Australia has been at the forefront of medical research into cochlear implants and bionic ears for a long time. As such it is not uncommon for Aussies to have one of these to allow them to hear, something a lot of us take for granted.
The problem with them is that they have a component that sits on the outside of the head, making it difficult for those with ear implants to participate in sport, especially contact sport. Now Steeden, well known for their rugby head gear, in partnership with Colgate, has launched new head gear to allow deaf and hard of hearing athletes with a hearing device to hear while playing their game.
Hear Gear is their technologically advanced protective headgear that keeps the hearing device safely in place and protected from knocks and bumps. More traditional head gear muffles the sounds making it difficult for hard of hearing players to be fully aware of the game around them.
The standard headgear has been redesigned with some padding making way for a recess to allow the hearing device to sit securely underneath the helmet while also allowing soundwaves to reach the implant – protection without limiting the sound.
Jamie Howell, Deaf athlete and QAFLW player said: “Hear Gear is a very real game changer for not only me, but for the Deaf and hard of hearing community in Australia and around the world. Being able to hear the game I play professionally clearly, along with the voices of my team and people who have always supported me, makes all the difference.”
Hear Gear has been designed to be used during AFL games but has potential to extend into other contact sports.
The idea for Hear Gear originated at Colgate who took the idea to Steeden to develop head gear that allows all players to compete on an even playing field. Initial production of the protective headwear is funded by Colgate via Steeden, the sole owners of the design.
There is also a call for expressions of interest from deaf or hard of hearing athletes to contribute to further development of the Hear Gear (up until 28 May) to help it to accommodate to the various ways athletes wear their hearing implants. The deaf and hard of hearing community can find out more and register at www.heargear.com.au.
A truly unique Aussie invention that helps everyone have the chance to participate equally in the sport they wish. Get behind Hear Gear by checking out their website and pointing any athletes you think would benefit from it to them.