Kellie Armstrong ends Deaf Awareness Week by getting fitted for her hearing aids

The Alliance Party’s Kellie Armstrong marked the end of Deaf Awareness Week by being fitted for her hearing aids.

Admitting her hearing ‘has not been great’ for some time, Kellie said she hoped her situation would encourage others who had concerns about their hearing to go and get checked out.

She said: “Years ago I had a hearing test that confirmed my hearing range was not as wide as others. I couldn’t distinguish some low and high tones. At that time, my hearing was still within an acceptable range and I didn’t need hearing aids. I continued to struggle to hear. Cupping my hand to my ear helped, especially at meetings.

“In some situations it became difficult to make out what people were saying. Without realising, I began to depend on lip reading to understand what was being said.

“In my line of work you attend many meetings where heckling and comments are made while someone is giving a speech. I assumed everyone had trouble picking up every word because of the noise other colleagues were making, but my family where becoming increasingly concerned over the number of times I’d say ‘what?’.

“I thought everyone middle aged was the same. I was frustrated and often having to concentrate hard meant I had painful headaches. I didn’t want to have to keep saying ‘pardon’ or asking someone to repeat what they had said. My lip reading improved. I thought this was normal.

After a number of years I recently went back to the doctors. She said that while hearing may deteriorate with age, I was much too young for that to be an issue. I was shocked. I thought hearing loss was a normal factor in getting older. It’s not. My hearing test confirmed I could no longer hear low or high tones. I was advised hearing aids would be my solution.

“So this year I marked Deaf Awareness Week by being fitted for my hearing aids. Some people have asked if I’m getting the type that are hidden in my ears. I’m happy to say I’m getting the over the ear version. I couldn’t care less if anyone sees my hearing aids. I’m going to be able to hear more clearly. That is amazing.

“While the past week has put a focus on hearing loss, I know there are many wonderful organisations, like Action on Hearing Loss, we can all turn to at any time for advice and help.”

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