Hear Better in Any Environment

Mary Ruth Horn refuses to let age slow her down.
At 73, Mary Ruth is an avid cyclist, riding 50 to 60 miles three days a week.
She once rode on a daily basis but has since had to scale back.
“I normally ride thirty to thirty-five miles every day, but the summer heat is pretty hard on me, so I cut back a few days this time of year.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Mary Ruth Horn

“I started cycling seriously back in 1993,” Mary Ruth continues. “It’s something I really enjoy. It keeps me active and fit. I absolutely love it.”
One year, in fact, Mary Ruth logged more than 13,643 cycling miles.
“It was a good year,” she says with a laugh.
While age may not slow her down, Mary Ruth’s struggle to hear became a growing issue.
“I couldn’t understand everyday conversations,” she describes. “My daughter and my husband both speak softly, and I had a difficult time understanding what they were saying. I found out that it was the consonants I couldn’t hear. I would hear somebody say bed, and I would think they said red.
“I grew frustrated with this, and they say that when a person has difficulty hearing, they begin to withdraw, and that is exactly what I did. I was tired of asking people to repeat themselves.
“I had this fear that I was going to stop biking, stop doing all of the things I enjoy so much, and I didn’t want that to happen. My husband and daughter urged me to go to a hearing aid clinic, so I started looking for one near the house.”
Mary Ruth came upon First Coast Hearing Clinic in Palm Coast, where she met with Femi Coo, AuD, a certified audiologist.

A Detailed Assessment

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Mary Ruth can hear safely now when she takes her long bike rides.

First Coast Hearing Clinic is a founding partner of Audigy Group, LLC, the largest member-owned organization in the hearing care industry. The clinic follows best practices based on Audigy core values. It ensures patients are fitted with hearing devices that meet their lifestyles, needs and budgets.
In Dr. Coo’s evaluation of Mary Ruth’s hearing, he completed a detailed assessment of where she had trouble with communication and asked questions about her overall lifestyle. The information helped him recommend the technology that would fit Mary Ruth’s goals and needs.
“At First Coast Hearing, when we are testing someone for hearing aids, we spend a lot of time talking about their lifestyle,” Dr. Coo adds. “For example, someone like Mary Ruth will not need the same hearing aid as someone who lives in an assisted living facility because Mary Ruth is very active.
“I spend a lot of time before the hearing test talking to the patient, finding out situations where they have the most difficulty and then areas in which they want the most improvement. For every patient, we set at least three goals of what they want to accomplish with the hearing aid. For Mary Ruth, she wanted to hear better outdoors, hear her family better and hear better in social situations.”
Mary Ruth was impressed with the accuracy and attention to detail involved in her examination.
“Dr. Coo did an awesome exam,” Mary Ruth confirms. “He was thorough and never rushed. I spent over an hour taking different hearing tests. The extent of his exam was quite impressive.”
Based on the results of Mary Ruth’s exam, Dr. Coo recommended Starkey behind-the-ear or receiver-in-the-canal hearing aids for Mary Ruth.

Hearing aid graphic courtesy of First Coast Hearing

Receiver in Canal Micro-Hearing Aid

“She has normal hearing at low pitches that slopes into a hearing loss,” Dr. Coo explains. “Based on this, we want her to be able to use that normal hearing as much as possible. We took the behind-the-ear approach so that her ear was open to use the normal part of her hearing as much as she could.”
Dr. Coo emphasizes that hearing aids make things louder, but they do so specific to frequency.
“A good example of this frequency technology occurs when she’s riding her bike,” Dr. Coo adds. “The technology in these particular hearing aids has a wind guard in it, which can identify wind noise and nearly eliminate it. At the same time, the devices can identify and amplify speech from other cyclists around her.”
Dr. Coo says the ability to hear better doesn’t come from simply purchasing hearing aids. It requires a period of rehabilitation for the brain to adjust to renewed sounds.
“A lot of people think hearing aids are like glasses or some other device you can purchase and everything is fine, but that’s not the case at all,” says Dr. Coo. “You are retraining your brain to hear sounds you haven’t heard in a long time, so it does take some work. But for patients willing to put in the work, it’s a very happy process. They end up being happy with all the things they can hear again.”

Second to None

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.At First Coast Hearing Clinic, patients work with their audiologists through a rehabilitation protocol during their 75-day trial period. They have incremental follow-up appointments to provide feedback about how the devices are working.
During the 75-day trial, patients are seen every two weeks, or more often when necessary, to give audiologists feedback about how their new devices are working. Digital programming can be fine-tuned to overcome any challenges that patients may experience.
The trial period exceeds the standard 30-day trial period the State of Florida requires for hearing aid purchases.Graphic from Pixbay
Mary Ruth says the overall experience she had at First Coast Hearing is second to none.
“Their customer service is excellent,” she says. “I worked at a hospital as the chief financial officer, so I was involved in customer and patient complaints, and being able to deal with the public is so important nowadays, especially in the medical field.”
Mary Ruth says she is amazed at the improved quality of life she now experiences.
“These hearing aids have made an amazing difference in my life,” Mary Ruth raves. “And I have to tell you, Dr. Coo is the nicest young man, and the people in his office are wonderful.
“Now, when I ride my bike, I can actually hear the cyclists in front of me. I can hear what they’re saying.
“We were riding through a very wooded area recently, and I could hear birds chirping! I had never really heard the sound of birds chirping like that while I was riding. It’s kind of like somebody who gets glasses for the first time and all of a sudden realizes that they can see.
“These hearing aids have been a real game-changer for me!”

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    • First Coast Hearing Clinic, Inc.

      For more than 20 years‚ First Coast Hearing Clinic has been helping people improve the quality of their lives in Palm Coast‚ St. Augustine and the surrounding areas. Their audiologists have a reputation for always having the latest digital... Read More

    • Ashley Mitchell, AuD

      Ashley Mitchell, AuD, completed her undergraduate degree in communication sciences and disorders at the Univiersity of Maine. She left her native Maine to obtain a doctorate of audiology from Towson University in Maryland. Dr. Mitchell fi... Read More

    • Jay H. Underwood, MA, F-AAA

      Jay H. Underwood, MA, F-AAA, received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in audiology from the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley. Mr. Underwood then completed an externship in auditory electrophysiological measurement at the Biomedi... Read More

    • Femi Coo, AuD

      Femi Coo, AuD, obtained an undergraduate degree in human communication sciences and earned his doctorate in audiology at Northwestern University. While completing his research and clinical residency at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Bos... Read More