Elizabeth Richmond is one of life’s high achievers. She sings opera, is a keen golfer, talented artist and gifted musician. And, if that doesn’t wear you out just reading it, she is a former skier on the Austrian Kitzbuhel slopes and Falls Creek, Australia.
Her achievements are even more remarkable when you find out she was diagnosed with severe hearing loss over fifteen years ago. Now retired, the former physiotherapist from Glen Iris, Victoria says she continues to enjoy life to its fullest potential, thanks to her hearing devices and the support she receives from Hearing Australia.
A major difference
Elizabeth’s hearing loss story is a common one. She knew she noticed her hearing loss but waited almost seven years before getting tested.
Only when her hearing deteriorated so much that she could no longer cope with her physiotherapy practice did she decide to act. She was then diagnosed with severe hearing loss in both ears and prescribed hearing aids.
"I remember the first time I got fitted with my hearing aids," Elizabeth says. "I was walking back to my car and there were gum leaves on the ground and for the first time in years I could hear them crunching under my feet; it was breathtaking."
Later, Elizabeth switched to higher technology hearing devices with more channels and filters, which helped her in one of her biggest pastimes – music.
Able to hear how she was singing once more, she could finetune her notes.
With this information, Elizabeth’s music teacher remarked that her singing standard instantly jumped two grades.
A strong partnership
One of the most important elements in Elizabeth’s journey is developing a strong relationship with an audiologist she could trust.
She asks all the questions you might not even know to ask yourself," Elizabeth says of her audiologist. "She gives you time to think and asks about all the possible scenarios you might find yourself in, then ensures your hearing will be as good as it can be in those situations.
Because everyone’s situation is different, hearing aids sometimes need refinement to suit their needs.
I play in a recorder music group and struggled listening to the high-pitched notes of the sopranino recorder. The audiologist adjusted a setting on my hearing aids and it no longer causes me pain.
Taking the first step
As Elizabeth continues to live each day to the fullest, she has a message for all those thinking about getting a hearing check or who are unsure about hearing devices.
Some of my friends are still struggling, wearing the clumpy hearing aids they got twenty years ago, but there is no reason why people should continue to strain to hear.
"I can now hear clearly in noisy environments and I feel that my hearing is as clear as before I had hearing loss. If I can make this life change, so can anybody, just don’t put it off like I did and miss precious moments."