Keeping Up with Technology

As a pediatric nurse, Jennifer Moore counted on her ability to hear and understand doctors, coworkers and patients’ families.

Photo by Fred Bellet.

Dr. Duran tends to Jennifer’s ever-changing hearing needs.

But some 15 years ago, she began struggling to hear while on the telephone, in meetings at work and when she found herself in a group.
“If people were standing behind me trying to get my attention, I didn’t hear them,” Jennifer recalls. “I would have to ask questions over and over to make sure I understood exactly what people were saying.”
Her hearing difficulties not only hampered Jennifer on the job but in her everyday life outside of work, too.
“It affected everything I did that involved sound,” including watching television and dining with friends, she relates. “I spent a lot of time in various social settings, and it was very difficult to keep up with the conversations. Sometimes when I couldn’t hear what people were saying, I acted like I could. And I’d started learning to lipread.”
An ear specialist diagnosed Jennifer with a significant and permanent hearing loss in both ears as a result of otosclerosis, a disease of the bones of her middle and inner ear. Those bones became knitted together in an immovable mass and don’t transmit sound as well as when they were more flexible.
Fitted with her first pair of hearing aids in 2005, Jennifer was thrilled to distinguish the chirping of birds and the hum of her refrigerator for the first time in years.
Drianis Duran, AuD, of Gulf Coast Audiology in Fort Myers, took over Jennifer’s care a year later when the audiologist she’d been seeing relocated out of town.
“Since then, Jennifer has had different levels of hearing aid technologies,” Dr. Duran reports. “Her hearing loss has gotten worse, and as technology has improved, she has always been curious whether it will make a difference for her.
“We keep her apprised of what is new, so when it is time to replace her devices, we put her on the newest technology, and she sees improvement every single time.”
Jennifer started with in-the-ear devices before switching to an over-the-ear design with a thin receiver wire in her ear canal and a custom-designed earpiece to better direct sound. She’s also benefitted from wireless connectivity from her hearing aids to her smartphone and television.
“Her family was telling her, We can talk to you from behind now. You’re able to understand on the telephone, to watch television, and we don’t have to have all the speakers in your room close to your bed,” Dr. Duran shares.
The audiologist cites Jennifer’s positive experience as “a call to action to people who have not been happy with their technology or who feel their hearing devices were good at the beginning but not as good anymore.”

Remote Adjustments

Over the past five to seven years, a major advancement has been wireless connectivity. And the past year has brought Dr. Duran the ability to remotely adjust patients’ hearing aids by sending information to their phone.
“There are also features such as geotracking,” she says. “If they lose their hearing devices, they can find them by obtaining GPS data from their phone.”
The “next big thing” will be further miniaturization of hearing aids, Dr. Duran reports.
Jennifer faces a further decline in her hearing over time, so it’s even more important that Dr. Duran monitor Jennifer’s hearing with extensive testing and help her adjust to the changes with advanced technology.
“Dr. Duran spends as much time as needed to make me comfortable. She explains how my hearing loss has changed since my last visit,” Jennifer enthuses. “She’s very caring, very knowledgeable. I would never think about going to anybody else.”

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    • Gulf Coast Audiology

      Gulf Coast Audiology is owned and operated by Drianis Duran, AuD, a board-certified doctor of audiology. Gulf Coast Audiology offers the highest quality hearing aids, service, repairs, accessories and batteries. They also specialize in vestibul... Read More

    • Drianis Duran, AuD

      Drianis Duran, AuD, is a board-certified audiologist with clinical expertise in the areas of hearing loss and dizziness and balance disorders. She holds credentials from the American Board of Audiology, the American Academy of Audiology, the A... Read More