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Free and independent hearing service solves cyclist’s woes

When keen Hamilton e-cyclist Lloyd Morris realised his hearing aids weren’t performing as well as he’d like, he wanted independent advice about what to do next.

“My hearing aids just weren’t working so well anymore. They were five years old and they were okay, but I thought I’m starting to miss conversations in small groups.

“I couldn’t follow what was going on. Everybody would laugh and so I would think ‘that must have been a joke’ and so I would laugh – but I was faking it.

“I didn’t know where to go to get honest advice about hearing aids. Do I need better ones? Are there better ones out there? Where do I go for them?”

A quick Google search led Lloyd to Life Unlimited Hearing Therapy, a free national service funded by the Ministry of Health to support New Zealand adults and permanent residents living with hearing loss.

“Because it was a government-funded, free service and (part of) a non-profit trust, I thought this sounds trustworthy. So I didn’t have any doubts when I came in about the bona fides of the organisation,” says Lloyd.

At his appointment with hearing therapist Cherry McWha, Lloyd had one very straight-forward question.

“This is what I’ve got. This is my problem. Is there anything I can do about it?”

Cherry carried out a hearing test and assessed the impact of hearing loss on Lloyd’s life. She recommended a referral to an audiologist for a full assessment and possible hearing aid fitting, and talked him through the Hearing Aid Subsidy Scheme.

Lloyd returned to Hearing Therapy in Palmerston Street, Hamilton on 31 October to thank Cherry and tell her how happy he was with the service he received from Hearing Therapy, and how his new hearing aids have changed his life.

“Now I can actually hear. And it was instant when I put them on – these new ones – they’re so much better than the old ones.”

Lloyd says the new hearing aids have made a “stunning difference”. He can not only hear the environment when out and about on his e-bike, but he also feels more included in social situations.

“I no longer lose the thread of conversation. I can now keep up with my friends at parties and it makes all the difference in my social life.”

Lloyd, who is originally from Kansas City, Missouri in the USA, emigrated to New Zealand in 2012 following a career devoted to social housing. New Zealanders are fortunate to have access to free services like Hearing Therapy, he says.

“Just one more reason to be happy to be a Kiwi.”

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