For Connect Hearing Canada Customer Service Department Manager Ken Foley, seeing people overcome hearing loss is one of the best parts of his job.
“My most rewarding interaction? Probably talking to clients who say they haven't heard their grandchildren for a long time or haven't been able to carry out conversations with them,” said Foley, who has been with Connect Hearing Canada for more than eight years. “Just hearing the joy in their voices when they say they can hear them and interact with them is just amazing”.
We sat down with Foley, who talked about his job, the importance of hearing safety, interesting innovations in hearing aids and the great golfing in Victoria.
What interests you about your job?
Making an impact in people’s lives. Helping people who have had difficulty hearing for a long time, and seeing the benefits of hearing aids.
What got you interested in this field?
Well, my stepfather started working for Connect Hearing, Island Hearing at the time, and he told me about the company and what they do. I enjoy helping people, so I thought this would be a good company to work for.
How has working at Connect Hearing changed your understanding of hearing health?
A lot actually. I didn't really know about hearing loss before coming to Connect Hearing. I was really unaware of how many people are affected by hearing loss, and what the effects are.
I think that's probably true for most people.
That's right. Unfortunately a lot of people don’t realize the importance of getting your hearing tested like they do about getting their eyes tested. The hearing test has been on the wayside for a long time.
It must also pain you to see the way some people – especially young people – treat their ears.
Yes, that's right, they don't realize that hearing loss is something that comes over time. People may not realize that they're missing sounds. Then when they try on hearing aids there are so many sounds that they get overwhelmed.
That's interesting. You don't hear much about that. It must be a dramatic change when a person who has lived with hearing loss for a long time gets their hearing back.
It is. For people who have gone a long time with hearing loss, even sounds like the refrigerator running can be difficult. The client might say they can't wear hearing aids because of long lost sounds – like the sound of a fridge – is annoying because their brain isn't accustomed to those sounds anymore. Of course the funny thing is before they had hearing loss, they were hearing all those annoying sounds too. It can take a while to retrain the brain and people have to learn that it can take some time to get used to those sounds. Hearing aids are not going to replace natural hearing. But the good news is they are going to be hearing sounds that they haven't heard for a long time, like birds chirping. People feel so happy when those lost sounds are returned to them.
What makes Connect Hearing Canada stand out?
I think it's the people in the company. Connect Hearing has been around for a long time and they know what people to look for when hiring. They bring in people who want to help others, and they truly care about the community.
What innovation or product has impressed you?
In general, the open-fit style of hearing aids that came out about seven years ago have really taken off. They go over the ear, but they're so small and discreet people may not even notice them. They also don't plug up the whole ear so they are more comfortable.
Tell me a bit about your community.
Victorians are wonderful, I love Victoria. It's a big city with a small-town feel, lots to do, people are very social, and they like to get out and have fun.
What do you do in your spare time?
I coach kids in a program called Sportsball. I spend time with my own three kids, and I also like to play sports like basketball, tennis and golf.
The golfing is pretty good out there in Victoria?
The golfing is great here! Victoria is probably one of the few places in Canada where you can golf all year round.