IN AID OF BETTER HEARING
RIKKI McDonald works as a train controller but being able to control what she hears with her hearing aid has given her freedoms even those lucky enough to have perfect hearing would love to get their ears on.
The 28-year-old from Carlisle was one of Perth’s first residents to begin wearing a new hearing aid about a month ago and said it was the first time she had heard sounds so clearly, and all without twiddling dials in or near her ears.
She wears a Made for iPhone hearing aid called the Starkey Halo i70 that uses wireless technology to interface with her iPhone and the TruLink hearing app, which enables her to adjust the sound level and quality.
But it also means she can stream phone calls and music direct to her ears and cancel out feedback noise, something her envious colleagues and friends have said they wished they could also do.
Rikki began wearing hearing aids five years ago when she was diagnosed with a moderate hearing loss, but has since realised her problems may have been present since childhood and just not picked up.
“I thought people made it up that clocks made a ticking sound. I just could not hear it,” she said.
“I didn’t think I had a problem. My former boss wore hearing aids and said I should get tested. When I finally started wearing them I began to hear sounds I’d never ever heard before.”
One of the best features of Rikki’s new wearable technology is the ability to use the phone’s GPS function to automate the aid.
“Previously I could not wear hearing aids in the car because of the road noise; now the phone picks up that I am travelling over 16km/h and reduces car noise for me,” she said.
“Being a train controller you can imagine the noise at work is quite loud but the GPS personalises it so when I pull up at work the hearing aid knows to change to my work settings.
“I do 12-hour shifts and the comfort of the hearing aids has been excellent.”
Rikki, who controls train movements of freight, grain and iron ore on Brookfield Rail lines in the metropolitan area, also said the backof-ear hearing aid was barely noticeable, with just a fine wire going into the ear canal, and was seen as “something cool” by others.
Rikki McDonald’s new hearing aid has a host of features, including being iPhone compatible.