PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – December 5, 2023 — Kevin English wasn’t always a certified trainer and in-demand nutrition expert. He founded The Silver Edge fitness company and the popular Over 50 Health & Wellness podcast after realizing his own fitness could use some work. And, despite needing them, he didn’t always wear hearing aids, until a podcast interview helped him make the connection between his hearing health and his physical health.
“Maybe I would have ended up visiting an audiologist on my own,” he says. “But without that nudge, I’m not sure. I’m glad I did.”
After a successful career in technology sales — all the while struggling to hear but largely ignoring signs he was dealing with hearing loss — English committed himself to what he really loves: helping people live healthier lives. Now his own journey to a healthier life includes new hearing aids, fitted by HearUSA, one of America’s largest hearing care retailers.
“It’s all about healthy aging,” English says. “And if there’s technology that can support that, then let’s embrace it.”
Unhealthy and Exhausted
Before embarking on his health and fitness journey, English spent 22 years in corporate IT sales. He traveled extensively, entertained clients, and closed million-dollar deals. He was good at it, but in his mid-forties, his body started to give out.
“Most people in fitness and nutrition careers have one of two stories. Either they’d always been into it, or some life event led them there,” English says. “My journey started with an event.”
Despite his success, English suddenly found himself physically ill. He was stressed, overweight, and eventually spent three days in the hospital for what he feared might be a heart attack.
“It turned out to not be a heart attack,” he says, “But I was really metabolically sick. Just very unhealthy. I knew I had to get my priorities straight.” So English embarked on a decade-long journey to optimal health, what he now says is his “passion.”
At the same time, jokes about his hearing were commonplace in the English household. His wife and kids would pledge to buy him hearing aids for what felt like every Christmas and Father’s Day. When they were out with friends, English’s wife would occasionally elbow him to get his attention when people were speaking.
“To me, I heard just fine,” he says. “It was just noisy.” Though in retrospect, English recalls sales meetings and social gatherings when he struggled to follow conversations. He chalked up the resulting exhaustion to “having to be on.”
“When there was a lot of background noise, I had to be hyper focused. I was asking people to repeat themselves,” he explains. “I figured everyone in those situations had trouble, but looking back now, I know it was my hearing.”
Career Change and a Chance Encounter
When the pandemic struck, in-person meetings were put on hold. He’d been thinking of changing careers and turning his passion into a mission. Confined to his home in Wilmington, N.C., and with online technology allowing people to stay connected, he made the leap. “I wanted to help people in my situation live healthier lives,” he says.
In The Silver Edge, English created a company primarily for people in their 50s and 60s, offering one-on-one exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle coaching. “We don’t just put people on a diet,” he says. “We want to help them fall in love with the process that allows them to have lean, healthy, strong, capable bodies for the rest of their lives.”
In conjunction with the company’s founding, English launched the Over 50 Health & Wellness podcast, bringing in experts to help his clients and the public at large along their own health journeys. “Our goal is to impact one million lives through training, the podcast, and all our other content.”
One of his podcast guests was the President of HearUSA, which is on its own mission to change one million more lives through Simply Excellent Hearing Care. HearUSA operates a network of over 360 hearing care centers across the country, staffed by nearly 1,000 employees.
“My message is about optimizing your health, and I knew there were connections between cognitive health and hearing health, so I wanted to share the information with my podcast audience,” English says.
As the conversation progressed, English’s own hearing challenges came up, ultimately the trigger for his journey with HearUSA. “Afterwards,” English says. “I basically told my wife, ‘You’ll never guess who I had on my podcast.’”
The result was a visit to HearUSA audiologist Juliette Gassert, Au.D. in Mount Pleasant, SC, who ran tests, including several that focus on hearing performance in the presence of background noise.
“It was a very positive experience,” he says. “We tested my hearing and Juliette was very thorough in explaining what she found. She then assisted me in trying several hearing aids and I could really notice the difference. Overall, I’d recommend HearUSA to anyone that has concerns about their hearing health. Everyone from the Client Experience Specialist through to the audiologist were friendly, courteous and informative.”
Juliette diagnosed English with mild hearing loss and suggested hearing aids could help him live a fuller life.
“Kevin wasn’t a typical client. Although he does have a slight high-frequency hearing loss, his hearing concerns were primarily related to auditory processing changes,” Gassert said. “HearUSA providers look beyond the traditional hearing test and perform Speech in Noise testing that can reveal the ‘hidden’ difficulties’ of understanding speech with background noise. Kevin is a wonderful example of a non-traditional client who was resistant at first, but after wearing his devices understood the life-changing benefits of Simply Excellent Hearing Care.”
At first English thought he only needed to wear his Signia hearing aids in noisy situations, but Dr. Gassert explained that the more he wore them, the more effective they’d be. Now he wears them all day, except when he’s working out. He even listens to podcasts using his hearing aids’ streaming Bluetooth feature.
“There are still situations I’m not totally comfortable being seen with hearing aids,” English says. “I was just at a health coaching conference where the median age was probably 30. So, really fit people.”
But this Kevin English didn’t shy away. “I was a little self-conscious,” he says, “but in embracing my hearing aids, I want to destigmatize them. Hearing health is just part of healthy aging. Without them, I wouldn’t be living my life to the fullest.”