After my own hearing loss, I created Hearing Mojo for hard-of-hearing people and the industry that serves them to share information, stories, news of products and technology and discussion about hearing-loss issues and advocacy for change.
My name is David Copithorne, and I live in the Boston area. Since 2002, when I suffered a sudden and severe hearing impairment, I’ve spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars discovering ways to cope with the situation. I have gathered a tremendous amount of valuable information. I decided a blog would be the perfect vehicle for sharing what I’ve learned and for others to post their experiences and advice.
I am a long-time marketing and communications consultant and started my career in newspaper journalism and magazine publishing. When I suffered my sudden bi-lateral hearing loss, most likely from a combination of Meniere’s disease and auto-immune inner ear disease, my life as a professional communicator changed quite dramatically. For six months in 2002-2003, I couldn’t even use the telephone. When my hearing stabilized I was able to use the phone with the proper amplification, but I was severely impaired and had to use the most powerful digital hearing aids and assistive listening devices to communicate at work and with my family.
The adjustment and tradeoffs were enormous. I had to learn how to communicate all over again in entirely new ways. But I also learned how new technologies have helped eliminate much of the isolation that afflicts people with severe hearing impairment. So, being an ex-journalist and somewhat of a gadget freak from all my years in the technology industry, I started Hearing Mojo. It’s been a very gratifying experience as I’ve been able to connect with a vibrant, activist community of people who are deaf and hard of hearing. The links from my site to other hearing-loss sites provide an easy entry into this world for anyone with or without hearing loss.
2015 Update: Cochlear Implants
In 2013, after years of coping well enough with very powerful hearing aids, I lost all my hearing in my right ear and nearly all in my left ear. So I was back where I started, depending mostly on speech-reading in person and struggling to communicate in even an elementary fashion with friends and family on the phone. So I took the next big step in my hearing journey and started the process of getting cochlear implants. In June 2014 I was implanted on the left side and in April 2015 the right. The results have been spectacular, and in the summer of 2015 I started consulting full-time again, working at almost the same level as I had before I lost my hearing.
I hope you enjoy what you read, and I invite you to join the conversation and use the comment forms at the end of posts you find interesting or provocative.
In addition to publishing Hearing Mojo, I currently operate a small marketing and communications consulting firm, Aquarius Advisers in Cambridge, MA. Previously I was CEO of Porter Novelli International, one of the world’s largest public relations firms. In the late 1980s I co-founded Copithorne & Bellows Public Relations, which became one of the most successful high-tech marketing services companies in Silicon Valley. C&B worked with venture capital-funded start-up companies as well as leaders such as Hewlett-Packard. After growing into a global firm, we sold C&B to the Omnicom Group, a holding company that owns a number of advertising and marketing services firms, where we merged with Porter Novelli another Omnicom firm.
In 2002, after years of constant worldwide travel, I left Porter Novelli to spend time with my then-young family. Since then I have worked as a marketing consultant and investor with start-up companies. Among other things, I served as the part-time Chief Marketing Officer of Outside The Classroom (OTC), a venture capital-backed social enterprise that developed AlcoholEdu, a web-based prevention program for colleges and high schools. In 2004, our three-person OTC marketing group won the “Small Corporate Communications Team of the Year” award in the prestigious national PRWeek Awards competition. I am also an unpaid advisor and guest lecturer with the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.