When hearing aids failed to correct Jamie Cameron’s problems at primary school, he stopped wearing them completely. It was only when he was working in a noisy office years later that the 46-year-old IT professional was alerted to the extent of his hearing loss. Now he can talk to his 10-year-old daughter without asking her to keep repeating herself and his working life has improved too.
“I had high frequency loss when I was at school but the hearing aids just amplified everything and made it worse,” he says. Such was his frustration that he stopped wearing hearing aids completely. But all that changed when, aged 30, he went to work for a young start-up company where the open plan warehouse-style office, complete with loud music, proved a struggle. “It made it difficult to hear what people were saying opposite me,” he says. “There was a lady I worked with and I could barely hear what she was saying against the background of music, so it became obvious that something needed to be done.”
Though he later found comfort with in-the-ear aids from another smaller hearing aid provider, when that business closed he struggled to find somewhere that suited his needs until he tried Amplifon. “I already had my hearing aids, which were doing a good job, so I just needed a test, my hearing aids cleaned and, when the time came, I’d go back for a refresh,” he says. “Hugh, my audiologist in Derby, was more than willing to take me on and I was with him for a few months before I decided to upgrade, which I thought showed fantastic customer service – there was no pressure at all.”
Following an extensive and thorough testing process, he chose the the latest model – over-the-ear aids but with little visual impact. To demonstrate their effectiveness, Hugh allowed Jamie to trial them there and then. “We went into the nearby shopping centre together and had a conversation while we were walking, and the hearing experience was significantly better,” he says. “I knew then that the new hearing aids would enable me to hear much better in an office environment.”
Not only did they offer clearer sound, Jamie admits the ReSound aids appealed to his inner “geek”. Compatible with Apple products, they use Bluetooth to connect with his iPhone to act as earphones when he is taking a call. He can also watch TV programmes on his iPad with the sound streamed directly to his hearing aids. There’s also an app where he can adjust the treble and bass and configure the aids for different environments.
“I look like a teenager holding my phone in my hand while I take a call now, but because the sound goes straight to both ears the clarity is much more akin to having a face-to-face conversation,” he says. “When it’s noisy people often have to put one hand over an ear while they listen with the other, but I don’t have to do that.”
His job in IT, which involves taking regular calls, has also become much easier. “I rarely use a normal desk phone at work because I’m a mobile worker. I use a Windows mobile for my job, and being able to use the ReSound Phone Clip to provide Bluetooth connectivity gives me the freedom and mobility to use a phone hands-free and yet still have amazing clarity, which is fantastic.”
While he was concerned that over-the-ear aids may be more noticeable, this has not been the case, with colleagues failing to notice he wears them. “They’re more discreet than I thought which was important to me I’d always thought over-the-ear meant big and ugly but it doesn’t,” he says.
“The advantages far outweigh any visual impact anyway. I can pick up voices from different directions now, like when my 10-year-old daughter’s talking to me in the car, which is amazing.” Jamie says going private with hearing specialist Amplifon has proven the best decision. “There’s far more choice, whether you want to go for something leading edge or a bit cheaper, and the level of service is fantastic,” he says.
“The benefits good hearing can bring in terms of your social, work and family life far outweigh the costs of going private. You can’t put a price on your quality of life. I’d recommend Amplifon to anyone.”