Here’s my blog about my recent trip to Switzerland!
Last week Wednesday 11th May 2016, it was the day that my Dad and I were invited to the Digital Marketing Summit at Phonak Headquarters. It was a very early start that morning. As I went to put my hearing aids in, one of them was broken. How typical!
We travelled by train and bus to Phonak HQ, along with a few other Phonak worldwide Marketing representatives. The HQ had its own bus stop on the route!
On arrival at Phonak HQ, I was greeted by Jill who is the Community Marketing Manager. After a year of communicating via email, it was fantastic to finally meet her! She introduced me to Solange who is an amazing audiologist and also one of the experts behind the Sky Q hearing aids, which I wear. She instantly knew the problem with my hearing aid and was able to fix it! They also fitted me with the Phonak Compilot and Roger Pen to use throughout the day.
The Compilot is like a streamer which connects to the Roger Pen or another device, like the Inspiro, to my hearing aids. I also found out that I could connect my Compilot with my iPhone via Bluetooth and I can listen to music wirelessly (without my direct input leads)! It sounded completely different to my leads but it’s great!
The Roger Pen is a microphone disguised as a pen which the speaker wears and it makes their speech much clearer to me. It can also be used on a table for a group conversation. Both devices were brilliant!
Jill showed my Dad and I around the HQ and spoke about life in Switzerland. It made us both quite envious because there is an amazing work-life balance there compared to the UK! Employees tend to have an hour/ hour and a half lunch break where they can play sport! Did I mention, they have a swimming pool on the roof with stunning views of the scenic Alps!
We went for a tour of the Phonak Hearing Aid factory next door. It was astonishing to see how they make Phonak hearing aids. There was so much attention to detail and what really surprised me was how they had ladies working on parts of the hearing aids under a microscope! It’s really amazing to see the clever technologies involved in making a device which can change deaf people’s lives, like the Phonak slogan states; ‘life is on’.
Soon afterwards, we had a traditional Swiss lunch with about 1000 other Phonak employees. I had a Swiss Macaroni Cheese and it was quite nice! I got to know a few more staff over lunch which was great.
In the afternoon, we joined in with the worldwide marketing representatives at the Marketing Summit. It was very interesting to listen to different talks about the company’s vision and future developments that they had to share. Shortly after, I was set up on the stage with Jill ready to give my interview speech. Although there were about 100 people in the audience, I didn’t feel the slightest bit nervous which is an achievement for me!
The speech began, with Jill asking me questions about life as Deafie Blogger and my experiences of being a Phonak Brand Ambassador on the Hearing Like Me blog. It was great to tell them about what I have done in my life, in the hope that they can pass it on and inspire other deaf people that they can achieve anything they dream of!
Towards the end, it was a Q&A session which some Phonak employees asked me some very interesting questions which got me thinking! One lady even asked my Dad, who was sitting in the crowd, about his view on everything that’s happened to me as Deafie Blogger… I’m glad I made him proud!
After the summit finished, all the Phonak Marketing employees, my Dad and I were treated to a boat trip on the ‘Zurich See’ from the HQ to Zurich. It was a very scenic trip, however I spent most of the time chatting to Jill and Angela from Phonak UK. It was great to speak to her and we will definitely keep in contact for any future potential career potential.
On arrival in Zurich, we had a walking tour of the old parts of the city where the tour guide used the Roger Pen, connected to the Compilot I wore. I have to say, it was impressive how much I picked up her speech in a noisy traffic environment! The tour was very interesting and went far back into the history of Zurich.
We stopped for a drink at a bar halfway through the tour and this was a very small, noisy dimly lit bar. Again, I used the Roger Pen on the table to pick up the conversation between those sitting closest to me and I was overwhelmed again because I could hear everything they were saying on top of all the background noise. The funny thing was, they couldn’t hear each other as it was that noisy! I will definitely use this when I meet with my friends!
The tour continued and finished at this medieval restaurant where we all sat down for dinner. The restaurant was previously used to store weapons many centuries ago. The food was quite unique and different. I chose to go for a simple creamy pasta dish with asparagus and it was delicious.
After the meal, we all said goodbye and departed for the train station back to the village and our hotel. I had the most fantastic day ever and I didn’t want to leave because everyone was so friendly and made us feel so welcome! I’d love to go back one day and I think I now know what my dream job is!
Thank you Phonak, for inviting me and for creating such wonderful hearing technologies! I can’t imagine life without my hearing aids. This day was a reminder of how much it means to me to be a Phonak Brand Ambassador.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip to Switzerland. You can see the full photo album here.
Love E x