The members of BIHIMA are committed to understanding the experiences of those with hearing loss allowing that feedback to shape the technology they pioneer.

The third in our series of real stories of hearing loss is about the experiences of Fintan, who was able to overcome his phobia of water using waterproof hearing technology…

“Hearing loss has been with me all my life but it was not until my early twenties that a sudden loss made life much more difficult. A further loss at thirty changed everything for me.”

In his job as an IT project manager, Fintan found meetings challenging. He was also studying as a mature student and began to find the lectures difficult to engage with. But then a new audiologist fitted Fintan with new technology that was better suited to his needs. With the audiologist’s considerable knowledge, patience and determination, he found the best setup and performance, with additional wireless microphones for tutorials and meetings.

Fintan continued: “This has enabled me to perform well in my job and complete an honours degree, which has helped restore my loss of confidence.”

Fintan also had a phobia of water since childhood and had come to accept that he would never be able to swim. He remembers feeling heartbroken on a family holiday when he couldn’t play with his daughter in the pool. Fintan was desperate to learn how to swim but doubted that his hearing loss would allow it.

“Since I couldn’t use my previous hearing aid in the water, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to communicate with a swimming teacher if I tried to overcome my fears. But once again my audiologist and I explored solutions to this problem and I started swimming lessons with a new waterproof aid. We worked on the best setup for communicating with the swim teacher and I made steady progress, losing over six stone in the process. Words could not describe how pleased I am to be able to swim with my family and have fun in the water and just do the normal things families do.”

That wasn’t the only pleasure Fintan gained through accessing the right hearing technology. “As a teenager, one of my favourite pastimes was listening to music, but with my hearing loss I had lost this enjoyment completely. For a long time I deliberately avoided exposure to any music, nothing sounded like it used to and this frustrated and angered me.”

But now, with his new hearing technology, Fintan can enjoy music on his commute and he regularly attends concerts and music festivals. “Even learning the acoustic guitar with severe hearing loss is now possible”, he said.

Fintan believes that the hearing technology solutions which have been tailor-made for his needs, along with the support of his audiologist, have “transformed so many aspects of life and contributed to a vastly more positive outlook.”

This case study is based on Fintan’s nomination of his audiologist, Paul Hussey, for the Audiologist of the Year 2017 competition: 

Audiologist of the Year is a highly acclaimed award within the hearing industry, celebrating the exceptional work of hearing care professionals across Europe. Now in its eleventh year, the competition invites patients to nominate their audiologist to be rewarded for their exceptional hearing care services. For more information, please visit