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INSIDE How to keep your vision and hearing healthy as you age Hear More. See More. Do More. For Longer Why life is plain sailing with hearing aids What diabetes really does to our eyes and ears

A message from Ryan Welcome to this Special Edition Talking Points. It’s dedicated to ageing well, with one sole purpose: to hear more, see more and do more for longer. In this special edition, we’ve specially commissioned articles that examine the link

In fact, that’s the core purpose behind everything we do. We’re here to help you enjoy

between our hearing and our brain. We’ll explain how staying active can be the key to a healthier, happier life – and how looking after our eyes and ears can literally change lives for the better.

life to the full, by seeing and hearing to your full potential.

More of us are living longer, and that means life today is more about putting life into our years, not years into life. By looking after our eyes and ears, we can be ready for whatever comes our way. Seeing things more clearly. Hearing and being heard. And enjoying more of the people and things that we love for longer. That’s what our latest campaign is all about. It encourages more people to seek professional optometry and audiology advice, so they can continue to lead the life they love.

No matter which stage of life you’re at, it’s never too late to make smart changes to the way you live. So dive in and enjoy the ride.

Ryan Leighton CEO

Introducing our Guest Editor, Mel Gregory — Group Head of Audiology This edition focuses on three very exciting and positives trends: 1. Hearing devices have advanced considerably. 2. Attitudes towards technology have changed. 3. Hearing is linked to health and wellbeing.

I hope you enjoy it... and next time you're with friends or family, listening to music, or in the garden, think about the dimension of pleasure and beauty your hearing and vision bring.

YOU are at the centre of everything we do At Leightons Opticians & Hearing Care, we’ve always worked hard to put our customers first. But now, we’re taking that one step further. We’re partnering with the world-renowned Ida Institute, based in Denmark, to learn more about “person-centred care” a methodology that dramatically improves the lives of those with hearing loss.

But what is person-centred care, and what does it really mean? Quite simply, it’s recognising that each person is unique and that their individual needs and values are at the heart of all we do. You’re not a number, or just another customer. Everyone is different and deserves to have their treatment tailor-made just for them. For our teams at Leightons, that means working hard to understand your lifestyle and the things you like to do. Then finding the best options to help you do more of that. It means really listening to what’s important to you. Helping you live life to the fullest Our conversations are not only about what the latest technology can offer, but also how you can confidently enjoy the listening situations that are a challenge. That’s why we involve you in decision-making – every step of the way. Our goal is to enable people to live life to the fullest through understanding the link between hearing, vision and health. Our collaboration with the Ida Institute allows us to take our quality of care to the next level.

How it works Family – we need to understand your family situation and home set up.

Work – if you are working we will ask about the challenges in the workplace. Lifestyle – what you like to do in your spare time. Listen – we will listen to you and ask questions until we fully understand your needs. Hearing Technology – we work with you to provide the correct hearing aid for your lifestyle needs. Happy – your satisfaction is our priority.

To book your FREE hearing assessment call 0800 40 20 20 or visit LEIGHTONS | TALKING POINTS


Hear more. See more. Do more. For longer. We’re living longer — but how can we keep ourselves in tip-top condition as we grow old? Here’s our guide to healthy ageing. — What is healthy ageing? The World Health Organization defines it as “the ability to grow, learn and make decisions, to stay active. To be and do what you value throughout your life.”

While we may notice changes in our vision, it can be harder to detect – or come to terms with – the changes in our hearing. That’s because hearing changes slowly over time. Amazingly, 42% of people over 50 have a hearing loss. By 70 years old, it’s 70% 2 .

Different things affect our ability to age well, including our genes, our lifestyle, our location and our relationships with friends and family. It’s true that some of the choices we make in early life can alter the course of our later life, like how much we exercised and what we ate. But it’s never too late to make a positive change. 

You may not notice changes in your hearing yourself. Instead, those closest to you will likely spot the signs first. So what are the warning signs of hearing loss? l You might start watching TV at a volume that is louder than usual.

— Staying connected

l You might find it harder to hear what’s being said when there’s lots of background noise (for example in a busy café, restaurant, or meeting). This can lead to you withdrawing from conversations as you struggle to hear.

Our eyes and ears are essential to healthy ageing. That’s because our hearing and vision are central to maintaining active social lives, helping prevent loneliness and isolation. If unaddressed, social isolation can lead to an increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia in our later years.

l You need to concentrate more to understand certain voices (especially soft or low ones).

