Stickers for hearing aids and cochlear implants made by Blyth firm Hearoes help fight hearing loss stigma internationally

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When Blyth Dad Marc Murray learned his first-born son was deaf, he had a limited understanding of what that meant.

Fast-forward eight years and he now runs Hearoes from his Northumberland home, a business making stickers and accessories for hearing aids and other devices.

Marc, whose second son is also deaf, said: “We did not [understand it] until eight years ago when our son was born deaf. We never experienced it.

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“We obviously knew about hearing aids because you see the older generation wearing hearing aids, but that was our only experience of it. I had never heard of a cochlear implant.”

Having the fun Hearoes stickers on a cochlear implant or hearing aid can help encourage children to wear them.Having the fun Hearoes stickers on a cochlear implant or hearing aid can help encourage children to wear them.
Having the fun Hearoes stickers on a cochlear implant or hearing aid can help encourage children to wear them.

To encourage his son to wear his cochlear implant more regularly Marc and his partner made him some stickers for his third birthday.

They handed out some extras to people they knew through charity work, which proved popular. Marc then decided to set up the website around four years ago.

He said: “We set it up to try and tackle the stigma around hearing loss. For our family, hearing loss should be treated like an eyesight problem. You see loads of people wearing glasses and you do not really bat an eyelid.

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“But there is still that stigma around hearing loss, so we want to address that, raise awareness of deafness, and the stickers encourage the children to want to wear them.”

He added: “We got 250 orders on the first day, and we ship all over the world now. We ship to America, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore, everywhere.

Marc, 37, has had feedback from countless families about the life-changing difference the stickers have made.

He said: “We have had loads of feedback from parents saying their kids just would not put the hearing aids on or they would not put the cochlea implants on because it was something different.

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“But once they had stickers on of something they like, whether that was football stickers or unicorn stickers or whatever, they owned them and they wanted to put them on, and they wanted to show them off.

“It is great to hear and it is great to see that feedback from parents and kids who are dead enthused about wearing them and showing the hearing aids and cochlear implants, and being proud of them. Because that is what we are trying to encourage.”

The stickers can change the reaction of children’s classmates at school, making hearing devices cool.

Marc said: “When you see a cochlear implant or when you see a hearing aid the first thing you picture is NHS beige hearing aids that your grandma or granda would probably wear.

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“It does not have to be that at all, and it should not be that for kids.”

Anything that can be done to encourage children to wear their hearing devices makes a “huge difference,” according to Marc. He said: “It is the difference between them being able to access sound, being able to talk to their friends, being able to go to a mainstream school, play with peers, join sports clubs, everything.”

Despite the positive impact the company has around the world, and some adults taking an interest in their products too, Marc still runs it all from his Blyth family home.