Sandra Butler’s very own story!
When in the Royal Air Force – 14 years Regular and 9 years Auxiliary – I was aircrew and very confident.
During my time in the Royal Air Force, I served on many RAF Stations including RAF Changi, Singapore. I then applied for AQM Aircrew which later became Air Loadmaster, on 99 Sqn Britannia and 10 Sqn VC10.
The years rolled by, divorced with two children. I then worked as a Document Controller with different Construction Companies. Later, in the Site Meetings, I noticed that I didn’t hear all the conversation also some of the questions put to me. Perhaps I had wax in the ears; the doctor said no and she made an appointment with the Audio Department and they confirmed that I did have hearing loss.
My leisure time was taken up as Secretary to the RAF Britannia Association and later 10 Squadron Association – Membership and Entertainment Secretary. We had members from the WW11 Halifax 10Sdn Bomber, Canberra, Dakota, Victor, Whitely, VC10 and Associate Members. Unfortunately, many of these members are no longer with us.
My time as Secretary happened to fall during the 10Sqn Centenary 1915 – 2015, also the RAF Centenary 1918 – 2018. For the Annual Reunion, on these occasions I organised Silver Service Dinners in the Officers’ Mess – all ex ranks and Serving Members of the Association. Thankfully, they went well.
During the Chairman’s Speech the attendees all looked at me. My friend told me that he was saying “Thank you”. I couldn’t hear it!
My hearing got worse and my confidence was non-existent. I watched television with the subtitles on. At a gathering, when all were talking, I couldn’t hear just one person who was talking to me there was too much background noise. I hated being invited out to friends for dinner, I used to sit back and just let the other people dining get on with it. I suppose that must be how people with dementia feel – lost and alone.
I had to give up work in my 77th year as I was hopeless answering the telephone. I just couldn’t catch all the words and to keep asking people to speak-up was embarrassing. So I gave up. I miss being with work mates the banter and keeping the grey matter working. I started at 0730 and finished on Site at 1800hrs daily.
I felt and I feel a non-person, someone of no consequence. I can imagine that is how lots of people with hearing problems must feel – Not being spoken to because of the difficulty of hearing.
I was informed about the ‘UK Veteran’s Hearing Help, supporting and utilising the British Legions Hearing Fund funding. I applied giving all my RAF Service details, was accepted and put on the waiting list. Unfortunately the funds ran out in 2020, many people like myself were back to square one.
My mood swings were unbearable and I am surprised my daughter, who lives with me, didn’t put a knife in my back.
Internal Business Development Manager
of the ’UK Veteran’s Hearing Foundation’, has been very supportive over the last 18 months by keeping me in the loop about any funding.
GREAT NEWS! Chloe Johnston has informed me that ‘The National Lottery Community Fund’,
Has awarded Funds to ‘UK Veteran’s Hearing Foundation’, hopefully my application will be approved by the Committee. More Great News, my application has been approved!
A Hearing Test, and a recommendation for type of Hearing Aids.
I have them!
I have had the system for over a week now. My confidence has doubled. I can hear people on the telephone and also have a decent conversation. When in the garden I can actually hear the birds!
I recently had an appointment at the dentist – he had a mask on and I just could not hear what he was saying. I have another appointment on the 6th May and I will tell him not to shout because I can hear. Bliss!
All I can say is a Great Big ‘Thank you’, to Chloe Johnson – Internal Business Development Manager of ’UK Veteran’s Hearing Foundation’ and her team. Also another Big Thank you to – ‘The National Lottery Community Fund’. For awarding the Funds to the ‘UK Veteran’s Hearing Help’, you have made people like myself very happy and more confident. May you continue, in the future, to remember us again and award funds.