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Rediscovering sound as a veteran with hearing loss

Sam Edwards, U.S. Air Force Veteran
Sam Edwards, of Virginia, knew something wasn’t right when he started to withdraw from his otherwise active lifestyle in his community and church.

“I was tired of leaning forward in conversations, asking people to repeat things and my wife yelling at me,” said the 72-year-old retired U.S. Air Force veteran. “I knew something had to be done.”

Edwards’ journey is much like veterans with hearing loss: They put off obtaining hearing aids partially to cost but more so underestimating how much hearing aids would benefit them. His life would soon be transformed, thanks to his granddaughter, audiologist and Phonak Audéo hearing aids.

Life as a veteran with hearing loss

Edwards served 20 years in the U.S. Air Force. Eight of those years were as a pilot.

“Back then we weren’t as protective of our hearing,” he said.

Over the years, Edwards found it more and more difficult to hear high-pitched frequencies and s/th/ch sounds.

“When people have poor vision, people understand they don’t see well,” he said. “However, with hearing loss, it’s different … it’s like people blame you for doing something you can’t control.”

It was Edwards’ granddaughter who convinced him to finally see an audiologist at Longwood University. She was attending the school to become a speech therapist and knew a hearing care professional could help Edwards become more social again.

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“I had been to audiologists before, but they always felt like they were trying to sell me something,” Edwards said. “Manna said to go see the audiologist at Longwood. That she was different.”

No pressure … just hearing results

Edwards went to see Dr. Mani Aguilar who did a comprehensive examination. During his appointment, Edwards discovered that his hearing was worse than he thought.

“My high-frequency hearing is virtually gone,” he said. “She even fit me with temporary hearing aids during our conversation. It was amazing. After 30 minutes of conversation, when she removed them, I was like please don’t!”

“After 30 minutes of conversation, when she removed them, I was like please don’t!”

Reawaking to Life’s Sounds

With his Bluetooth hearing aids, Edwards is able to hear sounds he had not heard in many years. Simple sounds, such as wrappers crinkling, pages turning, or water splashing, sound totally different. “It’s like walking around the house and discovering little presents,” he added.

Music also sounds glorious.

“The first night my wife and I were listening to Christmas music, and I was enjoying it so much, I didn’t want to go to bed,” said Edwards.

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Icing on the cake

With the hearing aid’s ability to directly connect to any Bluetooth-enabled cell phone, Edwards also enjoys talking on the phone with no problems.

“These Bluetooth hearing aids have transformed my life. They are so far superior to anything I expected that at times it’s been hard for me to believe,” said Edwards. “It has dramatically improved my quality of life, and I am deeply grateful. And since my wife no longer has to repeat everything she says to me, she sends her thanks as well!”

Author Details
Jo-El M. Grossman is the Communications & Content Manager for Phonak U.S. She is an avid storyteller, as well as an accomplished, creative and qualified marketing and editorial leader with a multi-media background.