Did you know?


people in the UK have a hearing problem1

l You find it challenging to hear over the phone.

1 2 3 4 5


Holt-Lunstad J, TB, Layton JB. 2015 Davis et al, 2009. ONS — 2014 National Centre for Health Statistics 2010 (29%)

— The true dangers of social isolation

— Balance and preventing falls

Hearing is key to managing social situations. It’s common for people with unaddressed hearing loss to avoid social situations, as they no longer feel part of the conversation. When people withdraw and become more isolated, it’s time to act – for their wellbeing and for their health. Loneliness isn’t trivial. It has a measurable impact on your overall health, equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day 3.

Our eyes and ears work together to help us stay balanced and steady on your feet. However, if one of those senses is impaired, our chances of falling increases.

Did you know?

What’s also clear from research is that when you hear well, you do more, feel more confident, stay physically active and are less prone to developing chronic health conditions such as diabetes, stroke and cognitive decline. Now that’s what we call healthy ageing!


of people in the UK have never had their hearing checked 4

— Depression Becoming more isolated, seeing less of our friends and not doing the things we love can lead to mental health issues like depression. If you have a mild hearing loss you are twice as likely to experience depression. With a moderate hearing loss, it’s three times as likely and if you have a severe hearing loss, it’s five times more.

— Dementia People with hearing loss are also more at risk of cognitive decline and dementia. In fact, hearing has been identified as the most significant modifiable risk factor for dementia (Lancet 2017), ahead of hypertension and obesity.

Did you know? More men than women are affected by hearing loss 5 Why modifiable? Because acting early on hearing loss also lessens the risk of dementia. It’s important to note that the evidence is not causal, but correlational. In other words, we know the risk with hearing loss is greater (so the conditions are linked) but we cannot say one causes the other or how. Either way, it’s a good idea to have your hearing regularly checked from the age of 50 onwards.

Research suggests that the less you can hear, the less you move. But why? The cognitive load – so much attention and brain energy is spent on trying to hear, that you have less energy.

So how can I look after my senses for longer? — 3 ways to keep healthier It’s never too late to make changes to the way you live. Here’s three tips to get you started. Stay active: Just 30 minutes of activity a day can help promote mobility and health in later life. What counts as ‘activity’? Anything that raises your heart rate until you feel slightly out of breath. Eat healthily: Choose a healthy Mediterranean diet packed with fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, low salt and sugar content, and not too much meat. Stay connected: Do things that give you joy and meaning, whether that’s playing tennis, taking up photography, or visiting places you love. All of these things help you to feel more positive. By looking after our eyes and ears, we can be ready for whatever comes our way. Seeing things more clearly. Hearing and being heard. And enjoying more of the people and things that we love. Keep life in full colour. Book a FREE hearing health check today on 0800 40 20 20 or visit

Our amazing ears – engineered for sound The ear is a small, beautifully designed piece of sound detection kit that makes life so much easier. — How our ears work There are four main parts of the ear: The outer ear – collects sound and passes it to the ear drum. It also helps us to detect where sounds come from. The ear canal – boosts sound brilliantly. Before sound reaches the brain, the ear canal gives speech a natural and sizeable boost, helping us hear sounds like ‘f’, ‘s’ and ‘sh’ more clearly. The ear drum – carries sound to the cochlea. Together with the ossicles, they form the middle ear. The cochlea – turns sound waves into hearing. The cochlea carries sound from the ear drum to the brain. It’s also essential for hearing and balance. The ear is an amazing piece of precision instrumentation – yet it is easily damaged. Excessive noise over time can damage these hair cells, which cannot be repaired. This leads to hearing loss.

— Looking after your ears and hearing 1. Protecting yourself from noise Whether you’re young or old, excessive noise can damage your hearing. l Listen to music or TV at a lower volume

(less than 80%). l Wear ear plugs at concerts and

sporting events. 2. How to clean your ears Ears are self-cleaning. So only clean the entrance of your ear canal, where your ear will deposit the unnecessary ear wax. l Got excess ear wax? With your friendly

Leightons audiologist, they will help you remove wax safely. 3. Noticing changes over time Our hearing changes over time. So it’s important to have it checked every two years, especially if: you’re asking others to repeat themselves more often; or you’re avoiding social situations where hearing can be an issue.

