Travel with Roger Focus
By Helena Mills Bowers
Hey! My name is Helena and I have Auditory Processing Disorder. APD impacts the way your brain sorts and processes sound, which makes it really difficult to cipher through background noise and multiple people talking at the same time. I believe that I have had this for most of my life, but never realised it, until just over a year ago, when it started to get worse.
To help me to cope with APD, I was given a Phonak Roger Focus microphone and two receiver hearing aids. As soon as I discovered that I would be given a Roger Focus, I did what any teenager did and immediately Googled and searched on Instagram. Upon my search, I found videos of people setting up the devices, but nothing about people living with a Roger Focus. In October 2022, I set up my Instagram account, called ‘Travel With Roger Focus’ with the aim to create awareness for APD, hearing loss in teenagers and these devices. A few months later, I decided to expand to YouTube as well and potentially Tik Tok in the future.
I want to show people how I live with hearing issues so that people with and without hearing problems can understand more and feel supported. My friends often join me in my posts, ranging from doing popular songs in BSL, A virtual sign language advent calendar, pictures of activities and my personal favourite- hanging Roger over weird statues. I like to bring comedic elements into my posts to make a topic that many people find serious or depressing, more enjoyable - especially with pictures and videos of strange things I find (like a giant Astro Turf cow). I currently reach roughly 4- 6 thousand people around the world each month!
I also love to encourage people to try and do activities that people with hearing impairments wouldn’t often do. I sail in a Regional Training Group, competing in national events and series. It is challenging to compete, as Tinnitus impacts my concentration and not being able to hear start whistles, coaches or other sailors shouting has a huge impact. However, I do enjoy when my coaches or friends attempt to do sign language from a distance and say everything but what they mean! I love sailing as it gives you a feeling of being completely free and having control of things that happen to you- which I find I rarely have.