Tom Staniford is a freelance digital marketer and consultant. He has worked with a number of global clients from the worlds of healthcare, electronics, travel and sport, including GN ReSound. He’s been using ReSound hearing aids and wireless accessories for the last 3 years - transferring from the original ReSound LiNX onto the LiNX² and, more recently, the newly-released LiNX 3D model. We asked him for his thoughts on using our products in his day-to-day working life.
As a freelancer there is no safety net. Sure, the flexibility and occasionally relaxed working routine can seem attractive, but it can also be quite a stressful high-pressure job. There is no paid holiday, healthcare package, or supportive colleagues to rely on. You deal personally with each and every client (prospective and contracted) and good communication with them is absolutely critical.
Although the wonders of technology have opened up a whole world of text messaging, emails, WhatsApp, and Skype the fact remains that the easiest and fastest way for many people to contact you is by phone. The customer is always right, as they say, so it is imperative in my working life to have my hearing ability at a level which I’m comfortable with and my clients can rely on - or I would go out of business very quickly!
I first started working with GN ReSound as a sponsored athlete (in my previous life I was a professional para-cyclist and still perform at a high level), where I benefited from long-term testing the original ReSound LiNX hearing aids for comfort, sweat-resistance, and the direct streaming of music which helped stave off boredom on long training rides! I was overwhelmingly impressed with the hearing aids and the company, and when I transitioned into more and more social media and content consultancy GN ReSound were some of the first people I approached as it’s a lot easier to market a product that you yourself believe in!
To this day I continue to use ReSound hearing aids in my working life. I have around a 75db loss in each ear and the LiNX range has been the perfect solution to my ‘cookie-cutter’ hearing loss (so-called because of the shape of my audiogram, with most of the losses concentrated in the mid-tones). Coming from NHS hearing aids, I found ReSound aids in the BTE style were a lot smaller, more comfortable, and more powerful. The thin tubes meant that condensation build-up in the tubes was no longer an issue, and using the domes meant I didn’t have to get new hearing aid moulds made every 6 months. There’s also a lot less irritation as they don’t rub on your outer ear, and the sound is better because the dome sits snugly in your inner ear canal - perfect contact!
The latest LiNX 3D continue the trend for superb audio streaming from my iPhone. My confidence on the phone has grown a tremendous amount over the last 3 years. Previously I would avoid all telephone contact as it was just too stressful and I felt reflected badly on me as I would constantly ask for things to be repeated. Now I’m happy to chat away with anybody - even those with strong accents. If I feel that there may be a particular issue I ask to speak via Face talk or Skype so that I can also read their lips.
Direct streaming has had a huge effect on my business - not only because it ensures we’re all comfortably on the same page for each project, but also because I dread to think how much new business I might have lost if my poor telephone manner had been a sticking point with a potential new client.
As a music lover and a bit of a geek I also love the ReSound Smart 3D app which lets me modify my hearing aid settings on either my iPhone or Apple Watch. Whilst I am fully ‘plugged in’ on my normal hearing aid settings and rarely miss anything important when speaking to people, I like the ability to tweak things on those days when my concentration is slipping or it’s just an especially windy/noisy situation. A few taps on the screen and I can eke out that extra little hearing focus which sometimes makes all the difference. Same hearing, less effort, which is just a really reassuring option to have!
The next item in my ReSound hearing product arsenal is the Multi Mic. I had a radio aid when I was in high school and it was awful and really put me off external hearing accessories. It was so heavy and big and the sound quality was extremely poor. The Multi Mic, however, is worlds apart. It’s tiny. It’s sleek. It’s, dare I say it, sexy. I really like it and nearly always have it on me. Why? It’s just such a useful bit of kit.
I give it to passengers in the car to use as a directional microphone. I put it on the table in the pub when I’m having a pint, er, I mean ‘business meeting’ (when horizontal it switches to an omnidirectional microphone). I plug it into my computer so that I can stream a Spotify playlist or Skype conference straight into my ears. It’s also incredibly useful if I’m working out of somebody else’s offices and they/we are using a ‘traditional’ telephone. Most have headphone sockets, so I simply plug it into there and I can still be a full participant in any conversations. This is also useful if your iPhone dies or gets lost - you can plug into basically any phone with a headphone jack and still be able to stream to your hearing aids. My little insurance policy.
The ReSound LiNX 3D and accompanying Smart 3D app have also been really useful to me as they have introduced the ability to have my hearing aid settings checked and modified remotely by my audiologist. This new ‘teleaudiology’ function, called ReSound Assist, lets me send a quick message on my app to my audiologist detailing what issues I’m having with my hearing aids. He then does a quick check, makes any suggested changes to a new hearing aid settings program, and fires it back to the version of the app on my iPhone. I then take my hearing aids out, follow the simple instructions on the app, and it transfers these new settings to my hearing aids via Bluetooth. Pretty. Damn. Cool. You can see why it’s a cutting-edge World First.
I’ve used this system once already when I was having some difficulties with damping on one of my hearing aids at a conference. 20 minutes later, problem solved. Without this new feature I would’ve had to wait 3 days to get home, before eventually getting a proper appointment, to then visit the hearing centre, to get the problem fixed. As a freelancer you are constantly aware that time is money and ReSound Assist basically saved me a lot. It doesn’t replace face-to-face check-ups with my audiologist (he’s a lovely fella, I certainly don’t dislike spending time with him!) but it’s a really effective time-saving option that’s nice to have.
Anyhow, that concludes my brief review of the ReSound products I use every day in my working life. Between the hearing aids, wireless accessories and mobile apps I feel this technology has placed me in the best possible position with regards to being a productive, ‘switched on’ and fully capable freelance consultant - to the extent that I often forget I am actually hearing-impaired. Which is surely a good thing! Thank you for your time and best of luck with your own individual hearing journeys.