We recently connected with retired electrical engineer and product innovator Marv Patterson, who’s had a lot of success with his Noopl in his retirement home’s very active and noisy dining room. We asked him to tell us about his experience. (The following excerpts have been edited for clarity.)
I'm in my 80s and my wife and I moved into a retirement center about two miles away from where my daughter’s family lives in Clive, IA. And of course, it's a lot of old people, and most of us wear hearing aids. The dining room is always full of people, maybe close to 100, and there's a lot of chatter and background noise. We typically sit with about six people at each table, and I couldn't track the conversation around the table. The background noise just drove me nuts and it really interfered with my ability to understand what people were saying. There were embarrassing moments when somebody would say something funny and everybody around the table would laugh except me. So I missed the point of almost every conversation for two years, and it was very frustrating.
The first thing I did when I got my Noopl is try it downstairs [in the dining room] and it worked. And my daughter's family had a Thanksgiving dinner and it was very useful there. I was able to track conversations very well. People are quite happy that I've managed to get hold of this device. I miss a lot less information.
Marv admits there’s a bit of a learning curve. When there are two other people sitting at the table with him, he’ll widen his Noopl’s listening beam to include both voices. If someone then comes up and speaks to him from behind, though, he has to switch the beam to Omni mode in order to hear on all sides. He’s still working on making the quick switch.
Marv wrapped up our conversation by saying, “Yeah, well I appreciate your product and you've made my life better. So thank you for that.” Then he shared a story:
I taught several online classes at the University of Wisconsin and the last class I taught was called Creating Breakthrough Innovations. And so I had to figure out the definition for a breakthrough innovation. And what I came up with was, it's one of those creations where, as a potential user or customer, when you see it you are instantly surprised and delighted. And you want it badly and are willing to put many, many dollars out there in order to own it. But Noopl is a fair price. I'll tell you it's worth every penny. So you've got a breakthrough innovation there.
We are grateful to Marv for sharing his story. For any questions about how Noopl works and whether it might be right for you, contact our head of customer service Paul Burchfield on our Help Center page.
For more Noopl customer feedback, check out Vern Seward's story.