When Delphine Lorton was a child, her hearing aids looked like most people’s: beige, big and a bit boring.
And like many, she grew up hiding hear hearing aids behind her hair.
“I always found it difficult for me to wear hearing aids because they are synonymous with old age,” she says.
It wasn’t until she had children of her own that her perspective on hearing aids changed. Now, the “styliste mèdical” is helping ensure no one has to hide their hearing aids, by creating beautiful, unique jewelry designed to encourage men and women to be proud of their hearing technology.
The story of Delphine’s jewelry brand, Decibelle, is a personal one, she says.
Born with hearing loss, she wore a beige Phonak hearing aid for many years, until she became completely deaf when she was 23 years old. She then lived without sound for six years, until she received a cochlear implant, she says.
Her husband is normal hearing, but because of genetics her three daughters also have hearing loss, all of whom wear hearing aids.
It was her daughter Emma, she says, who allowed her to see hearing loss as beautiful.
“One day, Emma said to me, ‘Mom, I want to decorate my hearing aids,'” she says. “It was a shock for me because I always tried to hide my hearing aids behind my hair.”
She and her daughter 9-year-old searched online for hearing aid decorations, but found that real jewelry for hearing aids didn’t exist. On the other hand, she found lots of beautiful earrings. The idea for her collection stated there.
She started a crowdfunding campaign, won 1,000 euro and invested in a patent for her jewelry and her first website.
“It is a pride to make people smile, and to know that I can highlight a disability to make it beautiful,” she says. “Some people even tell me that they find it a shame not to have devices to be able to wear my jewelry!”
Delphine’s daughters, her first inspirations, love wearing the jewelry as well, she says. Emma is now 12 and is in school focusing on her love for the English language. Savannah is 9 and has a passion for science and seven-year-old Mary is following in her mother’s footsteps with an ambition to make her own jewelry for hearing aids.
“Today, children are teaching us a lot about our behavior,” she says. “They love to wear hearing aids, and I’m thankful to my children for showing me that.”
Decibelle’s designs are custom-made, which allow individuals to create hearing aid jewelry that fits their personality with chains, gems and earrings.
“Assert yourself to shine, when you have acquired it,” she says. “It will be for life because we are all different… like everyone else.”