Back in Touch

Advanced hearing aid technology helps renew social connections.

Cleveland, Ohio native Ruth Smith, 87, is a retired stay-at-home mom who worked briefly as a licensed practical nurse. She describes herself as “no youngster,” but she’s in good health and likes to stay active. Unfortunately, Ruth also has a degenerative hearing loss that brought her to a tipping point three years ago.

 Photo courtesy of Knoblach Hearing Care.

Ruth Smith

“My hearing gradually got worse over the years,” she relates. “Initially, I didn’t realize what was happening until I got to that terrible place where I just was not hearing certain things, such as particular voices and parts of conversations. I was teaching a class at church, and it was becoming difficult for me to hear correctly in my Bible class.”
In addition to having an adverse effect on her day-to-day experiences, Ruth’s poor hearing also had an impact on her
daughter, who lives with her.
“To hear someone one-on-one, they had to be facing me directly,” Ruth describes. “Otherwise, I couldn’t make out what they were saying. My television had to be up as far as it would go, which bothered my daughter who has super good hearing.”
“Mom’s hearing wasn’t good at all,” clarifies Ruth’s daughter. “She would have her television blasting. She also likes to listen to radio programs from her era, and they would be very loud as well.
“Not only that, but Mom couldn’t hear anything I was trying to tell her either. There were some bad moments when I had to write down what I wanted to say on a piece of paper. That’s how severe her hearing loss had become.
“There were many misunderstandings in her conversations with her friends, too, and it caused problems for her. She thought she heard what they were saying, but they weren’t actually saying those things.”
Three years ago, Ruth decided it was time for hearing aids. A friend from her church told her about the provider who fit him with hearing aids, and that he was very happy with his experience. The provider was Dean M. Knoblach, a board-certified Hearing Instrument Specialist, at Knoblach Hearing Care in Largo.
“On my friend’s recommendation, I went to Knoblach Hearing Care,” states Ruth. “When I first met Dean, I thought he was just wonderful. He was very thorough and compassionate, just a delight to be with.
“The first set of hearing aids Dean recommended helped a little bit, but then he later found another pair that work wonderfully. I’m now wearing Rexton® hearing aids, and they’re worth every penny I paid for them.”

Communicating Technology

“I first met Ruth in 2015 and discovered she had a moderate to severe hearing loss in her right ear and a profound hearing loss in her left ear,” reports Dean. “’The first set of hearing aids I fit for her left a lot of room for improvement, so when she came back I got her involved in a clinical trial to test a product in development.
“The purpose of the clinical trial was to determine the efficacy of a new hearing aid computer chip designed by Siemens for its advanced primax circuit technology.”
Clinical trials help manufacturers test new products with the help of a select group of specially trained practitioners, who provide feedback on what works and what doesn’t. The result is real-time solutions, so new technology is developed in months instead of years. Advanced hearing aids with the Siemens primax chip are currently available because of clinical trials.
“The hearing aids I recommended for Ruth, called Rexton Emerald, have the Siemens primax chip, and they’re amazing,” notes Dean. “In my thirty-five years of practice, I’ve never seen the level of detailed accuracy and predictability that’s available with this technology.”
With the primax circuit, if sound isn’t clear in one ear, the hearing aid in the opposite ear chooses the best speech intelligibility and sends the sound to the other device, Dean explains. This provides clear, effortless sound quality that automatically adjusts to ever-changing listening environments.
“These new hearing aids talk to each other, and they’re constantly sharing data,” he elaborates. “Whichever hearing aid microphone picks up a clear signal pushes it through to both devices. And this happens one thousand, two-hundred times per second. It’s something that is very fluid and comfortable.
“With this new hearing aid technology, Ruth can hear well in all environments,” he adds. “She has no difficulty hearing in auditoriums, restaurants or group situations or while watching television or talking on the phone.
“That’s an excellent report card that we used to never get, but with this new technology, we get it quite routinely now.”

Normal Is Amazing

Going back to Knoblach Hearing Care was life-changing for Ruth. She knew she had been missing out on conversations, but she didn’t realize just how out of touch with the world she’d become. She’s amazed by the sounds she’s been hearing since she started wearing her new hearing aids.
“For the first time in a long time, I can hear birds chirping and singing,” she marvels. “I enjoy that very much.
“I can hear normally now. People don’t have to be facing me for me to hear what they’re saying. I can watch TV with the volume way down instead of at the top level, which makes my daughter happy. I can’t explain how wonderful it is being able to hear again.”
“Mom can hear me now when I talk to her,” enthuses her daughter. “The difference is absolutely amazing because before she got these hearing aids, everything had to be so loud for her to hear. Now, she tells me, That’s too loud, that’s too loud. What a difference. It’s like a miracle.
“It’s incredible what Mom can hear now. And since she can now hear in conversations, she’s becoming more social again.”
Ruth loves her new hearing aids and appreciates the staff at Knoblach Hearing Care. She values the exceptional treatment she receives and the overall quality of her experiences whenever she visits the center.
“Everyone at Knoblach Hearing Care is just lovely,” she shares. “Dean and his staff are precious people. They’re sweet and caring, and it’s a joy to go there. They’re like family. On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the best, I give Knoblach Hearing Care a twelve!”

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    • Knoblach Hearing Care

      Whether it's hearing the laughter of children down the hall, understanding speech over the phone, hearing clearly in noisy situations or just picking up the sound of a well hit golf ball, sound keeps you connected to the world around you in a wa... Read More

    • Dean M. Knoblach, HAS

      Dean M. Knoblach, BC-HIS, is a graduate of the National Institute of Hearing Instrument Studies. Dean founded Knoblach Hearing Care in 1998. Since then, he has received many recognitions. The most recent include ranking in The Hearing Review as... Read More

    • Kathleen O. Knoblach, HAS

      Kathleen O. Knoblach, HAS, is a licensed hearing aid specialist with more than 20 years of experience in the hearing health care field. Consistently ranked for years as a top-performing specialist at a very large practice in Orlando, she te... Read More