To Have, To Hold And To Hear

Devoted couple’s impairment corrected with state-of-the-art digital hearing aids.

At ages 89 and 95, respectively, Eileen and Louis Garavente are preparing to celebrate their 69th wedding anniversary this spring. Mutual respect, appreciation and tolerance are their keys to a lengthy union, Eileen reveals.

“The secret to a good, long marriage is three phrases: please, thank you and I’m sorry,” Eileen elaborates. “Those phrases absolutely apply in our marriage. Louis is also my best friend. He always has been.” 

While the best friends hail from the same general area of Brooklyn, New York, they didn’t find each other until they were older and attended the same college. 

“We didn’t know it at the time, but we lived about three-quarters of a mile from each other as youngsters,” Louis recounts. “We met at St. John’s University Teachers College in Brooklyn and both became teachers.”

Eileen and Louis Garavente

Eileen and Louis Garavente

Louis taught junior high English in Levittown, on nearby Long Island, from 1952 until he retired in 1981. Eileen educated fifth-graders before taking an extended sabbatical to raise the couple’s seven children. She closed her career teaching reading and writing to grades seven through nine.

Following Eileen’s retirement in 1990, the couple began spending winters in Florida, where they greatly appreciate the contrast in climates.

“The winters up north are so bleak and gray, but here in Florida, we see sunshine, greenery and flowers all the time,” Eileen explains. “And it’s such a blessing to feel the warm temperatures. It just lifts the spirits.”

Louis needed his spirits lifted after he began struggling with his hearing 10 years ago. 

“My first clue that my hearing was going was when my children kept saying, Dad, the television is too loud,” Louis recalls. “I had trouble hearing the TV dialogue clearly. The pitch of the different voices made me question whether I heard the words correctly.

“I spoke to my regular physician, and he recommended that I visit Dr. Hansen.”

Kelly Hansen, AuD, is a board-certified audiologist at Trinity Hearing & Balance Center in New Port Richey. Dr. Hansen and her associates, Nikki Goldowski-Richa, AuD, and Kayla Dub, AuD, treat all types of hearing loss, balance disorders and hearing-related conditions.

“She tested my hearing and confirmed I had hearing loss,” Louis says. “She then helped me transition into hearing aids, which I’ve worn since the early 2000s.”

The “Blame Game”

During her initial examination, Dr. Hansen diagnosed Louis with sensorineural hearing loss. The most common type of hearing impairment, it affects about 18 percent of Americans ages 20 to 69 and nearly 50 percent of those 75 and older.

“Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by permanent damage to the inner ear,” Dr. Hansen explains. “This damage is generally the result of aging and/or prolonged exposure to loud noise.

“People with sensorineural hearing loss often have trouble hearing clearly and may find it difficult to pick out words in background noise. Fortunately, this type of hearing loss can be corrected with hearing aids.”

Over the years, Louis has returned to Trinity Hearing & Balance Center for routine maintenance and adjustments, as well as updates to his hearing aids. Because Louis was so satisfied with Dr. Hansen’s care, Eileen sought her advice as well this past November after she began to struggle with her hearing.

“My hearing loss was very subtle and gradual, and at first I played the ‘blame game,’” Eileen acknowledges. “I’d say the flat-screen television audio wasn’t as good as my old television because I couldn’t hear it. I was in denial, then one of my daughters said, Mom, I really think you need hearing aids.” 

“Like Louis, Eileen suffers with a sensorineural hearing loss that developed slowly over time,” Dr. Hansen explains. “To correct their hearing deficits, I fit Eileen and upgraded Louis with new, state-of-the-art technology digital hearing aids that are programmable and rechargeable.”

“A Whole New World”

“I received my hearing aids just before Thanksgiving, and I can’t believe the difference,” Eileen enthuses. “It’s like a whole new world has opened up, especially conversations with my children and Louis. And the audio quality of the television is so much better now compared to what I was experiencing before.”

These are the third set of hearing aids Louis has received from Trinity Hearing & Balance Center, and he’s thrilled with the updated technology.

“The rechargeable feature is such a blessing because early on my hearing aids used batteries, and I was constantly buying and changing batteries,” Louis laments. “It’s so much easier to just remove my hearing aids and put them on the charger before I go to bed at night and know they’ll be working in the morning.”

“My hearing aids have the ability to lower the tone of outside conversations in a restaurant and zero in on the person at the table with me,” Eileen reports. “If I’m outdoors with a lot of wind, like when we’re playing golf, I can adjust the devices and the wind sound disappears. I really like that.”

Eileen and Louis are just as pleased with the audiologist who helped them pick out their hearing instruments.

“Dr. Hansen is wonderful. She’s knowledgeable, friendly, encouraging and reassuring,” Eileen raves. “She builds confidence in her patients, and her explanation of hearing aids makes it very easy to adjust to them. There’s an atmosphere of friendliness and welcoming at Trinity Hearing & Balance Center. We highly recommend it.” 

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. Photo by Jordan Pysz mkb
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    • Trinity Hearing & Balance Center

      Trinity Hearing & Balance Center utilizes state-of-the-art equipment to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of many different types of dizziness and balance disorders. You no longer have to "learn to live" with it. The great news is that diz... Read More

    • Kelly Hansen, AuD

      Kelly Hansen, AuD, has more than 30 years of experience in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing, dizziness and balance disorders. She opened Trinity Hearing & Balance Center in 2006. Dr. Hansen obtained her undergraduate and graduat... Read More

    • Kayla Dub, AuD, CCCA

      Kayla Dub, AuD, CCCA, is a licensed audiologist and holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Dr. Dub earned her Bachelor of Science degree in food science and human nu... Read More

    • Nikki Goldowski-Richa, AuD

      Nikki Goldowski-Richa, AuD, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech and hearing from Cleveland State University in Ohio and her Doctor of Audiology degree from the University of Louisville in Kentucky. She completed her clinical fellowship a... Read More