My story, Charlotte Weir: How the Roger Pen changed my life

Undergraduate student, Charlotte, is studying History at the University of Chester. 

Diagnosed with a hearing loss in her childhood, Charlotte details her hearing journey and the amazing difference assistive listening equipment has made to her quality of life.

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Understanding my Hearing Loss

“When I was 10 years old, I was told I had a moderate to severe hearing loss in my right ear. I found that the ‘box standard’ hearing aids were making no difference for me. In fact, it took a while for Audiologists to realise I had a conductive hearing loss.”

Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is a blockage of some kind in the outer or middle ear that prevents sound from properly passing through to the inner ear.

A conductive hearing loss may be caused by:

  • chronic infection
  • accumulation of ear wax within the ear canal
  • a growth in the middle ear
  • an abnormal bone growth near the middle ear.

Those who suffer from conductive hearing loss struggle with soft sounds at all pitches, both low and high. Depending on the nature of the hearing loss, this can be successfully corrected with hearing aids. Other types of conductive hearing loss can be treated surgically.

“After my diagnosis, I was given the opportunity to wear a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA). I trialed this on a metal headband for roughly twelve months. My hearing was greatly improved with the BAHA but the headband hurt a lot! I was finally ready to get the more long-term solution which would involve an abutment implanted into my skull so I could attach my Oticon BAHA to it. It was a straight-forward procedure.

Trying New Technology

“I remember leaving the hospital after I had recovered from the surgery and I whispered to my mum “What’s that noise?” and then I realised, for the first time I was hearing the rain pour from the sky and bounce off the ground. I wasn’t just feeling the crunch of Autumn leaves from beneath my feet, I was also hearing it.

“As I moved into secondary education, I used a Phonak hearing loop in my classes for the first time. And, for the first time, I was able to hear my teacher loud and clear. This was around ten years ago. Since then, technology has rapidly developed and by the time I reached college, I was using a radio aid. This gave me the ability to hear my teacher even clearer and had developed further in range of distance.

Introducing the Roger Pen

What really changed my life was the Roger Pen, which I received at university. Typically, the Roger Pen would either be clipped to my lecturer’s shirt or worn on a lanyard. But then I found out what ‘Roger’ could really do. I’m able to place it in the centre of the table and it automatically picks up each person’s voice. I no longer  fear sitting at big, round tables!

With the Roger Pen, I can turn off background noise so it only focuses on the speaker’s voice, or I can turn that off and get a feel for both the speaker and background noise. The Roger Pen is a Bluetooth device which also means I can listen to music through my hearing aids.

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“Using my assistive listening devices, I slowly started to feel like I was an integral part of society. I was able to interact, connect and get involved in activities with my peers. My quality of life has been greatly improved, largely due to the Roger Pen. The sound is impeccable and is received from an impressive distance around me.

Simply, the Roger Pen changed my life.

For more information about the Roger Pen, please click here.

For more information about accessing hearing support, as a student via DSA, please click here.

Social distancing? Stay connected

These are unprecedented times for us all. We’re changing the way we work, socialise and learn. As we sift through the latest news, (battles for toilet roll and finger in the air predictions of scale, nature & impact), without doubt, we’re in a time of huge uncertainty and challenge. 

"Blindness cuts us off from things but deafness cuts us off from people."

Technology enables us to tackle secondary impacts of Coronavirus head on! Remote working is possible with tele-conferencing facilities. Learning continues with online portals, e-lectures, forums and vast online resources. Socialising is possible with social networking sites and video-conferencing tools.

Yet for individuals with hearing loss, perhaps this increased reliance on technology presents fresh challenges. Our hearing connects us to people, enabling us to communicate in a way that none of our other senses can. 

With the advice to practice ‘social distancing’ and ‘isolation’ we’re already physically more cut off than ever before. This only reinforces the need to make the most of existing technologies and use all available tools to stay connected. 

Reduce listening effort and stress

Assistive listening devices (ALDs)work alongside hearing aids and personal technology to help individuals with hearing loss stay connected. 

Ask yourself:

  • Can I have clear, understandable conversations with loved ones on the phone?
  • Can I hear clearly on a tele-conference?
  • Can I hear the television (without turning up the volume excessively!)?

Do you have concerns about family or friends, perhaps an elderly relative, to whom communicating remotely might be challenging?

Gordon Morris provide lots of different technologies, such as Phonak Roger, which can help in most challenging listening environments. There are innovative technologies which connect to most multimedia devices (mobile phones, tablets, televisions and telephones), which can be hugely beneficial for individuals with hearing loss.

Our recommendations

Amplified Telephones

Designed to help people with a hearing loss, amplified telephones have functions that allow the user to increase the volume as necessary to help speech understanding. Phones come in both a portable hand held phone or a more fixed corded version.

Phonak Roger Select

Featuring wideband Bluetooth® for phone calls. You can also enjoy listening to the TV or multimedia devices such as music players and computer, streamed directly to your hearing aids. Phonak Roger is compatible with all hearing aids and cochlear implants.

