Wednesday, 10 October 2018

The Centre that saves your hearing...

These people still have their hearing... but only thanks to 20-year-old centre 

ANYONE who has ever suffered even just temporary hearing loss will know how isolating it can feel. So patients of The Hearing Care Centre in Colchester arrived in their droves to help it celebrate 20 years of life-changing hearing treatment and to share their stories. 

The centre was founded by managing director and senior audiologist Vicki Skeels in 1998 and was based in Crouch Street in the town before it relocated to its home in Headgate, in 2002. Today it has around 6,500 patients on its books who opt for non-NHS hearing care. It also has satellite centres in Tiptree, West Mersea, Frinton, Manningtree and at the Oaks Hospital, Colchester. Patients who attended the centre’s 20th anniversary afternoon tea at the Wivenhoe House Hotel included Pamela Boulden. Pamela, 69 and from Colchester, said: “I started using The Hearing Care Centre because I became deaf when I was aged about seven or eight from measles. 

“My mum didn’t take me to the doctors and I’d picked it up from a playmate. A neighbour rang the doctor but by then the damage was done.” Pamela had lost about 60 per cent of her hearing but managed to lip read. “I got victimised at school, I hated it,” she said. “But you manage to adapt.” She left school to work as an office junior but avoided answering the phones through fear of not hearing what people said. Naturally, her confidence was affected. “People think you’re stupid but you’re not. I wouldn’t go up to people and talk to them,” Pamela added. 

Years later, having moved to Colchester, Pamela was attending lip reading classes and was advised to try The Hearing Care Centre for more advanced hearing aids than the one she had tried briefly when younger. That was 19 years ago. Pamela, who is married to John, said: “I couldn’t afford it at the time so they said I could pay in instalments and I’ve never looked back.” 

Today the grandmother-of-three continues to visit the centre for check-ups but credits it with changing her life.


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