Krister Nordin has gone down in history as one of the best football players in the Allsvenskan Swedish Football League during the 1990s, with several championships and cup wins. He was a tough and technical midfielder who never backed down from the rough-and-tumble.
Nordin has described how there was a lot of shouting from the terraces when he changed local clubs from Djurgården to AIK in 1992. This isn’t always a popular move. But he didn’t hear most of the backlash. Perhaps this was because he didn’t start using hearing aids until after his football career was over.
Although Nordin noticed that he had hearing difficulties early on, it wasn’t until he was in his 40’s that he did something about it.
“That’s how it is when you’re young, you just put things off a bit,” Nordin says. “I didn’t feel old enough to have a hearing aid, so I pretended things worked well anyway. And it did as well because I compensated for my hearing by always sitting near the front at conferences, for example. If someone spoke indistinctly, I used to say that I’d misheard. Otherwise the greatest difficulty was in social settings, especially in a noisy environment such as a restaurant. Then I had to think about where to sit at the table, because I hear best in my left ear.”
“I didn’t feel old enough to have a hearing aid, so I pretended things worked well anyway.”
Another reason why Nordin didn’t initially get a hearing test was that both his father and grandfather had hearing problems. In his mind, it was just something people had.
It wasn’t until Nordin stopped playing football at the elite level that he tackled his hearing problems. This was largely due to the nagging from those around him. He also noticed a marked change in his right ear.
As a result of the hearing test, Nordin started using Phonak hearing aids. He has been mostly happy with them since.
“They made a great difference when I got them,” Nordin says. “I could hear more, and the sounds became clearer and more distinct. Some of the sounds were also very unpleasant at first, such as the clatter of cutlery, which gave me a headache. But I went back to the audiologist several times to have the settings adjusted and then it got better.”
Nordin also got a Phonak ComPilot for his mobile phone. The ComPilot is a device that is work around the neck, and can stream phone calls or music directly to the hearing aids. He also uses a Roger microphone in meetings and a Roger Pen connected to his hearing aids for additional directional hearing.
Nordin recently got the chance to upgrade to the new generation of hearing aids, the Phonak Paradise. This was also the result of some nagging from those around him, he says. The change, though, was welcomed, as he received yet another boost in hearing, especially with the sounds at home.
“If I’m standing in the kitchen and cooking with the hood above my head and noise is coming from the frying pan, and my wife says something in the living room not so far away, then I have to leave the stove to hear what she is saying,” Nordin says. “…She has a tendency to talk all the time and walk into another room while she’s still talking. This can become a little annoying, not just for me, but also for her.”
Nordin’s new hearing aids take care of that problem. They are also discreet and can barely be seen from behind. He notes that nowadays he doesn’t need to have his ComPilot hanging around his neck while he’s talking on the phone.
“With my new hearing aids, I have direct contact with the phone, and of course that’s just perfect,” Nordin says. “I can sit and work and leave the phone 10 meters away, and I can walk around and talk into the microphone that’s on the rear of the hearing aid. I can also listen to music. The new hearing aids filter out all of the external humming noise, such as when I’m talking in a car, so the only thing I hear is a very clear stereo sound straight into my head. They’re great; their development has really progressed.”
“With my new hearing aids, I have direct contact with the phone, and of course that’s just perfect.”
Nordin is also pleased about the option to easily set up different programs depending on his current environment.
“I have two programs now, one called “360 degrees” that picks up the surrounding sound, and one that works when I sit and talk to someone in front of me,” Nordin explains. “I can easily change between the programs or just increase/decrease the volume, either by pressing on the hearing aid or using an app on the phone to control everything.”
The only extra equipment that Nordin needs today is for his TV.
“I have a small box connected to the TV which transmits directly to the hearing aids,” he says. “So now I don’t disturb anybody, which I did before when I needed to turn up the TV volume in order to hear the programs.”
Nordin stresses that hearing aids are also good for self esteem.
“If you are not wearing a hearing aid, you may appear to be a little backward or strange,” he says. “If you’re not able to hear, it’s easy to end up on the outside and become a little antisocial. You’re not part of the community in the same way. I really do advise everybody who needs one to get a hearing aid to join in the conversations and the community.”