Beck: Hi Justin, it is a pleasure to meet you.
Osmond: Hi Dr. Beck, the pleasure is all mine.
Beck: Justin, I guess the first question everyone must ask you is, are you part of the Osmond Family singing group?
Osmond: Yes, I am. Merrill Osmond is my dad, and he was one of the original Osmond Brothers.
Beck: And are you involved with the Osmond Brothers musically?
Osmond: No, not really, I just help them take care of their hearing!
Beck: OK, fair enough! Justin, can you tell me a little about your own personal hearing loss and your experience with hearing aids?
Osmond: Sure. Ive worn hearing aid since I was three years old. The hearing aids I was first fit with were OK, and they helped me a lot. I started with a Body Aid when I was a child, then I progressed to the behind-the-ear (BTE) models, and I also used an FM system. But when I got the Starkey hearing aids, it has made the biggest difference in my life. I have a profound hearing loss, and in fact my loss is about 100 decibels in each ear, but my aided audiogram is almost in the normal range. So, I know, everyone tells me I shouldnt wear the really tiny hearing aids, but Im doing great with them, and I am very pleased to wear them socially too. They are not embarrassing and they sound very good.
HH/Beck: Youre right about the looks they are discreet. If you dont mind, Id like to take two photographs, one from the front, and one from the side, actually looking into your ear, so the readers can see how it actually looks.
Osmond: Sure, thats fine.
Beck: How did you get involved with Starkey and the Hearing Foundation?
Osmond: About 15 years ago, Starkey fit quite a few members of the Osmond Family. For example, they fit my grandparents, and two of the original Osmond Brothers, and six other people in our family. So about four years ago I came to Starkey to get my hearing aids fit, and Bill Austin personally fit me really tiny hearing aids, they were the completely-in-the canal Tympanettes, and they were great. I had many lots of friends here, and I really like the products, the services and the philosophy, so I became an employee, and I love working here. My dad once said, if you find a job you like, you never work a day in your life. He was right, this is just a lot of fun. So one of the primary things I do is to help kids who cannot afford hearing aids, and I help setup the logisitics for the 150 trips we take every year. I help organize the Hear Corps and these are hearing instrument specialists, audiologists and ENTs, and they all volunteer to go on our charitable missions, and they are really fantastic. In fact the readers can learn more about it through www.sotheworldmayhear.org and I recommend tat everyone take a look at that website too.
Beck: Can you tell me the difference between the new hearing aids and the previous Tympanettes? I mean, what can you tell me about the difference in the sounds and the sound quality?
Osmond: The quality of the sound is different. I have been a power junkie my whole life. I love the volume and I crave more of it. Ever since I switched over to these hearing aids, the quality has been better and my responses have been better. In fact I was recently home for a week in Utah, and my dad noticed that I was hearing better than ever. He even commented that he thought I was really hearing well, and when he said that it reminded me that I hadnt mentioned to him that I had new hearing aids. So I can hear a difference, and I think the people around me can witness a difference too, regarding my ability to hear and respond to them.
Beck: How do you do on the telephone?
Osmond: On my BTEs I had a telecoil, and that was great. I could just flip the switch to the telecoil position, and I did great. With the new hearing aids, there is not telecoil, but I can place the phone right over my ear while wearing the hearing aid, and I can hear really well on the telephone, usually without any whistling or background noise. In fact the secret to not getting background noise while using the phone is to use a little phone pad, theyre about two dollars each I think, and that really allows me to couple the phone to the hearing aid without feedback, and while helping to reduce the background noise too.
Beck: Justin, youre a young man, and a handsome fellow. I wonder if you can tell the readers anything about what its like to wear hearing aids? I know lots of guys who are concerned that hearing aids look silly, or makes them look handicapped and they simply wont wear them. Can you tell me your thoughts on that?
Osmond: Dr. Beck, I know youve told this to your patients too, and it really is something that everyone with hearing loss has to address. The issue is your hearing loss is far more visible than your hearing aids.
Beck: Youre right. Ive said that about 100 thousand times over the last twenty years!
Osmond: Theres another thing I like to say about my hearing loss, and that is I may have hearing loss, but the hearing loss doesnt have me. I am too busy listening to the beautiful sounds of life, like my moms voice, my dads music, my family, to not want to hear all that I can. People who choose to not hear are missing out on the most important sounds. I know there are stigmas attached to wearing hearing aids, but the benefit of hearing is far greater than the stigma, so I choose to hear.
Beck: Justin, it really is a pleasure to meet you, and I want to thank you for your time, your energy and the excellent work you and the Hearing Foundation have been doing.
Osmond: Thank you too. It has been a pleasure meeting you.
For more information on the Starkey Hearing Foundation, visit www.sotheworldmayhear.org.