Retirement is typically a time to spend with grandchildren, reconnect with friends socially, and relish in the new-found freedom of our twilight years.
But for Max Houterman, retirement was looking bleak.
After a career as a spring maker and struggling for many years working in a noisy environment, Max had severe industrial hearing loss by the time he retired. At age 65, he started wearing hearing aids, but they were of little use.
Despite the doting attention of his wife, Mary, and the lure of his grandchildren, Max avoided family events or getting involved in outside interests. He became increasingly isolated.
“I was very quiet. I didn’t go out. I didn’t enjoy going to family barbeques. If I went, I sat in the corner,” says Max, now aged 77.
It wasn’t until Max’s wife, Mary, retired that he agreed to join a social club, which took the couple on regular outings and gatherings that featured a guest speaker.
After listening to the inspiring story of a retiree with a cochlear implant at one of those gatherings, Max’s interest in the idea of an implant piqued.
Much soul-searching and many discussions later with other implant recipients and Mary, he decided to go ahead with his first implant at age 73. Max lives in Australia where funding for cochlear implants differs from the UK and, at aged 75, Max received his second implant.
Two implants and two accessories later, Max says his life has changed forever.
“I’ve joined the human race again. Before I was very quiet. I felt very cut off. I talk a lot now,” he says, adding that he regularly attends events to share his experience.
Mary describes Max now as talkative and more outgoing since he received the first implant. He even goes to the bank and shops on his own, which he would never do before.
Avoiding occasions with family and friends in noisy restaurants is a thing of the past thanks to Max’s Cochlear™ Wireless Mini Microphone which he pairs with his Nucleus® 6 Sound Processors.
The small accessory has enabled Max to engage in conversations involving several people even with the presence of background noise.
“It is very good because it cuts the background noise out,” he says.
If he is eating in a restaurant, Max puts the Mini Microphone in the centre of the table and can engage in conversations with his companions, even if it is noisy.
“I use it a lot when we go to the Probus [retiree] club meetings. The speaker can clip it to their clothes and it becomes easy to listen to them,” says Max, referring to its streaming capability.
The Cochlear Wireless Phone Clip is the other accessory that has helped Max reconnect socially.
Max says he was completely dependent on Mary to make and receive phone calls until he purchased a Phone Clip, which he pairs with a simple smartphone.
Max clips the accessory onto his shirt which allows him to make and receive calls hands-free without taking the phone out of his pocket, and the bluetooth capabilitiy removes the need for any wires, ear buds or neck-worn devices.
“It has been a revelation,” he says. “It is incredible.”
Learn more about Cochlear True WirelessTM Devices.