Professional Help Is Key With Hearing Aids

Proper care in fitting devices saves woman from self-isolation.

It’s never a good thing to keep secrets from your spouse. Marianne Brown had no choice. When your job is to coordinate highly classified military proposals from the federal government, there are some things you just can’t share with others.

Marianne’s new hearing aids have significantly improved her quality of life.

“It was very interesting work, but I could never talk about it with my husband or anyone else,” says Marianne, who spent her working years as a proposal specialist for Raytheon, a multinational aerospace and defense conglomerate.

Now 79 and retired, Marianne’s skill in keeping secrets continues to serve her well as card games with friends have become a regular pastime. A couple of years ago, a lot of the fun began to disappear from those games.

“We play a game called Hand and Foot, and one of the reasons we like it so much is because you can have conversations with people while you play,” Marianne explains. “A couple of years ago, I started to have trouble hearing those conversations.

“It quickly got to a point where I was having to ask everyone to repeat themselves all the time, and no one wants to do that. I eventually stayed out of the conversations, but that can get very depressing.”

It wasn’t just during card games that Marianne struggled to hear. She also couldn’t hear her friends clearly during luncheon outings and other group gatherings. To avoid embarrassment, she began to withdraw from some of those outings.

Meanwhile, she was struggling to hear clearly at home as well — with the television at normal volume levels and often during phone conversations. This despite wearing hearing aids for years.

“Yes, I had an audiologist where we lived in Maryland, but I was very disappointed with her,” Marianne laments. “She never really spent a lot of time with me, and the hearing aids she set me up with didn’t help at all.

“When my husband and I moved to Florida a couple of years ago, one of the first things I did was ask my primary care physician to recommend someone to help with my hearing aids.”

The doctor recommended Drianis Duran, AuD, of Gulf Coast Audiology.

Starting Over

At their first meeting, Dr. Duran strategically approached Marianne’s treatment as if she had never worn hearing aids.

That proved critical, for not only did it allow Dr. Duran to find the right set of hearing aids for Marianne, it also allowed Marianne to learn how each of the devices’ advanced features could enhance her listening experience.

For example, Dr. Duran taught Marianne how to use the noise cancellation feature to improve her ability to hear clearly during her card games and other noisy environments such as restaurants.

The doctor also taught Marianne how to use the Bluetooth® technology in the hearing aids so that she can listen to telephone calls or the sound from an external electronic source such as a television through the instruments.

Those simple functions — that her previous hearing aid provider never took the time to explain — have made “a world of difference,” Marianne says. In fact, Marianne does not hesitate to say that Dr. Duran’s caring approach “saved her life.”

“Ever since I met Dr. Duran, life is so much better.” – Marianne

“She told me that during one of our most recent visits, and I thought, How can that be?” Dr. Duran remembers. “Then she told how she was beginning to withdraw from social activities because she was struggling to hear what people were saying.

“And that is a real concern for people with hearing loss, especially older people with hearing loss. When they can’t hear, they get nervous about being embarrassed if they say the wrong thing and sometimes even wonder, Are they talking about me?

“That’s exactly what was happening with Marianne, which is another reason why it’s so
critical to spend time with patients to fully understand what their needs are, what hearing aids are best for them and how to get the most out of them.”

Note of Thanks

Marianne is certainly getting the most out of her new hearing aids.

“When we first came to Florida, I was actually rather happy that we didn’t have many friends because I didn’t have to worry about not being able to hear anyone clearly,” she recalls. “But ever since I met Dr. Duran, life is so much better.

“Dr. Duran has helped me so much and in so many ways, and to show my appreciation, I wrote her a letter to tell her how pleased I was that she took the time to really help me and show me all that I could do with my hearing aids.

Part of that letter reads:
“I have never had an audiologist pay so much attention to my hearing problems. You opened a whole new world for me, and I will always be grateful to you for that.

“If anyone ever asks me who a good audiologist is, I will definitely recommend you highly. You have truly lived up to the oath you have taken as a doctor, and for this, I feel very blessed.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photo by Jordan Pysz. mkb
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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