Holiday dinner table





Growing up is hard. Heard that one before? Try adding hearing loss to the equation, and you go from hard, to a never-ending uphill battle in a torrential downpour. 

Scratch that. LIVING with hearing loss is a never-ending uphill battle in a torrential downpour. Simple errands become challenges, and social gatherings become a puzzle in piecing together words and phrases. For my brother living with a cochlear implant, the evolution of hearing technology became his biggest ally; the missing piece that eliminated the disadvantages that hearing loss/impairment brought on for so many years.

At a young age, my brother contracted meningitis, ultimately leading to hearing impairment in both ears. It very quickly became a necessity to seek methods to help restore or improve his hearing, as his struggles with hearing infiltrated every tentacle of his life, from education to professional opportunities, to socializing with his friends and family.

It became crystal clear in an instant. If I could choose one phrase to describe the impact of using hearing devices for my brother it would be this…“Night and day.”

I was stunned by how drastically impactful better hearing would have not only on his life, but our lives as a family too. It was the little things that mattered most. Going to a concert together and my brother being able to identify the different sounds, lyrics, and fully enjoy the show. Going to a restaurant and being able to sit wherever we pleased, as my brother had more control over the decibel levels from his new hearing technology. Remember Friendly’s? Who didn’t love Friendly’s!?! I remember the times we would go as a family, and my brother would have trouble hearing the waitress amongst the other diners, often needing assistance from family members to repeat what the waitress said. All of a sudden, seemingly overnight, he could hear the waitress clearly.

Ethan Bruno's family outdoors barbecuing

The icing on the cake (of course, from Friendly’s 😊), was simply the day-to-day activities that we take for granted that seemingly come so easy when you can communicate with others around you: at the grocery store, at the gas station, or chatting with your neighbors. For the first time in my brother’s life, everything became a little more easy. He no longer needed assistance from family members to accomplish life’s tasks.

What struck me this most, however, was the feeling of empowerment this provided my brother. It’s no secret; hearing loss typically leads to increased feelings of isolation and loneliness, and it’s well documented that the longer it goes untreated, the higher the chances of this impacting one’s life. Over the years, I’ve noticed a drastic change in happiness within my brother, and his willingness to step outside of his comfort zone continues to permeate his life without being held down by hearing loss. The restoration of his hearing has unlocked opportunities we typically take for granted, and has changed not only his life but the loved ones around him. 

The best part: my family’s story isn’t that unique. Every day countless people seize the opportunity to change their lives by improving their hearing, and at Eargo, I get to see it front and center. I get to relive the first few experiences when going out as a family became easier, and there’s no greater satisfaction than being able to deliver that moment over and over again to new customers. Being a part of this team means I get to help others in ways my family was helped decades ago, and the future looks far brighter with the incredible support, technology, and vision Eargo has for the hearing health community.

Ethan Bruno's family at a bar