Despite struggling with his hearing since the early 1990s, Peter Walters, 72, from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, tried to get on with his life as usual.
At first, simple activities such as picking up groceries from the local store or driving his car were not a big problem. That was until the cashier would ask a question about payment, to which Peter couldn’t reply. Or, he failed to notice an approaching emergency vehicle, because he hadn’t heard the initial siren. Then, the problem started affecting his relationships.
“What happens is that you hear the noise, you hear the sound, but you can’t understand what people are saying, so you just switch it off, you ignore it,” Peter says. Then adds, “The only way I could talk to anybody was if I was face to face, and you actually had to see their mouth.”
Increasingly, Peter’s hearing problem was affecting his relationship with wife Donna, and before long, he was relying on her to be his ‘ears’.
“We were making a will up and what would happen is Donna would have to answer the questions, and if a question was put to me she would interpret it and give it to me if I couldn’t understand. So I was relying on Donna for the other half of the conversation, essentially.”
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For years, she’d persevere and say it’s not your fault, it’s a disability, and she’d work with me. It was really tedious,” said Peter, who has been married to Donna for 40 years.
It got to a point that Peter found it tough to get by unless Donna was by his side. “Donna was with me all the time, she filled in all the gaps that I needed,” he said. “I would function, but function on a very low level.”
According to Peter, a sense of pride was holding him back from addressing his hearing problem early on. “You don’t want to put the hearing aids on because it makes you feel older. Glasses are not a thing, everybody has glasses and it’s not a big deal,” he adds.
Peter’s not alone. In Australia, four million people are affected by hearing loss, yet the majority put off seeking treatment for fear of stigma, cost and availability or suitability of hearing solutions.
“Normally a hearing aid costs you about $8000 to $10,000…and I got a lot of negative feedback from people who had tried regular hearing aids. If they went from a loud environment to a quiet one and people were talking at a lower level, they wouldn’t be able to hear,” Peter said.
According to hearing specialists, sound is a very personal, dynamic experience and if someone has the wrong hearing solution they may end up missing out on this important element.
Everything turned around for Peter and Donna though when they heard about a new hearing solution invented by Australian experts, which contained technology found in the bionic ear and was available at half the price of traditional hearing aids.
“I saw a program on New Inventors on ABC, and that was the first time I heard anything about Blamey Saunders hears,” Peter said.
“In November 2015 I went to one of their pop up clinics in Brisbane. There was about a ten minute set up for the hearing aids themselves, and then we went out on to the balcony and the whole world opened up to me.
“I could hear all the background noise that I couldn’t hear before, that I had lost. It was a big change, and it happened that quickly. So I wore them home and I was able to listen to the radio in the car on normal volume, and from that day on, I’ve used them every day since,” he said.
His wife Donna is also extremely happy, and says it’s like she is talking to a new person.
“Donna finds that I’m way more engaged. I’ll go out and talk to people. It wasn’t something that I was aware of, and it wasn’t something that bothered me because I thought that a lot of the stuff that people were saying you don’t need to know anyway. But you miss so much,” Peter said.
He says his hearing aids are “very dynamic”.
“If you’re outside in a quiet environment you can hear all the birds just like a regular person with good hearing. Donna can hear it, I can hear it. And then you go out to a main road and you can hear all the trucks, but none of the sounds ever startle you. The sounds are all natural. It doesn’t feel like you have hearing aids. Because you’re using your own hearing plus the speaker in your ear, it’s picking up all the frequencies that you’re missing.”
“The other thing with these hearing aids is that most people don’t know you’ve got them. They’re so small and the little plastic tube that goes into your ear basically disappears. Compared to the regular hearing aids, they’re light years ahead.
“Right now I would not be happy functioning without the hearing aids, so that’s how much has changed.”
About Blamey Saunders hears
By cutting out the middle man and selling direct to the public, Blamey Saunders hears offers premium quality hearing aids for less than half the price you’d expect to pay in Australia. Their easy-to-use hearing aids contain revolutionary Australian technology to provide you with consistently natural, comfortable and clear sound. Blamey Saunders hears was founded by Dr Elaine Saunders and Professor Peter Blamey, highly awarded leaders in the field of hearing, to remove obstacles to achieving good hearing health. Their innovations have helped improve the lives of thousands of Australians.
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About the IHearYou® system
Blamey Saunders hears created the award-winning IHearYou® system, a world first, to give people the option to confidently adjust their Blamey Saunders hearing aids to their personal listening environments with a computer, tablet or smart phone. It allows you to create a range of ‘special programs’ with settings optimised for different listening situations – like a noisy café or a concert hall. Once IHearYou® has been configured, your hearing aids will adapt to sound changes in an environment, such as background noise and sudden cheers in a sports arena.
To find out if you’re a candidate for the IHearYou® system, take the free online hearing test today.
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