The symbolism around “a grander vision of the future” is centered around one sense—eyesight. Everyone has a “vision” of what’s possible. People make “vision” boards to create their future wants and desires. I feel it’s time to turn that old adage on its head. Instead of “looking” to the future, I feel humanity should now turning their ears toward the future.
For me, this new “ear centric” viewpoint started just under a year ago, when I purchased my Phonak Audeo Marvel hearing aids. At the time, I was sold on all the cool features:
The everyday benefits of the Phonak Marvel hearing aids include:
In the year since they were introduced to the market, the Marvels have been fit on over one million people, making it the fastest product to reach the one million milestone in Phonak history. Will it be the company’s best-selling hearing aid of all-time? I would say, probably.
My Marvel hearing aid review comes after a year of wearing these devices. In this review, I wanted to analyze something more important than the features and benefits. Sure, all the bells and whistles are great, but how do the Marvel hearing aids make me feel? How do they enable me to be me? Going even further, what do the people around me get out of them? How am I bettering the world by wearing Marvel hearing aids? Yeah, let’s go there. I’m not meaning to sound full of myself, but I do believe that my Marvel hearing aids are not just for me. They’re for everyone I come in contact with. They enable me to communicate, converse, share ideas with others, and perhaps, in some small way, help make the world a better place.
“They enable me to communicate, converse, share ideas with others, and perhaps, in some small way, help make the world a better place.”
Here’s a firsthand look at five ways the Marvel hearing aids have transformed my life in the last year.
As a hard of hearing person, any kind of clarity when it comes to the spoken word is greatly beneficial. For example, I’m super jazzed when I’m at a group dinner and am actually able to keep up with what’s being said. That doesn’t happen all the time, but with my Marvel hearing aids, it happens a lot more. Every word or phrase I absorb is like a small win. Every conversation I’m able to keep up with gives me a little more clarity. If you could only see what’s happening inside my head in situations like this. I’m giddy like a little kid, so excited to be hearing the conversation.
And what happens when I understand more? Well, I chime in more. I participate more in the conversation, instead of faking my way through it. I’m present, with thoughtful things to offer. In the past, I’ve muddled through hundreds of conversations pretending to hear, laughing at the right times, nodding enthusiastically when others do the same, and it’s not fun to be in the dark. You start to feel like a little less of a person, less informed, less confident, and it wears on you after a while. But all you need is an improved chance to hear better, and that’s what Marvel hearing aids give me. I’m not understanding 100 percent in these situations, but perhaps 65-70 percent, which is much, much improved.
That gives me hope, excitement, and the opportunity to be myself. And a funny thing happens when you can be yourself. Others notice it too. They see a smart and confident person. One who talks and smiles more, and whose eyes sparkle with life. In my head, the fog clears. Ideas crystallize a little faster. And when I do chime in with a clever retort or snappy answer, well that there is a small win. What happens after that? My comment most likely gives someone else an idea. They comment on that and I see this momentum of conversation happening as clear as day. Ideas build upon each other, as does the feeling inside of me.
When I can hear more clearly, the small wins start to pile up, and they start to piggyback onto each another, and pretty soon I’ve got this surplus of confidence that changes my perspective. I think: “Yeah, I can take part in this conversation. I can share my ideas. Yeah, I have something meaningful to offer.” Others notice that energy too. All because of the improved clarity I’m getting in the conversation, thanks to the Marvels.
For me, Marvel hearing aids give me so much more than better hearing. They allow me to better connect with the world. The streaming feature enables me to listen to books, podcasts, and TV programs at home. In the past, I never came remotely close to devouring this much content in a short amount of time. Now I’m opening my mind and gaining new knowledge, all while connecting with people like never before.
For example, I can bust through a book in a single week streaming on Audible.com. I stream books in the car, at the gym, or when I’m walking the dog. My goal for this year is to “read” 24 books. I’ve never read 24 books in a year. But with the goal to actually read one a month and “listen” to one a month, that’s perfectly doable thanks to the Marvels. If I’m not “reading” novels, I’m listening to a podcast or new music on Spotify. I even recorded my goals for 2020 and listen to my voice talking about what I want to achieve on a daily basis. Very powerful stuff.
For hard of hearing folks, it’s so easy to remain in your quiet little bubble and keep to yourself. And that’s totally fine, sometimes. It’s also good to connect with the world. Learning, growing, expanding your mind and your connections to others. That’s what makes life worth living.
My Marvels also enable me to connect better with loved ones and business colleagues. Phone calls have never been easier. Before I purchased the Marvels, my mobile calls were always on speakerphone. That made it very difficult when I was in a public place, like in the grocery store or at a coffee shop. The Marvels stream phone calls right into my ears, clearly and privately, allowing me to easily connect with anyone, no matter where I am.
