High-Tech Hearing

Technological advancements create new, improved world of sound.

Police officers in Melbourne are no longer allowed to change a flat tire, even on their own patrol cars. Company policy, if you will, is to call a wrecker service and have someone else perform that task. Steve Smith is the reason.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Steve and Nancy both chose the
ReSound LiNX Quattro hearing aids.

Back in the late 1990s, when he was a member of the Melbourne police force, a tire blew out on Steve’s patrol car. In the process of pulling the spare out of the trunk, Steve blew out a disc in his back. As a result, his career as a police officer eventually came to an end.

“Pulling a big, heavy tire out of the well of the trunk of a car is one of the worst things you can do to your back, and from the day I pulled that spare out of the trunk of my car, I had back problems that only got worse,” Steve says.

“I was off the road for a while because of my back problems, then I bounced between an administrative job and the road for a while. I finally ended up back inside until 2005, when I had to retire after twenty years on the police force, with a medical pension.”

Now 64, Steve continues to work as an administrative assistant. His back still bothers him at times, but that was not the only medical issue he wrestled with as he transitioned into his new career. Hearing loss proved to be a problem as well.

“I first started to notice I wasn’t hearing as well around 2005,” Steve says. “I began to have trouble understanding what people were saying in conversations and there were certain words and sounds I didn’t pick up well.”

Steve has been wearing hearing aids ever since. He now receives regular diagnostic hearing exams at EarCare, P.A., by Karen Cowan-Oberbeck, AuD., a board-certified doctor of audiology who monitors his hearing for changes. His hearing aids are then fine-tuned accordingly on a regular basis.

Just like that tire that blew out on his squad car, Steve’s hearing aids sometimes need to be replaced. For his most recent replacement, Steve called on Andrew Clarke, BC-HIS, his hearing aid specialist at EarCare, to do the heavy lifting for him.

“Steve and his wife, Nancy, have both been wearing hearing aids for several years, and they recently came in wanting to try out some of our newer models with all the latest technological upgrades,” Andrew says.

The model Steve and Nancy both settled on is the ReSound LiNX Quattro, which features a rechargeable powering system that is just one of the many advances that make it one of the top hearing instruments available today.

ReSounding Difference

In addition to eliminating the need for batteries, the ReSound LiNX Quattro creates an environment in which the wearer can better identify speech and other sounds in noisy surroundings while maintaining greater control over all sounds, no matter the setting.

“We’re not just talking about adjusting the volume,” explains Glenn A. Oberbeck, BC-HIS, a co-owner along with his wife, Dr. Karen Cowan-Oberbeck, at EarCare. “With these hearing aids, the wearer has individual control over the microphone patterns, noise cancellation and the manipulation of the frequency response throughout the different hearing levels.

“With these hearing aids, you have the ability to actually modify the bass, the treble and the mid frequencies, and you have the ability to save that program after you’ve created it so that when you get back into that environment again or into one with similar acoustics, you can retrieve the program.

“You can create up to twelve different custom programs, which is amazing. When you get into a favorite restaurant or an auditorium, you need to be able to hear the person that’s talking. This hearing aid saves your settings so the next time you go there, you can get to that optimum setting with just a click of a button.

“With previous technologies, it could be very difficult to communicate in some of these scenarios. The ReSound technology also has a free app that you can download onto your smartphone that allows you to manipulate the hearing aids in real time.”

The new ReSound LiNX Quattro hearing aids are also made with wireless Bluetooth® technology that can connect to a smartphone, which allows the wearer to hear phone conversations directly through the hearing aids themselves.

In the same way that a phone conversation can be heard directly through the hearing aids, the ReSound LiNX Quattro’s Bluetooth technology also allows the wearer to stream music or sound from the TV directly through their hearing aids.

“That’s one of the best features of these new hearing aids,” Steve says of the built-in Bluetooth technology. “You can adjust the volume on the TV however you want it, which is great, because Nancy and I like to listen to the TV at different levels.”

“One of the things I like most about that feature,” Nancy adds, “is that you don’t have to be sitting right in front of the TV to hear it. You can get up and walk around and still listen to a program, even if you go outside on the patio or something.”

“I love that because I’m usually pretty busy around the house all day, and this way, I can keep up with what’s going on. I don’t have to be sitting in one place. It’s one of the reasons I absolutely love these new hearing aids and wear them all day long.”

Steve greatly appreciates the ability to reduce or eliminate ambient noises in crowded environments such as a restaurant or sports arena. He says that feature has made dinner out or taking in a game a lot more enjoyable.

“You always get a lot of background noise in a restaurant that makes it hard to hear the person sitting across from you, but with these hearing aids, you just switch it over to Restaurant Mode and you can hear the person you’re dining with perfectly,” Steve says.

“Compared to the old hearing aids we had, the technology in these new hearing aids is like night and day. These are so much easier to use, and you have complete control over what you’re hearing and how you’re hearing it.”

“Nancy and I are both very pleased with these hearing aids. They’re easily the best we’ve ever had, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the service and attention we get from Andrew and everybody at EarCare. They’re 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

    • Glenn A. Oberbeck, NBC-HIS

      Glenn A. Oberbeck, NBC-HIS, Our staff is made up of only highly trained, experienced clinicians. All clinicians are licensed professionals and all maintain more than the required number of CEUs. ... Read More

    • Andrew Clarke, BC-HIS

      Andrew Clarke, BC-HIS, is a licensed hearing aid specialist. His specialty areas include personal communication assistance, cerumen management, audiometrics and assistive listening devices. He is a member of the International Hearing Soci... Read More