Want to know more, visit us on


The eye life – how to protect your eyes for longer

Our eyes are intricate little structures that allow us to absorb the world around us. But how do you look after them over a lifetime? — How our eyes work The eye lid – protects the eyes and keeps them lubricated. Our eye lids stop dust, dirt and debris from getting onto the surface of the eye. They also lubricate the front surface of the eye, which keeps our vision stable.

So how can we help keep this amazing process working effectively throughout our lives?

The iris and pupil – covered by the cornea. The coloured iris is made of pigmented muscular fibres. The muscles contract and relax to allow varying levels of light into the eye. This protects the eyes from too much UV light on bright days.

1. Have regular eye examinations.

The lens – helps us to focus. Once light is inside the eye it will pass through the crystalline lens, which bends and flexes to focus the vision. Next, the rays of light pass through the vitreous – a clear jelly-like substance, which fills the eye before they reach the retina – the final destination.

2. Wear good quality sunglasses.

The retina – sends sight information to the brain. The retina is made of many layers including pigment, nerves, plus rods and cones. At the retina, the energy in light-format is converted into electrical signals. These signals are sent to the brain for analysis and interpretation.

3. Eat your greens.

— Looking after your eyes and vision: Our eyes change as we age. But with regular eye checks, and by following your optometrist's advice, you can keep your eyes healthy, comfortable and functional for many years.

UV exposure increases the development of cataract and macular degeneration. But wearing good quality sunglasses with UV filters protects your eyes. It also protects the skin around the eyes from cancerous changes.

A healthy diet, with lots of leafy green vegetables, helps to maintain the best possible eye health for lifelong vision.

Concerned about your eye or vision health? Contact us on 0800 40 20 20 or visit your local branch. LEIGHTONS | TALKING POINTS


My story

Life’s plain sailing now I have hearing aids We spoke to Pontypool optometrist and keen sailor, David Phillips, to find out how hearing devices have transformed his hearing and helped him feel part of the conversation once more. — What do you enjoy? When I’m not running my optometry practice in Pontypool, I like to sail – especially in Antigua and Croatia, where it’s warmer. I also love to hike. I even managed to get up to Mount Everest Base Camp.

— What made you decide to have a hearing test? I had a hearing test four years ago. But didn’t do anything about it. My wife Nadine noticed the difficulty I was having, particularly if there was lots of background noise. But it was really when my daughter said, “for goodness sake Dad, get it sorted out!”, that I decided to take the plunge.


— What have you noticed since wearing your new hearing aids? Conversations with friends are easier. I often go on training courses with my friends, travelling by car. Before, the car was really difficult because it was like sitting in a bubble on my own in the back seat. I just couldn’t hear the chaps in the front. Sometimes I would read the paper so that I didn’t have to try and be part of the conversation. Now, I can just have a normal conversation. The thing I noticed first was the noise level in my soft-top Jeep. I was worried it would be unbearably loud – but actually it’s less noisy now. I can hear the engine, but it is comfortable.

My wife, Nadine, noticed the difficulty I was having, particularly if there was lots of background noise.



I’m noticing noises I never knew existed before. For example, when I’m in the clinic, I noticed my IK-tenometer (diagnostic equipment) actually made a “ping” to let me know that it was ready. Before I always relied on the screen to let me know.

— Was it complicated to learn how to use them?

It’s been a surprising journey, really. I had a slight reverberation sensation at first, but this disappeared within 24 hours.

— What advice would you have for someone thinking about getting hearing aids?

— What about talking on the phone. Has that got easier?

I wish I had done something about it years ago and not waited. You don’t notice hearing loss – it’s like ageing. But now everything’s easier. There’s no more repetition, no more missing things. And I’m so much more confident.

I haven’t heard this well on the phone for years. Even when I’m outdoors, I can hear clearly.


It’s been easy and effortless. The hearing aids adjust automatically and at night I also don’t need to fiddle with batteries – I just pop them into the charger.

I wish I had done something about this years ago and not waited...there’s no more repetition, no more missing things.


What to expect at your audiology appointment Leightons Hearing Care offers free hearing tests at all its branches. Our comprehensive hearing assessments are carried out by our professionally trained hearing aid audiologists. Lets talk... First we will need to ask you some questions to gather your background history and the lifestyle implications of any hearing loss you may be experiencing.

The results... At the end of the test, you will receive your results as an audiogram as well as expert advice on preventative or corrective measures as required.

The technical part... We will conduct a video otoscopy which is a painless way of photographing the outer ear, eardrum and canal in full colour.

