“My hearing aids are by far the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

Mårten Jeppsson suffered a hearing impairment as a child, and tests indicated that it was located in the cochlea of his ear. Mårten says that, unfortunately, there is no treatment for it, and goes on to describe a childhood marked by misunderstandings and difficult situations. As an adult, he sought help and, with the use of various hearing aids, his daily life has gradually improved. However, it was only three years ago when he was introduced to Roger On that his life changed dramatically.


Are you wondering if you have hearing loss? Do a quick, Phonak Online Hearing Screener

Everyday life

Mårten lives in Simrishamn with his wife and two children. He has worked in the catering industry for most of his life, and is currently a chef at Löderups Strandbad. Restaurant kitchens are a noisy environment that presents challenges for him, but he has always enjoyed working as a chef, and the profession has even taken him abroad.

“I’ve always managed well, but having hearing loss and being in a noisy environment where I have to try to hear a language I haven’t quite mastered – that’s a real challenge,” he admits with a laugh.

Without hearing aids, Mårten can hear very little and describes what he hears as a muffled sound without treble. Even with hearing aids, he has sometimes needed to concentrate a lot and his brain has had to work flat out to keep up. By the end of the day, he has been very tired and he describes how he has often come home tired and nearly been rude to his family.

“Even with hearing aids, he has sometimes needed to concentrate a lot and his brain has had to work flat out to keep up.”

“Clearly, this is not a good situation and I increasingly realized that I needed additional help with my hearing impairment,” he says. “I also found it to be a growing problem in my workplace when colleagues had to keep repeating themselves and asking me questions over and over again.”

Better hearing with Roger Microphones

Roger Select

Mårten decided to seek help and, three years ago, was introduced to brand new hearing aids from Phonak. First, he got to try out new hearing aids, and then also the Roger Table Mic II microphones.

“I put the microphones on the table when I’m in meetings with colleagues, or people who want to book an event with us,” he says. “They look like a “puck” with a 360-degree listening radius, and automatically pick up the voice of the person speaking. My hearing range has increased and I feel more engaged in discussions.”

Although the hearing aids and microphones made life easier for Mårten, he still found that all the slamming and noise in the kitchen affected his work situation. He turned to Phonak to see if there was anything more that could be done.

“That was when I got to try the Roger On. It is a microphone that connects to my hearing aids and can be placed anywhere,” he says. “It can be placed in a fixed location, held in the hand, or even hung around the neck/attached to the clothing of colleagues. As well as filtering out all the chatter, I can now hear everything my colleague by the microphone is saying, no matter where we are in the kitchen.”

Hearing aids liberated me

Mårten says that he has received many reactions from people around him. From his German friends on jobs abroad asking him what has happened as they no longer need to repeat their questions, to the staff at Löderups Strandbad telling him how he has become so responsive.

“It has to be the ultimate feedback for a person who is hard of hearing,” he says.

Mårten describes the hearing aids as a form of liberation and that they have actually given him a whole new life, both at home and at work. From the time he gets up in the morning until he goes to bed at night, he feels less stress and fatigue. Additionally, with his brain no longer under as much strain, he can remember more things and is more aware of what is happening around him.

“I can even hear conversations that I am not involved in, which means that I can now pick up details and provide input about what is being discussed and decided upon. My hearing aids are by far the best thing that has ever happened to me.”


This article was originally publish in Swedish on HearingLikeMe.com/se

Cholesteatomas and hearing loss

As parents, we want to do everything possible to protect our child’s health and well being. But what if there was something hiding in your child’s ear that could cause hearing loss?

Here is what you need to know about cholesteatomas and hearing loss.

What is a Cholesteatoma?

In simple terms, on Healthline, Elaine K. Luo, M.D., describes a cholesteatoma as “a noncancerous skin growth in the middle section of your ear, behind the eardrum. It can be a birth defect or result from repeated middle ear infections.  It can affect your hearing, balance, and facial muscle function.” She goes on to say: “a cholesteatoma often develops as a cyst, or sac, that sheds layers of old skin. As these dead skin cells accumulate, the growth can increase in size and destroy the delicate bones of the middle ear.”