With my Marvels, not only is my hearing and understanding of others improved, but I’m now connecting not just with more people, but with more ideas and knowledge than ever before due to the information I’m streaming through my ears. That’s just ridiculously cool.
Okay, so you you might see a theme developing here…
With my Marvel hearing aids, I can hear better due to the enhanced clarity of the technology. I can connect with more people since my understanding is better in social situations. Streaming phone calls right into my ears is easier than ever before. I can also connect with the world, devouring books from different cultures and nationalities, listening to podcasts from around the world, improving myself day by day. It’s obvious, to me at least, that the Marvel hearing aids are enabling me to be more.
All of this creates a sense of momentum in my world, a sense of confidence that’s only going to grow. Let’s be real, not every day is a perfect one. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, I might withdrawal into myself at a social gathering or dinner party. That’s okay. That’s part of being me. Energy levels fluctuate and I need to do what’s right in the moment. But what the Marvel hearing aids do is give me an option to break out of my shell. When I’m wearing them, the ability to connect to something larger and greater than my own self is always there. And just having that option gives me confidence.
Read more: Testing my Phonak Roger devices and hearing aids in the Big City
With enhanced clarity, new connections, and a growing sense of confidence, all provided by my Marvel hearing aids, my worldview starts to change. The voice within begins to transform from someone who complains about what I can’t do to someone who sees all the opportunities laid out in front of me. Suddenly, I notice the glass is half full instead of half empty. Here’s another cool thing: I’ve also started to notice that more and more people are wearing devices on their ears. Wait a second? Are hearing aids starting to become cool?
You’ve seen it too, right? Apple’s AirPods are the hottest new thing on the market. You can play music on them, ask Siri questions, and much more. So how does this help hearing aid wearers? Well, the “hearables” market is just getting started. Imagine a world where the majority of people wear devices on their ears, and that the “hearing enhancement” part of the devices are built-in for those that need them.
Read more: The new “Hearable” hearing aids: Phonak Virto Black
In other words, if most people are wearing devices on their ears, and if designs are similar between actual hearing aids and the “hearable” devices, then it will be virtually impossible to determine if someone is wearing them to augment their hearing or not. The stigma of wearing hearing aids then goes away. “Hearables” can help the millions of people that refuse to wear hearing aids for vanity reasons. Of the 26.7 million people over the age of 50 with a hearing impairment, only one in seven uses a hearing aid. Marvel technology in the near future could help those with untreated hearing loss, encouraging them to get the help they need to better hear and connect to the world.
It’s so exciting to be living in a time where “ear devices” are becoming popular and dare I say, trendy. The Marvels are the first hearing aids I’ve ever had that people “ooh and ahh” over. People love my Alpine White aids. Strangers comment on them often. They are blown away when I tell them I can stream anything to my ears, answer calls, and connect better with Roger microphones. What gets me so incredibly optimistic about this technology is that this movement is just beginning. Phonak is hard at work, having introduced the Virto Black hearing aid with Marvel technology at CES 2020. Smart hearing devices are the next big thing.
As someone who loves technology (I’ve been writing about it as a communications professional for 20 years), I’m so incredibly grateful to be living in a time where hearing devices are becoming so advanced. This was definitely not the case when I was 34 years old living in San Francisco and had to start wearing hearing aids. I got the smallest ones I could find, the completely-in-the-canal (CIC) devices. I would have been happier with super-deep-nudging-up-to-the-eardrum-completely-invisible-in-the-canal hearing aids if they made them like that (they don’t; it’s not safe).
I was living in the tech capital of the world, and hearing aids were not at all a trending tech topic. I hid my disability as best I could. A few people at work knew I wore hearing aids, but not my bosses. The people that did know weren’t sure what to say to me. I sensed a little pity on their part, which I hated.
Fast forward 25 or so years later, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the technology on my ears. I can honestly say for the first time ever that I’m glad I wear hearing aids. It’s a blessing to be connecting with the world as I do with my Marvel hearing aids. I don’t feel like I have a disability; I have “different abilities.” I have a unique perspective on the world that I wouldn’t have otherwise. People have actually said to me, “I wish I wore hearing aids.” No kidding.
My Marvels give me the ability to listen to my favorite music, absorb a myriad of books, learn something new on my favorite podcasts, communicate with loved ones and business contacts, and so much more. In the very near future, my “ear devices” will be able to track my health, direct me to where I need to go, help me communicate with people throughout the world through instant translations, and more. Yes! All of that is coming. And I couldn’t be more excited. I truly believe that hearing aids, or, at least, devices humans wear on their ears, are going to change the world for the good. My Marvel hearing aids are just the start.
This is an independent Marvel hearing aid review and was not commissioned or paid for by Phonak.