Thursday, July 10, 2014

"It’s so different to what we expected"

1000 Reason for Naída’ Winner talks about his life with hearing aids and his visit to Phonak Headquarters.

Fons and Willem Maathuis at Phonak HQ
Willem Maathuis, 1000 Reasons for Naída contest winner and his father Fons, visited the Phonak Headquarters in Stäfa at the end of June. As part of their four day trip to Switzerland, a company tour was organized which included a glimpse of the Phonak production site. 

Willem is an active 17 year old student from the Netherlands, whose hearing loss was diagnosed at the age of 4. He enjoys sports such as field-hockey and football and works part-time in a supermarket. He also enjoys the outdoors and listening to music. 

He is happy with his current hearing aids, Naída IX UP with FM receivers. “They allow me to bike to school (10km each way), sometimes even in the rain, because they are water-resistant without additional covering. One day my hearing aids even fell in the sink, which was filled with water, but I took them out, placed them in a drier and they worked just fine”, Willem stated. He was not aware of the new sounds he was able to hear with SoundRecover. When people asked him “can you hear the birds singing” he said “ oh yes, I hear them now”, without even realizing at first. 

Among the things that Willem and his father were fascinated by was the open and spacious architecture of the building: “It’s so different to what we expected”. During their tour through the production facilities they were amazed by the manufacturing process and the fact that “16 million transistors can fit on such a tiny chip and can still do such a great job”. 

A demonstration of the new Roger technology gave Willem a taste of the superb sound quality allowing to stream music and sounds from a PlayStation to his hearing aids, which makes playing video games even more exciting. Fons also shared the experience through headphones. “The demonstration with the Roger Pen was astonishing, I’ve never heard Willem that enthusiastic about an additional microphone before!”, Fons commented. Roger was totally new to both of them, as Willem used to have a SmartLink+. They were fascinated by the Roger Pen, “it is cool, you can just place it on the table and it looks like a regular pen”, Willem said. Roger definitely gained a new fan. 

Willem is excited about going to University next year and although he was concerned about not being able to hear his professors in large auditoriums, he is now confident that with the Roger Pen he will be able to participate, effortlessly. After a fascinating tour, Willem and Fons tasted some Swiss cuisine while chatting over the many fascinating new things they experienced, “our day at Phonak was very interesting” Fons added.