Steve Winter, special to wtop.com
LAS VEGAS – While the travails of Washington’s professional football team — both on and off the field — were well documented all year long, one player enjoyed considerable success this past season, albeit on another front.
Safety Reed Doughty, an eight-year NFL veteran, was finally able to wear a hearing aid while playing.
Doughty says he has a family history of hearing loss.
“My grandmother was deaf, my three aunts are severely hearing impaired and my father has a severe hearing loss,” he says.
“I found out at 6 years old that I also had hearing loss.”
But Doughty didn’t let that slow him down.
Drafted in the sixth round in 2006, he fought his way into the starting lineup and was recently named Redskins special teams captain.
Doughty coped with his hearing loss by reading lips but sometimes found himself simply withdrawing from conversations.
“My hearing issues started to impact my relationships with family and friends,” Doughty says.
“I was missing so much and I started to realize I really needed hearing aids.”
In the past, Doughty had removed his hearing aids, while playing.
Doughty says he didn’t wear hearing aids on the field because sweating could make the units short out.
“This year we were in training camp in high humidity and I was sweating. Normally, I wouldn’t wear hearing aids under such conditions, but this product was different,” he says.
Doughty is now wearing a waterproof, dustproof, shock-resistant aid — the Siemens Aquaris — both on and off the field.
Doughty is at CES 2014 speaking about the Aquaris, as part of the Siemens entourage.
“They’re perfect for active lifestyles, and especially good for kids, teens, and athletes like myself. The Aquaris is small — you can’t even tell I have them in.”
Doughty says the product is making a difference in his ability to stay connected with those around him.
“It enhances my communication, my relationships with my friends and family and it allows me to play on equal footing with all my teammates. And because they’re shock-resistant and waterproof, you can wear them while you’re playing sports.”
“Having full hearing, both in meetings and on the field, allowed me to absorb everything perfectly, which led to me learning the plays quicker,” Doughty says.
Doughty says new technology isn’t simply improving his ability to hear people speaking.
“By pairing the Aquaris with a two-ounce miniTek, also from Siemens, I can connect wirelessly with MP3 players, mobile phones, TVs and other Bluetooth devices,” says Doughty.
“I can listen to music and then seamlessly take a phone call. It’s a really great way to turn my hearing aids into a personal headset.”
Video by Kenny Fried
Editors Note: Longtime CES attendees Steve Winter and Kenny Fried will be contributing reports this week. In their day jobs, they are public relations professionals. During CES they will not be reporting on any of their clients’ products or those of direct competitors.