Since launching her handmade EarLink jewellery line back in 2022, SJ has captured the attention of those within the hearing loss and sensory community.
Turning experiences of negativity and stigma into beautiful and highly covetable pieces that, and not by luck or chance, have completely transformed how we can approach expression and creativity in adversity.
SJ is just the tonic on a wet Monday morning. It's a fairytale start for a brand still in its infancy and we chat candidly over the phone - SJ confidently sharing her world, and me, lending an eager ear as the tale unfolds.
Being neurodivergent alongside having hearing issues meant that I relied on my earplugs for most situations in and out of the home but I would always put them down somewhere (and forget where), or have them rattling around in the bottom of my handbag.
I needed a solution that meant I could always have my earplugs on hand - I also thought that I surely couldn't be the only person to need earplugs on hand?!
The eureka moment for EarLinks Jewellery was on a Sunday morning whilst I was getting ready to take my son to soft play. I was deciding which earrings to wear for the day (I have always loved earrings!) and then the idea came to me! I could attach my devices to my earrings! That way they would always be where I needed them and I wouldn't lose them.
I was first diagnosed with hearing loss around 17 years ago, but I refused to wear my hearing aid because it was ugly and I felt that I would be judged by society for my hearing loss. I knew that if I could also make hearing aids beautiful then there would be a guarantee that I would feel more confident in wearing hearing aids.
The first thing I did when I got my new hearing aids in 2023 was to make a beautiful pair of gold, pearl earrings for them!
My designs are inspired by inclusivity - every person has the right to feel amazing about their needs regardless of disability, age or gender. I work hard to ensure that we have many choices available so that there is something for everyone.
Image courtesy of © 2024, Purple Heart Design Ltd - Pearl and Gold EarLinks for hearing aids
Absolutely! We have received over 500 5* reviews from customers who have purchased our jewellery and most of the reviews relate personally to the customer's experience. I get emotional when I read about how my designs allow people to embrace their hearing loss and feel more confident.
One review recently read: "I’m now able to draw attention to my hearing device in a classy and empowering way, with the huge benefit of keeping it attached to me if it falls off. The chain is super lightweight and does not get in the way at all, even when upside down doing yoga. It works with my hair up or down. My favourite jewellery piece. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!"
To see the positive impact that our jewellery has had on people makes me feel extremely proud of what I create!
There is such a stigma in society that only elderly people wear hearing aids and with EarLinks that is a stigma I want to break, and feel that it is beginning to happen, that's why it is so important that we have a range of designs so that there is a choice for everyone and that personality can be expressed through accessories.
Because I believe so strongly in inclusivity I ensure that we have plain simple designs as well as extravagant ones, gold designs as well as rose gold and silver, understated yet glamorous designs as well as bold and loud designs.
Image courtesy of © 2024, Purple Heart Design Ltd - Pink animal print EarLinks for hearing aids
For as long as I can remember I've always known that I was different to peer groups around me and struggled with auditory sounds combined with hearing loss that would make my brain want to explode. It wasn't until my mid-30s that I started to understand that I was neurodivergent and the sound triggers were sensory issues, likely linked to ADHD or Autism.
Understanding my own needs has given me the ability to understand and empathise with other people's needs. With all of my designs, it is so important that sensory factors are addressed, for example using the lightest weight chains and using materials that ensure the wearer cannot hear the earrings.
It is particularly important that our hearing aid earrings are designed so that there is no interference with microphones. We have a diverse range of customers from young people with hearing loss to mature people who are neurodivergent - the empathy and understanding I have gained allows me to listen to feedback from everyone and develop our designs to be as inclusive as possible.
Image courtesy of © 2024, Purple Heart Design Ltd - Raindrop Chain EarLinks for Hearing Aids
In my wildest dreams, I would never have dreamt that I would be surrounded by such an amazing community of diverse and beautiful individuals, a community that has grown to almost 40,000! I have found that social media has given me a platform to engage and be personable with people which in turn gives them space to provide feedback.
Every piece of feedback I receive inspires a design - I think this reflects back to the community and assures them that they are listened to - which is so important.
With so many designs, sizes, and shapes of audiology aids available and with inclusivity being so important it was paramount for us to design EarLinks that would fit with all Behind the Ear (BTE) devices as well as cochlear implants, without the user having to buy additional parts or accessories to make the jewellery fit.
It was a challenge to overcome this but by listening to feedback, using initiative, and keeping inclusivity at the forefront of designs I have achieved this. We have also recently launched a range of EarLink safety chains that enable the wearer to customise their own earrings into EarLinks for BTE hearing aids, cochlear implants, and BAHAs.
I don't believe in fashion trends but I do believe that fashion is expressing your individuality in a way that feels right to you with clothing and accessories.
I will continue to listen to wearers and design a larger range of EarLinks to be even more inclusive so that everybody can find a design that reflects their personality.
In 2024 I am super excited to be launching a range of EarLink necklaces and chains for audiology - watch this space for something special!
Image courtesy of © 2024, Purple Heart Design Ltd - Silver star EarLinks for hearing aids
I have so many favourite pieces, I can't choose just one! But my absolute favourite pieces are our dainty gold pearl, our double gold safety chain, and our brand-new animal print!
Without knowing the individual's preferences I would choose our "Two Tone" EarLink for a new hearing aid wearer because it is a mix of silver and gold, lightweight, and has understated elegance with an alternative design of chain whilst being very subtle and striking.
Shop Purple Heart Design here
Do not spend hundreds of pounds without getting a second opinion from us.
When we refer to a product as 'Latest Launch', we mean it is the latest to be released on the market.
When we refer to a product as 'New', we mean that the product is the newest hearing aid model on the market.
When we refer to a product as 'Superseded', we mean that there is a newer range available which replaces and improves on this product.
When we refer to a product as an 'Older Model', we mean that it is has been superseded by at least two more recent hearing aid ranges.