About Us

Founder Story: Zoe Fawcett-Eustace

I began my working career in PR in London before re-training to be a couture milliner at The Chelsea School of Art. Having started to lose my hearing at 14 and after a few happy hatting years, I had deafness surgery at the renowned Clinique Causse in Bezier, France. Helping restore some of my hearing. Following this surgery a request to answer the phones in EMI’s Mobile Recording Studios office, during my recuperation from the surgery, led to a new and exciting career in the music industry. Initially with EMI and then The Sanctuary Music Group before taking some time out to have my family.

Hopefully founding Hearing Aid Recycling and accomplishing all the amazing things we will, will make sense of the life long saga of my ears!!!

The Early Years:

As a baby and young child I was plagued by multiple ear infections. My speech was delayed. Apparently I would try to say something and nothing intelligible would emerge. Often getting quite animated and frustrated at not being able to make myself understood. Eventually it was ascertained that I had enlarged adenoids which was restricting my ability to form proper sounds. Leading to my first, in effect, although we didn’t yet know it, deafness surgery. I had my adenoids removed. I remember being given a new flannel and special soap, in the shape of a lemon for my hospital stay. I thought the soap was fantastic and far too beautiful and fragrant to use, I wanted to keep it forever! Apparently I started chatting the very next day and some would argue maybe carried on for a long time! Arguably one way of masking that you cannot hear is to never listen! I am, however, forever grateful that I learnt to speak before I began to lose my hearing. A child born deaf, without access to hearing aids, is also condemned to a mute life. It is extraordinary and deeply humbling how quickly a child given hearing aids learns to speak. The simple act of donating yours or a loved ones hearing aids really can transform a life.

Tricky Adolescence:

So many young people struggle during their teenage years. It seemed for a long time that I was just being a ‘normal teen’. Striving to make mine and everyone around lives as difficult as possible. I had begun to lose interest in my studies and was becoming socially isolated. It was understandably assumed I would grow out of it. Until a routine school hearing test revealed that I had hearing loss. It made sense of why I wasn’t interested in my studies, I couldn’t hear what was going on. I’ve read with interest the recent media coverage of the links to dementia and hearing loss, from the social isolation deafness causes. Although, hopefully at 14 not at risk of developing dementia, I was aware of how difficult it is to exist in a world with uncorrected reduced hearing. I felt completely isolated. If you can hear people talking, but not what they are saying it feels as though you are being deliberately excluded from the conversation. Similarly, the world was always cross with me. It seemed every time I turned round someone was telling me off, their faces contorted with anger and frustration. They had assumed that I had deliberately ignored them the first few times they spoke to me. So by the time they had my attention, they were already furious. It turns out I had inherited Otosclerosis. Unfortunately as the condition normally presents in middle age, I was misdiagnosed with glue ear. Hospital deafness surgery number 2 led to the removal of my tonsils and insertion of gromits. I remember waking up from the op with the sorest throat of my life and a ringing in my ears, which has remained to this day.

A little bit later…..

Finally in my early 20’s it was ascertained that I had Otosclerosis and my hearing loss had progressed to the point that I needed to start wearing hearing aids. I was astounded by how much I had been missing. On first putting my hearing aids in I jumped out of my skin. I thought someone had been shot. It turned out it was just a door closing at the end of the corridor. I realised I hadn’t heard birds singing for years. More importantly not only were people no longer always angry with me, I could hear the intonation in people’s voices again. Even today thinking about reconnecting with important people in my life and hearing the affection in their voices, makes me cry. Knowing how truly terribly isolating reduced hearing is makes me want to do my very best to get the best hearing technology to as many people as possible. My third and final deafness surgery was in my early 20’s, helping restore some of my hearing loss for a time.

My hearing aids journey and the advent of Hearing Aid Recycling!

Having had the very good fortune to be born in the UK, with our wonderful NHS, I was fortunate to be given hearing aids as soon as it was identified I needed them. The NHS looked after me for years and years. I, eventually, invested in some private hearing aids. Latterly upgrading them when Bluetooth connectivity technology developed to enable seamless streaming to my mobile phone. At that point I asked my audiologist what I should do with my now extensive collection of hearing aids, both NHS and private. I was completely dismayed to be told to ‘pop them in a drawer, keep them for spares, ultimately, throw them away.” I was and remain so grateful for the wonderful way my hearing aids have impacted my life and bearing in mind our small planet of scarce resources and much need can’t bear the idea of so many going to landfill each year. Please help us stop this and extend the productive lives of these amazing tiny bits of technology through donation, refurbishment and redistribution of UK hearing aids.

Gordon McIntyre

Gordon is innately entrepreneurial and hugely enthusiastic. He has thrown his energies into many enterprises, commercial and altruistic, over the years. Some more commercially successful than others!

His greatest ‘success’ to date was founding PID Systems (PID).  PID designed, manufactured and hired out portable security systems aimed at the construction industry.

With a shared love of the outdoors Gordon and Zoe, who met as students have collaborated on various projects over the years.  Most recently creating the not for profit RCC-Crew.  A marine operation set up to tackle beach pollution on the Scottish West Coast.

Kaz Shiraz

Kaz graduated in 2009 from the BSc Audiology degree.

During his training Kaz worked at the local hospital in High Wycombe and on graduating worked in Austria for a leading in cochlear implant manufacturer. He then went onto work for one of the leading hearing aid manufacturers as a Technical Support Audiologist; supporting audiologist and hearing aid users with the troubleshooting/technical advice and training to achieve effective outcomes. He then progressed to associate product manager leading to the full role as Product Manager and Head of Technical Support for the UK operations.

As a leading independent hearing care professional Kaz takes great pride in offering the very best audiology services, including earwax removal, to all his clients.  He has enjoyed this, and is looking forward to doing more, humanitarian work overseas as part of HT.