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Teacher with hearing loss: ‘I feel freer and more present in the classroom.’

teaching with hearing loss
Max Wallbom, 33, has never seen his hearing loss as an obstacle. He pursued a career as a high school language teacher, a profession centered around communication and being attentive.

“With my new hearing aids, a new, clearer soundscape has opened up, and thanks to the accompanying microphones, I can hear well in challenging listening situations at work,” he says.

Max Wallbom resides in Sweden with his partner and their two young children. He teaches other teachers about digital teaching methods at Campus Risbergska near Svartån in western Örebro. Previously, he taught Latin and Swedish as a second language at the same school.

His hearing loss is congenital and hereditary, affecting his ability to hear high-frequency sounds and causing many consonants to be indistinguishable.

“I mostly hear vowels, and sometimes it feels like listening to a different language than Swedish,” he says. “That’s why I could identify with my students who have Swedish as their second language. I know what it feels like to live in Sweden and not always understand what others are saying.”

Becoming whatever one desires

Becoming a teacher felt like a natural choice for Max, who spent five years studying to become a high school teacher at a university in Gothenburg.

“It might seem like a strange choice for someone with hearing loss, and the studies were challenging,” he says. “Just like the job itself is demanding since teaching relies on communication. But I really enjoy the role.”

He adds, “There are many people with hearing impairments who are hesitant to pursue certain things due to their disabilities. Perhaps I wanted to prove that you can become whatever you want, no matter how cliché it sounds.”

Max’s father has a similar hearing impairment. “My parents have never seen my hearing loss as a problem that could hinder me. That mindset has probably influenced me.”

If you feel that your hearing has started to decline, a good first step is to take an online hearing test, which you can do for free here: Take our online hearing test in three minutes | Phonak.

When he noticed his hearing loss It was only as Max grew older that he realized he didn’t have the same capabilities as his friends. He shares an example, saying, “Let’s say we were a group of friends having a sleepover, watching a movie in a dark room and talking at the same time. That’s when I would feel frustration: Why did I put myself in this situation? And why can’t they speak more clearly?”

Max received his first hearing aid in middle school and tried several different ones during his teenage years. However, they didn’t work well for him. Older hearing aids would amplify all sounds, making it difficult to focus on specific sounds. The sound became muddy and enclosed.

A rich and open sound world

Six years ago, Max’s experience with hearing aids changed when he started using Phonak hearing aids, and a new auditory landscape opened up to him. Today, Max uses the latest generation of hearing aids, Lumity.

“It is clear and rich, distinct and open, modern and pleasant,” he says. “The hearing aids also work well in noisy environments, like the cafeteria at work.”

Read more: Phonak introduces Slim Lumity hearing aids 

“They are intuitive with personalized noise reduction, as if they’re thinking for me. They understand which sounds should be reduced and increased based on the current situation. For example, they can focus on the voice of the person I’m talking to and lower the surrounding sounds. Additionally, they are completely waterproof, so I can be out in the rain, swim, and dive without worrying.”

The hearing aids are rechargeable, eliminating the need for batteries. When Max is on his mobile phone or watching the family’s television, he connects his hearing aids.

Read more: Tips for teaching with hearing loss 


This article originally appeared on HearingLikeMe.com Sweden
Author Details
The HearingLikeMe editorial team includes Jill Blocker von Bueren and Lisa Goldstein.