Hear Better Than Ever

Margarette Kirsch has always known what she wants and isn’t afraid to say it.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Margarette knows just what she wants out of life.

Along her life journey, she’s maintained a colorful existence. In 2011, Margarette was a participant in the Twilight Wish Foundation, a group that grants older people’s lifelong wishes. She traveled cross country on a road trip from Florida to California in an 18-wheeler.
“It’s something I always wanted to do, and I have a lot of respect for those truck drivers,” she shares. “I wanted to see what that life was like.”
Four years ago, at age 84, Margarette was a guest on “Ink Masters,” Spike TV’s reality television show for tattoo artists, where she was inked with a flaming phoenix on her back. That was actually Margarette’s fifth tattoo. She has cherries, two flamingos and Looney Tunes’ character Speedy Gonzales on her arms and legs.
“Nobody ever said life had to be boring,” says the flamboyant 88-year-old Merritt Island resident. “I’m living proof of that.”
Married for 59 years to her husband, Jack, the couple had no children and nothing holding them back. They traveled the world together and lived their lives to the fullest potential – together – before his death a few years ago.
“We understood each other,” Margarette says. “We never questioned or doubted one another. It was a beautiful marriage. I loved him dearly.”
Margarette chooses to continue the lifestyle she and her husband shared together and strives to stay active every day. She enjoys swimming and goes to the gym three times a week.
“My mother always told me, Margarette, you are what you eat and put into your body. I never smoked, I never drank. I take very good care of myself, and I stay active, rather than sitting on a couch all day and throwing in the towel.
“I’ve still got life left in me. I choose to live it,” she says.
About seven years ago, Margarette began experiencing hearing loss. She says her troubles began when she took a swim in the ocean knowing she had an ear infection.
“I knew better, but then again, I don’t let much control me,” she says. “I do what I want, when I want. I went for a swim, and my hearing has never been the same since. I think that infection, combined with getting water in my ears at the same time, just did me in.”
She says she had trouble hearing one-on-one conversations. The television and phone conversations sounded muffled, at best.
“I immediately went into a local hearing aid store and got hearing aids just to hold me over,” she says. “But, I knew that I needed to see an audiologist because we only have one set of ears. I knew buying over-the-counter hearing aids would not last me long term, nor was it a good idea not to see a doctor.”
Margarette says she began doing some in-depth research on hearing aids and what was available before choosing an audiologist.
“I wanted a simple, easy-to-use hearing aid from a reputable company,” Margarette says. “I got a recommendation from my chiropractor. He told me to try EarCare on Merritt Island.”

Making the Best Choice

“When Margarette first walked in, I could tell she knew what she wanted and wasn’t going to let anyone tell her otherwise,” describes Dr. Karen Cowan-Oberbeck, a board-certified audiologist at EarCare. “She is an absolutely amazing person and lives an active, vibrant lifestyle. How she lives her life is something we take into high consideration when recommending a hearing aid.”
During her initial appointment, Margarette underwent a thorough hearing evaluation and medical history review.
Once her hearing was evaluated and her personal needs were analyzed, Margarette then met with Beatrice McCabe, HAS, a licensed hearing aid specialist, to be fitted with new devices.
“Because Margarette is so active, yet did not want anything cumbersome or difficult to adjust, we chose a device by Phonak,” Bea describes. “They are CIC’s, which stands for completely-in-canal and are not visible whatsoever. They are completely wireless, too.
“Margarette was not interested in any technological advancements,” Bea continues. “She wants to wear it, she wants it to work well and that’s it. She is very straight forward about what she wants and what she doesn’t want. She does not mince her words.”
“I wanted something simple,” Margarette shares. “I am not into technology. I’ve never had a cell phone, never had a computer…I don’t want anything to do with it. I didn’t want a hearing aid to stream thorough my television or anything else that so many of them can do nowadays.”

Patient Commitment

The EarCare staff wants people with hearing loss to know that once they become a patient, they will never need to go elsewhere for adjustments. Bea emphasizes the clinic’s Patients For Life program, where they service a patient’s hearing aids for the life of those hearing aids. This includes regular hearing evaluations.
“We have adopted the Patients For Life program, where we service a patient’s hearing aids for the life of those hearing aids,” Bea informs. “Patients come back for regular maintenance and adjustments every few months. Every one to two years, a patient’s hearing is tested to ensure the hearing aids are working properly for them. Once you come to us for hearing aids, we continue to care for you for life.”
Margarette says the open-door philosophy at EarCare is something she admires and is thankful for.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Margarette Kirsch

“They listen to you, and that’s important because not enough people do that today. You can be talking to someone, and they don’t really hear what you are saying,” she explains. “I feel heard when I talk to them. The staff is fantastic, and they know the products they are selling. You never have a question about anything that goes unanswered.
“I can walk in their door anytime, and if I am having any kind of an issue with my hearing aids, they take care of it right away. Customer service is something that is in short supply today, but not at EarCare. They are really wonderful. I would not go anywhere else for hearing aids!”
Margarette is thankful she can now hear clearly in everyday conversations.
“It’s like a miracle, and I will tell you that you don’t realize you have bad hearing until you are left out in the cold when talking to someone. I like to go visit people and talk to them in person. I don’t like talking on the phone. I visit my friends. I am very social, and not being able to hear was really bothersome. Now, I can hear perfectly, and it’s great!”

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    • EarCare, P.A.

      EarCare provides a wide variety of audiological services, including industrial audiological monitoring, hearing aid evaluations and dispensing, hearing aid repairs for all makes and models, and special audiological diagnostics.... Read More

    • Karen Cowan-Oberbeck, AuD, CCC-FAAA

      Catherine (Karen) Cowan-Oberbeck, AuD, CCC-FAAA, completed her undergraduate work at the University of South Florida, Tampa. She earned her Master of Arts degree from the University of Central Florida, Orlando, and her Doctor of Audiology d... Read More

    • Beatrice McCabe, HAS

      Beatrice McCabe, HAS, is a licensed hearing aid specialist. Her specialty areas include personal communication assistance, cerumen management, audiometrics and assistive listening devices.... Read More