How a deaf creative director uses technology to achieve his dreams
He is completely deaf in one ear and has 35 percent hearing in the other, but that is not what defines Peter Westerling as a person.
He is full of creativity, life and movement. A pioneer in the digital evolution, the Swedish man also has the country’s first Internet bank on his track record.
Peter has a congenital sensorineural hearing impairment with deafness in the left ear and hearing loss in the right ear.
But despite his hearing loss, he holds a management position at Mogul, a company that works with everything related to a company’s digital online presence for clients such as SBAB, Alecta, the Royal Swedish Opera and the Swedish National Heritage Board.
“As Creative Director, I coach and inspire my colleagues and the design team. The team develops useful functionality and attractive design for websites and apps, so that the visitor wants to stay. But I also go out and tell new potential clients about Mogul.”
Fully equipped for work
It is in his different encounters with people that the deaf creative director sees the greatest advantages of his assistive technology aids.
“I am completely deaf in one ear and have about 35-40 percent hearing in the other ear, but I am fully equipped with technology for all situations. With behind-the-ear hearing aids, I can hear 97 percent. Conference rooms are quite noisy environments, often with poor acoustics and many meeting participants, but with Roger Table Mic and Roger Pen, it goes amazingly well. The Phonak ComPilot enables me to communicate and audio chat very easily by phone, Skype and other means. The only thing I actually need to think about is making sure I have extra batteries.”
“I am completely deaf in one ear and have about 35-40 percent hearing in the other ear, but I am fully equipped with technology for all situations.”
Fully equipped for free time
Peter’s free time is full of action, often with physical activity in challenging outdoor environments. But it’s also full of culture, art, film, theater and opera.
“It is from the analog world that I get energy and inspiration for my job in the digital world, you could say. I canoe, play golf, ice skate and roller blade. The hearing aids I have now work incredibly well outdoors. They are waterproof, withstand perspiration and even the occasional accidental dunking. They handle wind and noise very well. I hear what my training partners say, even from a distance. In calmer situations, like when I meet friends or go out to dinner or things like that, I use the Roger Pen microphone, which amplifies what the speaker is saying. When it comes to art, theater, film and opera, the sound levels in those environments usually mean that I don’t need more than a hearing aid. And I totally avoid going to concerts where a high noise level becomes a risk.”
Fully equipped for dreams
It was only when Peter was about to become a dad that he got his first hearing aid. He was 24 years old.
“When I was growing up, hearing aids were completely different than they are today. I refused to have a hearing aid, as I didn’t want my hearing loss to define me as a person. I thought that I managed well without them. And I did, throughout school and university and everything. But that is not something I would recommend to young people with hearing impairments today. My advice is to always look ahead, talk about your hearing loss, equip yourself with the best technology available and don’t let a disability stand in the way of your dreams.”
“My advice is to always look ahead, talk about your hearing loss, equip yourself with the best technology available and don’t let a disability stand in the way of your dreams.”