A Second Opinion Never Hurts: Finding Your Best Hearing Solution.

Hearing Loss

My dad loves it when I talk about him and although this is not about him, I am going to talk about him for a moment as it is relevant to this story.

Phillip, my dad is an honest ethical man who has lived a life of integrity, works to help people, loves my mom, likes to have fun, watches a Gophers football game, and keeps connected with others and learning from others.  A man in his 80s, dad is still working, enjoying life, and meeting new people –especially those who he finds interesting in one way or another.

A few months ago, my dad came home from a conference of some kind and was excited about accidentally meeting a man, who was not at the conference, but nearby reading a book and they became fast friends.

Several days later, I went for a walk with my parents and my dad shared with me, and mom, his excitement and connection with his new friend, who I will call Prof C.  Prof C, he emphasized, was quite a character.  He was impressed with what Prof C shared about education, teaching and his sense of humor.  He told my mom he would like Prof C to come to stay with them and visit.  Prof C., he said, is a professor.  He shared part of their conversations and ideals.  My dad was beyond motivated.  You know how you get when you meet someone that empowers you?

Anyway, my dad told me that his hearing aid stopped working halfway through the conference and he struggled.  From that comment, he went on to say that Prof C needed his help.  He said he could tell Prof C couldn’t hear well or maybe Prof C shared that he couldn’t hear well.  Not sure how that went down but he asked me if I could help his new friend.  I said “yes, of course” as I too love helping people.  So, my dad gave me his email address.

A new client from a friendship – to become a hearing advocate.

I spoke with Professor C who was interesting and I felt we both were at ease right away talking about my dad and then his own hearing difficulties.  Prof C and I had an agenda: to figure out how to help C hear better.

After going back to his own audiologist a dozen or so times over the course of getting his new hearing aids and then his travels he and I finally came up with an idea on what to do.

I wasn’t surprised that he wasn’t hearing well as he was pressed to keep using one product that so many of my clinic patients do not like, or have come into my clinic reporting not hearing well with that product.

I won’t name products in this writing as it isn’t about the product.  As clinicians, we must be aware of the impact we can make on human lives.  Although it isn’t life or death, it is about the quality of your life!

Sending packages in the mail has become easy for me.  Since we have an online store, we ship everywhere.  So, packing up a new programmed device for Prof C was easy.  Prof C had sent me his audiogram, pictures of his molds, and so on.  I was hopeful that he didn’t just have plugged wax in his ears.  He said wax wasn’t an issue for him.  He shared his struggles and concerns with his hearing.

Within the next few days, he got his package and we got on a video call.

Yes, we had some issues with the cameras and him hearing well at that first meeting.  But he quickly figured out how to get the support he needed on his end of the camera as we started working on a new solution.  Prof C was a quick learner with all this technology and with support from a young colleague of his, we were Rockin and rollin.  Prof C is funny and well I greatly enjoyed conversing with him.

With him hearing better and his happiness in light of the one different product that I sent him, he was very satisfied without needing to try anything else.  Those around him noticed the ease at which he could hear better.  Did I do much? No, not really.  I did what I was supposed to do as a professional.  Prof C said he was very, very happy with being able to hear.

We tried to figure out what to do next because he just spent his insurance benefit on this product that didn’t work and led him to believe he was losing his ability to process speech and even considered getting a cochlear implant!

I wrote an email to his audiologist, sharing his challenges and how I came into the picture.

I tried to be as gentle as I could, concerned about what was happening to him.  This audiologist is not the only one that pushes one brand from prestigious universities and hospitals.  In my practice, I see this weekly.  People told me that they did not have a choice, walk-in not hearing well, and were upset.  Feeling they are becoming deaf.  And with some adjustments and with a demo of other products, I help these troubled consumers find something that gives them the help they need.

I strongly recommend to audiologists and hearing care professionals to not push one product.

If you only work with my product/solution and your patient still isn’t hearing well and your tweaks are not working, perhaps consider trying a different product or referring to someone who does.

I suppose you want to know what happened with Prof C.

Well, I never heard back from his audiologist, but she sent him a note requesting for him to accept an appointment.  He accepted the appointment with another audiologist who worked with him on his hearing.  They told him that he couldn’t return the device.

He now feels he is hearing somewhat better with his product.  Yes, he will keep the demo I sent him until we are sure he is out of the woods.  Anything I can do to help him is my pleasure.

Was I a saint?  I don’t think so.  Was my dad a saint?  I don’t think so either.  Helping others is what we all need to strive to do for other humans.  We are all in this together.

I want to share this story to help other people with hearing loss and to audiologists and hearing care professionals to realize that one solution isn’t always the solution.  There are choices and indignities in our industry for being so caught up in one product.  This is why transparency is so important.  If you are in business with one brand one solution one product, then let your client know that there are other options.

Please be better for the sake of our clients.  For those of you with hearing loss feel free to get a second opinion!

And finally, thanks to my dad and mom for raising me to treat others with respect and care.

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