This is a testimonial for Audiology Trio and Bernafon, but I need to provide you – the reader – with some context.
So … this is a testimonial for Audiology Trio and Bernafon, but I need to provide you – the reader – with some context.
I’d had more than my fair share of middle ear problems in my pre-teen years, along with a set or two of grommets. As an undergraduate at University I knew my hearing was not as good as my peers – I tended to gravitate to the middle front of large lecture theatres to hear clearly. I had gotten used to – made peace with? – the intermittent ringing in my ears.
In my mid-forties I had my first bout of invasive tinnitus, a by-product of a rather stressful period both at home and work. A visit to an audiologist did confirm some hearing loss but nothing that warranted hearing aids.
In my late-forties I had a bad bout of viral labyrinthitis – six weeks off work and exercises from a Physiotherapist that specialised in vestibular complications to learn to walk straight again! On reflection, my tinnitus became more pronounced after that.
By the time I had reached my mid-fifties tinnitus was a part of everyday life. My wife had by that point been prompting me for several years ‘to get my ears checked’ as I was always asking her to repeat herself when I wasn’t in close proximity and looking directly at her. It was few years later that I realised my tinnitus was affecting my mood – it had worn me down! The last straw was a change of job and work arrangements – an open office, lots of people. I found it very difficult to follow conversations without moving close to the speaker.
A consultation with my GP saw me referred to audiologist (hello Audiology Trio!) who confirmed my work experience was because of further hearing loss. Hearing aids were warranted, particularly at the higher frequencies.
I must admit I was apprehensive at first with the notion of getting hearing aids. My father first got his hearing aids in his early seventies. He used them intermittently as he found their use jarring. Sharyn Lim at Audiology Trio was excellent. She talked me through the issues and I became convinced that I would be better off ‘starting early’ with hearing aids and using the consistently. Looking back, I am amazed at just how right she was. It may sound strange, but its like hearing the world in black and white when I take my hearing aids out at night.
Now to the hearing aids themselves. Audiology Trio weren’t associated with any hearing aid supplier, so Sharyn took me through the pros and cons of all the major brands and the value of local service and support. Waiting while hearing aids are shipped interstate for servicing could be quite the imposition once I’d become dependent on them.
I settled on Bernafon’s top-of-the-line product, the Zerena 9. I’ve been a technical specialist most of my career and I saw value in the features and adaptability of the product. Being an iPhone user, the Bluetooth connectivity and strong built-in accessibility support was very appealing. Also the ‘receiver in the ear’ (RITE) design makes these hearing aids very compact and a lot less noticeable.
I’ve got to say I was – still am – blown away with the audio quality and functionality of my Zerena 9’s. Professionally, I work in lots of different settings – cafés, open plan offices, meeting rooms, lecture theatres. My hearing aids work far better than I’d ever imagined in them all. Mind you I did have to learn how to make the most of their functionality – Sharyn, Bernafon documentation and the great Bernafon staff in Brisbane helped with that. With a little experimentation I discovered the value of tweaking the volume of the Zerena 9’s from my iPhone to suit the situation. I also found the ‘live microphone’ feature with the iPhone excellent – in a noisy café I can place my iPhone on the table and use its microphone to better focus on the voice of the person sitting with me.
I love my music and so am a big headphones user. I had to abandon my in-ear Sennheisers but my on-ear Sonys and over-ear Bose (QC-25’s … love them!) work perfectly with the Zerena 9’s … no squealing or audio distortion.
Speaking of in-ear … I’d used a Bluetooth earpiece accessory with my mobile phones for well over a decade … keeps my hands free for note-taking or the computer keyboard. I initially thought I’d have to go back to holding the phone against my ear – not a fan of the addition radiation – then I realised I can use my Zerena 9’s as my iPhone’s earpiece … just brilliant! I can have my iPhone on silent and still hear it ring! I still need to keep the microphone close … for the moment. I’m told the clever people at Bernafon are working on a solution … cannot wait to try it out.
Sharyn configured my Zerena 9’s so they gradually increased their volume over a month so I didn’t get overwhelmed by a sudden increase in sounds. Sounds I’d forgotten were a part of everyday life.
So … Sharyn Lim and Audiology Trio – cannot speak highly enough of them. Bernafon – an incredible product. I honestly did not expect hearing aids to be this advanced. They even provide tinnitus support for those quiet moments. My tinnitus has not gone away, but I am coping much MUCH better day-to-day with my Zerena 9’s. The latest software allows me to ‘design’ my own tinnitus masking sound – a brilliant feature that makes the tinnitus support seem more natural.
Final bit of advice – take your audiologist’s advice! I’m glad I started early (I’m not in my seventies!) and I use them consistently, everyday.
Now they just have to make them so don’t need batteries … but draw on all that power flowing ‘round in my brain …