Susannah Constantine reveals she's been suffering from hearing loss
‘I wasn’t able to hear the person sitting next to me’: Susannah Constantine, 61, reveals she’s been suffering from hearing loss and lauds the treatment that changed her life forever
Susannah Constantine has revealed she’s been suffering from hearing loss, and has shared details of her devastating diagnosis and the treatment that changed her life in an interview with The Mirror.
The fashion journalist and TV presenter, 61, spent a lifetime among loud environments, juggling between production studios and live gigs – but it was the incapacity to hear birds singing that alarmed her.
The award-winning author realised she had problems with her hearing earlier this year, but admitted the problem could have been going on for a year and half.
The famous writer – who lives in the countryside – said the birdsong was one of the most comforting things to her, as all of a sudden she just couldn’t hear that anymore.
‘It was a cacophony of noise without the clarity and differentiation. That’s when I realised. Well, that coupled with my children [Joe, 23, Esme, 21 and Cece, 18] calling me deaf and getting really frustrated with me,’ she said.
Getting real: Susannah Constantine has revealed she’s been suffering from hearing loss, and has shared details of her devastating diagnosis and the treatment that changed her life
Susannah admitted social situations became more and more difficult to bear, with ambient noise being ‘awful’.
‘I wasn’t able to hear the person sitting next to me. I’d become an amateur lip reader, but if I couldn’t see someone’s face, I had no idea what they were saying. It was embarrassing,’ she revealed.
The clothing designer got candid about her ‘shame’ of seeking help with her problem – as she admitted she’d always dreaded age-related hearing loss.
‘There can be a huge stigma around wearing hearing aids, I felt like I might as well go to the funeral director and order my coffin, it made me feel so old,’ Susannah explained.
But things took a turn when the TV star decided to book a hearing test at Boots, finally overcoming the shaming stigma.
Susannah recalled the moment she did her hearing test, saying she sat in a soundproof booth with headphones on as she listened to a continuous beep, and only pressed the button when she could hear it.
The famous style advisor was initially convinced everything went well and was quite sure she was ‘not deaf’ – but there were several pitches she had no idea she couldn’t hear.
The test showed that years of tear and wear – such as listening to music on headphones on a very high volume – left the author in need of hearing aid.
Changes: The award-winning author realised she had problems with her hearing earlier this year, but admitted the problem could have been going on for a year and half
Candid: ‘I wasn’t able to hear the person sitting next to me. I’d become an amateur lip reader, but if I couldn’t see someone’s face, I had no idea what they were saying’ she said
WHAT CAUSES HEARING LOSS? AND CAN IT BE TREATED?
Hearing loss can be temporary or permanent.
It can also develop gradually with age or come on suddenly.
Hearing loss in just one ear may be due to a build up of wax, an infection or a burst eardrum.
Sudden loss in both ears may be due to damage from a very loud noise or side effects of certain medication.
Gradual hearing loss may be the result of fluid building up, known as glue ear; a bony growth, called otosclerosis; or skin cell accumulation, known as cholesteatoma.
Gradual hearing loss in both ears is usually caused by ageing or exposure to loud noises over many years.
Hearing loss sometimes gets better on its own.
A build up of wax can also be treated by being suctioned out or softened with drops.
However, hearing loss can also be permanent, with treatment then focusing on making the most of the hearing that remains.
This may involve:
- Hearing aids
- Implants – attach to the skull or are placed deep in the ear, if hearing aids are ineffective
- Communicating via sign language or lip reading
Hearing loss can be prevented by avoiding loud music and wearing headphones that block out background noise.
Ear defenders should also be worn if you work in a noisy environment, such as a building site.
And ear protection should be worn at concerts and other noisy events.
Source: NHS Choices
The BBC star surely had a life studded of sensational moments, such as being on tour with the Scissor Sisters in the past – where she was often closely exposed to speakers as a big fan of live music.
Despite the initially devastating diagnosis, Susannah admitted hearing aids changed her life forever – describing her Phonak as ‘transformative’ and ‘comfortable’.
The former fashion journalist joked the hearing technology looks something as the like of ‘NASA’ and that such a thing blew her away only after she got to try it.
Susannah explained these types of hearing aids can comfortably become part of your life, as they can be worn while swimming, or washing your hair – as long as you are careful.
She also said they have an embedded Bluetooth – where she often listens to music and calls, although ‘the music isn’t as good as it was through headphones’.
The TV personality also revealed her eldest daughter admitted her hearing improved significantly.
Susannah recalled her very first test – which was a noisy big party.
The award-winning author revealed she was in fact doing better than many of the people present at the party – with many asking to turn the volume down to talk, while to her everything was ‘perfectly pitched’.
That’s when things took a great turn for Susannah, as she said she finally started embracing her new accessory.
She felt even better when she realised her previous shamed was so unmotivated, as many of the people around her showed support and were actually amazed by how ‘subtle’ the technology was.
The writer recalled lifting up her hair asking people if they noticed ‘anything new’ about her – with some hilariously her if she ‘got a piercing’.
The TV star admitted seeking help with hear hearing loss turned out to be game-changing, as it allowed her to appreciate what she was missing out – and to take her life back in her hands.
Susannah also urged anyone who notices symptoms of hearing loss to get tested.
It comes after she recently said she has PTSD from doing reality shows and that her years as an alcoholic have made her younger emotionally.
The What Not To Wear star took part in I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in 2015 and Strictly Come Dancing in 2018.
Reflecting on her experiences, Susannah confessed she only did I’m A Celeb for the money, but that she regretted not training harder for Strictly.
Speaking to SheerLuxe, she said: ‘I’ll admit it – I did I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here! for the money.
Life-changing: Despite the diagnosis, Susannah admitted hearing aids changed her life forever
‘There was no other reason and I know I was paid more than anyone else – poor ITV, I was kicked out first! That’s why I don’t really watch the new series when they come out.
‘I do still watch Strictly though and every time I kick myself for taking myself too seriously and not training enough.
‘I remember expecting to be a world-class dancer on two or three hours of training a day. I remember on the second day of training I came home and I said to my husband, “You know what? I’ve found something I’m really good at and I think we could win this.” I mean, how deluded was I?
‘I still have PTSD from it – the traumas of I’m A Celebrity pale in comparison to Strictly! You can be absolutely murdered for your lack of talent on that show.’
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