Former soldier’s hearing boosted by charity scheme

Daniel Ridehalgh
Daniel Ridehalgh

A former infantry soldier from Eastbourne who suffered hearing loss after serving on the front line has received free hearing aids thanks to a charity scheme.

Daniel Ridehalgh initially stopped seeing friends because he found it difficult to take part in conversations and was embarrassed to wear other hearing aids he was offered.

But the 25-year-old, who joined the infantry in 2008 and went to Iraq later that year, turned his life around after reading about a Help 4 Heroes Scheme and got in touch with his local audiologist straight away. Hearing instrument manufacturer Phonak, in conjunction with Help for Heroes, offered free, state-of-the art hearing instruments to veteran British servicemen and women who have been discharged from the army due to damaged hearing in recent conflicts.

In April 2011 Dan, who served on the front line for more than two years, noticed a constant ringing in his ears and thought there was something wrong with his sinuses as his sense of smell seemed to have gone too, but what he was actually experiencing was tinnitus.

He was serving one day when his Sergeant called to him and noticed that he couldn’t hear him shouting only a few metres away. He was immediately sent home on medical leave. He was fitted with a Phonak Nano by Graham Sperring at The Eastbourne Hearing Centre Ltd and is pleased with the results.

He said, “If you’re in a noisy environment it can turn down the noise in the background. My hearing is now a lot better. I can go out and hear what people are saying.”

• See page 26 for a story about Deaf Awareness Week.