I became aware and frustrated that I couldn’t hear higher pitched voices and struggled to hear in noisy environments. After meeting my audiologist at Sandton Hearing & Balance and trying hearing aids for the first time, it was fun to hear the difference in sound. It felt great not having to ask guys to repeat their questions at functions, being able to catch the quips on TV (especially the higher pitched American comedians) and hearing birds twittering – they make more beautiful noises then I remembered. It’s worth it to obtain hearing aids – to overcome the frustration in crowds. They are not easy to notice and more people are using them than you think. Using hearing aids makes life more fun – you can hear the “skinner” from the table next to you. They can control the around sound nowadays so you aren’t inundated with outside noises.

Dave Hodgskiss, shared with permission


I had no problem in approaching Sandton Hearing and Balance initially because I had become aware of not hearing properly, especially the higher pitched female voice. I was happy to accept that if I had a hearing problem, and a hearing aid could fix that, I would be pleased. As soon as I had my first hearing aids fitted, I could hear properly again and I felt much better because I was not missing things or accusing my wife of “mumbling”. I wear my hearing aids from start of day to bedtime, and enjoy wearing them. The integration to my cell phone is so powerful and conversation are easy as the sound comes right into my ear. If I have to use someone else’s phone it’s really difficult especially if there is other external sounds around. My advice to anyone who has reduced hearing and who really needs hearing fitted, is do not put this off, because the sooner you start using them the easier it becomes. If you leave it too late you might struggle to accommodate them, especially if you are an older person. Don’t worry about wearing a hearing aid, it’s not a sign of old age. Being deaf and not hearing your friends properly is a sign of old age. How often do we hear older people talking very loud? It’s because they should have fitted a hearing aid years earlier. If your budget or medical aid can support it, my advice would be to go for a good quality upper end hearing aid with Bluetooth link which can integrate with your cell phone as that is a really great feature. I have tried integration to the TV but don’t find that easy. However, my audiologist set up a TV mode which I switch to when watch TV. I also have a “Restaurant” mode on my setup which cuts out lots of the background sounds and improves my eating out experiences. All of the adjustments I make on my hearing aids are on my cell phone so switching modes and adjustments are right there with three quick clicks on the phone button – no messing around looking for apps or anything. It’s just so easy. Take care not to buy cheap amplifiers that look like hearing aids as these will damage your ears and do more harm than good to your hearing. 

Austin Evans, shared with permission


I made the decision to visit Sandton Hearing & Balance because I was struggling to hear and I wanted to have it sorted out. At first I was really apprehensive about the process but when I started using hearing aids it made an amazing difference… I could hear sounds that I had never heard before and it made having conversations easier. If you feel uncertain, just get it done and accept the challenge and persevere. It is not always an easy process but it is far better being able to hear. Thank you to my audiologist for helping me go through this experience.

Pat Burton, shared with permission


I’ve probably been with Sandton Hearing & Balance for about 12 years and they have made the transition to wearing hearing aids incredibly effective for me, which I am very grateful for. My biggest challenge was that I think I was in denial that my hearing was getting progressively worse and the turning point was when, in about 1994, I took my daughter, Terri-Lee to have her new cochlear implant tuned, I sat with her in the sound booth and soon realised that she was hearing a lot more than I was! A big wakeup and that got me thinking that at some point I should have my ears checked. It actually made me realise that I had a problem and that I was not stupid or rude, I was just missing some of the speaking frequencies going on around me. It was life changing, because at that point my hearing really started deteriorating and I realised I was unconsciously starting to lip read. What has helped a lot is that technology has got progressively better as time has passed, so the hearing aids have kind of kept up with my deterioration in hearing. Not quite enough, but I would hate having to try and listen now with my original set of hearing aids. Thank you for your ongoing support and great service.

Dave Estment, shared with permission


Before I visited the audiologists at Sandton Hearing & Balance, I was in denial about my hearing loss. Since receiving hearing aids, I feel confident that I am not missing out in conversations, I give the correct answer when spoken to, and I am not self-conscious anymore. To have quality of hearing, do yourself a favour and visit one of the audiologists, they are very understanding and patient. You will not regret it. 

RC, shared with permission


I experienced a loss of hearing in one ear. The biggest challenge for me was hearing conversations in a noisy environments such as parties or restaurants with a lot of ambient noise. It made me feel isolated even when surrounded by the company of people as I battled to take part in conversations. Since visiting Sandton Hearing & Balance and using a hearing aid I have experienced a vast improvement in hearing.

