Mai Vang: Helping the Helper

MaiVang2-2-08182015Mai Vang is a born helper. She grew up watching her mom reach out to neighbors and friends and she also looked for ways to help others, even as a child. After suddenly losing her hearing in August 2013 (100% in left ear, 40% in right), she had to step away from her life insurance career because she could no longer help her clients as well.

In the meantime Ms. Vang, wife of Chai Xiong and mother of four boys, made and sold thousands of egg rolls to help pay for the medical costs associated with her hearing loss. So many egg rolls, in fact, that she was unofficially dubbed the “Egg Roll Queen” in her East Saint Paul, Minnesota neighborhood. Her egg roll operation sold so well it took over her kitchen, which eventually made it difficult for her family, and she had to stop. It was during this time that Ms. Vang was also helping with fundraisers for neighborhood people in need.

Ironically, it was while helping with neighborhood fundraisers that Ms. Vang made connections that led to ReSound. ReSound donated a hearing aid to Ms. Vang through the ReSound philanthropy program. She was fitted with a hearing aid on her left side through Dr. Jerry Zhou at Hearing of America.

“It gives me so much joy to have ReSound reach out to me,” said Ms. Vang. “ReSound has given me hope that I can hear again.”

To learn more about Mai Vang, visit her GoFundMe page.

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Her Hearing Aid Provides Far Less—And Lucy Couldn’t Be Happier

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Lucy with her Audiologist Dino Dell’Orletta

Lucy is mother of two and makes her home north of Barrie, Ontario, Canada with her husband and family. Lucy has only 15% of her hearing and has had a mixed history with hearing aid fittings—even super power hearing aids. Under some conditions the hearing aids did well, but always managed to allow some distracting sounds through. With ReSound ENZO, Lucy is able to hear more—and sometimes less—than previous hearing aids.

“The sound quality is amazing,” says Lucy. For instance, previous hearing aids always amplified background noise: the refrigerator humming, the car engine, vents in the house. The hearing aids would pick up everything. In fact, Lucy would often miss the doorbell because of the refrigerator humming. And before ReSound ENZO she still found herself asking people to repeat things because of the loud background noise.

But with ReSound ENZO, all that has changed. After a careful audiology assessment with audiologist Dino Dell’Orletta (The Hearing Clinic, Barrie, ON), Lucy was fitted with the ReSound Enzo. The ReSound Smart app allows Lucy to adjust the bass and treble with the swipe of a finger. By turning the bass all the way down she can “tune out the fridge,” which eliminates a great deal of background noise when at home. And in the car she uses the app to tune out the car engine and can now hear her daughters talking in the back seat. Oh, and she can hear the traffic around her, which is, of course, useful when driving.

Lucy makes great use of the programs set by her audiologist in the ReSound Smart app. She has a program for the car that drowns out background noise while still letting her converse with others. Another program allows her to hear speech better and another that makes sound clearer when talking on the telephone. The ReSound Smart app lets her make adjustments easily and inconspicuously in a group or at noisy places like a restaurant.

In fact, Lucy is hearing noises she’s never heard before. On a recent walk through their rural neighborhood—a place they have lived for 15 years—Lucy turned to husband and asked about the tapping noise.

“That’s a woodpecker,” he said. “Look right there.”

“And I saw it and heard at the same time,” said Lucy. “That was new for me.”

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KB Takes Full Advantage of Hearing Aid and Smart Phone Technologies

KB & Marylyn Facetiming

KB & Marylyn Facetiming

23-year-old KB has worked with audiologist Marylyn Koble for over ten years. KB was diagnosed with severe hearing loss as a child. Since then, Marylyn has helped KB through several sets of hearing aids to accommodate changing hearing needs, changing anatomy, and especially to take advantage of changing technology.

KB loved when hearing aid and Bluetooth technology let her use her iPhone for phone calls, listening to music and conversations using FaceTime, among other things. But that technology required an intermediary accessory to connect the hearing aid and her phone and when her recent Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids had begun to fail, she and Marylyn faced another transition.

KB has a very precise sense of what she likes in a hearing aid, according to Marylyn, and especially what she doesn’t like. Even when Marylyn’s scientific objectives are met and her measurements point to a good fit, the final word is always KB’s.

“It is not unusual for KB to go through multiple sets of hearing aids when transitioning to something new,” said Marylyn. And KB is “very expressive,” according to Marylyn, so she knows immediately when KB likes something or not. When it came for the latest upgrade, she had tried on not one but two different hearing aids—neither of which stayed in for even an hour. And then KB had the new ones out and the old ones back in.

“Then I fitted her with ReSound ENZO,” said Marylyn. “I turned them on and her whole demeanor changed. Her face relaxed, lit up, she smiled so I could tell we were on the right track.”

KB was very happy with ReSound ENZO because of the sound quality (the hearing aid required few adjustments from the very beginning) and the fact that it allowed her to use technology to communicate with friends without an intermediary device. In fact, she and Marylyn routinely exchange texts and talk through FaceTime.

A few days later Marylyn texted KB to ask what she thought of ReSound ENZO. Marylyn said, “Her response was simply ‘I love them!’ and that she can ‘hear perfectly.’”

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Sayan Hears for the First Time

What would you do with your first exposure to sound?

That’s an easy question for 6-year-old Sayan, in Kolkata, India. Make noise all night long.

