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”
Imagine a world where every newly constructed building would include accommodations for those with hearing loss, including acoustically-friendly designs, captioning and the latest hearing assistive technology.
While it seems like a lofty goal, one 16-year-old from California is encouraging his community to do just that.
Johnny Butchko knows too well what it’s like to not be able to understand people in public spaces.
“Every day that I am in school I have difficulty hearing in the halls, the cafeteria and the courtyards, because there is a lot of background noise,” he said.
Johnny was born severe-to-profoundly deaf. Equipped with Phonak Naida Q 50 UP hearing aids, he uses an FM system and captioning in the classroom, and a caption phone at home, but in public spaces, the feeling of being lost in translation is all too common.
So, he decided to do something about it.
Continue reading “Teen aims to make Californian city more hearing loss-friendly”
A few days ago I stumbled upon a Forbes article about 4 game-changing technologies for the deaf and hard of hearing. I read it with interest, as I keep rubbing shoulders with the tech/startup world, and the moment it intersects with hearing technology, I immediately wonder what the technological future for hearing-impaired people like me might look like (remember my excitement about mimi?)
Without being an expert on either innovation or the hearing aid industry, here’s what I see when I look around. There are startups, like mimi, who approach issues from original angles, and clearly try to disrupt the market. But big companies innovate too. Continue reading “What Is Waiting For Us Around The Corner”
In addition to being the Territory Manager for the state of Virginia at Phonak, I am also the daughter of a wonderful woman who is currently wearing the new Audeo V90 10 (yes, ruby red!) hearing aids. My mother has a moderate to severe sloping hearing loss in both ears. Her hearing loss began years ago and has been slowly declining the past 8 years since she was originally fitted with hearing aids. I tell you, it has not been an easy counseling process, getting her to wear her hearing aids regularly, but now, she can’t take them out! Here is what she has to say…
Continue reading “Introducing My Mom and her Audeo Ventures”
I am having an exceptional experience with a new Phonak Audeo V hearing aid which I received on January 23, 2015. It’s one thing hearing sounds more clearly than I had previously, but as a singer it’s quite another to be able to hear many more facets of my voice than I had been hearing for decades with other aids.
I’ve been a professional singer and recording artist since the ’70s. I studied voice, speaking and acting for years in New York and worked very hard at creating a voice and a style that employed my musical gifts and talents. But when I lost much of my hearing between 1978 and 1982, I also lost touch with that voice and all I had worked so diligently and passionately to develop and perfect.
Scroll ahead to today and moving beyond the challenges I’ve faced, the news is better.
Continue reading “Good News About the Phonak Audeo V for This Singer “
As somebody with mild/medium hearing loss, I guess wearing hearing aids are more of a choice than a necessity for me. I mean, I functioned without them for nearly 40 years. Today I wouldn’t give them up for anything in the world, of course, and I really prefer wearing them for anything resembling human interaction. But I can get by without. (An audiologist I had a chat with one day told me I’d be surprised at how people with much more hearing loss than me “get by just fine” without aids. Anyway.)
So, when do I wear them, when do I remove them? As a general rule, I wear them when I leave the house. (My cats aren’t all that talkative.) I remove them when I get home. Since I got my V90 aids though, I often forget to remove them when I get home.
I don’t wear my hearing aids to watch TV.
Continue reading “When Do You Wear or Remove Your Hearing Aids?”
When we first launched our Venture platform in October I chose to wear the aids myself for a little over a month. I wanted to experience the overall sound quality, function of the new AutoSense OS as well as evaluate the new music program.
My first exposure to Venture was my boss (Tom) sharing his reactions when he was first fit. Tom was raving about the overall sound quality and “natural sound”. The most telling part regarding his Venture experience is the number of hours his aids are being worn every day. His last hearing aids would have had a very low number (I had seen 1-2 hours in the past) in the “hours per day” column of data-logging in the fitting software. He is now averaging 10 hours a day. You can imagine how happy that makes his family as well as his work family! He reports that this is specifically due to the natural sound quality and quiet chip in these products. He can put them in and forget he is wearing them.
I had a tendency of wearing new hearing aids in the past when I was working as a clinical audiologist. I liked to experience them myself for a while in order to be able to counsel effectively (and remember those little details – once you hear the low battery beep you have like 20 minutes to get a new battery in there). I function with a mild high frequency hearing loss in each ear named after the musicians who helped me acquire the pesky little notches. I find aids programmed to a flat 30dB threshold are most comfortable so that is where I set the Venture aids. The longest I wore different hearing aids before these was Spice+ for over a month. Other products (Quest, Core) and other manufacturers I tried out in my previous setting I would generally aim for a week or so for their try out.
Continue reading “My Venture Experience”
Over the last couple of months, I’ve been trying out a variety of hearing aids as part of my newly-found “guinea pig” position at Phonak. As a geek, I love playing with new technology and trying things out. As a person with hearing loss, I’m curious about how good things can get for me.
One of the challenges I’ve come upon trying out hearing aid solutions is confusion. You know what happens when you’re shopping for perfumes, and after a (short) while you can’t distinguish smells anymore? That’s a bit what it feels like with sound. Maybe it has to do with the rather strong “habituation” component there is in the way we process sound.
Some situations are clear-cut: for example, after trying out the Bolero Q90 hearing aids for a few weeks, I switched back to my Widex Clear 330 ones to see if I could spot a “reverse difference”. One situation where there was no debate was at the vet’s: I’d been going there regularly throughout my Bolero trial, and when I went back with my Widex aids in, I really struggled to understand what my vet was saying. The room is a bit echoey and she speaks quite fast. To make extra sure I wore the Boleros next time around.
Continue reading “About Being Confused”
Maybe it’s because I’m a newbie (less than three years) hearing aid wearer with mild-to-medium hearing loss, but this has been a subject of continued annoyance for me.
Of course, my batteries aren’t falling out of my hearing aids when I’m wearing them. No, they tend to fall out when stuffing them into pockets, bags, drying boxes, jewellery boxes, and all the other various places I put them (shhh I know it’s bad) when I take them out of my ears. Which happens, because I like my deafness when I’m alone at home, don’t need extra volume on noisy fellow travellers when I’m in public transport, and use my earbuds quite a bit for phone, music, and podcasts.
Caveat: all this might be way less true now that I’ve tasted Venture.
In any case, even if I don’t change my nasty habits, it seems that now that I’m carrying these V90s my battery-falling-out days are over. Look at the photograph closely (it’s not easy to photograph, and easy to miss):
Continue reading “Tired of Batteries Falling Out of Your Hearing Aids?”
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”