Open Ears is following a group of Sonova team members as they head to Haiti with the Hear The World Foundation. Jason Norby is a Principal Clinical Specialist at Advanced Bionics LLC. He enjoys sarcasm and long walks in the park. His favorite dogs are puppies, and his favorite color is light tan.
It’s the end of a long work week. I could feel it in the part of my brain that logs hours slept versus hours awake and energy expended. The summary: not enough sleep to offset the hours awake and energy consumed. It’s been a long week. But you know the feeling when something was mentally and physically taxing, yet the intrinsic reward was worth the cost? It was that kind of week and very worthwhile.
The day started with a trip to a school atop a Caribbean mountain to fit three children with hearing aids. The school sat overlooking the coast and green hills nearby. We made this trip to the school earlier this week. The drive earlier this week up the rutted dirt road was epic with bouncing and jostling for several minutes, and the occasional sound of wheels loudly rebelling as they tried to gain traction. The small four-cylinder engine strained in rebellion to the load and incline. Today however, the dark clouds more than hinted of rain.
It wasn’t even a question, Cathy Jones, our trip director, flatly said, “We aren’t driving up the mountain because if it rains, we will be in trouble.” Continue reading “Hear Haiti: Making a Difference”
Open Ears is following a group of Sonova team members as they head to Haiti with the Hear The World Foundation. Michael Lumunsad is a Strategic Marketer at Advanced Bionics.
“Oh man, we’re stuck!” I yelled as our mighty little Toyota HiAce hit a gigantic puddle on the dirt road.
The rear wheels were spinning and our vehicle was sliding around in the mud. I looked out of the side window and it looked like we landed in a lake.
“Do we have a tow winch?” I asked John our fixer/translator/security guy.
“We don’t need a winch.” he said as he looked at me with a smile.Apparently, getting stuck in mud is a common thing for these guys. Our driver started rocking the car back and forth but wasn’t getting anywhere. The 2nd van stopped and started to assess our situation. The driver of the second van got into our van through the window opening like he were one of the Duke Brothers and took over driving duties. John was piling rocks underneath our rear tires while the rest of us in the van were enjoying the impromptu carnival ride. Continue reading “Hear Haiti: The Gift of Hearing”
Open Ears is following a group of Sonova team members as they head to Haiti with the Hear The World Foundation. Michael Lumunsad is a Strategic Marketer at Advanced Bionics LLC.
“I hope this van makes it up the hill,” Mohamed Khaldi excitedly said as our van went uphill on the extremely steep dirt road. Personally, I didn’t think the van would make it up with all our gear and passengers, but it proved me wrong. Who needs a 4X4 when you have a little Toyota HiAce with a faulty A/C system?
We finally arrived to the top of the hill. Wow! The school had a stunning view of the both the ocean and nearby forest covered rolling hills. The kids at this school were very lucky to be enrolled there. The school focused on encouraging, educating and empowering restaveks, orphans, and vulnerable children. Another organization was doing great things in Haiti. It was amazing. Continue reading “Hear Haiti: It Takes A Team”
As a social media community manager, I get to talk to a lot of people about their hearing loss. It’s been amazing to hear people’s stories – whether it’s a mom sharing an Instagram video from the first time her child’s hearing aids turned on, or a post about how new technologies are allowing a hearing aid wearer to enjoy sounds in situations they never before thought possible.
While most of my interactions have been virtual, the raw emotions are still there. I still feel a closeness with anyone whom I can answer a question for or connect them with our community of people facing similar hearing situations.
A few weeks ago, however, I had the opportunity to go offline and connect with a Phonak user in person, during filming for the new Phonak Virto V custom hearing aid testimonial video.
When I first met Josef, I was immediately warmed by his presence. His friendly demeanor and grandfatherly characteristics makes him someone you could sit down with for hours and listen to the stories he could share from his 81 years of life.
Continue reading “Listening to Josef: A hearing aid wearer we can all relate with”
A surprise was waiting for me on my last trip to Phonak headquarters in Stäfa, 10 days ago: Venture.
I had an appointment to try some Audéo hearing aids and tweak a few things that were bothering me with the fitting and the settings. As I arrived in the building, I bumped into Ora. I excitedly told her, “Do you know I’m trying Boleros? And I like them, there are really situations where they perform better than my old hearing aids.” She answered that she was delighted to hear that. I mentioned some of my beef with Soundflow. “You should try Venture! Are you going to try Venture? Tell them to make you try Venture.”
