About three years after my accident, my cousin, Mike Campbell Young, decided that he would buy me a hearing aid. We went to a large complex in Pretoria known as The Ear Institute. There I was fitted with a hearing aid which was made by Phonak. And what a hearing aid! I had had hearing aids before, obviously. But this Phonak hearing aid gave me a clarity of hearing that I’d never experienced before. Whilst I was at the Institute, I met it’s founder, a good looking man, Nico Van Der Merwe and his lovely wife, Anita.
A couple of years later, I was living in Durban and needed to have my hearing aid repaired. I decided to pop into what I thought of as Phonak. In reality, this was a branch of the Ear Institute that happened to supply Phonak hearing aids, but it said Phonak in big letters on the sign outside, so Phonak it was!
My hearing aid was examined and my hearing tested. The store manager looked unhappily at my hearing aid. “I can fix this but the repairs wont last long, I’m afraid. You actually need a new one.” My heart sank. Cripes, how much would that cost? “Let me phone our branch in Pretoria and see if they have the hearing aid you need.” He came back smiling broadly. What I was then told simply took my breath away. I didn’t need to know the costs involved because The Ear Institute, aka Nico Van Der Merwe and family, would foot the bill. And, amazingly, from that point forward, up to when I was fitted with my first Cochlear Implant,whenever I needed a hearing aid, Nico and co obliged.
When I moved to George and had my CI, I thought that I would no longer need the services of a hearing aid provider. I was amazed at how wrong I was. Back up batteries, special moulds to keep the external bits of the CI in my ear, cleaning etc etc and etc! So, imagine my joy when I found another branch of ‘Phonak’ in my new town. Whenever I need help they provide it with a big smile and all for free!
About two years ago, I discovered that Nico Van Der Merwe was the speaker in church that Sunday. Could this be my Nico, I wondered? This grey haired but still good looking man stepped forward. Yes, it was my Nico!
I never realised that Nico did so much. He is the Chairman of this large blue chip company, The Ear Institute. He also spoke about his book ‘What Does God Know About Business? It explained how to make the right decisions in tough times. He spoke about Eduplex, a school in Pretoria founded by The Ear Institute. Here, both deaf and normal hearing children, were educated together. He spoke about his love of God and his family.
After the service I re-introduced myself to this incredible, generous man. It was brilliant to be able to show him how I could now actually hear because of my CI. He gave me his card and we said our goodbyes.
And so……who is the first regular sponsor of my ‘ear ‘ear blog? Yes, you’re right – The Ear Institute!
Nico Snr, Nico Jnr, Cheryl, everyone at The Ear Institute, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I now feel like a “working woman” again. I am a professional blogger!
As far as I am concerned, there is no better hearing aid provider in the whole of SA than The Ear Institute! But then you guessed it, I’m biased.
I wonder why!