For the 466 million worldwide who suffer from some degree of hearing loss, hearing aids allow the ability to clearly hear conversations, music, nature, and the many other pleasant sounds we often take for granted.
While better hearing is the predominant purpose of a hearing device, its impact doesn’t stop there. For those who have never dealt with the adverse effects of hearing loss, it’s impossible to understand how deeply hearing—just one of our five senses—influences the way we live. When you struggle to hear, daily tasks become more daunting. Even something as simple as going to a friend’s house for dinner is exhausting. A situation coined by Colin Cherry, a British cognitive scientist with a focus on auditory attention, as the “cocktail party problem.” The entire evening is fraught with challenges, from interacting with others in one conversation to identifying what is said while multiple people are talking at once. It’s enough to make a night out with friends a frustrating, angering, or even depressing experience.
These moods may be infrequent and subdued at the beginning but can become more persistent and long-lasting as time goes by. As these moods worsen, individuals begin isolating themselves from social interactions, gradually declining invitations to events and gatherings. Cutting off all social ties begets loneliness, higher levels of depression, and discontent, causing one to spiral even further in their isolation.
Someone who struggles to hear clearly is constantly aware of their limitations, especially when they aren’t in the comfort of their own home. This self-consciousness can be debilitating because it doesn’t allow them the freedom to be themselves, even around people they know. In fact, individuals who suffer from hearing loss often feel more excluded when surrounded by close friends and family. When someone socially isolates themselves, they are removing themselves from more than just the public eye—it also means disconnecting from their loved ones, even their own spouses. This not only affects their lifestyle, it also puts a strain on their relationships.
Hearing loss makes it difficult to engage in even the simplest interactions with loved ones. Because it’s so exhausting for the individual, these feelings are easily projected onto others. People often convince themselves that their closest relatives and friends find these conversations just as burdensome and unenjoyable—when that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Communication is the root of great relationships, so when that is rebuilt, it helps to tear down the walls that people build up against the ones that are closest to them. One of our clients, Anthony Watts, credits our hearing aids as being the reason that he let his family back into his life. Being able to hear better transformed him into an entirely new person and gave him his life back.
This is why I do what I do—for people like Anthony—because I believe that the ability to hear better is as fundamental to our existence as breathing. People who invest in hearing aids are investing in a better life for themselves—and for those who can’t, we provide one for them.
With a hearing aid, people often don’t have to strain to hear conversations and sounds happening right in front of them—even at noisy environments. Their hearing loss is no longer put in the spotlight, leaving them to participate in their surroundings without feelings of self-doubt undermining their confidence. With options like our invisible hearing aids, no one will even be able to tell you’re wearing a device.
At Starkey we have one belief that drives our central mission: an individual can’t live life to its fullest extent if they can’t hear. I founded Starkey in 1967 under one simple premise: “Alone we can’t do much. Together we can change the world.” This is my lifework—changing the world one person at a time with life-altering technology. Since founding Starkey, we have provided hearing services to over two million people. I have witnessed our customers gain a renewed sense of self-confidence, engage in a more active lifestyle, and forge stronger, healthier relationships with family and friends after receiving Starkey hearing aids.
While the mental and physical health benefits of hearing aids have always been explicit, the future of hearing aid technology will make a noticeable difference in the lives of hearing aid wearers. Imagine a hearing aid that not only provides superior sound quality, but can give its users a longer, happier life. On August 27, Starkey will launch our newest product—Livio AI. The world’s first hearing aid is the first of its kind with integrated sensors, artificial intelligence and the capability to track brain and body health. With this release, we’re empowering people to hear what they want to hear, track what they want to track, and take control of their health in unprecedented ways.
Get ready to experience Livio AI.