Rich is an 81-year-old former business owner who worked in technology consulting for small businesses and is now retired. Rich has struggled with hereditary hearing loss that has been passed down throughout his family. Rich was also a former backer of our Olive Pro campaign and has tried several types of hearing aids, none that totally did the job for him until he tried our Olive Max! Here is his interview.
How would you rate your hearing loss level?
I would say that my head, but ring loss is on the low side of severe. Definitely, severe, but not severe severe. The hearing aids I tried for mild or medium are not enough.
How did you notice your hearing loss?
For my hearing loss, I always understood that I should be aware of it since it was hereditary. My father has it, my sisters have it, and my grandfather had it; All throughout my family, a very similar kind of hearing loss. So I was expecting it and watching for it. I was aware of and not surprised when it started happening, I could recognize it immediately.
What was the first hearing aid that you tried?
The first thing I tried was going to the Costco Hearing Aid Center. They fitted me with a hearing aid, I can't quite remember the brand right now, but a well-known brand. It was alright at the time, but this was roughly ten years ago. They did not have the technology we do now. No Bluetooth interface or anything like that, which I consider absolutely essential for making hearing aids worthwhile. I also got some Boze earphones. They did really well, and they did the job for me at first. But as my hearing loss got worse, the quality of hearing on those also got worse. After that, I tried your Olive Pros; they were nice, but they didn't have enough amplification for me. I tried another pair that was ionic fit, and they didn't do it. I finally got my Olive Max and, hearing-wise, they were perfect; they really take care of the problem. Functionally, they are the only ones that I've found that have the functionality that I wanted. They are perfect in that regard too.
What were the necessary features for the research for your next hearing aid?
I was looking for Bluetooth integration, phone calls, listening to sound off my phone, and anything else like that. This function seamlessly integrated is a very big thing for me. Also looking for a lot of ability to adjust things myself, adjust different frequency ranges, and hearing conditions. I also play tennis a lot. When I sweat, it apparently ruins the hearing aids, so I looked for what other kinds of hearing aids could be suitable for tennis.
What were the unique features of the Olive Max that stand out for you the most?
I haven't had to do this much lately, cause I’ve had my Olive Max. With my previous hearing aids, I found that depending on who I was listening to, I would need to adjust the frequency response to hear that person better. I've had to adjust a couple of times with my Olive Max, but not much because my overall hearing range is better, especially because each frequency range is individually adjustable. So these are the exact big features I was looking for in hearing aids: Bluetooth integration and a lot of adjustability and control in the environment/circumstances I'm in.
When do you like to use your Olive Max?
I wear them all the time when I am awake except for when they are recharging. They are like a permanent part of my ears now.
Since you wear your Olive Max all the time, does that include going out in public?
Yes, always, I do not go anywhere without them.
How do you feel wearing them in Public; do you get noticed?
Interestingly, I found that with my Boze earphones, I would get lots of feedback and people asking me if they were hearing aids. With the Olive Max, though they are much more visible, no one has questioned me about them yet. So I have not had any kind of public feedback on it yet. Although I get a little self-conscientious because they do stand out so much, I consider the physical design both a plus and a minus. The minus is that they look a little awkward, but the plus is that they stay placed perfectly, better than any others I had. I don’t have to worry about them falling off. They stay perfectly in place, unlike other earbuds that get lost often from falling on the floor. Obviously, there is enough physical size there to get good electronics in it where it will do all the things I want. So for that, I'm willing to make that trade if having it look a little bigger or unusual means that I can hear right.
What do you think about the stigma of Hearing Aids?
I really don't think it’s that much of a stigma anymore. I think companies are out here advertising that they are making hearing aids more invisible and stuff. I think that’s great, but I don’t think of wearing hearing aids as a stigma anymore. I think hearing aids are starting to be accepted more as a natural thing, something that comes with life and aging. At the end of the day, it’s a fix.
Was there any adjustment time with becoming comfortable with your Olive Max?
I still feel a little awkward when I wear them out in public, but it really doesn’t bother me much. I know the benefit is greater than that. I’ve even talked to my wife, who is an artist, about making a design for them to make them more special.
What would you say to someone who might be considering Olive but is on the fence?
It really depends on the person. If they have the knowledge, understanding, and ability to do their own adjustments and make decisions like that, then I would strongly recommend them. But someone like my mother-in-law, who also needs hearing aids, would never ever go through any custom fitting or adjustment or anything. She would need something that she can just put on and it will work the same way all the time. I would not recommend them to her. This is definitely something that people who are technologically adjusted should try!