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Marathon Runner Seeks to End Hearing Loss Stigma

Hearing loss sufferer Jamie Flanagan, from Edinburgh, Scotland, has prepared himself for the first of five brutal marathons with the help of a unique training aid - a fully waterproof, dust-proof and sweat-proof digital hearing instrument - the Aquaris from Siemens Hearing Instruments. It's the only one of its kind in the world and is assisting Jamie as he prepares for the biggest challenge of his life - a 160 mile desert run, in a bid to raise money for charity and demonstrate that those with hearing loss can undertake great sporting achievements.

Previously a musician, Jamie lost his hearing in the year 2000 to Wengeners Granulomatosis, an auto-immune disease that also caused partial facial paralysis. Left with mild to moderate hearing loss, Jamie reluctantly left the music industry in 2009 after feeling that his hearing was hampering his progression and turned his focus on to running. Jamie completed his first marathon in 2009 and he now runs 100 miles and trains almost 20 hours a week in his bid to successfully cross the Ocean Floor in under 96 hours in Egypt next February.

To date, Jamie has never been able to run with a hearing instrument for fear of sweat damaging the electronics. Since he was fitted with Aquaris, by Audio Hearing Services his locally approved Siemens partner, Jamie's entire running experience has changed. For the first time he is able to hear traffic, other runners, and bikes. This makes his training safer and more enjoyable.

"My boring tedious, miles have become interesting with sound and my hearing instruments enrich my running," said Jamie Flanagan. "For the first time in my life I am able to run with friends and it makes the world of difference over the long distances. I have been looking for a versatile hearing instrument that could cope with the dust, sweat, and dirt that it will be subjected to while I run the marathons which started in Rome and end in the Egyptian desert. My Aquaris instruments have had to cope with wind, rain, sweat (obviously!) and a beach during a sandstorm - every time they come through unscathed!"

Featuring a special casing with a sealed battery compartment, a watertight but air-permeable microphone membrane and protective cover, Aquaris is ideal for people who require a hearing instrument for an active life. The device is ideal for running, swimming, mountain biking, or playing other sports. Its housing protects the inside workings from damp, dirt, impacts and jolts, yet retains an ergonomic shape. This design and functionality will be essential for Jamie's Ocean Floor desert run in Egypt next February.

Jamie added, "As I have studied sound engineering and music, I can authentically confirm the quality of the Siemens Aquaris hearing instrument - the sound quality is brilliant. I'm really looking forward to running the Ocean Floor race early next year. I never thought there would be a hearing solution that suited my active lifestyle and I'm delighted to take this exciting product to the edges of the earth and demonstrate that it is as tough as I am."

Jamie will be running his marathons as part of a fundraising effort for Vasculitis UK and Lauren Currie Twilight foundation charities.

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