M-R have opened up a new but right now, a strange world of sound as the brain is adjusting to receiving different but forgotten frequencies. Sounds are made so much clearer and sometimes sound a bit different however, my thanks have to go out to UK Veterans Hearing Help for the support, care, administration. I am now part of the team going forward to caring for other Veterans and, having been through the process can only recommend the skills, care and professionalism UKVHH have given me through my own journey.
UKVHH is aware that there is some doubt on further funding from the RBL but have committed to continue offering the same level of Service albeit in a different direction. We will most certainly ensure you are kept informed as it all progresses. For those of you waiting for the RBL decision, please hang in there as it is worth the wait and hopefully your application will be approved although a little longer than necessary