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Sir Edmund Hillary Tackles New Challenge

On May 29, 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa set foot on the summit of Mt. Everest the highest point on Earth

Sir Edmund Hillary is a man everyone wants to talk to a sought-after speaker and New Zealands best known ambassador abroad. However, conversations made his severe hearing loss even more frustrating, and made him more determined to conquer it as best he could with the help of his wife Lady June and his new Sonovation hearing aids.


Sir Edmund Hillary wears his new near-invisible Sonovation hearing aids fitted by audiologist Alan Ferguson of Applied Hearing in New Zealand.

So much of my life is involved in talking to people, he says. Giving a speech is no problem at all but listening and answering questions from the mob that comes after, then I have great difficulty hearing.

As a popular international guest who gives a speech or attends a formal function on average every fortnight, Sir Ed has his presentation down to a fine art. But in a party setting or other locations with a lot of background noise, he struggles to make sense of what others are saying.

Sir Ed believes that despite his increasing deafness, his ability to hear has improved with the latest Sonovation hearing aids, designed specially to offset high frequency hearing loss.

I would advise people who may have hearing problems to get it tested, Sir Ed says. The more help you can get, the better! The Hillarys have both seen hearing loss affect other members of their family. Sir Ed counts himself lucky that he has someone encouraging him My wife kept telling me I had to improve my hearing.

The ImpaCt Xp digital hearing aids, made by Sonovation use frequency compression technology pioneered by Israeli scientists, are very much better than anything I have had before. His hearing aids are designed to make the sounds clearer, and louder, while reducing unwanted background noise and minimizing any feedback.

Alan Ferguson, Sir Edmunds audiologist, said Rather than trying to over-stimulate an already damaged section of hearing, the frequency compression aids shift hard-to-hear high frequencies down to lower pitches where hearing is better. The result is improved speech understanding so that for example, sounds like s, sh, f and ch are more distinguishable. He continued, This exciting technology allows us to help many people for whom noise was still a problem, Alan says.

For more information on Sonovation, click here.

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