In addition to recurring infections, a cholesteatoma can be the result of a malfunctioning eustachian tube. This tube connects from the back of the nose to the middle ear and allows air to flow through while equalizing pressure. The eustachian tube can become impaired due to various factors such as chronic ear infections, sinus infections, colds, or allergies.

Cholesteatomas are relatively rare but not uncommon. In the United States, one study from the Brazilian Journal of Otorhinolaryngology reported there were just six cholesteatomas per 100,000 people. Despite their relatively low occurrences, cholesteatomas make up a serious condition that requires medical attention and treatment.

Cholesteatomas and Hearing Loss

To better understand how cholesteatomas interfere with hearing, it is important to first identify how sound is processed within the ear. John Hopkins Medicine explains the process in the following way:

  • The outer ear collects sound waves and directs them into the ear canal, where they cause the eardrum to vibrate.
  • The vibrations from the eardrum are transmitted to the bones of the middle ear (the malleus, incus, and stapes) through the ossicular chain. The three bones amplify the vibration, pushing sound toward the inner ear, while the eustachian tube equalizes the middle ear pressure with the air from outside of the ear.
  • In the inner ear, the cochlea receives the amplified vibration from the ossicular chain and converts it into electrical signals through the movement of hair cells.
  • The electrical signals are then sent to the brain through the auditory nerve to be processed and interpreted as sound.

Read more: A study debunks how hearing works

Depending on the severity and progression of the cholesteatoma, hearing loss may be temporary or permanent. Below are three examples of how cholesteatomas interfere with hearing:

“Depending on the severity and progression of the cholesteatoma, hearing loss may be temporary or permanent.”

Destruction of the Middle Ear Structures

When cholesteatomas are present in the middle ear, they can disrupt the pathway that sound waves pass through. As the cholesteatomas increase in size, the delicate bones within the inner ear (the malleus, incus, and stapes), as well as the eardrum, are susceptible to damage. This can lead to conductive hearing loss. This is a type of hearing loss that occurs when sound waves are unable to reach the inner ear.

Eustachian Tube Dysfunction

Cholesteatomas may also cause a blockage of the eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the back of the throat. This can lead to the build up of pressure in the middle ear and limit hearing capabilities.

peer-review study explaining eustachian tube dysfunction stated that “children are more vulnerable to pathologies of the middle ear, primarily due to the immature development of their eustachian tubes.”


Children who swim frequently may be more susceptible to ear infections as water can enter the middle ear and lead to infections. Over time, repeated middle ear infections can result in cholesteatomas.

According to the Brazilian Journal of Otorhinolaryngology, the disease’s seriousness is a result of two main factors: infection and compression. Overtime provided the pouch remains dry; the development of cholesteatomas can accumulate gradually without causing problems. That all changes when an infection is present. If cholesteatomas grow aggressively, they can cause destruction within the ear. This damage leads to hearing loss or deafness for most individuals with this condition.

Overall, when cholesteatomas are present, they can create a significant impact on the ability to hear.

It is important to identify hearing loss in children as soon as possible, so they can receive appropriate treatment and support. Schedule regular check-ups with an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor for ongoing evaluations and proper diagnosis. Early intervention can help prevent or minimize the impact of hearing loss on a child’s development and future success.

Hearing Care vs. Over the Counter Hearing Aids: A Consumer’s Perspective

I almost let the call go to voice mail. I was busy proof reading a piece that needed to be in the hands of an editor by the end of the day. I thought I recognized the number, though, so I took the call. I was wrong – I didn’t know the caller but when he told me why he was calling I couldn’t not continue the conversation.

The caller was looking for help for his eighty year old father who had just gotten his first pair of hearing aids. The son told me his father’s hearing aids were “tiny things,” and that he had difficulty putting them in and taking out. He was having trouble adapting to them and frustrated at his increasing inability to hear, to participate in his favorite activities.

His growing isolation resulting from his inability to talk to friends and family on the phone bore down on the whole family – recalling Dr. Mark Ross’s dictum that if one person in a family has a hearing problem, the whole family has a hearing problem.

