I had a humbling experience this week.
I went to the launch of a new hearing aid product expecting the usual claims of their own greatness and technological superiority from its makers.
Instead, I listened to a remarkable man, who's facing real adversity, and triumphing.
Tom Staniford is one in a billion. He has one of only eight recorded cases worldwide of MDP Syndrome, which means his body is unable to store subcutaneous fat. His limbs are severely affected and, ironically for someone so lacking in fat, he has type 2 diabetes. Finally, he has hearing loss in both ears. He is also a para cyclist, has two law degrees (one studied in French), is a grade 8 classical guitarist and has launched a career in marketing.
Listening to him speak was a privilege and I don't think I'll ever forget it.
A more credible case study would be hard to find - for he was in Glasgow to discuss his hearing aids and how they must adapt to his varied needs. He has recently been fitted with Linx Squared by Resound. The 'game changer', according to Tom, is the spatial awareness they offer.
This means that you are listening in the environment rather than to the environment. Spatial Sense gives you a natural sense of where sounds are coming from and helps you form a detailed sound picture of your surroundings. It allows your brain to do more of the natural filtering which is needed to pick out what you want to hear over the general hubbub of the environment you are in.
He feels more connected and his hearing seems more natural.
Resound call this Smart technology - a play perhaps on the other big thing about Linx squared - it is a hearing aid system made for smartphones, notably the iPhone and now also Samsung Galaxy.
This means that if your iPhone rings you don't need to pick it up, you'll hear the caller through your Linx squared hearing aids. You can also wirelessly stream music or a film soundtrack from your iPhone or iPad. Tom finds this a boon during the endless hours of training he puts in on the turbo trainer. He also commented that the hearing aids are coated so as not to be affected by sweat - another example of adaptability.
Your phone becomes a sophisticated controller of your hearing aids, allowing you to change things to your own liking. Things such as volume, bass v treble and even the way the aids respond to background noise and directional speech can all be adjusted through the app.
Tom says this lifts hearing aids out of the realm of prosthetic devices which deal with a handicap into one where they are an enabling part of the modern world of wireless communication.
"Most homes now have wifi and wireless communication is everywhere, it would be a no brainer to exclude hearing aids and their users from this technology," he said.
We have been in the hearing services industry a long time and we are genuinely excited about this new technology. If you'd like to come in for a free trial, we would be delighted to see you.
Call us on 0141 954 6030 or pop into the clinic at 538 Crow Road, Glasgow.