Venture? Phonak’s new platform (chip, software) for Audéo.
I headed towards the audiology lab and was welcomed by Michael and Simone. Here is what they had for me 🙂
Continue reading “Trying Venture: It’s Smooth”
The end to every journey can be met with excitement or sadness: it’s all on how you look at it. The past year has flown by before my eyes. There were days when I was tired and thought that it was the longest day of the week, however the majority of time has left me saying to myself “where did the week go” by the time Friday came. So then how do I look at the end of my journey? I see it as an exciting time as well as a sad time.
The past year has been an experience that has made not only a professional impact but also a personal impact on me. As an audiologist, I have grown substantially. As I wrap up my time here at headquarters I feel as though I have gained the knowledge and experience of a 5 year time span. I recognize that the intensive 12 months behind me have challenged my educational foundation (in a good way) as well as required me to think ‘outside of the box’ by looking forward 5 years to the future generation of hearing aids and the people who will be wearing them.
This challenge has made the biggest impact. As you emerge from school with a fresh perspective you still remain closely focused on the present, the here and now. You look at each day and each patient regarding how they are getting along at that point in time. You never challenge yourself to think 5+ years ahead. Think of what the technology will be like, what hearing loss and medical intervention may be, as well as the average age and profile of the clients you will see. Can you wrap your head around it?
Continue reading “A Beautiful Ending”
Just last month the FDA released their latest Internet and Social Media Guidance for Pharma and Med-tech companies. If you haven’t read it yet, have a look here.
With the rise and use of social media across all industries, Med-Tech was bound to adopt social media at some point, especially given the prevalence of customer usage and relatively cheap way of reaching customers and/or offering customer service via electronic means. The introduction of this document points out that its purpose is to illustrate the agency’s current thinking regarding communication of benefits and risks through social and online media. The hearing aid industry generally does not fall under the exact guidelines as indicated in the latest draft, however the overall suggestions and illustration of what the FDA lays out is obviously food for thought for any health care organization marketing to customers online.
In the U.S. the FDA generally recognizes two types of labeling; that which is required labeling (think approval labeling) and the second which is promotional labeling (subsequent marketing materials/labeling). They recommend considering the following when promoting products on social media and online mediums:
Continue reading “FDA Social Media Guidelines: How We Comply at Phonak”
As I write this post I am reminded that we all are different, that we all are unique in our journey to our current day. How exciting it all is and even more special that we can share it via modern technology.
My transition to audiology is not one of the “classic” stories you hear. I don’t know anyone with hearing loss, I have no family history of hearing loss or hearing aid use, and I was never exposed to hearing loss throughout school.
How is it then that I ended up as an audiologist? Continue reading “Becoming a Part of the Family”
A few weeks ago, I spent two days at the Phonak headquarters in Stäfa, near Zurich. If managing a blog and writing for it can be done remotely, meeting people can’t.
People are sometimes surprised that I value face-to-face exchanges so much when I am such a “digital” person. Well, I do — you get something out of spending an hour in the same room as somebody that is very hard to reproduce at a distance. I sometimes wonder if it has anything to do with my hearing loss: I need to see people, probably because in my 38 years without hearing aids, I’ve relied a lot on non-verbal communication. I don’t like talking on the phone with people I’ve never met or don’t know well (close friends is another story, I can talk on the phone for hours with them). And as for video conferencing… give me good sound quality and high-quality video which doesn’t freeze or lag, and I might start taking it seriously.
For my third visit, Vincent had set up meetings with various people inside the company, as well as a guided visit of the production centre. I could have stayed in there the whole day, actually — the geek/engineer in me just loves big machines and production chains, obviously.
Continue reading “Two Days in Stäfa”
You’re reading the first post of Phonak’s “Community Blog”. We’re calling it a community blog because it focuses on the interests of the community at large, rather than serving as the official voice of the company, like a regular “corporate blog”.
It is a growing collection of individual voices, some from inside the Phonak company, others from the larger “hearing” community. We will bring to you personal experiences, as people with hearing loss or audiology professionals, as well as interesting news from the hearing aid and audiology industry, and last but not least, behind-the-scenes information, testimonials and stories from Phonak employees and experts.
As for who is behind this: Vincent Tervooren, Social Media Interactions Manager at Phonak, and Stephanie Booth (yours truly), shipped in to share my blogging expertise and my stories as a hearing aid user. With time, you’ll see other names appear, as we’re starting to round up bloggers and employees interested in contributing to this blog. If it’s your case, let us know!