If hearing loss is detected... If hearing loss is detected, your audiologist will provide extensive information about hearing aids and also offer a free hearing aid demonstration to help you choose the best one for you.

We also use pure tone audiometry, speech in noise testing and an audiogram, giving a graphic record of your hearing ability at various sound frequencies.

To book your FREE hearing assessment call 0800 40 20 20 or visit



Keep The Outdoors Great. Your vision and your hearing are linked. For every line further up the vision chart you go, the chance of having a hearing problem increases by 18%*. Make sure you keep life in full colour. Get your FREE Hearing Health Check. Book today on 0800 40 20 20 or visit

*Chia,E; Arch. Opthamol.2006

Why diabetes is a silent threat to your hearing and vision

Diabetes isn’t just a risk to your health. It can affect your hearing and vision too. Here we take a closer look at this often-misunderstood condition. Diabetes is more common than you think. In fact 4.7 million people in the UK live with Type 2 diabetes. Almost 1 million of them don’t know they have it 1 . Diabetics are twice as likely to develop hearing loss than those without the disease. Diabetes is also a major cause of blindness worldwide.

— What is diabetes? There are two types of diabetes: l Type 1: where the pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin (common in children) l Type 2: where the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin (common in adults)

— Can we prevent diabetes? By making good choices around diet and exercise, we can prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes. Here’s how: Eat a healthy diet – with less saturated fats and sugar. Stay active – fit in 30 minutes of exercise a day: a brisk walk with the dog, a morning swim or even a cycle. Stop smoking – smoking increases the risk of diabetes and it’s never too late to stop.

— How does diabetes cause hearing loss? Researchers believe prolonged high blood glucose levels may lead to hearing loss by affecting the supply of blood or oxygen to the tiny nerves and blood vessels of the inner ear. Over time, the nerves and blood vessels become damaged, affecting the person's ability to hear.

­— How can diabetes affect our vision? Like hearing loss, it happens when the small blood vessels, which carry blood or oxygen to the retina, become damaged. This leads to diabetic retinopathy. The World Health Organisation say 2.6% of global blindness can be attributed to diabetes (2018). All people with diabetes in England are entitled to routine NHS eye examinations. 1

NCVIN (2016)

We recommend all adults have an eye examination at least every two years. Contact us on 0800 40 20 20 to locate your nearest branch.



How to tell when it’s time to upgrade your hearing aid Natural sounds, smaller bodies, and incredibly light designs. Hearing devices have evolved rapidly in the last ten years. Here’s three things modern hearing aids can do for your hearing. Just like mobile phones, hearing aid technology is developing rapidly all the time. Pick up a mobile from ten years ago and you will notice just how dated it has become. It’s the same for hearing aids. There’s a world of better hearing out there just waiting for you. But it’s not just technology that’s advancing. Our understanding of how our brains process sound has improved dramatically too. These two things together are helping more people hear better than ever before. So what can you expect from a new hearing aid?

Three things the latest technology offers 1. L  et you hear sounds more naturally. Patients who have recently updated have remarked that they hear the way they remember hearing before they had a hearing loss. That’s because the processing power of today’s hearing aids is far beyond what older hearing aids could manage. Everything has a natural crispness to it – and loud sounds are completely comfortable. 2. A  nalyse your environment 100 times a second. Hearing aid technology such as the Oticon OpenSound NavigatorTM can take a snapshot of your local sound environment 100 times a second, managing every sound it detects individually. It can analyse the sound types and balance the background noise – which makes speech clearer and easier for you to be a part of the conversation.

Connecting to the modern world Gone are the days when you needed an extra device to connect your hearing aid to the TV or phone. The latest hearing devices connect seamlessly, without a wire in sight – handsfree connection. They work cleverly and intuitively, so it takes less time to understand how to use them and it’s quicker to adapt to life with them. It’s far more like ‘smart’ hearing enhancement than ‘dumb’ amplification.

When should you upgrade your hearing device? Just like your eyes, you should have your hearing checked every second year (at least). It’s all part of looking after your overall health. When you’re there, you can see how hearing aids have evolved. Usually there is a significant jump in technology every five years, which brings substantial new benefits.

