For Manuel, hearing aids are medical devices “for the elderly” – not meant to be worn by young, successful men of style. They simply don’t match his fashion taste, his profession, and self-image. Manuel remembers how his hearing loss started affecting his professional life: “All too often I would miss a We’re rolling on set.” Finding himself in social situations with many people having a conversation at once, Manuel had problems following who said what. “My wife suspected me of not listening to her properly.” He can laugh about these anecdotes today but remembers how he would neglect his hearing issues back then. “You’re aware that something isn’t right, but it doesn’t really hurt you, so you just end up doing nothing about it”, he recalls.
Four years later, Manuel has a sudden change of heart after a conversation with a friend of his, who also happens to be an actor. The occupational bond helps Manuel to overcome his prejudice about hearing aids: “He was the first person I met who wasn’t ‘old’ wearing hearing aids.” After this encounter, Manuel decides to seek help and get a hearing aid fitting from a professional: “They were black which made them significantly less visible. But still, I felt and saw that large object behind my ear every day”.
But Manuel makes a decision. He wears his hearing aids at public outings and starts talking openly about his condition.