“Over the years, there aren’t a lot of aids that we haven’t tried on Ian, including traditional BTEs open fit, power domes and canal aids, but nothing seemed to hit the mark with him,” says Simon Wendland, Company Director at Imperial Hearing. That was until they tried him with Widex Dream.
Ian Coley, GBR Olympic Team Coach for Shooting, first visited Imperial Hearing in 2005. His role as shooting coach and head of his own shooting school, gun shop and sporting agency, meant that Ian had particular demands from his aids, including clear hearing in environments with loud background noise.
A thorough hearing assessment discovered that Ian’s hearing loss was sensorineural, and almost certainly had been affected by his shooting career. “Ian’s hearing loss is what we call a ‘ski slope’,” explains Simon. “His hearing is pretty normal in the low frequencies, dropping off rapidly in the mid frequencies, with little or no response in the high register. His hearing loss is 100 percent cochlea/nerve damage.”
Simon adds “Although it is impossible to confirm the exact cause of a hearing loss, it is almost certain that the loud noises associated with shooting played a hugely significant part in Ian’s hearing loss.”
Ian was instrumental in Great Britain’s gold medal haul at the London Olympics 2012. However, behind the scenes, he had been coping with a hearing impairment for some years. Like most, Ian downplayed his hearing loss when he first began to notice it and it was not until several years later that he decided to take action. “My hearing loss was gradual,” he says. “I tried a number of hearing aids, which didn’t get on with. It was Simon who first suggested that I try Widex. I found their aids excellent; I’ve used them ever since.”
Ian was GBR Olympic Team Coach for over 20 years. “I started club coaching in the late 1970s,” he says. “I was asked to be the GBR Team Coach/Manager in 1990 for the World Championships in Moscow.” He successfully coached Richard Faulds to Olympic Gold in the Sydney games in 2000, and led Peter Wilson to take Gold at the London 2012 games: two achievements that feature at the top of his career highlights list. “The Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 was special with Richard Faulds winning Gold (Double Trap) and Ian Peel winning Silver (Olympic Trap),” says Ian. “However, London 2012 with Peter Wilson’s Gold was fantastic. It meant that my personal goal of seeing a British shooter win Gold in London had been achieved.”
In Ian’s profession however, protecting ears is a key consideration. “Earplugs and ear defenders are a must,” says Simon. “I have a keen interest in shooting myself and it’s amazing how many people I see with no protection at all. It’s important to understand that an earplug is a very effective piece of equipment and it can protect their natural hearing, and prevents problems arising in later years. Some earplugs even amplify ambient sounds which are fantastic from a safety point of view, especially for those shooters that may already have a hearing loss.”
Following his team’s success at the British Olympics, Ian received an MBE from the Queen for his services to the sport and the part he played in the London 2012 gold medal tally. “It was an unexpected honour,” he says. “It was a great surprise. I’m the first person ever to be awarded an MBE for ‘Services to Shooting’.”
Having reached the pinnacle of his coaching career, Ian retired from coaching the GB shooting team in May 2013. “The London games were extraordinary and, to be part of it and the gold rush of medals is just too hard to describe,” he says. “It’s great to have been part of something positive for the sport and I have been very fortunate that my business is my way of life. I’m grateful for that. My plans for the future now are to continue to build and enjoy my business.”
To find out more about Imperial Hearing visit, www.imperialhearing.com