‘I was rather worried’: TV presenter John Craven on his health struggle – symptoms

‘I was rather worried’: TV presenter John Craven on his health struggle – symptoms

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Countryfile presenter John Craven has opened up about the impact his hearing loss had on his love of nature and how hearing aids have been instrumental in restoring his enjoyment of the natural world. The BBC presenter’s admission is part of a collaboration with Specsavers to raise the importance of looking after your hearing. He said: “The biggest impact hearing loss had on my life was the frustration of often missing out on vital bits of conversation, of not picking up noises like birdsong and paper rustling that everyone else was registering.

“By no means was I in a silent world but it was one where familiar sounds were muted; it was a ‘Please say that again’ world. I felt my ears were letting me down.”

John continued: “I have always been an outdoors person and to me the sounds of nature are as important as its sights.

“During my many years presenting the Countryfile TV show I’ve visited every rural corner of the UK and heard a huge repertoire of sounds from the splash of leaping dolphins to the screech of red kites. So obviously I was rather worried when I began struggling to capture such wonderful noises.

“Fortunately hearing aids solved the problem and I was no longer concerned about doing my job properly.”

He added: “Not all sounds are welcome, though, and my latest pair of Advance digital aids from Specsavers even help reduce annoying wind noise from battering my ears when I’m out walking and filming.”

John is not alone in his appreciation of nature.

New research, commissioned by Specsavers, shows that 91 percent of people enjoy spending time outdoors and that the sounds of the natural world are extremely important to them.

For two thirds of people (68 percent) these sounds, such as birdsong and the wind blowing, makes them feel happy, while 67 percent feel relaxed, 54 percent feel peaceful and 52 percent feel calm.

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In fact, 68 percent of people agree that the sounds in their garden or the outdoors triggers positive memories for them, and for that reason, 78 percent of people like to spend more time there.

While all these sounds bring great joy, 45 percent of respondents also worry about losing their hearing or their hearing getting worse.

However, it doesn’t need to be this way, as John explained: “There does seem to be something of a stigma about wearing hearing aids, but there shouldn’t be as far as I’m concerned because there is nothing to be ashamed of.”

“My advice to anyone who thinks they need hearing aids but is anxious about wearing them is – don’t be. There are 11 million of us in this country with some level of hearing loss, so you are not alone. Listen to me: make an appointment for a free test. You have nothing to fear and much to re-gain.”

Gordon Harrison, Specsavers chief audiologist, added: “On average it takes someone 10 years to get their hearing checked. Often this is because it happens gradually and they think there is no need but also because many are still frightened of wearing hearing aids. However, that shouldn’t be the case as it can happen to anyone at any age.

“If left untreated, hearing loss can become very isolating and frustrating and can lead to people not enjoying the things they love such as the sounds of birdsong or conversation with loved ones.

“Many may find themselves withdrawing from their normal lives, and it has even been linked to more serious conditions such as dementia, so it is really important to seek help and advice from your audiologist as soon as you notice any changes, if sound becomes more muffled or if you start to notice the volume on your TV starting to creep up. While hearing loss cannot be reversed there are lots of things we can do to help.”

Hearing loss – signs to spot

According to the NHS, hearing loss is sometimes sudden, but more often it happens gradually and you may not notice it at first.

As the health body explains, it can be temporary or permanent.

“You may also have other symptoms, such as earache, unusual noises in your ear (tinnitus) or a spinning sensation (vertigo).”

According to the health body, you should see a GP if you notice a problem with your hearing.

“They can help work out what might be causing it.”

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