Eric Sykes: The Man, The Legend and The Hearing Impairment
What a week! With Wimbledon let downs and Nationwide downpours it all seemed to be business as usual in the British Summer of love.
But one piece of news did rock the boat; the great loss of comedy legend Eric Sykes. As a writer, actor and director he was expert in taking a simple comic idea to its ultimate extreme. Perhaps best known for 1970s BBC sitcom Sykes, he brightened up our screens for over 60 years, even entertaining the next generation as Frank Bryce in Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire.
It is well documented that Eric Sykes suffered dual sensory loss; he become partially deaf as a young man in the war and suffered increasingly poor eyesight in later life due to Macular Degeneration.
This did nothing to deter him or stand in the way of a dazzling career among the showbiz giants of his time.
While working on Sykes (the longest-running British TV comedy) with Hattie Jacques, he began to struggle with the hearing technology of the time
“I was wearing in-the-ear aids for a while but they caused me such problems. During one recording, as well as trying to listen to Hat, I also had the producer’s instructions to the cameramen coming through my aids at the same time!”
Thankfully technology caught up. Soon after Eric could be seen wearing his thick trademark spectacles, without lenses as they were in fact bone-conduction hearing aids, vibrating against his skull!
Ever the optimist and ever the hard worker, Eric Sykes wrote and acted for the big and small screen tirelessly throughout his life and in 2004 he was deservedly awarded a CBE for services to drama. Through his talent, charisma and strength of character he’ll be remembered as a true inspiration in both the showbiz and the sensory impaired world.
“These things are all challenges really…they’re sent along to see how you cope with them. Otherwise I don’t think I could have believed how good, how candy floss, my life was.”
Eric Sykes as quoted in an interview for Action on Hearing Loss. The full interview can be found at
Tags: Action on hearing loss, actor, amplification, audiology, bone-conduction, comedy, Comfort Audio, communication, deaf, Digisystem, dual-sensory loss, Eric Sykes, hearing, hearing aids, Hearing device, hearing loss, heavy rain, impaired, legend, listening, Macular Degeneration, PC Werth, PC Werthstore, pcwerthstore, SEN, showbiz, sound, technical support, tennis, TV, wimbledon, writer