In light of the dexterity problems I was told the father had, I suspected he had gotten over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids as those “tiny things” seemed to me to be exactly the wrong thing to fit him with. A behind-the-ear, receiver in the canal, rechargeable pair with telecoils seemed a better option. Further, I learned he knew nothing about other devices that could be of enormous help to him like a Bluetooth® transmitter or hearing loop for the TV, or a text telephone. He was not aware of the local hearing device retail shop or of the local Hearing Loss Association of America chapter where he could socialize with and learn from his contemporaries. He was living on limited income and could use some of the free equipment available to him from the state’s equipment distribution program at the Commission for Deaf and Hard of Hearing, but he knew nothing of this state agency.

He, and his family, could obviously benefit from some counseling and possibly a handout on coping strategies and the do’s and don’ts of communication for people with hearing loss. Alas and alack, while reviewing all of these things, I learned that pop’s hearing aids were not purchased over the counter, they were dispensed by a hearing care professional…

Getting Hearing Aids vs. Getting Hearing Care


Having been trained by the Hearing Loss Association of America as a Hearing Loss Support Specialist, I have spent the last twenty years counseling hard of hearing people at HLAA chapter meetings, in presentations on “Living With Hearing Loss” and other topics, and even in private one-on-one sessions. When doing so I tell people about all of the things I reviewed with the caller seeking help for his father. I tell them the things my very first hearing care provider told me in 1985 when I bought my first pair of hearing aids. At presentations and some other meetings, like the one that hearing care professional gave me, I hand out a tri-fold brochure on assistive devices that can supplement the benefits of hearing aids. Another handout is the do’s and don’ts for communication involving someone with hearing loss.

I thought about this man again while reading a magazine article focused on the provision of hearing care and discussing how audiologists and hearing instrument specialists can differentiate their business model from that of the plethora of OTC hearing aid retailers now springing up like weeds after a summer rainstorm here in the desert southwest. The old saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know,” came to mind. The father of the man I talked to was a prime example.

He was sold a pair of hearing aids but was he given “hearing care”? Was he told about telecoils and the many places they can be used in Albuquerque? No, even though state regulations mandate that the provider do so. Was he counseled in the devices that could supplement his hearing aids like alerting devices or apps for his phone? Not a word. Of the services of the Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing including a free Captel captioned phone? Doesn’t ring a bell. Of HLAAWhat’s that?

To me, hearing care should include all of that information, that’s what you’re paying for when you buy a pair of hearing aids for $3,000 that can pretty much be duplicated with a $1,200 OTC pair.

Such counseling would help build a sense of respect and gratitude in the client toward the person who helped to dramatically improve his or her quality of life. It could result in repeat business and referrals for years. Studies have shown that demonstrating how a looped TV could not just end the battle of the remote in a home, it could win a customer for life.

If you’re paying a “blue shirt” at Best Buy or the person at the prescription counter at Walgreens for a pair of over-the-counter hearing aids, you’re getting exactly what you paid for. If you’re paying a trained and licensed professional for hearing aids, it seems to me that you should also be getting hearing care that includes a lot more counseling and information than what appears in the user manual for the hearing aids you’re paying for.

May 17, 2023 By Stephen O. Frazier

Gymnastics and hearing loss: Community Spotlight

Meet Sophia Not, a thriving seven-year-old gymnast who wears bilateral cochlear implants. Sophia enjoys competing in Level 2 gymnastics. Her mother, Danielle Vickers, has played a pivotal role. She has reached out to share their experiences.


Hearing Loss Journey
The family’s story began with a failed hearing screening at birth. Before leaving the hospital, one ear failed the screening. The physicians were suspicious of fluid in the ear. Thankfully though, they recommended Sophia meet with an audiologist at an ENT. From the ABR test results, they concluded that little Sophia had bilateral sensorineural hearing loss that ranged from severe to profound.
After receiving this surprising news, the Vickers had to quickly research their options for what they believed was best for Sophia. The overall decision was to get bilateral cochlear implants at 15 months of age. Her mother says she was was initially nervous about the surgery, but now wishes they had gone through with the implantation sooner.


