Chris Packham reveals how diving accident caused hearing loss
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After presenting the BBC 1 show for more than 30 years John Craven was concerned that hearing loss would lose him his job. It is a far from uncommon condition that impacts more than 70 percent of people above the age of 70 . The Royal National Institute for Deaf people reports that 70 percent of people with hearing loss felt they were prevented from working to their full abilities.
Craven described in the Mirror how he was increasingly struggling to follow conversations.
"'Say again', was becoming a standard response to family, friends and colleagues.
"While filming for television I found myself having to move closer to the people I was interviewing and became increasingly worried about invading their personal space.
"Outdoors, familiar sounds of nature were becoming muted – would that eventually affect my work on programmes like Countryfile?"
The BBC presented spent years with gradually worsening hearing before finally seeking help. (Image: PA)
After recognising the problem and booking a free hearing test at an optician, he was fitted with hearing aids that brought back his full breadth of hearing.
This allowed him to return to his job unafraid and take part fully in his social life again.
The process was not entirely painless, as he at one point ordered a mis-sized replacement dome that got lodged in his ear canal.
This incident ended up sending him to the A&E where it was taken out.
In coming forward with his story, John hopes to remove the stigma around hearing difficulties.
He said: "Wearing a hearing aid should be as socially acceptable as wearing spectacles. I am thankful and happy to wear both.
" What I've learned is that there is no need to suffer in silence, or to feel isolated.
"If you notice any changes in your hearing, or in that of someone close to you, there is nothing to lose by getting it checked."
Consult an audiologist if you have concerns about your hearing (Image: Getty)
Hearing loss is predicted to become an increasing issue in the future, with one in every 10 people having disabling hearing loss by 2050.
The World Health Organisation estimates that undiagnosed and unaddressed hearing problems produce an annual global cost of 980 billion USD.
Exposure to loud sounds is a common cause of gradual hearing loss, which is worsened by ageing.
You can mitigate this damage by wearing ear protection when working in noisy environments or attending loud concerts.
Hearing loss is predicted to become more prevalent over the next several years. (Image: Getty)
If you are concerned about your hearing you can consult your GP who can arrange a hearing test for you on the NHS.
This may involve some delay, so you may prefer to pursue a private examination instead.
RNID reports that people wait an average of ten years before seeking help for hearing loss.
They also claim that GPs fail to refer 30-45 percent of paints to NHS audiology services.
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