Wayne had just had a stroke. The fact that he was greeting me at the door was nothing short of amazing. The fact that he greeted me standing was even more amazing. I couldn't believe this man who just had a stroke had agreed to let me interview him and was possibly more excited about it than I was. Literally, the man had a stroke about a week ago.
Wayne is the founder of Lesser Sound which pursues development of a variety of products for people with hearing loss, including a mobile application that identifies decibel levels in the environment. He also apparently invented this craftsman leather sling that waiters can carry over their shoulders to sell wine. He also dabbles in iconography. He was also a lawyer. Clearly, he is a man of boundless energy.
Sitting in his wheelchair, Wayne relates hearing loss to the Jewish faith, the absurdities that underlies the experience, and not being able to hear when America was singing.
Read on for Wayne's experience of early onset hearing loss. Read More
When Jesse told me he was a programmer, I wasn't expecting him to be quite so built. This was most definitely me succumbing to bad programmer stereotypes. Mid-conversation, I noticed the dragon-esque tattoos on his forearms, one dragon on each forearm, one solid, one outlined. The dual contrast seemed to speak of this situation somehow. Here I was, talking to someone who looked so strong about a subject so vulnerable.
Fitting to his profession, Jesse is a logical person. I could see it in how he rationalizes his experience. This also meant I could see how hard it was for him to deal with this problem of which there is no answerable cause. From Jesse I learned how you could live in a state of permanent tension, a state of both acceptance and dissent -- two dragons.
Read on for Jerry's experience of early onset, assymmetrical hearing loss and how he see his struggles. Read More
When he walked into his conference room with his assistant that morning, Gerry exuded a friendly confidence. The coffee in his right hand as well as his slightly rotund silhouette led me to conclude, upon first impression, that Gerry wore age like people wore sweatpants: comfortably. This was reinforced when he showed me what he called his "little toy", a Phonak Roger Pen, with relaxed ease. I was surprised to learn later in our conversation that Gerry is in what most would consider the high noon of old age. The tie-dye of silver and ash-gray in his beard and hair belied a guess of at least ten years younger. He looked robust. Vigorous, even.
Gerry will probably tell you that he doesn't feel like his age either, that contrary to the aforementioned bad metaphor, age is not the pair of comfortable sweats we could put right on and lounge in. He may have a slight tremor in his strong voice as he tries to convey, metaphorically, how life has a way of stealing your old sweats and replacing it with new ones, uncomfortably tight for your ego and in some hideous shade of vertigo-puke-lime-green. Bad metaphor aside, Gerry taught me that when the slippage is slow, the final and most difficult lesson is learning how to get used to the view, just when we thought we'd already seen it all.
Read on for Gerry's battle with Meniere's Disease and his experiences with hearing loss. Read More