- Published on 09 July 2014
June 6, 2014 was Hearing Aid Day in Japan and the Japan Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (JHIMA) held “Hearing Aid Lifestyle Forum 2014” in Tokyo, as part of the event. During the Forum, the Hearing Aid Lifestyle Show also took place and included an awards ceremony. Six hearing aid users were selected in each award, such as the Athlete Award or Active Senior Award from 30-somethings to 80-somethings. Each candidate presented their experiences and performed music, dance or their favorite activities.
In 2013, more than 500,000 hearing aids were sold in Japan, with sales reaching an all-time high. With an increasing elderly population, Japan is a growing market for hearing aids. The aim of the show was to demonstrate the positive aspects of hearing aids through the various performances of hearing aid users.
The Athlete Award winner was Yutaka Ikeda, who has been wearing hearing aids for 25 years. After he retired, he wanted to make a contribution to society and began to work as a volunteer in his community. He helps by transporting elderly people who have trouble getting to a hospital or to get their shopping. Thanks to his hearing aids, he can hear the elderly people he helps very well. Ikeda is also a supporter of JI Kawasaki Frontale, a Japanese football team. With Frontale’s flag in hand and all dressed up in his supporter’s outfit, he explained, “When the team wins, I hear the thousands of fans cheer and I realize that I am one of them.”
Active Senior Woman Award
The second presentation was by Yoshie Waki, winner of the Active Senior Woman Award. She arrived on stage wearing a particularly beautiful kimono. She used to work in a supermarket, and at one point she had a new boss who had a very soft voice. On one occasion, she pretended that she had understood her boss but ended up making a mistake. This was when her husband suggested that she might need hearing aids. She has been using ITEs for six years now. Unfortunately, her husband subsequently became very ill and her hearing aids were also useful for her to take care of him. “This is a kimono that my late husband was particularly fond of” she said.
The third presenter was Yuka Arata, winner of the Entertainment Award. She has been using hearing aids for some 30 years. She elegantly performed a Hula dance.
The forth presenter was Business Use Award winner, Yushi Sato, who has been wearing hearing aids for more than 50 years. He works in auction sales for fruit and vegetables and gets up at 5:30 each morning to go to the market to buy products for his clients. He suffered otitis media when he was a child and since then, has had severe hearing loss. He considers hearing aids to be an extension of his own body. Hearing aids have helped him to do many things throughout his life, such as travelling, and playing softball and baseball.
The fifth presenter, Hiroyuki Ozawa was the Active Senior Man Award winner. He became hearing impaired when he was 50 years old and has been a hearing aid user for 22 years. His passions include education and volunteering. When he was 57 years old, he completed a certificate as a safety expert, and until he was 70 years old, he taught safety and security to children in a day-care center. He also has certification as an animal behavior instructor, which enables him to teach children at primary school level about domestic animals, and specifically how to interact with dogs. In addition, he organizes hand-made toy workshops for children so that they can learn to develop specific skills and to boost their creativity.
Hobby and Fashion Award
The last hearing aid user to present at the event was Hisako Otuka, who was given the Hobby and Fashion Award. Otuka is 84 years old and has been wearing hearing aids for three years. She played music with an ocarina and a harmonica. She asked attendees to sing a famous Japanese song accompanied by her harmonica, creating a warm and friendly atmosphere. “It was definitely a good idea to find out more about hearing aids. I can now enjoy my retirement with my friends” said Otuka.
After the performance of the six candidates, Otuka was selected as the top prize winner. “ Really?! I am very surprised! Thanks to my hearing aids, I hope to live for a long time and continue to do activities with my friends”, said Otuka with joy.
A special prize was awarded to Hiroyuki Ozawa.
Singer and actress Shoko Soda, a member of the jury commented, ”I have suffered sudden hearing loss. Also with my profession, I realized just how important hearing really is. All six of the presenters developed confidence and enjoy their time with many people. I’m very impressed.”