I am Excited to introduce to you all the incredibly talented Scarlet Page, an Award-winning musician photographer, working with many talented Musicians, including Robbie Williams, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Darkness, Foo Fighters and many more. Photographer to the stars of music for 30 years a successful artist in photography, a wife and mother to two children and a hearing aid user. Scarlet has significant hearing loss due to unknown causes. She recalls using her headphones in her 20s on full volume and wonders if that might have impacted perhaps. But there’s no real answer to how Scarlet’s hearing loss first came about. It was something Scarlet first recognised in her 20s whilst at UNI but it was 15 years later when she gained hearing aids and says she now can’t live without them.

I want to say before you read on how honoured I am that Scarlet has chosen to speak about her hearing loss which we recognise is such a personal thing for her and all our contributors to share with us for the first time. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, it’s truly lovely to read about others’ lived experiences. Thank you x

Do you have any advice for those looking into hearing aids with suspected hearing loss?

Many of my friends have hearing loss, but similar to how I felt, I think there was an idea of who you are when you wear hearing aids like it ages you or puts you into a disability category. Now that I know I cannot live without my hearing aids and how much they have changed my life, I would encourage anyone to be receptive to trying them. It takes a while to get used to the new sound. For example, the first pair I had was very tin-y, but now they are pretty incredible and help me so much.

Do you use any other coping mechanisms other than the use of hearing aids?

I prefer having the subtitles on at home when I’m watching TV. I can’t do this at the cinema so easily, but usually, the sound is decent.

The time I struggle the most is when I’m in a yoga class or a talk; I can’t always hear everything. Luckily, I do Boot Camp, and there’s no worry about hearing the instructor as she is quite loud. I love being able to see people’s faces when they’re talking. I can’t officially lip-read, but it’s important to me to be able to see people talk.

Do you find you have to advocate for yourself in certain situations?

Generally, no, in fact, I can’t remember ever really having to tell people. Only if I’m in a loud environment and socially with friends, perhaps having dinner, I like to sit with my back against the wall, which really helps my hearing.

What would you advise to help your working environment on photography sets or at concerts?

When I’m shooting a gig, I generally take my hearing aids out and wear some molded earplugs instead. 

Obviously, it’s not ideal if someone wants to talk to me, but I feel like it could be saving what hearing I do have.

If I’m shooting in the studio, I don’t have any real problems with my hearing when I’m wearing my aids. There have been the odd occasions where I haven’t worn them by mistake, and then I have to be a little bit more in tune with people’s faces, so I can see what they’re saying.

Would you advise ear protection, and if so, what do you use?

For sure, I would recommend even just the foam earplugs if nothing else. It’s hard to gauge what your hearing would be like with or without these in the long run, but I think it’s essential, as I have been in environments where the sound has been so loud, or even standing next to a speaker that resonates through my whole body. It can’t be good.

Is there anything you would like to change within the hearing community’s thought process on hearing loss?

I think things have really changed since 2007, and certainly, my view of hearing aids has definitely changed for the better. I think it’s important to talk about this as most people are surprised that I have issues with hearing loss, and I quite like letting people know something they didn’t about me.

I am not held back by my hearing loss.

Do you have any advice for those coming to terms with hearing loss in their youth and how to approach it?

I understand it takes some time to process, and for me, there were no real reasons for my hearing loss as it started before I was exposed to a lot of loud music. So, I think it was hereditary. I think you have to come to a point of acceptance and move on, and decide that it’s not going to stop you from doing anything you want to do. I even wear my hair up and wear earrings, which is something I thought I would never do initially, as I didn’t want anyone to know and see them.

Have you had any funny situations that have occurred as a result of your hearing loss? Any happy misheard mistakes?

There have been some occasions where I’ve asked someone to repeat themselves so many times that eventually, I’ve had to just guess whether I should smile or look concerned, and I have no idea if my decision was the right one. It’s a horrible feeling when you feel like you can’t ask again for someone to repeat themselves. It’s a bit cringe.

Message from Scarlet to you the reader:

“Thank you for joining me in this conversation about living with hearing loss. As a photographer, I’ve learned the importance of observing the world in unique ways, and this extends to how we listen and communicate. My journey with hearing loss has taught me to appreciate the nuances of sound and the value of clear communication. For those of you navigating similar paths, remember that your perspective is your strength. Protect your hearing, embrace your experiences, and always seek the support you need. Let’s keep capturing the beauty in our world, both seen and heard. Stay inspired and keep creating your own beautiful stories.”

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