Life in Full Surround Sound

Mark Talks About His Hearing Loss and Signia Hearing!

Life in Full Surround Sound

Mat Hench is a 24-year old physical therapy assistant from Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He’s also an amateur filmmaker and a popular YouTuber. His channel, mathench, features humor and observations about life as a millennial. Mat recently became engaged to his fiancée, Emily. He has suffered from hearing loss since childhood and is happy to bring greater awareness to early identification and treatment for hearing loss, via the latest technologies.

Life in Full Surround Sound

By Mat Hench

I don’t ever remember being able to hear properly.

Throughout my childhood, I suffered from chronic ear infections – I’m still prone to them, actually. Because of these infections, I needed to have pressure tubes inserted seven times. A few years ago, my Ear Nose and Throat specialist examined me and he noted that I had a lot of scarring in my ears. In fact, his exact words were “your ears look like crap.” Gee thanks. He suggested a hearing aid but that was not a message I was ready to hear at that point. Like most young people, I didn’t want to stand out. I was afraid of how I might be perceived.

Over the years, I developed a lot of coping mechanisms to deal with, or try to hide, my hearing loss. In high school and college, I always sat towards the front of the class so I could hear what the professor was saying. But with friends, I had to constantly ask them to repeat themselves. Still, I often wondered if I misheard something and would often pretend to hear something when I didn’t. One funny example was after church one Sunday, a woman walked over to me and asked me a question. I wasn’t entirely sure what she said, but I instinctively responded “yes.” A few minutes later she returned to me with a piece of cake. It could have been worse, I guess!

 Right now, I work as a licensed Physical Therapy Assistant. It’s the career I trained for, and I really enjoy helping people. I am also an amateur filmmaker and YouTuber. These are all positive new aspects of my life, but they were also raising the stakes in terms of keeping my hearing loss untreated. And while I might be able to get by editing my videos with headphones on, it’s really important that I understand what my physical therapy patients are saying when I am treating them.

After what was essentially a lifetime of not being able to hear people, about a year ago, I’d had enough. I’ll never forget the experience of finally being fitted and how my sense of hearing came alive. During the appointment, the audiologist got up and opened a file cabinet. I could actually hear it! I didn’t realize just how much I was missing. I felt superhuman, or like a bat with sonar powers or something.

Basically, I was convinced that no one in the world could hear as well as me. Of course, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I can hear amazingly well, and it’s remarkable to be able to connect the hearing aid to your phone or TV. My model, the Signia Styletto Connect, features Bluetooth and WIFI connectivity, and it’s super comfortable. No one can really tell that it’s there. Technology has come such a long way. My only regret is not getting a hearing device sooner.

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Life in Full Surround Sound

Live in Full Surround Sound Part 2


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