Phonak Roger Pen

Easy to use and fully automatic, Phonak Roger Pen will work with your television or any other audio device.  Mobile phone calls are made easy!

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If you currently have any of our assistive listening devices and need support understanding how you can get the most from them, please call our support team. 

Gordon Morris are pleased to offer free trials of our products.  Our team are poised to answer your questions and help you find the right solution for you. 

Our eStore is another great way of placing orders remotely- free delivery is a given! And please don’t worry, the team are always here to help you with your technology, so for any remote set up and ongoing support, please call : 01458 272121 or email info@gordonmorris.co.uk

For the latest information and guidance about Coronavirus visit WHO’s website: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public 

Free Hearing Support – How do funding schemes work?

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In the UK, individuals with hearing loss are entitled to free hearing aids via the NHS. Depending on your location, your GP may recommend another, alternative supplier who also provides free hearing aids.

Hearing aids are sophisticated pieces of technology but it’s also important to acknowledge their limitations over distance and in noisy environments. Some hearing aid users still struggle to hear on the telephone, in lecture theatres or perhaps in business meetings. The solution: assistive listening devices (such as Phonak Roger)!

Assistive listening devices don’t form part of free, NHS provision and are often purchased privately. But, in this piece, we explore government funding grants which make assistive listening devices more accessible- and in many cases free…

Currently, there are two main funding grants for hearing assistance:

  • Access to Work funding
  • Disabled Student’s Allowance

The main way to apply for any fund, including hearing assistance, is under the main government website and looking under ‘Benefits’. From here, navigate to the ‘Disabled People’ section to find out more about possible financial aid.

Access to Work

Hearing impairment is a disability that often affects a person’s ability to work and can damage their employment history. For that reason, ‘Access to Work’ funding was created to enable more people to work effectively, without difficulty and remove any barrier that a hearing impairment may create.

What are the conditions for applying to this fund? You must:

  • have a disability that affects your ability to work well.
  • be 16 years of age or over.
  • live in England, Scotland or Wales.

If your application is successful, the fund will be given to a person with the intention of purchasing disability equipment and does not need to be repaid. It is not a loan.  There is no fixed amount of funding for a Access to Work application as every individual needs a different level of support. Support can last for up to three years at which point a review will be conducted to see if needs have changed. If not, support will continue as long as your support providers see fit.

Disabled Student’s Allowance

The Disabled Student’s allowance applies to all higher education students who have a disability that impacts their learning. For this fund, you must have a long-term health disability, a registered learning disability or a mental health condition recognised by professionals. Every university has a person in charge of disability issues, a Disability Officer, who can discuss a student’s needs. The allowance helps with the cost of a note-taker, sign language interpreter and specialist equipment, as necessary.

Struggling with your application?

For more information or assistance applying for any of the aforementioned grants, please get in touch! Typically, individuals would be offered products like the Roger Pen or Roger Select via the funding schemes. Visit our product pages to find out more.

Gordon Morris offer a two year warranty on all our products, as well as a 10 day, no obligation trial. We are also pleased to offer 0%, interest free payment plans so if you’re ineligible for government funding, please ask for more information about how we can help.

Contact Us Today!

To read some of our other blogs, please click here!

Loop System vs Phonak Roger

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We have all heard of the loop system or have seen the logo in our
local shop or post office, most recognising that the hearing loop
(sometimes called an audio induction loop) provides a magnetic,
wireless signal that is picked up by a hearing aid when it is set to
‘T’ (Telecoil) setting.

Here at Gordon Morris, we offer a range of induction loops including
domestic, commercial, portable, counter and infrared as well as
necessary accessories such as receivers, microphones, tape or
indicators.

What’s next in the world of hearing aid equipment?

Alongside carrying these popular devices, we are proud to offer
Phonak Roger ™, a range of accessories to help improve hearing
and speech understanding in even the most noisy environments.

Benefits of Roger:

• A hassle free solution – Roger automatically adapts to the
environment around you

• Hearing aid wearers understand almost 10x better with
Roger in noise and over distance vs people with normal
hearing

• Compatible with all makes and models of hearing aids

• Can help you hear clearly up to a range of 20m

Wondering if they will work for you?

Roger for everyone:

Regardless of what hearing aid or cochlear implant you use, there is
a compatible Roger receiver that’s right for you. The receivers
transmit the signal from a Roger microphone straight to your
hearing aid or cochlear implant. Amazingly, some of the very latest
hearing technology no longer requires a receiver to be fitted to
your hearing aid.

Commercial and education

There are a range of custom products for your environment
whether you’re a school, restaurant, business or any other
community in which you have large groups of the public in your
area. We have a solution that will work for you

Visit our website and look through the entire Phonak Roger System
collection here: https://gordonmorris.co.uk/phonak-rogersystem/phonak-roger-microphones/

We are here to help – if you have any questions don’t hesitate to
contact us on 01458 272121 or email us at info@gordonmorris.co.uk

To read some of our other blogs, please click here!