For many Australian veterans and their loved ones, the effects of war are still taking their toll in the form of hearing loss. In fact, hearing loss is the second most common medical condition reported by Australian war veterans and war widows, with 55% reporting hearing loss as a current medical condition.
Back in 1947, the government established Australian Hearing to provide services to veterans who had suffered hearing damage during World War II, and this service continues today for Clarence Valley veterans such as Frank Cervetto of Coutts Crossing.
“I was in the navy in the 1950’s and served in the Korean War and Malaya,” explains Frank.
“I developed hearing loss from being too close to the gunfire without protection.”
“I didn’t realise I had such a problem with my hearing. When I was asked a question, around 50% of the time I would actually get the answer wrong.”
After having his hearing checked, Frank was fitted with hearing aids and describes his experience that afternoon.
“The very first day I got a hearing aid I went back to work painting a house, and had to get onto the roof when I heard the iron creaking underfoot. I hadn’t noticed this sound before. It made me aware I could hear other sounds I was missing as well like birds and wind.”
“The difference with hearing aids is dramatic. People say, ‘Frank, you can actually hear what I’m saying now, and you aren’t asking ‘what?’ all the time anymore.”
“I’ve got a Westminster Clock which I thought had carked it but it turns out it hasn’t. The first time I heard the chime recently I was like ‘what is that?’”
“It’s like hearing the cork of a wine bottle you haven’t heard for 20 years. I hear so many sounds now I haven’t noticed before… Unfortunately I can also hear all the rattles in my car!”
Frank has some sound advice for anyone who may be suffering with hearing problems.
“You need to take notice of your friends and family when they say you may be deaf,” says Frank.
“It’s very important veterans know what they’re entitled to… There are a lot of service people who don’t know and should find out.”
Australian Hearing provides free hearing checks and the chance for veterans and their families to find out what services and devices may be available to them.
To find out more call 6641 0000, visit the Australian Hearing Centre in Grafton Shoppingworld or go to www.hearing.com.au