“Never give up,” she says, sharing advice with others who may be going through a similar experience. “Don’t be scared. Surgery sounds more intimidating than it is. The kids are so resilient. The same night of surgery, Sophia was bouncing off the walls. Continue to have therapy. Improvement comes at the child’s speed!”

“Never give up. Don’t be scared. Surgery sounds more intimidating than it is.”

Read more:  Should I get a cochlear implant? How to make the decision

Gymnastics and Hearing Loss

Navigating gymnastics with hearing loss is a unique but enjoyable experience for Sophia. As a Level 2 gymnast, Sophia needs to wear a headband around her head to secure her cochlear implant processors. When Sophia began in gymnastics, she had specific challenges to overcome.
“When Sophia first started, she had a hard time following the beat for her floor routine,” her mom says. “Over time, she mastered it by lots of practicing.”


Sophia’s parents have noticed that she has a more difficult time hearing when there is background noise. Her mom wishes that people recognized that hearing loss causes brain fatigue due to the strenuous effort it takes to listen.

Every night, they charge four batteries and place the cochlear implant processors in a dehumidifier. Sophia must make sure the additional two batteries are fully charged in case her battery dies before she goes home that day.

Read more: A life with hearing loss and Glycogen Storage Disease


After receiving her cochlear implants at 15 months of age, Sophia began speech therapy. During this period, she received more inclusive schooling. By the age of five, she was placed in a mainstream setting where she reached the same level as her peers. The only areas that Sophia has fallen a little behind in are reading and language arts, which is common for children who are learning to hear. Sophia has partaken in additional therapy and has tutors. She has continued to persevere on and enjoy her favorite sport of gymnastics.
Vickers encourages other parents to not treat their child with hearing loss any differently. “It will help them challenge themselves to be at their utmost potential,” she says.

How 6 hearing aid brands compare when it comes to evidence

A recent independent analysis looked at the number of freely accessible evidence available from six major hearing aid brands. The findings shed light on Phonak’s commitment to research.

How many times have we watched an advertisement and heard about how fantastic a new product is and what amazing benefits we will get from using it?

I think many of us have been drawn into making purchases based on the claims the advertisement makes, whether it be flawless skin, best taste, or longest-lasting battery. Sometimes these purchases are met with disappointment. Come on, I can’t be the only one with a collection of shampoo bottles in my bathroom, all of which said they would make my hair shiny and healthy but didn’t?!

At Phonak we are constantly innovating, and research is a key part of that. We want to make sure that our technology is backed up by evidence. This means we carry out research on our new technology to prove it does what we say it does. We want you to feel confident in the technology you are fitting to your clients.

Evidence comes in many forms

Evidence behind hearing technology can come in many forms; peer-reviewed journal articles, trade journal articles, field study articles, scientific posters… A common resource for obtaining research papers is the professional websites of hearing aid brands.

They provide quick and easy access to some of the latest findings about their technology, and clinical best practices. While easy access is very important, the quality and credibility of scientific research should also be considered. Articles published in independent journals are generally considered by the scientific community to have greater credibility weighting than white papers, which are typically researched, edited, and published by the hearing aid brand themselves.

Evidence across brands – there is a difference

An independent analysis looked into the number of freely accessible evidence available from six major hearing aid brands. It identified the total number of research papers on their professional websites plus two trade journals, Audiology Online and Hearing Review.

Out of the 229 total research papers identified across the websites and trade journals, 78 (34.1%) of these were available from Phonak (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Research papers available by hearing aid brand (2019-2022).

High quality evidence is crucial

The distinction between independent peer-reviewed journal articles and other research-related papers is important in terms of quality. In the hearing sector, independent peer-reviewed journals publish novel scientific information, subject to high levels of scientific rigor. Hence, they are regarded as providing a superior quality of research evidence than the other document types identified and counted in this analysis.

The analysis showed that Phonak had the highest number of independent peer-reviewed journals linked on its website, available to hearing care professionals (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Independent peer-reviewed and other research-related papers (grouped) available by hearing aid brand (2019-2022).

Overall, these findings suggest that Phonak offers more total research evidence for hearing care professionals than five other major hearing aid brands (through their website and two trade journals). We encourage you to read this evidence in order to feel confident about the technology you are fitting to your clients.