“People don’t believe I’m wearing hearing aids – they can’t see them!”– Danny

The Shrimp Stigma: Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids

“Growing up, my grandfather and father wore hearing aids,” Danny told me. “They were like little shrimp hanging off the back of their ear.” Well, who wants to have a tasty crustacean as ear jewelry? It’s not exactly the latest trend off of the Fashion Week runway.

We understand why Danny is not exactly jumping for joy when it was officially determined he had some hearing loss (along with tinnitus) in 2017. To be fair, who would be? He was also informed that the hearing in his left ear was at the threshold for hearing aids, but the hearing in his right ear wasn’t.

What Danny’s ENT told him rang true. Danny’s successful career in law enforcement exposed him to loud noises on a regular basis. Like police sirens that cops would put on top of their car hoods. Remember Nash Bridges? Yeah. Picture that, but with more ear-splitting noises. Here’s a fact about the world of law enforcement Danny shared you may not know: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) stepped in during the early 90s to move sirens from the roof of cruisers to instead mount them on each car’s push bumper, as the decibels were so loud they were causing hearing loss across his department.

Even though Danny wore sufficient ear protection while at the shooting range, his eardrums continued to wear as time passed. Another past position that didn’t help his hearing loss: Danny used to work and run commercial printing presses in a time when there was “no such thing as being able to put headphones or earplugs in” on the job.

When Danny found out that his health insurance would cover hearing aids, he asked his audiologist to see what his options were. He wanted a discreet hearing aid; they wanted him to choose between the jumbo or popcorn shrimp size.

Jumbo Shrimp to Eargo Evolution

But being an officer of the law meant that discretion was the utmost importance. “In my line of work in law enforcement, when you don’t have hair on your head and have hearing aids,” Danny started, “To me – and some people may say this is crazy – this could be… a perceived sign of weakness.” Danny was concerned if a suspect saw his hearing aids, they’d be able to knock them loose, and he wouldn’t be able to hear where they had run to, or if they were planning a sneak attack to escape.”

So Danny made it his mission to test multiple types hearing aids, and started with a custom mold. Goo was injected into his ears, a mold was made, and it was about a week before they were sitting pretty in his auricles. Yet Danny soon realized that this particular hearing loss solution wasn’t a sound idea. Why? Let us count the ways.

BTE hearing aids made Danny’s world sound unnatural and metallic, almost as if he was living among the hosts of a robot amusement park. In the back of his mind, Danny remained concerned about his hearing aids not being conducive to his lifestyle, and potentially being knocked loose so he couldn’t hear anything if he needed to, like he was living in a Buster Keaton movie without the intertitles. Then one day, at work, Danny came ear to ear with his “last straw” situation.

“There was a deputy walking three feet behind me through a double door entrance to our building. He said something to me but I could barely hear him talking. I asked him to repeat himself and still couldn’t hear,” he said. “That was a very defining moment with custom-molded hearing aids. I realized I was in trouble – someone could ambush me and I wouldn’t know. I couldn’t hear past arm’s length.”

On the Job: Danny Takes Eargo for a Ride-Along

So Danny tried other inner-ear options that he’d found online, but each model had its own unique issue that prevented him from feeling elated about the choice. Eventually, Danny discovered Eargo when searching online for “in the ear hearing aids.” He was amazed how small and discreet our modern hearing aids were, and found our patented Flexi Fibers that hold Eargo in place inside the ear canal to be nothing short of amazing. We couldn’t agree more.

Eargo snow

After careful consideration, Danny ordered his own set of our comfortable hearing aids. Shortly after receiving them in the mail a week later, his life was changed.

“Having Eargos at work was awesome,” Danny said. “I could wear my new hearing aids with my police radio without any disturbance, and in the quiet courtroom environment they got the job done. It didn’t create feedback. I was thrilled because it met my goals.”

With Eargo, Danny could carry out a conversation with anyone and hear what they had to say just fine. Outside of his job, Danny could even wear his baseball cap in his spare time and not have to deal with the hat knocking his invisible hearing aid off his ears when adjusting it. (Hint: it’s because he didn’t have any shrimp hanging off the side of his ear) And they didn’t fall out when he’d sweat in the year-round, hot and humid Sunshine State.

Evolution vs revolution

Now, Danny hears life like he used to, if not better, and is truly grateful for his new ears and the quality of his experience with everyone at Eargo. “It’s hard for me to describe,” Danny said. “The care and attention I received were unlike any other. The level of customer service couldn’t get any better. Not blowing smoke, they truly care – Eargo’s customer service has been better than all of the other hearing aid companies I interacted with.”

Danny’s Eargo Experience as told by his PHP, Kathleen:

KathleenI had the pleasure of working with Danny as his Personal Hearing Professional during his first six weeks with Eargo. We discussed his long-term career in law enforcement and how critical it is for him to be able to hear well on the job. He had previously tried every type of hearing on the market – from “made for iPhone” bluetooth hearing aids to custom, in-the-ear (ITE) devices without finding much success. These hearing aids didn’t work or fit well with his ear-level radio at work and were frustrating uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time.

Determined to find a solution that would work for his hearing loss and lifestyle needs, Danny began to extensively research more modern hearing aid models. He opted to simultaneously test two hearing aids and put Eargo head-to-head with well-known, competitor in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids. You wouldn’t be reading this Success Story if we didn’t come out on top. After putting our hearing aids for just four days, Danny was excited to report back that Eargo was his chosen winner because of the natural sound quality our device offers, along with the fact that our hearing aids were smaller and could be easily worn with the earpiece he wears at work. Danny even let us know that wearing Eargo helped to manage his tinnitus. Danny liked that Eargo is a smaller startup with great customer service.

As an audiologist who had worked with every device Danny had compared to Eargo, it was so exciting to hear that the little guy – (literally – that’s us!) – had prevailed. I couldn’t have been happier for Danny and am so glad that he is hearing more of life!

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Take our modern hearing aids for a 45-day test drive before deciding to purchase or return them. Like Danny, you may only need four days before you know we’re the right hearing aid for your mild to moderate, high-frequency hearing loss. Learn more about our 45-day risk-free test drive here, or call our Personal Hearing Guides with questions at 1-800-734-7603.

Author

Dr. Boyce works in Eargo's Nashville command center. She's nerdy by nature (most audiologists are!) and loves watching our life-enhancing technology transform client’s lives.

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