HearingLikeMe Norway talks to Jesper Schøllhammer, a passionate sailer and hearing aid user, about life with his new waterproof hearing aids.
Ahoy. Ahoooooy, over here! The guy is shouting and waving his arms. It must be Jesper, Jesper Schøllhammer. He greets me kindly with a big smile and an outstretched hand.
“Hi, I’m Jesper. Welcome to Vejle harbor.”
He may look more like he’s dressed for a business meeting than a race, but the reason we’re meeting here in the harbor is that Jesper has invited Phonak to an action-packed evening on Vejle Fjord with his crew of three.
Conditions are relatively calm in the harbor, but in the bay the wind is about to build, well past the 10-15 meters per second we had hoped for. There’s a good chance of getting wet, but harsh wind conditions, splashing waves and maybe a dip in the water don’t scare Jesper even though he is wearing two advanced hearing aids.
It wasn’t always this way, but the new Phonak Audéo Life waterproof hearing aids have given Jesper a new hunger for water and big waves.
Jesper is 51 years old and lives in Vejle with his wife and two adult children. He currently works as a project manager at Lego in Billund, where he has worked for the last 10 years.
In addition to holding down a responsible job, he engages in a variety of sporting activities in his spare time, with his great passion being sailing. He races both domestically and internationally throughout the summer.
Jesper was barely 3 years’ old when he was discovered to have hearing loss and has been wearing hearing aids ever since. In the 1970s, the technology was not the same as it is now, and living with hearing loss had its challenges. Despite this, Jesper feels that he has managed quite well and has rarely felt left out.
“I was probably a bit privileged, and part of that may have been because I was quite good at soccer. Hearing loss has never been an obstacle for me,” he says.
Jesper has 75 percent hearing loss, but, with new technology, he estimates that he is perhaps 10-20 percent away from normal hearing. And with, among other things, the new Phonak Roger On , he can go even further.
“I’ve always wanted to be like everyone else, but being open with others and admitting that I don’t hear so well has been very difficult. There can be misunderstandings, including in work situations where I don’t get everything.”
Jesper is interested in technology, and the evolution of hearing aids has been an exciting journey. The transition from analog to digital devices was fantastic, and the new waterproof Audéo Life devices from Phonak have given Je
sper a clear improvement in his quality of life.
“None of my previous hearing aids could withstand water, and, for someone who spends so much time at sea, it’s very inconvenient,” he laughs. “I’ve always had to be careful, and certainly avoid falling into the water!”
“None of my previous hearing aids could withstand water, and, for someone who spends so much time at sea, it’s very inconvenient.”
“My new devices give me new opportunities. It’s especially interesting with all the possibilities to be able to adapt the devices to my own needs and the environments I’m in. I have created my own programs in the myPhonak app, which suit my needs whether I’m at a party, at work, having dinner with friends and family or out at sea.
“”My new devices give me new opportunities…”
“In the boat, it’s important to be able to talk and understand each other, and I haven’t been able to do that like this before. Being dependent on others to keep up can be tiring.”
In addition, the Schøllhammer family are keenly interested in environmental protection. Jesper is very happy that the appliances are rechargeable and doesn’t miss having to change batteries. The charger is on the bedside table, so every day starts with fully charged devices.
Jesper uses Roger On both at work and at home and is very satisfied. In situations where distance or acoustics make it difficult for Jesper to hear everything, he puts Roger On on the table. He has also hung it around the neck of the person speaking, with impressive results.
“The ease of use is excellent and I can learn new functions quickly,” he says. “These are very good accessories, you shouldn’t be afraid to use Roger On.”
“I have found that I can absorb more, and I’m not as tired in my mind after a long day because I spend less energy on listening. It’s just a pity I didn’t have this when I was a student. It would have played a major role in my education.”
Jesper certainly doesn’t complain about growing up or living with hearing loss.
“I have been able to make my choices regardless of hearing,” he says. “I consider myself equal to everyone else and want to be equal to everyone else.”
“Of course, I have had to acknowledge that some situations are extra challenging, but now I am glad that technology has made it easier for me to be open about my hearing loss.”