Profoundly deaf teenager hearing new sounds thanks to latest hearing aid technology

A profoundly deaf teenager is listening to sounds he has never heard before thanks to the latest technology from doctors in Swansea.

15-year-old Gethin Davies, from Llanrhidian, Gower, has worn hearing aids since he was 11 years old.

But he is now trialling hearing aids that have inbuilt connectivity - meaning he can wirelessly stream from a phone or Bluetooth device.

They enable him to have better telephone conversations, hear the kettle boiling and even hear strong winds blowing against the house.

15-year-old Gethin can now hear music a lot clearer and even answer phone calls through his hearing aid. Credit: Swansea Bay University Health Board

By adjusting speech clarity, noise and directionality through an app, Gethin can now focus on a particular sound without being cut off from other sounds around him.

"I used to find it hard to hear conversations in busy environments such as the dining room, playground and during sports, where people are moving around," Gethin said.

"I've adapted to this over the years but more recently I found that using a mobile and listening to music was much harder as it took time to find headphones which would go over my hearing aids without causing a lot of feedback.

"I'd try to avoid talking on the phone other than using Facetime and would prefer to text."

A keen sportsman, his new aids also reduce the risk of moisture affecting his hearing devices while he is competing in various sports.

"The battery compartment of my aids was getting damp from sweat. This would sometimes result in the device switching off, which obviously is not great and really affected my enjoyment of it," he said.

Gethin said the new technology has made a big difference to his life.

The technology has only recently become available in Swansea, following a review with the audiology department at Singleton Hospital, who are now issuing the aids when they are required and suitable.

Sarah Theobald, Gethin's audiologist, said the health board is only providing the hearing aids to certain people.

"At the moment we're only providing these hearing aids for our paediatric population and it will only be for those who need that particular hearing aid, so we've got lots of different hearing aids that we use.

"The decision is mainly based on the type of hearing loss, the degree of hearing loss."