3.  Go unseen. Behind your ear or in your ear canal. What’s more, the latest hearing aids are superlight and ultra-discreet; you don’t even know they are there. “I love them because they are so forgettable” says one patient. “Once I have them on, I just hear naturally.” Comments like these are common. 12 LEIGHTONS | TALKING POINTS

See and hear with the latest hearing aid tech for yourself with a complimentary demonstration. Call us on 0800 40 20 20 or visit

Keep Laughs Loud. Your hearing is as important as your sight. For individuals with hearing loss, the risk of a problem with their vision is 1.5 times greater. Make sure you keep life in full colour. Get your FREE Hearing Health Check. Book today on 0800 40 20 20 or visit

The Power of Great Sunglasses

Sunglasses are about much more than just looking good. Here’s our expert guide to sunglasses, explaining exactly why they’re one fashion accessory that’s essential to your health. What makes a great pair of sunglasses (and prescription sunglasses)? A good pair of sunglasses can complete your style and make you feel great. But the best sunglasses are far more than a fashion accessory. They also ensure your eyes are protected from the risks caused by exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays.

What are the dangers of UV exposure to your eyes? We’re all aware of the dangers UV rays can pose to our skin. No sunny day, cruise or otherwise, is complete without sunscreen. So high is our awareness that many people use sunscreen every day and it is now contained in many regular skincare products. But few of us know that our eyes are 10 times more sensitive to UV 1 than our skin. Only 7% of the UK population is aware of the risks of UV to their eyes. 14 LEIGHTONS | TALKING POINTS

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, up to 80% of the sun’s harmful UV rays can penetrate cloud. That means you don’t need to be basking in 30 degree temperatures for your eyes, and skin, to be absorbing UV radiation. The same damage that happens on a scorching sunny beach can happen on a cloudy day.


Our eyes are 10 times more sensitive to UV 1 than our skin, yet only 7% of the UK population is aware of the risks to their eyes.


It’s not just direct light that causes a problem either. Over 50% of the UV radiation that makes it to our eyes is indirect, reflected off a wet road, pavement or a window. The possible damage of indirect light is the same, and just as severe, as damage caused by direct light.

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There are two main types of UV rays that damage our eyes and skin: l  UVA makes up around 95% of the UV radiation that reaches us2 . Long term exposure to UVA has been linked to the development of cataracts and macular degeneration3 , and can also seriously damage the delicate skin around your eyes.

Maui Jim — Dragonfly The Dragonfly has been literally flying out of the door this season.

l  UVB is necessary in small quantities to help boost our vitamin D levels, but is also the prime cause of sunburn, premature skin ageing and even cancer.


For children and young people, UV can be even more harmful. 1

Transitions UK. Transitions European Study, 2008




On trend

Ray-Ban Aviator We're expecting next year to see Aviator resurgence, as the Top Gun sequel is released. For kids

Total peace of mind from just £12 a month Complete eye and ear care for life MyLeightons Care Plan is an easy way to look after your eyes and ears – for life. From just £12 a month we’ll deliver the highest quality care you need, along with peace of mind, convenience, and a range of valuable benefits and exclusive money-saving offers to help you live your life to the full. For just £20 a month, MyLeightons Family Care Plan looks after you and your entire family.. 0800 40 20 20

Polaroid Kids Designed to let kids stay carefree yet protected as they explore.

For sport

Oakley 9188 Oakley engineering takes performance to the next level and brings style along for the ride. Top seller

Ray-Ban Wayfarer Our top seller year after year, the Wayfarer never goes out of fashion. LEIGHTONS | TALKING POINTS


Peace of mind included


At Leightons, our care doesn’t stop the minute you walk out the door. We’re here 6 days a week, 52 weeks of the year, so if you need some advice, or you want to talk something over, we’re always here to listen.


LEWES (Spectrum Eyecare)


MARLOW (Leightons Insight)


POOLE (Leightons & Tempany)







For total peace of mind, we provide a 60 day 100% money back guarantee. All our next generation digital hearing aids come with a 3–5 year warranty and 3–5 years of free batteries.











We understand that hearing aids can be a big investment. To help you spread the cost, ask about our Hear Now, Pay Later plan. Simply pay a 30% deposit and spread the rest into easy-to-pay instalments, interest free.








WINDSOR (Leightons Eye Windsor)





FREEPHONE 0800 40 20 20

FREE HEARING ASSESSMENT Good hearing starts with regular hearing health checks

Profile for Leightons Opticians & Hearing Care

Talking Points Special Edition: Hear. See. Do More.  

Free health information from Leightons Opticians & Hearing Care to help you Hear, See and Do More.

Talking Points Special Edition: Hear. See. Do More.  

Free health information from Leightons Opticians & Hearing Care to help you Hear, See and Do More.

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