With ageing a degree of  difficulty in hearing normal conversation is  quite common. Presbyacusis  or  deafness with  age,   affects many  but is often  ignored. Gradually  such individuals begin to get isolated :  they cannot grasp fully what others are saying and  others ( perhaps out of politeness) do not say anything either. They  lose company and  drift away from day to day conversation with others  and socialising. 

Deafness or loss of hearing does affect one's quality of  life . Failure to enjoy talks , events, films or theatres  and even television - although  for radio and tele, one tends to increase the volume!  When  families call , they always reduce the volume but often  do not take any remedial action. Over the telephone one needs to ''shout  at them'' or they often miss the call - can't hear the telephone ringing.  

The  simplest thing to do is to see the family doctor and  request  a hearing aid. Of course the  doctor can't provide that  from his  surgery but   can  refer him to the Audiology Dept.  at the local hospital  for  a  full  assessment of the hearing and examination of the ears.  Before anything complex is done, the ears are inspected with an auriscope  to exclude  any deposition of wax blocking  the canal or covering the eardrum. In that case  a very simple ear syringing is all that is needed. The family doctor can easily do this bit in the surgery.

The hearing aid is given after a thorough hearing test - to establish the exact nature of the hearing loss and  what sort of aid  would be  most appropriate  for the individual.  The whole range of tests is entirely painless and the audiologist determines  the extent of hearing loss and perhaps its cause  as well. Any coexistent ear disease is also diagnosed and a referral to an ENT  specialist doctor may follow.

These  days  there are diffferent types of hearing aids - very effective , light and often invisible to  others( if it sits inside the ear canal) or  just a small thin  plastic wire connected to the small aid behind the ear lobe with the hearing end inside the ear. 

The NHS does provide excellent service  with free modern  digital aids and  batteries can also be replaced  at no cost  from time to time.  The old days when a huge box had to be carried in the pocket or in abag with the whole world knowing that you are wearing hearing aid is long gone!

There  are many private organisations offering this service but one needs to pay for everything;  and  expensive  aids are not necessarily the best ones! 

If  you or any of your relatives  or friends  seem to suffer from loss of hearing  needing to  raise the volume of the telly  or  ask the other person to speak loudly on the telephone,   needing to  sit  in the front at a meeting, the best thing to do is to get fixed with  a hearing aid ( or two for both ears) . This would immediately improve your life quality.  Do not  ignore the problem.