Welcome To Paradise

Sophisticated hearing aid technology opens 360-degree world of sound.

Finding the right provider was key to James finally resolving his hearing problem.

For every car model it’s made over the years, Mercedes-Benz has offered buyers an array of unique exterior color options – from the Tunis Beige Metallic that was very popular in the 1960s to the Graphite Grey Metallic that is exclusive to the fully electric 2022 EQS.

Precisely matching those colors is what James Robbins does whenever a Mercedes-Benz, Tesla or some other high-end vehicle with damage comes into the body shop where he works. The job is not always easy.

“It can be a nightmare sometimes,” James laments. “We have thousands of color chips and what they call a spectrophotometer that gets us in the ballpark with a lot of the colors. Thanks to that, I’ve got a lot of colors and their variants down pat.

“However, matching the colors on some of the metallics and pearls used nowadays can be very difficult. I recently had to repaint a Cashmere Gold Lexus, and getting that one right was a real chore. It took me five or six tries before I got that one down.”

Matching paint colors isn’t the only difficult part of James’ job. Body shops tend to be very noisy, and when you’ve worked in such an environment for more than 30 years as James has, it can take a toll on your hearing.

“You always have compressors and grinders running and people cutting up metal panels and things, so the noise is constant,” James explains. “It’s even noisy inside the paint booth where I work because it’s a metal box and there’s always a big fan on. It’s absolutely deafening, and as a result, I’ve dealt with hearing loss for years.

“For so long I was always having to ask people to repeat themselves whenever they said something to me. For example, with my son, who is now 14, if I wasn’t looking right at him when he spoke to me, I couldn’t hear him.

“It was the same anytime I was in public and even at home with the TV. I always had to have the volume up real loud to hear it, and that’s annoying for everybody else in the house. Finally, a couple years ago, mostly because of the problems I was having hearing my son, I decided it was time to get hearing aids.”

James’ first experience with hearing aids wasn’t good. The provider quoted him one price, then charged a far more exorbitant amount for the devices he chose after the fitting.

James returned those hearing aids and went without them for a year until his insurance company steered him in the direction of Gulf Coast Audiology, the Fort Myers practice of Drianis Duran, AuD.

Comprehensive Evaluation

James first visited Gulf Coast Audiology in November. He immediately knew he was in better hands. The evaluation Dr. Duran gave was more extensive than the one James received previously, and as a result, the doctor offered an array of options.

“It’s not unusual for patients like James to say to me, No one has ever tested me like this before. No one ever did that part of the evaluation with me before,” Dr. Duran reveals. “I think one of the reasons is because we treat the patient as a whole.

“We want to know what caused your hearing loss and then, when we’re preparing to fit you with hearing devices, we want to know about your lifestyle so we can fit you with the hearing devices that are going to help you the most.

“For example, if someone is homebound and only needs to interact with their nurse and caregiver, their needs are going to be far different than someone like James, who is working and very active in all kinds of environments each day.”

“I could not be more pleased with the care I received from Dr. Duran and everyone at Gulf Coast Audiology.” – James

Dr. Duran’s evaluation of James revealed that his hearing loss was a result of years of exposure to all those noisy compressors, grinders and fans. It mostly affected his ability to clearly hear high-frequency sounds and recognize speech.

“James has a mild to moderate hearing loss where the higher frequencies that control a lot of the speech clarity and understanding are most affected,”
Dr. Duran reports. “So he would hear things but not always understand them.

“What people tend to do with someone like James is raise their voices thinking that louder is better. But James’ hearing loss isn’t the kind where louder makes it better. What we needed to do was provide him with clearer, more effortless hearing.”

To achieve that objective, Dr. Duran fit James with a pair of Phonak Paradise 90-R hearing devices. They are among the most technologically advanced hearing aids on the market and do more than simply improve the wearer’s ability to hear speech clearly.

“The Paradise 90 hearing devices are some of the most sophisticated available,” Dr. Duran informs. “These hearing aids have things such as motion sensors that allow the microphones to pick up sounds from all around your head. That way, if someone is approaching you from behind or talking behind you, you can actually hear them.

“In the past, most hearing aids only picked up sounds from the front and side. But it’s important to be able to hear if someone is approaching from behind and to be able to hear behind us when we’re driving a car, for example. James has that now. He has 360-degree hearing, which is how the human ear works.

“These hearing aids can also determine differences in background noises and understand that the background noise in a car is completely different than background noise in a restaurant. If someone is speaking to you in the car, the device makes a decision on what adjustment it needs to make to allow you to clearly hear that person as well as what’s happening around you.”

Night and Day

James’ new hearing aids also include Bluetooth capability, which allows him to stream sounds from his phone, television or computer directly through his hearing aids. The difference the devices have made in his life is extraordinary, James exudes.

“What these hearing aids have done for me is dramatic,” he confirms. “It’s like night and day. I had no idea what I’d been missing. I can hear people behind me. I can hear the TV clearly without turning it up so loud. I can even hear a dog barking down the street.

“Most importantly, I can hear my son, so I could not be more pleased with the care I received from Dr. Duran and everyone at Gulf Coast Audiology.

“Dr. Duran walked me through everything step by step, and I’ll never forget the moment after she first fit me with these hearing aids. She was walking around her office and was about eight or 10 feet away from me talking in the other direction, and I could still hear her.

“I can’t remember the last time I’d experienced anything like that, so I’m really glad that after all I went through with that first provider, my insurance company recommended Dr. Duran. I cannot thank her enough for what she’s done for me.

“And she’s such a nice lady. She’s extremely informative and straightforward, but she’s also very caring and understanding. I gladly recommend her and Gulf Cost Audiology to anyone.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photo by Jordan Pysz. Hearing aid photo courtesy of Phonak.js
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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 hearing loss, and dizziness and balance disorders. She received her doctorate degree in audiology in 2006. She holds credentials from the American Board of Audiolog... Read More