Finding Right Hearing Aids Need Not Be Hard

Consider upgrading your devices to take advantage of latest technology.

Not long before they traded it in for the RV they tool around in now, Bart* and Kristi* took one last jaunt on the metallic blue Harley-Davidson® trike they bought several years back. And what a jaunt it was.

With Bart driving and Kristi tucked snugly behind him, the couple rode through the open air all the way from Florida to Sturgis, South Dakota, which plays host to one of the largest annual gatherings of motorcycle enthusiasts in the world.

On this occasion, Bart and Kristi tagged along as a large group of riders traveled west to Montana, then south to Wyoming before heading to Sturgis. From there, Bart and Kristi rode back to Florida, covering nearly 500 miles per day.

“You learn how to hold your bladder on a trip like that,” chuckles Kristi. “It was a great trip, though, one of the best we’ve made. We love taking trips like that, and we’re pretty fortunate to have been to some of the places we’ve been to.”

Those destinations included Alaska and Williamstown, Kentucky, where Bart and Kristi, the granddaughter of a minister, explored Ark Encounter, a theme park with a full-size replica of Noah’s Ark built to its biblical dimensions.

“That was absolutely fascinating,” Kristi says. “The ark is just massive. And they show you where all the animals were kept and where they grew everything inside. It’s well worth the trip. I highly recommend it.”

Several years prior, Kristi made an even more worthwhile trip, this one to a local audiologist. It was a trip prompted by difficulty she was having hearing friends, family members and co-workers.

“I was an RN working part time at a surgery center, and I noticed one day that if we were in a meeting or something like that I couldn’t hear what was being said,” Kristi relates. “Even if I sat up front, I struggled to hear everything clearly.

“I usually sat next to a good friend at those meetings, but I knew she was getting aggravated with me because I was always asking her to repeat what had just been said.”

A conversation with her neighbor also raised red flags.

“We were talking one day, and she started telling me how she could hear our TV all the way over at her house,” Kristi recalls. “She said our TV was so loud that if we were watching the same show she just turned the volume down on her TV because she could hear ours so well.

“That was embarrassing, but then I began to aggravate my granddaughter because I was always asking her, What did you say? What did you say? One day she said, Grandma, are you deaf? I said, Well, maybe I am. That’s when I decided to get my hearing checked.”

Preferred Provider

After witnessing firsthand the frustration her mother experienced while obtaining hearing aids from a big-box provider, Kristi chose to visit EarCare, where her hearing was tested by Karen Cowan-Oberbeck, AuD, a board-certified doctor of audiology and co-owner of EarCare, with locations in Melbourne, Merritt Island and Indian Harbour Beach.

Dr. Oberbeck’s full diagnostic hearing exam confirmed Kristi’s suspicion that she was suffering from hearing loss.

That was nearly a decade ago. Since then, Kristi has come to greatly appreciate the high level of care she receives at EarCare, where hearing aid specialist Andrew Clarke, BC-HIS, has swiftly resolved any issues she’s had and guided her through several device changes.

“The process of finding the right treatment solution can be quite daunting, but our job is to make it easy,” Andrew explains. “The best way to do that is to know your patients and precisely what they’re needs are for wearing a set of hearing devices.

“In Kristi’s case, we have fit her with several sets of hearing aids over the years because she’s always been interested in taking advantage of new technology that becomes available, and she’s been very pleased with the results.”

The most recent change came, when Andrew fit Kristi with a pair of ReSound hearing aids. These devices are very discreet and among the most technologically advanced.

I think everybody when they get to a certain age should have their hearing checked because they don’t realize what they’re missing. – Kristi

In addition to Bluetooth® technology, which allows the wearer to hear sounds produced by electronic devices such as televisions, computers, tablets and smartphones directly through the hearing aids, they’re adaptable to any listening environment.

For example, Kristi’s hearing aids can be programmed in a way that allows her to hear sounds and voices clearly whether she’s in a crowded restaurant, sitting quietly at home or riding on a Harley.

“I never realized how much I was missing until I got my hearing aids,” Kristi relays. “The first day I got them I visited my granddaughter, and while we were talking, I scratched an itch and actually heard the sound of the friction of my hand against the fabric. I hadn’t heard that in forever.

“A few nights later, I went outside after dark and — for the first time in I don’t know how long — I could hear the wind blowing through the trees and things like that. It was amazing.

“One of the best things, though, was meeting up and chatting with a good friend. At the end of the night, she said, Did you know that you didn’t ask me once to repeat what I said? I said, That’s because I have my hearing aids in.

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Kristi is enjoying experiences like those, in part, because she’s kept pace with the advancements made in hearing aid technology. Those advancements are why Andrew encourages other hearing aid wearers to upgrade their devices.

“The advances that have been made in hearing aids in just the past three years has been incredible,” Andrew explains. “No matter the obstacles or challenges people face, hearing aid manufacturers are always making changes to help accommodate the wearer.

“That’s why I encourage people to give some of these new hearing aids a try. And then it’s up to them to decide whether they want to proceed or not. If there’s a difference and there’s value in that, let’s do it. If not, no harm, no foul.”

Kristi has consistently taken Andrew up on EarCare’s offer to try new hearing aids. She says she’s benefitted greatly from that opportunity as well as the technological advancements that typically prompt it.

“I absolutely love my hearing aids, and I think everybody when they get to a certain age should have their hearing checked because they don’t realize what they’re missing out on and how much you might be frustrating other people.

“I strongly encourage people to visit EarCare because everyone there is top-notch. Dr. Oberbeack and Andrew are great people, and they do a great job of getting you in the right hearing aids and making sure they work perfectly for you. They’re absolutely awesome.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. mkb
* Patient’s name changed at their request
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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, FAAA, CCC-A

      Karen Cowan-Oberbeck, AuD, FAAA, CCC-A, completed undergraduate work at the University of South Florida. She earned a master’s degree in communication disorders from the University of Central Florida and Doctor of Audiology degree from Nova S... 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