Celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli has revealed that he has been diagnosed with severe hearing loss.
The 53-year-old Frenchman, famous for his four Michelin stars and appearing on TV shows such as Hell’s Kitchen, is fronting a campaign called “Putting hearing loss on the menu”. He explained that he had spent years struggling to hear people before admitting he had a problem, believing himself to be too young to have developed a hearing problem.
Novelli cited his 30-year career working in a loud kitchen environment, with the combination of shouting colleagues and the crash of pots and pans, as one of the key factors that may have contributed to his hearing loss.
He said he had struggled for years to hear things people were saying, a problem which was particularly embarrassing when talking to celebrity visitors to his restaurants such as David Beckham, Margaret Thatcher and Princess Anne.
The problem was only discovered when his wife insisted he take a hearing test, after which he was fitted with a hearing aid. Novelli described himself as “a prat” for not seeking help sooner, and said he had been concerned about how he would look wearing a hearing aid.
Could your hearing loss symptoms be linked to your job?
Action on Hearing Loss suggests that while one in six people will experience hearing loss during their lifetime, they will wait an average of ten years before addressing the problem. Like Novelli, many appear to resist the possibility on the basis that they are too young.
Generally, work-related deafness is associated with environments such as factories, warehouses or building sites where a lot of noisy machinery is used, but Novelli’s story reveals it can occur in all sorts of situations.
While the chef is not attempting to blame anyone, suggesting that his love of loud music could also have brought about his condition, there are many sufferers whose problems can be attributed to being made to work in an unsafe working environment.
If you experience industrial deafness and feel that your employer could have done more to help you protect your hearing, call Croftons Solicitors today on 0800 2800 094 for further information.