I was 29 when, following a referral for tinnitus, I was told that I’d benefit from a hearing aid. The straight-faced audiologist said I had ‘hearing loss’ in both ears but more severely on my right side. It was a jaw-on-the-floor moment. Looking back, I can see the signs, but at the time, the TV was always too quiet, people mumbled a lot and I just didn’t like being in crowded spaces (nothing to do with the levels of background noise that made it difficult to hear).
‘Hearing loss’ is how my deafness was introduced to me (I’m assuming that I was born with full hearing, although the newborn hearing test wasn’t introduced until several years after my birth). I had lots of ear infections as a child – including glue ear (fluid on the ear) and grommets inserted to drain that fluid off – but I don’t remember ever having a hearing test or being told there was anything to look out for in later life.