David Hope-Jones, shared with permission


As one’s hearing gradually deteriorates, you are unaware that you are developing a problem and you slowly experience frustration in social situations – believing that people are talking too softly so that you have to request that they repeat what was said. If you need to ask this often you become embarrassed and tend rather to not ask, and so become excluded from the conversation – isolated. Listening to the radio, watching TV, attending to the cinema or theatre are all unsatisfactory and one tends to skip these activities. It made me feel frustrated! I tended to avoid social interaction where possible and I became anti-social. It is obvious that I would not obtain ‘normal’ hearing as some degeneration/damage of a permanent nature had occurred. When I first visited Sandton Hearing & Balance and began using hearing aids, the immediate, delightful result in inserting my hearing aids and having them programmed was the realisation of just how poor my hearing had become and the joy of being able to hear what was absent before. I can only say that I am sorry that the realisation that my hearing was at fault, and failing to take the hint from my family that I should do something about it, being in denial – in spite of what I was experiencing, was delayed for too long – I could have saved myself much embarrassment and frustration. Do not delay – have the hearing test ! The result is liberating! The hearing test is not something to fear. In fact it is an instructive experience – a walk in the park!

Ray Peo, shared with permission


With the help of the team at Sandton Hearing & Balance, I have been able to access hearing technology that has enabled me to adapt to my hearing loss without having to adjust my life around my hearing loss. The sound technology has provided me with clarity of understanding across many listening situations and freed up energy that was being lost on trying to make out the blurry edges of words and figure out the missing chunks of sounds in words and sentences. The technology has fundamentally brought an end to the strain, tiredness, frustration, confusion and misunderstanding that characterized so many of my listening situations over many years. My audiologist has been remarkably patient in understanding my need for technology that is modern, technologically sophisticated and aesthetically advanced.  Most of all, she has been incredibly kind and extraordinarily persistent in finding workable solutions for my fussy ear canals which initially rebelled against the elegant dome in my ear. Her ability to ‘keep on trying’ has ultimately resulted in a hearing technology solution that meets all my needs and expectations.

Cynthia Rose, shared with permission


I found it difficult to hear conversations fully and was constantly having to ask people to repeat what they had said. I have since discovered that this equally annoyed my friends! This prompted me to visit Sandton Hearing & Balance, somewhat reluctantly. First of all I would like to thank you for the wonderful service your practice has provided me. The care you give your clients is exceptional and nothing appears to be too much trouble. Somehow there appears to be a stigma attached to wearing hearing instruments. There is no stigma attached to wearing glasses and to my mind there is nothing different about a hearing instrument. At first I was reluctant to tell anybody I had hearing instruments because they had the ‘getting old’ reputation but I am so thrilled with them that I have no problem and the comment is always  ‘but where are they? We can’t even see them’. My hearing instruments have made such a difference to my life and I would urge anybody who has a similar problem to get it seen to. It is no big deal.  The instruments today are nothing short of stunning – small and neat and have a seemingly infinite host of different settings. I have one for normal situations, one for restaurants, one for hearing the birds in the bush and a gadget to attach to my television to make the sound clearer on that too – and all this for my mild hearing loss!

SR, shared with permission


The biggest challenge I experienced prior to making my appointment at Sandton Hearing & Balance was accepting that I had a hearing problem. This label made me feel offended, less “healthy” than I thought I was. The audiologists at Sandton Hearing & Balance are extremely professional, whose competence I could trust, which helped me to accept the reality of my hearing loss. With well fitted and adjusted hearing aids I was much more comfortable in company and able to participate in conversations. Make an appointment for a hearing test: it’s the best thing you can do for yourself. Not only are the audiologists really professional, the support staff are really welcoming and helpful.

Sally Velzeboer, shared with permission


Although I had been seeing a prominent ENT for some time prior to coming to Sandton Hearing & Balance, I would say that my biggest perceived challenge at the time, was the extreme difficulty in hearing in noisy environments, even if the person talking to me was right next to me. It made me feel extremely frustrated! To the extent that I was aware of the reluctance to be in, and was consciously avoiding, situations in which I was having difficulty in hearing! After I started to use hearing aids, the first distinct thing, was suddenly realising that I could hear birds outside. Thus giving me the realisation as to what I had been missing! In a sense there was a whole new world out there! The realisation dawned on me as to what sounds I had been missing! It wasn’t just hearing in a noisy environment. All sounds now been came clearer and more distinct. Hearing aids have taken the guessing game out of my ability to hear! Even today and after wearing hearing aids for a number of years, every day I realise what having hearing aids means to me. A specific example is when sitting about three meters from the television, without hearing aids the volume goes up and I actually still don’t hear clearly no matter what the volume, then with hearing aids the volume comes down and the clarity of the words is there. The volume is not the issue, the clarity of the sounds is! Chalk and cheese, so to say. The addition of hearing aids to your life is an opportunity for you to improve your quality of life! You will never regret taking the steps to get hearing aids. In my case the only regret that I have about getting hearing aids, is that I didn’t get them earlier. There are only upsides to wearing hearing aids!

