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New hearing aid is the Apple of former soldier's ear

Rick Brown with his new hearing aids which he controls with an app on his iPhone.
Rick Brown with his new hearing aids which he controls with an app on his iPhone. Alistair Brightman

FOR ex-soldier Rick Brown, the difference between his old and new hearing device is like comparing apples and oranges.

The Hervey Bay man is the first in Australia to receive a new hearing aid controlled through an iPhone app.

Warrant Officer Class One Rick Brown who partially lost his hearing in 2004 while serving in Iraq, says the biggest change for him so far comes from hearing the slightest sounds.

"I hear everything from doors opening to the clattering of washing up in the sink." Rick said.

"Noises that were in the background before, I hear them all now."

Rick also says that the advantages aren't just about clarity of sound.

"Before I used to have to carry a remote around with me just to change the settings in the hearing aids.

"Now, in this case it is all in one. Everything is done through the phone."

The technology, which has only just been released in Australia, was brought to Hervey Bay by local audiometrist and owner of Clayton Hearing, Terry Clayton, who said that he saw an opportunity to remove the stigma from being hearing-impaired.

"In the past some people who had a hearing loss associated that with getting old and were reluctant to take the first steps of seeking help," he said.

"This is a whole new era.

"They aren't just hearing aids anymore, you can now stream music, take phone calls, you can adjust the hearing settings a lot easier for yourself."

"And they're very small."

The technology, ReSound LiNX is a Made for iPhone hearing aid that offers direct streaming of sound from iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and allows wearers to use their hearing aids without the need for an additional remote control.

Anyone hoping to get their hands on the device will be paying as much as $10,000 for the premium package.

While his new hearing aid may have given Rick a new lease on life, his wife of 40 years Kay Brown has her own ideas.

"Maybe I'll get some jobs done around the house" she jokes.

"No more excuses like 'oh, I didn't hear you'."

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