In One Ear…

High-tech transmitter restores clear bilateral hearing.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Carol can hear clearly now

From aquacise and art to woodcarving and yoga, there are nearly a hundred activities that residents of Indian Creek RV Resort and Mobile Home Community can partake in at any point during a given week. Carol Morgan has a hand in running several of them.

“I run the ladies’ Bible study on Tuesday, a couples’ Bible study on Wednesday and a single ladies’ Bible study on Thursday,” Carol confirms. “I’m also in the choir we have here, and I help run summer darts with another lady from the community.”

Throw in the volunteer work she does at the Cypress Lake Presbyterian Church, where she devotes her Monday nights to working in the Harry Chapin Food Bank, and 78-year-old Carol is as active a senior as you’re likely to find.

“I like it that way,” says Carol, a former high school guidance counselor who also spends time chauffeuring friends to and from their various appointments. It was while fulfilling those duties that Carol recently discovered a medical issue that required some attention.

“I’ve worn hearing aids for a while, probably about thirty or forty years,” Carol explains, “and with my hearing aids in, I have word recognition of about eighty-five percent in my left ear, but in my right ear, my word recognition is only about thirty percent.

“As you can imagine, that can be a problem when you’re driving because most everyone else in the car is on your right side. So, I was having trouble hearing what the people I was driving around were saying. That’s when I decided to go see Dr. Duran.”

Drianis Duran, AuD, of Gulf Coast Audiology in Fort Myers, is a certified audiologist who has taken care of Carol in that capacity since 2017, when Carol first sought her help in servicing the hearing aids she was wearing at the time.

As part of that service, Dr. Duran obtained a copy of Carol’s medical records. Those records showed that, in addition to a hearing loss in her left ear, Carol had nerve damage in her right ear significant enough that it could not be corrected with traditional hearing aids.

Now Is the Time

“People with that type of hearing loss are often told that there is nothing that can be done for the ear that is already deaf or partially deaf,” Dr. Duran explains. “But there is something we can do for them.

“I explained that to Mrs. Morgan when she first came to see us in 2017, and after servicing her hearing aids for about a year, she came in one day a while ago and said, It’s time to replace my system.

“She said that with all the activities she was involved in, she needed to know if there was some new technology that could help her. I told her there was, and after we discussed it, she said she wanted the best she could get for her problem.”

The technology that would best correct Carol’s hearing problem is a system that uses a transmitter to transfer sounds entering her nearly deaf right ear to her left ear. It’s a wireless system that uses two devices that look similar but do different things.

“The ear that has either intact hearing or a hearing loss is fit with a traditional hearing device,”
Dr. Duran describes. “The other ear is then fit with the wireless transmitter that looks just like the hearing aid but has a different function.

“The transmitter picks up the sound from its side of the head and transmits it wirelessly to the ear that has a good nerve. In Mrs. Morgan’s case, that’s the left ear, and this system gave her the ability to understand speech and noise coming from her right side.

“Considering all that she does, especially the fact that she chauffeurs people around throughout the day, the ability to hear speech clearly from that side is important, but so is that ability to recognize noises, simply for safety reasons.”

Dr. Duran says that evaluating the activity level and lifestyle of a patient is one of the most critical things she does when treating her patients. As it did with Carol, that evaluation goes a long way toward determining the technology that will work best for the patient.

“Once I get to know what is really important for each patient – what they like to do, what their activities are on a weekly basis and how much communication is involved in those activities – I am able to match the right level of technology to the patient,” Dr. Duran says.

“Hearing aids often look similar, but it’s what’s inside of those hearing aids – the actual computer chip inside them – that’s important. That’s the part that I carefully choose as I interview each patient and get to know them and their needs.

“By getting to know them and what they do, how much they communicate and how social they are, that’s what allows me to match the technology perfectly to their needs. That’s the best way to achieve a superb outcome the way we did with Mrs. Morgan.”

More Than Satisfactory

Carol rates her outcome as tremendous. She says her previous audiologist never mentioned the benefits of trying new technology the way Dr. Duran did and that she might still be struggling to hear clearly had she not visited Gulf Coast Audiology.

“I can’t thank Dr. Duran enough for all that she’s done for me,” Carol enthuses. “When I’m driving my friends around now, I’m literally smiling all the time because I’m so happy that I can hear everything they have to say to me.

“There are a couple of consonants and pitches that I still have some trouble with, but other than that, my hearing is fabulous. And because of that, I have a much better quality of life. It’s much less frustrating for me and for everyone around me.

“And I want to add that I truly respect Dr. Duran and her entire staff. They are so personable and professional, and they treat me so well. They really do put the patient’s quality of life at the top of their list of priorities.

“When I first went to see Dr. Duran, I didn’t know what to expect. All I wanted was some service done on my hearing aids, which I was very happy with, and in a lot of situations like that, someone will usually try to sell you something, but Dr. Duran didn’t.

“What she did instead was really work with me. She tested me and tested my hearing aids, and she didn’t say I needed new ones or anything, which she could have easily done.

“You naturally love that person who isn’t pushy, so when the time came and I needed something better, I knew exactly where to go, and Dr. Duran took great care of me. That’s why I’m so happy with her and why I recommend her to anyone.”


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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