Neille Wrigley, shared with permission


As a surgeon I found it most difficult to communicate in the operating theatre, but acknowledging that my hearing was actually an issue was the biggest challenge.  My wife kept bugging me, then an ENT colleague checked my ears and reported no abnormalities.  However the strain placed on communication did start to get to me as I was able to hear less and less and was too shy to ask when at first I didn’t hear. So my ENT colleague suggested a hearing test, and the audiologist then confirmed the hearing loss.  I wasn’t really phased or embarrassed.  I realised a problem existed and was given the options to deal with it.  I was given test hearing aids aids to try out so that I could be happy with my choice of device. Whilst I am a generally very poorly compliant person when it comes to wearing the hearing aids, I have found that significant changes in my ability to communicate and receive audio input.  The appreciation of sounds that I previously would not have heard has been astounding. I was walking on the beach with my hearing aids and I heard a pair of oystercatchers calling from about 500m away as they were flying toward me from behind me.  This whilst the waves were crashing in front of me.  I would never have heard those birds if it weren’t for my aids. A hearing test really is such a simple and comfortable test to perform.  There is no reason to have any reservations about going for your first test.

CP, shared with permission


My hearing problems started around the age 50 but as is the case with mature grumpy older men the first reaction was total denial that anything could be wrong with my equipment so I just told people to repeat and speak up. The TV volume was pushed up higher and higher without me noticing it. Without realising it, I was lip reading. I had a specific problem with women with high-pitched voices. Reluctantly I drove the 40 km’s from Pretoria to Sandton Hearing & Balance at Mediclinic Sandton for a hearing test. You must keep in mind that at that time I was 58 years old and getting more critical of how things should be done correctly. So I had a few pre-conceived suppositions boiling around in my head of what was awaiting me. It was the first time I was exposed to a professional audiologist practice and was I in for a surprise. I found the parking at the clinic was adequate and found the hearing clinic easily. The receptionist was extremely friendly and made me feel at ease. I was a bit early for my appointment but the staff looked after me and I was even charmed into accepting a cup of coffee. I was then ushered into the testing facility by a very friendly empathetic lady who put my anxieties at ease. The testing started and the in-depth questioning had me explaining all the hearing challenges I was experiencing without feeling shame. The actual test in the booth was something else. I have never experienced silence as complete as that. I was struck by the professional conduct of the audiologist at all times and with the ease she handled me as a stressed older person. The results of the test were visually explained to me and the reasons for the deterioration and loss of hearing ability. I was impressed by the audiologist’s knowledge and mastery of her subject. The bad news that the damage to my hearing was irreversible was conveyed with the dignity it deserved and I did not feel upset, just regret that I was so irresponsible in my youth. Then the beacon of hope was revealed to me in the form of hearing aids. My first reaction was “how stupid I would look with these things in my ear”. The second reaction was that other people would think I am disabled. Slowly and with an obvious in-depth knowledge of these devices, it was explained to me what benefits these devices will bring to me and my quality of life will be improved exponentially over time. I realised that I want to have more quality of life and that I want to live my life as best as I can for its duration. I am an estate agent, so being able to communicate with my clients is important. A device that was in my budget range was suggested and I went on a trial period with the device. The difference was immediate. As was explained to me, it was not a miracle cure but it certainly has improved my quality of life. For the first time in a long time I actually heard what people were saying to me and did not have to lip read. I then purchased the device and have never looked back again. The feeling of “looking stupid “disappeared quickly and many of my friends actually enquired about the benefits of the device. They are also suffering from hearing loss the same way I did. A few have made their way to the Sandton Hearing & Balance to be fitted with a device that they could afford. The message is clear to everybody. Be afraid of loud decibels when you are young and if the damage has been done, put your pride aside and get help. I can recommend the audiologists at Sandton Hearing & Balance with a clear conscience. You will be helped!

JH, shared with permission