Hi, my name is Gil and I have a hearing loss.
I first noticed it about 17 years ago when the front left radio speaker in my car wasn’t as loud as it had been. I thought, “It’s gotta be the speaker, it can’t be my hearing.”
But it was my hearing.
Then, my wife noticed that I was asking her to repeat things more frequently, that I would only hear bits of what she was saying, that I would often ignore her completely —unintentionally, of course — and that the TV volume was way too loud.
After about 5 years of this inconvenience for both of us, I finally got help. I went to a local hearing clinic and had a hearing test.
Since my left ear had the most loss at the high end of the hearing spectrum, my knowledge as a hearing aids copywriter led me to believe that I should buy a pair of inexpensive hearing devices. Coincidentally, at the same time, my Mother was dissatisfied with her hearing aids, so she gave them to me. (“Dissatisfied” meant that they no longer helped her chronic hearing deficiency.)
I had both of them programmed for my left ear since my right ear’s hearing loss was not that pronounced. I alternated wearing them in my left ear and could actually hear much better than before, but it was never the same as before I noticed a hearing decline.
What Caused My Hearing Loss?
Because I have written extensively for hearings aid manufacturers, I know that many things can cause hearing loss. For me, growing up in San Francisco during the “Summer of Love” and attending a great many rock and roll concerts certainly contributed to my hearing loss.
I used to sit very near the stage and next to speakers the size of a small car. After quite a few of those concerts at the Fillmore, Avalon Ballroom and Winterland, my ears would buzz for several days. Some fantastic experiences at these concerts have left me with permanent, noise-induced damage to my hearing.
Other factors include age (I’m in my 60s), heredity (both of my parents wore hearing devices), occasional wax build-up, and being a scuba diver with occasional problems clearing my ears when submerging.
Now You See Them… Now You Don’t
Hearing devices have changed so much over the years. In the past, they were unsightly, embarrassing and huge, looking like something big, brown and bulky was growing out of the middle of your ear.
Today, thanks to the application of nanotechnology to hearing aid design, people will rarely know you have one, so the stigma of wearing hearing aids is gone. You can choose from over-the-ear devices like mine, which are unobtrusive, or in-the-ear devices, which are really invisible to the naked eye. The results? Hearing devices are smaller, more powerful and better than ever!
A Definite Hearing Upgrade
About six months ago, my first pair of hearing devices finally bit the dust. They were over seven years old and well past their warranty date.
So I consulted the owner of a group of hearing aid centers who is also a client of my wife’s. I showed him the results of a recent hearing test (audiogram), and he recommended the Starkey Halo 2 hearing devices with connectivity to the iPhone.
I found a local audiologist about a mile from my house and wow! What a difference! It was like going from a VW Bug to a Porsche.
I can now adjust the sound volume with an iPhone app for “Normal” use and for “Restaurant” environments, so it’s extremely convenient. In movies with lots of explosions and loud percussive sounds, I can also slide the volume level down.
My old hearing devices would beep when it was time to replace the battery. Now, the Starkey device TELLS me it’s time to change the battery – and I can even choose what type of voice. A goddess-like woman’s voice lets me know when it’s time for new batteries.
For hearing aids wearers, you know how difficult talking on the phone can be. With these Halo 2s, I can direct-stream phone calls through my iPhone into my hearing aids with Bluetooth. Piece of cake!
As a writer for hearing aid manufacturers’ projects, I’ll share more experiences in the near future about my new hearing devices.
I couldn’t be happier about them –– and my wife is even happier than I am! In fact, I now even frequently request that she turn down HER volume when she speaks to me. How about that?!
SGD is a San Francisco Bay Area advertising, marketing and branding agency specializing in the senior and boomer markets. We’ve successfully positioned, branded and rebranded senior-oriented companies, weaving traditional and online tactics to create compelling stories that drive response.
About the Author: Gil Zeimer is a Partner at SGD Advertising.