Who said hearing aids couldn’t be fashionable? In British Columbia, a speech pathologist with hearing loss decided to make hearing aid accessories to add a stylish touch to these devices, and her designs are Filipino-themed, inspired by her Filipino heritage.
Fil-Canadian speech pathologist Ruzzelle Gasmen loved the iconic ear cuff that Catriona Gray wore when she bagged the crown for Miss Universe in 2018. She wanted one too, but she knew that it wouldn’t go well with her hearing aid because the metal would clink and affect her hearing. So, she decided to make her own version of the ear cuff as an accessory for her hearing aid.
Ruzzelle Gasmen decided to sell her creations so that others who are also hearing impaired can accessorize their hearing aids. The ear cuff design based on Catriona Gray’s ear cuff is one of her more popular designs. Another one of her popular creations is a hearing aid accessory fashioned after the wing of an aswang, a vampire-like creature from Filipino folklore.
According to Gasmen, her custom-made hearing aid accessories are “therapeutic” for her because “it allows [her] to embrace [her] heritage and culture in a way that [she] never really did before growing up.”
According to Wavefront Centre CEO Christopher Sutton, there are roughly 688,000 adults in British Columbia who are hearing impaired. Unfortunately, hearing aids there can be pricey and they’re not covered by British Columbia’s Medical Services Plan.
Gasmen knows how expensive hearing aids can be, going for almost six years without them because she had to wait until she could afford them. As her way of giving back, she plans to donate some of her sales proceeds to a program that provides refurbished hearing aids to those who can’t afford them. The program is run by Wavefront Centre, a charity that provides support programs and services for people who are hearing impaired.
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