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The Transformative Power
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our generous, 75-day trial period to get him back in. “I almost didn’t come today,” he told me. That same day, he’d run into his friend at the cigar shop and told him that he was replacing his broken hearing aids. “Oh, that’s a waste of money!” his friend told him. “Don’t even bother!” But, he’d already paid for them, so he came in and got fitted. In the following biweekly follow-ups, I saw a steadily rising pep in his step. He does volunteer work at his town’s Council on Aging, and his peers had noticed his newfound hearing ability. His wife had commented on the massive difference. His grandkids no longer had to yell to be heard. He’d experienced a complete 180 in every aspect of his life. He no longer had to be on guard all the time. It’s these kinds of success stories that keep me coming into work every morning. Proper hearing is an instrumental part of the human experience. I feel privileged to be able to help my patients recover their listening skills — and their lives.
At a certain point, this other provider had finally told him, “There’s nothing more we can do for you.” He was reluctant to return to another audiologist, but at this point, he was desperate. His hearing difficulty had a huge negative impact on his quality of life, “pressing down upon me and wearing me down.” Like many people with hearing problems, he was constantly on guard, worried that he was annoying the people in his life. His wife, grandkids, and friends were all understanding of the damage that years of construction management had wreaked on his ears, “but,” he wondered aloud, “how much can they put up with?” I managed to convince him to try a demo pair of hearing aids in my office. I could see a massive shift in his personality the instant he put them in. His shoulders relaxed, his scrunched-up face calmed, and his guard fell ever so slightly. Before my eyes, he was reclaiming a whole world of sound that had been incrementally stolen from him throughout his entire life. But, skeptic that he was, he didn’t commit to his own hearing aids just yet. It took a few calls from Phil and a reminder about
If you’re not one of the millions of people afflicted with hearing loss, or one of the audiologists treating them, it can be difficult to conceive just how drastically barriers to communication and understanding can hamper a person’s life. I think many people are concerned that hearing treatment and hearing aids won’t work or will not be worth the investment. But I see patient’s lives transformed everyday through the treatment I provide. A few weeks back, I had one particularly skeptical patient — let’s call him Greg — in for a consultation. As he came into my office, his shoulders were hunched forward, rampant frustration evident in his every move. Ever after he sat down, his face was contorted into a stubborn scowl for nearly our entire conversation. “The reason I’m here,” he told me, “is because I don’t know what else to do.” Ten years back, an audiologist fit Greg with his current hearing aids, and for 10 years, he suffered with persistent, disabling issues with the technology. “My right one is constantly full of static, and my left one has been completely dead for months.” But it was anything but a new issue. He’d been in and out of this other office dozens of times since his fitting in 2007, to almost no benefit.
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