Olive Max Interview: Andreas
Andreas is one of our Olive Max IndieGoGo backers who not only backed the recent campaign but also backed our campaign for the Olive Pro! He is a 56-year-old German national working in Macroeconomics and Global Marketing Finance Statistics in Washington D.C. Andreas previously worked in International Business in Europe until he was offered an opportunity to work in Washington D.C. 10 years ago. He decided to move to the US to diversify his career, broaden his horizons, and become more involved on a global scale. He shared his hearing loss story and journey with us in this interview!
How and when did you realize you had hearing loss?
About 2 years ago, I noticed that I had increasing difficulties hearing others in crowded or noisy environments. My wife also pointed it out. When she would ask me questions or say something to me, I had difficulties understanding her. I also received the same kind of feedback from other family members as well. After investigating myself, I came to the conclusion that my hearing loss was not severe or that it would require a formal hearing aid. But, I started looking into options that could help me in these situations I was clearly struggling in.
What was your first plan of action when you realized it?
I kind of was going a little bit in circles at first. I thought to myself, “What do I need to do?”, “Do I need to go to a specialist right now?”, “Should I wait?”, “How bad is it?”, “Is it really something that affects my daily work and daily life?” Then I stumbled across the increasing market for over-the-counter hearing aids. So, I thought maybe this is the kind of option I should go for. So, I started investigating the market for this kind of device.
During your investigation, did you try a hearing aid before you heard about us?
So first, I came across an offer for the Olive Pro, and I decided to give it a try. This was the first hearing aid I tried.
How was your experience when you tried the Olive Pro? Did it take some time to adjust?
It was pretty quick for me to get used to them. They helped a bit, but I wasn’t completely satisfied. Because while they did a fairly good job in the amplification in general, they did not filter the relevant information from the background noise. So it did help a bit, but I wasn’t 100% convinced this was it.
How did you conduct your research and decide on your Olive Pro Purchase?
There were a couple of other devices on the market, but they were rather limited to connecting only with iPhone devices. While I do have an iPhone, I did not think that this would be the right way to go because it would limit me in a way to my work environment. So I looked into different devices and what they could offer; what I noticed is that the market was moving forward rapidly with the progress of AI and hearing aids being able to differentiate better between background and forward noise and not only amplifying noise in general. There were other brands producing these kinds of hearing devices, however, it seemed that most had no specific feature distinguishing them from each other.
Is this what sparked your interest in Olive?
Well after researching other brands and devices, that's when I came across the start of the campaign for the Olive Max and saw that it was building upon your previous device and that it would take into account and incorporate the recent market developments. I also liked that they were not just in-ear devices but that they had the over-the-ear arch and created a more secure fit than the Olive Pro. This was exciting to me because I have trouble with in-ear devices as I have a narrow ear channel. I would sometimes find the over-the-ear style a little cumbersome at first, but then it simply holds better and is less problematic overall.
When and for what activities do you usually use your Olive?
Primarily, I use them in noisy environments. Going to restaurants, going to parties, or generally noisy outside environments where I’d like to have conversations and know what's going on. Like understanding a waiter in a restaurant or being able to communicate without shouting or asking people to repeat themselves or speak up. My experience in US restaurants is that they tend to have a lot of background noise or music around which makes it more difficult for me to have any conversations. I also use them in Hotels and airplanes for traveling as well. I recently used them on the plane when I went on a vacation to Mexico. They also helped me in the hotel lobby as well. These settings are my primary use case for the Olive Max.
When you wear the Olive Max to parties or in restaurants, what kind of reactions from people do you get?
I do not get any explicit reaction, but I can sometimes see a bit of irritation on their face. Kind of more like confusion about why I am talking or engaging in conversations with headphones on, but that usually goes away after a second. It fades very quickly as they realize I am engaged in the conversation! I’ve never needed to explain to anyone why I am wearing earbuds because there are more and more earbuds and headphones coming out with hearing functions.
How have things changed in your work/life since you started using your Max?
I see improvement in many social activities. It makes it easier for me to converse in noisy environments. These situations primarily occur in my private environment. However, I do use them for online meetings as well or when traveling for conferences to better understand presenters.
Would you recommend the Olive Max? And to who?
I would definitely recommend them. I specifically would like to recommend them to my father because he is on the side of worrying about the stigma over hearing aids. However, it has been increasingly hard for him to communicate and have conversations with people which is causing him some frustration. I would also recommend the Olive Max to everybody who is at the beginning of the process of looking for hearing aids. Especially, I would recommend them for those who are just starting to get impacted by their hearing loss where it is not yet too severe but still at the earlier stages.