Charles enjoys his happy sounds again

Charles and Eileen Carmichael
Charles and Eileen Carmichael

His wife calling his name, the rumble of a thunderstorm and those everyday background noises which nobody takes much notice of.

Charles Carmichael, (64), has no doubt what his happiest sounds are.They mean even more to the retired health and safety officer because he spent much of his adult life unable to hear them, before he was fitted with a bone conduction implant.

That is why Charles has agreed to be one of the faces of the #HappiestSound campaign which is runs until today (Thursday), the eve of World Hearing Day, when the happiest sound will be announced.

The idea is that with everyone posting their happiest sounds on social media it will raise awareness that everyone, wherever possible, should have a happiest sound.

Many people leave hearing loss untreated, despite its links to depression and dementia. And often hearing aid users who are struggling to hear do not realise that they, like Charles, could be eligible for a bone conduction implant or Cochlear implant free on the NHS. From a young age, a condition known as runny or discharging ears, caused Charles to have poor hearing. The affliction makes it difficult to wear hearing aids, as they can block the ears and can stop infections from clearing.

But now Charles has a new lease of life being fitted with two bone conduction implants, which have led to the infections being a thing of the past.

His happiest sound is the background noise that he says “is not there”.

He explains: “On the day my BAHA was fitted I left the audiologist and discovered that while waiting for the lift I could hear the general sounds from the tea room two floors below, and also that the lift talks to tell you it has arrived, etc. I love hearing my wife saying my name. I was previously unaware of any of these sounds without my BAHA.”

Charles also found romance in sound when the couple returned on holiday to a villa in Corfu.

“The previous year my wife had made comment about the lilting sounds of Greek music drifting across the valley from a village festival and the sounds of the crickets, when we sat on the veranda hand in hand. With my BAHA I could hear all of that.

“Also the rumbles that follow thunder claps echoing around the valley. It was truly breathtaking to realise all the sounds I had been missing. I wish I had known that there were alternatives to a hearing aid at an earlier stage, so that I could have approached my audiologist to explore all the alternatives much sooner.”

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