Being Fit Includes Hearing Well

Gunnar Peterson, celebrity personal trainer.

“You take for granted that you can hear today until you can’t … or until you’re reminded repeatedly by friends, family and close loved ones that you really can’t hear,” says Gunnar Peterson, celebrity personal trainer.

It was family members who finally said enough was enough with Peterson’s hearing loss. “I could have easily gone through the rest of my life without getting my hearing checked or getting a hearing aid,” Peterson adds. “I could have easily continued, and I would have missed out on a lot.”

We had a chance to sit down with Peterson in between training sessions to discuss fitness, family and discovering a hearing solution that fit his fast-paced lifestyle.

The Fitness Buzz

As a Beverly Hills-based personal trainer, Peterson’s clients include well-known celebrities and professional athletes. He is also the Los Angeles Lakers’ director of strength and endurance.

Peterson describes himself as unfit when he was younger. It wasn’t until his teen years that he took initiative himself to look better. He felt it was his responsibility — and no one else’s — to make a change.

“I’ve been doing personal training for 30 years now,” he says. “I started off by accident … sort of backed in to it. It seemed like there was an opening in the field, although the industry wasn’t in its infancy. But at the time, you didn’t see trainers at gyms or that many gyms, for that matter.”

The best part of his job is watching people catch fire, especially people who were reluctant or held back at first but now want to do more. “It’s like a little buzz that you get,” he says. “Watching people fall in love with exercise the way I did. I’ve taught myself along the way to enjoy not just where it gets me, but getting there. So, the journey is just as fun if not more so than the destination.”

Becoming Part of Hearing Loss

Peterson wasn’t sure when his hearing loss truly began, but he remembers being painfully aware of a trip that probably helped contribute to it. “During an overseas trip, we went out three nights in a row to a place that had loud music, low ceilings and was very crowded,” he says. “The first night there was ringing in my ears, but I continued to go back two more nights.”

He remembered thinking when he returned home that his ears continued to ring, and the ringing would frequently go in and out. However, it just “became a part of who I was, and I didn’t think about it much.”

Peterson also found himself leaning in when people spoke or saying “what” more often. Even his kids would tell him that he couldn’t hear, but he would brush it off as “that’s just the way it is.” Peterson’s wife even became more and more tolerant.

It was Peterson’s mom who pulled him aside and said that the hearing loss was going to be a problem. “I told her that it wasn’t a problem … everything was fine. Everybody in my family is super understanding,” he says. “She told me, ‘Over time, that’s going to wear thin.’”

What made Peterson move forward with finding a hearing solution was during a dinner at someone’s house. “There were a lot of things in the room that absorb sound, you know, carpets, drapes, tablecloths, and I couldn’t hear the host at all to the point where when I was spoken to it was so obvious that I couldn’t hear,” he adds.

On their drive home from dinner his wife said to him, “You have to do something about it.” Not waiting for Peterson, she did something about it and got him an appointment. “And that's where the journey on fixing the problem began,” he says.

First Device ‘Wasn’t Gonna Fly’

Peterson gives credit to his wife for making the appointment to see a top-notch hearing care provider. However, his experience wasn’t what he expected. He was fit with a hearing device that he was told was invisible, but in his opinion, it wasn’t.

“I was fit with something that had a giant antennae that stuck out of your ear,” he says. “The city I work in, the job I work in, the people I work around … that's not gonna fly. And part of it is my own vanity, for sure. I acknowledge that. But reality is perception or perception's reality, and either way that’s not gonna fly. In my business, that’s not gonna fly.”

Finding an Invisible Option

Again, giving credit to Peterson’s wife, she was the one who made the appointment with a hearing care provider who fit Lyric hearing aids.

Placed deep in the ear canal by a Lyric certified hearing care professional, Lyric is the only one of its kind. It is the world’s only 100% invisible hearing aid, which can be worn 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for months at a time1 without taking it out through daily activities, such as exercising or showering.2 Because of its unique placement, Lyric requires no maintenance and no daily insertion or removal.

“When they inserted the invisible hearing aid into my ears, I teared up,” Peterson says. “I just started to cry. I know that sounds corny, but I started crying because she had given me back 20% of my senses, right? Five senses. She'd given me back a sense that I didn't have. And now I could hear?! That's unbelievable. I mean, I can’t imagine people who have not had their sight and all of a sudden that’s revealed to them, what that must be like. But this was ...It was pretty amazing.”

One of the first sounds he could hear were voices. They no longer sounded like they were submersed in water.

Stay Fit With Hearing Loss

Regardless of a hearing loss, gyms are difficult hearing environments, with the cacophony of sounds in a gym — the weights moving, to the treadmills running, to AC, to music, to doors opening and closing.

“I want the feedback from the people who are working with me, but sometimes it's just hard to engage,” says Peterson. “It’s harder still if your hearing is not normal or what it should be. You’re at a monster disadvantage. So, with the Lyric, when you’re brought back to normal, it’s like you’re in the game.

When he couldn’t hear, Peterson says there is a stress that comes with it: not wanting to turn away from clients for fear he couldn’t hear or couldn’t see their lips moving. “It's a stress relief. I hear things now. It's not a big deal. I’m in the conversation,” he adds.

Don’t Miss Out on Life

According to Peterson, there are a lot of people who say, “I hear just fine,” and they don’t think they’re missing out. “When you cannot hear, you become a nuisance. You become annoying. You become the person that it’s tough to talk to, and that's hard. You lose out. They lose out,” he says.

“The best way to describe it is, with Lyric, I'm more present,” he says.

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1 Individual patient needs may vary. Lyric is not appropriate for all patients. See a Lyric provider to determine if Lyric is right for you.

2 Lyric is water resistant, not waterproof, and should not bebcompletely submerged underwater.