Optimal Hearing

Advanced technology amplifies quality of life.

Photo courtesy of Gale Cossette.

Gale Cossette

When Gale Cossette earned her PhD from DePaul University in 2008, the then 58-year-old career educator was one of only a handful of college students to have earned a degree exclusively through an online curriculum.

Now, more than a third of all college students are taking at least one class online, and half of those students are following Gale’s lead and earning their degrees exclusively through online classes. And Gale is helping them.

“When I got my PhD, it really opened my eyes to what online education is and can be, so now I teach online through a number of universities,” Gale says. “I’m also an e-learning instructional designer, so I’m involved in creating online learning systems as well.”

Like all teachers, Gale spends a good part of her time interacting with students. The difference is that instead of interacting in person, she does so through video conferencing. For several years, a hearing issue made that part of the job difficult for her.

“I’ve been wearing hearing aids for about four years now, and until just recently, I wasn’t very happy with them,” Gale confides. “The problem was that even when I wore my hearing aids, I still wasn’t hearing very well.

“That was a problem for me because there were times when I missed so much of what someone was saying to me that I failed to respond in the proper way. As you can imagine, those moments were rather embarrassing for me.”

Gale suffered those embarrassing moments not only in her professional life but in her personal life as well. Hearing friends while out to lunch or dinner was difficult for her and so, too, was hearing an instructor during one of her favorite activities.

“I like to go to the firing range and practice shooting, but when I would put the hearing protection on, I could no longer hear the range commands,” she says. “And if someone came by to offer me advice, I couldn’t hear them either.”

Change of Pace

Thinking that her problems stemmed entirely from her poor hearing, Gale never considered changing her hearing aids until this past February, when she visited EarCare in an effort to find a replacement part for the hearing aids she was wearing at the time.

“While I was there, I was talking to the office manager, who told me EarCare does hearing tests both with and without their hearing aids for people with existing amplification to see how well they’re hearing with them,” Gale says. “I thought that was a pretty good deal, so I made an appointment.”

Gale’s full diagnostic exam was performed by board-certified audiologist Karen Cowan-Oberbeck, AuD. The results of the exam were quite revealing. They showed that even with her hearing aids in, Gale was understanding only 44 percent of the conversation she was having with someone.

She wasn’t hearing much worse without her hearing aids, so Glenn A. Oberbeck, BC-HAS, a licensed hearing aid specialist at EarCare, offered Gale the opportunity to try on a pair of ReSound LiNX Quattro hearing aids.

“When Glenn put those new hearing aids on me, I couldn’t believe it,” Gale says. “The difference was so profound that I literally wept right there in the office. I thought, Wow, this is incredible, and so I got them, and I have to say, they have changed my life.

“I recommend Glenn and EarCare to anyone who has a hearing loss. What they’ve done for me has changed my life.” – Gale

“To demonstrate that, I happened to be in a store with my cousin a day or so after I got them, and I was down the aisle from her about twenty-five feet with my back turned to her. I didn’t even know she was there, but when she called my name, I heard her clearly.”

As they did for Gale in that moment, the ReSound LiNX Quattro creates an environment in which the wearer can better identify speech and other sounds in noisy surroundings while maintaining a better dimension of control over all sounds, no matter the setting.

“We’re not just talking about adjusting the volume,” Glenn says. “With these hearing aids, the wearer has individual controls over the microphone patterns, noise cancellation and the manipulation of the frequency response throughout the different hearing levels.

“You have the ability to modify the bass, treble and mid frequencies, and you can save programs after you’ve manipulated those settings so that when you get back into that environment or one with similar acoustics, you can retrieve that program.”

Gale’s new ReSound hearing aids are also made with Bluetooth® technology, which allows the wearer to stream the sound from a television set, computer or smart phone directly through the hearing aids and into their ear.

Gale says that feature is the one she appreciates the most because it allows her to clearly hear her students when she’s conferencing with them and friends when she’s talking with them, whether it’s on the phone or in a crowded setting.

The Extra Mile

She also appreciates that Glenn went the extra mile for her and fit her with an attachment that allows her to clearly hear voice commands at the shooting range while also receiving the protection she needs when firing.

“The attachment is a custom ear mold that has the highest rated attenuation of noise, and what we do is we attach speakers to them,” Glenn says. “We drill them out and then imbed the speakers into the noise protection.

“Once we’ve done that, we create a program so that when the patient goes to the range, they can switch to that setting that weakens the loudness levels when they’re shooting while still allowing them to communicate normally when they’re talking with someone.

“We do that for people all over the state because EarCare actually sponsors a shooting team, and we want to get the word out that this is the best solution we’ve come across for people who have hearing loss and need to protect their hearing. It’s phenomenal.”

Phenomenal is precisely how Gale describes her hearing now that she’s got her new hearing aids. She says they have greatly improved her quality of life and made life easier for those she interacts with.

“I actually think I have better hearing than most people who have good hearing and don’t need hearing aids,” she says. “The difference they have made in my life has been profound. I couldn’t be happier with my hearing aids or the people at EarCare.

“Glenn absolutely rose to the occasion when I told him I’m a shooting enthusiast, and I just love how open and accommodating the staff is. I recommend Glenn and EarCare to anyone who has a hearing loss. What they’ve done for me has changed my life.”

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