Glad To Hear It

Modern devices can help manage effects of tinnitus.

After working for 40 years as a legal secretary in the Big Apple, New York native Joyce Stark was just beginning to settle into retirement at her home near West Point when her daughter convinced her to move south.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Joyce Stark

“My daughter and son-in-law moved to Florida about five years ago,” Joyce explains. “After I retired, my daughter said, Mom, there’s no need to stay up there anymore. Sell the house, lighten the load and come on down.”

Joyce arrived in Florida last year just in time to enjoy Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s with her family. It was during those holiday gatherings that Joyce’s daughter expressed some concern about her mother’s hearing.

“I knew I had some hearing loss because I had seen an audiologist up in New York a couple of years earlier who told me about it,” Joyce explains. “When my daughter suggested I should have my hearing checked again, we started looking for an audiologist around here.”

The audiologist that Joyce decided to see is Dana Jickell, AuD, the new proprietor of Professional Hearing Solutions in Port Orange. Dr. Jickell, in her 25th year of providing care for those with hearing loss, purchased the practice in January.

“Something our patients will notice is that we strive to maintain a family-like atmosphere here,” says Dr. Jickell, who has her daughter, Raegan Jickell, working as an audiology assistant. Dr. Jickell and Raegan first saw Joyce in May.

That’s when Dr. Jickell discovered that, in addition to a loss of high-frequency hearing – which can prevent someone from hearing a doorbell, a child’s voice or a person talking to them in a crowded environment – Joyce also suffers from tinnitus.

Tinnitus is a symptom associated with age-related hearing loss that presents itself as a ringing or buzzing in the ears. In Joyce’s case, it created a constant cricket-line sound. There is no cure for tinnitus, however, it can be managed.

The most common tinnitus management is found in hearing aids. These devices include a program that produces a more soothing sound to the brain. One device is the ReSound LiNX Quattro, which Dr. Jickell recommended for Joyce.

“I first wanted to see if simply fitting Joyce with hearing aids and bringing back the high frequencies would help her manage her tinnitus, because that does do it sometimes,” Dr. Jickell explains. “But after two weeks, her tinnitus had not improved.

“She still needed a little more help, so that’s when I set up what is called the tinnitus sound generator. What that does is present a more soothing sound that the brain can focus on instead of the sound that is actually presented by the tinnitus.”

For Joyce, the doctor created a subtle sound that covers up the high-pitched cricket sound. It made an immediate impact on Joyce, who says she’s now hearing things she hasn’t heard in years, such as birds and even the turn signal on her car.

“I’m also a lot more engaged in conversations,” Joyce says. “I’m very thankful I found Dr. Jickell. She’s very professional and did a great job explaining everything to me. I really appreciated that and the fact she was never pushy. I definitely recommend her.”

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    • Professional Hearing Solutions

      At Professional Hearing Solutions, they are dedicated to improving the quality of life for their patients by helping them manage their hearing loss. Hearing loss can happen to anyone of any age. When left untreated, hearing loss, can ne... Read More

    • Dana Jickell, AuD

      Dana Jickell, AuD, has provided hearing health care for more than 25 years. She earned her bachelor’s degree and doctoral degree from the University of Florida and obtained her master’s degree from the University of Central Florida.... Read More

    • Raegan Jickell, C-AA

      Raegan Jickell, C-AA, earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida in 2014. She is working toward her hearing instrument specialist license.... Read More