The impact of Neosensory Clarify goes beyond better hearing
Neosensory Clarify is the first alternative to hearing aids for people living with high-frequency hearing loss. Instead of amplifying sound, Clarify relies on the brain’s natural ability to adapt to new inputs. Keep reading to learn how Clarify changed the lives of two of its earliest users.
David Sheehan, one of the first Neosensory Clarify test users, has been using it successfully for more than 18 months. David suffers from hearing loss, a condition he traces back to his days of listening to loud music.
“I would say baby boomers, people my age, going through the 60s and 70s and the hard rock and the acid rock and heavy metal, we did a lot of damage to our ears,” he says.
A fellow early Clarify tester, John Haecker, damaged his hearing during his time in the military.
“I had a lot of opportunities, unfortunately, to be around a lot of loud noise from both vehicles and weapons fire, and the other types of things that one normally sees in day-to-day military operations,” John says.
Listening to music at a high volume and being exposed to loud machinery are two common causes of hearing damage, which can result in hearing loss. Often, it happens gradually, so people might not be immediately aware they’re having difficulty hearing as they become older.
Age-related hearing loss starts with a diminished ability to hear high-frequency sounds, such as women’s and children’s voices. It didn’t take long for John’s wife Linda to realize her husband wasn’t hearing quite as well anymore.
“I’ve noticed over the years, of course, that his hearing was deteriorating, and there was a lot he wasn’t capturing,” she says. “And it left him out of social settings, even when he’d be right there with someone, with other people. I could tell he wasn’t quite hearing it. Also, he wouldn’t respond, he just wouldn’t take part in the conversation.”
John tried three different hearing aids over the years, with limited success.
“Hearing aids are, at best, cumbersome. They’re basically just amplifying sound,” John says. “They put an immediate bias on you as a person. As soon as somebody sees a person wearing hearing aids, they do one of two things, they presume that you’re older than you may be. They presume that you can’t hear so they start talking much louder than they normally would. And it puts you into an entirely different light.”
David was similarly frustrated with hearing aids.
“I would argue with my wife and say, I don’t need a hearing aid, because I’m only going to hear the incorrect word louder,” he says. “That is not what I need. I need to hear the correct word.”
While searching for an alternative to hearing aids, David came across Neosensory Clarify.
“When this product came on the market, I instinctively knew that this is exactly what I was looking for.”
The Neosensory Clarify wristband works by translating high-frequency sounds such as “s”, “z”, “d”, and “sh” into corresponding vibrational patterns on the wrist. Over time, the brain learns to interpret the patterns, making it easier to distinguish between sounds.
“When I first started wearing the band, I was very cognizant of the fact that the band is buzzing when I heard the d-word versus when I heard the s-sounds,” John says. “Now at this point, it’s going immediately and directly into my brain. I don’t have the perception of the buzz on the skin anymore, I only have the impression of the word in my brain. And I know exactly what the speaker has said.”
It took around three weeks for David to feel the effects of Clarify, although his wife was quicker to notice an improvement.
“She kept mentioning that I was hearing properly,” David says. “When we would have coffee in the morning, after I answered inappropriately to questions, she’d say ‘Would you please put your watch on?’ — she calls it my watch. And sure enough, I would put it on, and then everything was fine. So, after three, four weeks, it was working very, very well.”
David’s wife wasn’t the only one to notice a difference in her husband’s hearing. John’s wife Linda says Clarify didn’t just improve John’s life but hers as well. In the past, she acted almost like an interpreter for him, making sure he understood the tv and repeating phrases for him.
“I appreciate that not only for me, of course, but very much for him more and more. This has led him to be able to be part of the conversation, no matter what was going on. And that’s what I really appreciate because why should anybody have to miss out?”
For many people living with hearing loss, the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting use of masks made communication even more difficult. While masks are a vital part of curbing the spread of the coronavirus, they also muffle speech and make lipreading impossible. David, who works at a jockey club, says masks and language barriers made it difficult to understand others. Once he started wearing Clarify, communication improved – and his coworkers don’t hesitate to remind him if he forgets to wear his band.
“The two or three times that I forgot to bring it to work, I got chastised so badly I never forget anymore,” David says.
For John, there’s almost no situation in which he doesn’t rely on his Clarify band.
“I use it for television, I’ve used it to listen to audiotapes. When I’m in front of the computer, I’ll turn it on and use the band to listen to that. I’ve used it in grocery store areas, I’ve used it in busy surroundings,” he says. “It picks up speech beautifully. People don’t understand until they haven’t had the ability to perceive that range of hearing. It’s the difference between seeing in black and white and color.”
In addition to helping him hear better, John is a fan of the band’s discreet design.
“When you go out and you’re just wearing the Clarify band, it presents as any other electronic-device-type band that you’re wearing. You don’t get questions about an infirmity,” he says.
Of course, David and John got to keep their Clarify bands and still use them successfully.
“When my two months was running out, I was dropping very large hints that I would do anything possible to continue using it,” John says.
“It’s changed our lives,” remarked Linda.