Grace Strangis, founder of the Pathways to Children organization, a non-profit based in Minneapolis, MN, recently traveled to Kolkata, India to a school she started there: Jan Seva School. Besides housing a preschool program for children 2-6 years old and helping children with special needs, the school provides a number of practical programs for mothers and runs two health clinics.

When Sayan image001came to the Jan Seva School, he was mistaken for being mentally disabled because he did not speak, respond to teachers or make friends. Sayan had previously worn very old hearing aids, but they did not work well enough for him to hear clearly. But during the January 2015 mission trip sponsored by Pathways to Children which included a team of 18 alumni from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Ms. Strangis brought 18 sets of hearing aids donated through ReSound. When Sayan was fitted with one of these hearing aids, everything changed. Ms. Strangis described what happened next:

“I always say it’s like a miracle,” said Ms. Strangis. “We were crying because suddenly he was startled. He looked around and heard noises. I guess he went home and made noises all night because he could ear himself for the first time.”

“The next day at school he grabbed another boy [who had hearing problems] and brought him to me and points at his ears—meaning he needed a hearing aid as well.”

Sayan has now been admitted to the Helen Keller Institute for the Hearing Impaired in Kolkata. Ms. Strangis says of the experience: “I can’t thank ReSound enough because I’ve watched a miracle in front of me.”

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ReSound LiNX Provides a Sense of Control

ReSound LiNX

ReSound LiNX™

As a specialist in reading and learning disabilities, Dr. Paul Melmed knew well the signs of hearing loss along with the role that hearing played in learning. In fact, he had had a hearing aid since 2003, but when his wife and kids more recently started saying “Dad, Dad–you can’t hear,” he knew he had to do something.

Dr. Melmed, founder and director and Melmed Learning Clinics in Northern California had worked with children from Pre-Kindergarten all the way to High School, and knew well that hearing loss can be a factor in causing some people to lose focus. And from his own experience, he also knew hearing loss can lead to “reclusive, depressive, avoidance-seeking” behaviors. And he wanted none of that.

Dr. Melmed worked with an audiologist to identify the hearing loss and find the right hearing aid for him. The audiologist was concerned about speech discrimination and intelligibility. So, in the Spring of 2014 he was fitted with ReSound LiNX.

“It has made a significant change in my hearing,” said Dr. Melmed. “And has literally changed my life because of the work I do and the situations I am in. I have a lot of demands for good hearing.”

Changing the volume easily was a critical feature that Dr. Melmed looked for. ReSound LiNX also allows him adapt to different hearing environments. It was important to have a hearing aid that let him participate with his grandchildren whom he saw several times a week, but who come with a “lot of noise and a lot of activity.”

Dr. Melmed feels like he finally has a solid answer to the question of hearing loss. “The [ReSound] LiNX has literally changed my life,” he said. And he wants to help others understand how much the quality of life can be improved. Plus he wants to get rid of the stigma associated with hearing aids.

Thank you for sharing your story, Dr Melmed!

Posted in Audiology Awareness, Noise & Feedback, Testimonials | 3 Comments

Community | ReSound Donates Hearing Aids to Kenya Hospital

image001AIC Kijabe Hospital in Kenya is a non-profit, faith-based hospital with a staff of over 700 people, including many international volunteers. The hospital’s goal is to provide compassionate healthcare regardless of the patients’ ability to pay for the services. The hospital cares for over 130,000 patients, and has one of the busiest operating rooms in East Africa. As the hospital strives to serve the most vulnerable, the demands on the hospital have grown exponentially.

ReSound Gives Sound, ReSound’s philanthropy program, donated 20 new hearing aids to the hospital’s Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Department for eligible patients participating in the Ears to Hear™ program. This program provides hearing aids for individuals with hearing loss and no means to pay for them. Patients like Esther, a four-year-old girl living with severe hearing loss in both ears. Children are especially vulnerable in hearing loss, as it limits educational opportunity, quality of life, safety and sense of belonging. Although Esther’s parents had long-suspected she had a hearing loss, they were unable to pay for proper testing and hearing aids to help their daughter. So, they contacted AIC Kijabe Hospital to schedule an appointment. During her hearing test, Esther giggled every time she heard a beep and her face lit up when she heard her mother’s voice. Thanks to ReSound’s donation through the Ears to Hear Program at the AIC Kijabe Hospital, Esther now has hearing aids that will provide her with a brighter future.

Posted in Charity | 4 Comments

Community | HearCare Connection Mission in Amman, Jordan

ReSound donated hearing aids to HearCare Connection, a non-profit hearing center providing care for low-income and under-served individuals, as a part of their recent mission trip to Amman, Jordan. During the mission trip, HearCare Connection visited three different refugee camps and fit hundreds of children and adults with hearing loss.

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“This young mother’s world has been quiet since five years ago when the hearing aid she shared with her three siblings broke. Because of ReSound’s support, she was able to hear her baby’s cry for the first time!”

The mission of HearCare Connection, Inc. is that no person be prevented from full participation in life due to hearing loss. As a result, they operate on a reduced fee, sliding scale basis to make hearing care affordable for all. They rely on support through grants, donations, corporate sponsorships and volunteers and utilize a unique “Circle of Giving” model which allows their patients to “give back” to the community through volunteer hours.

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“Words can’t convey how thankful we are for ReSound’s support, so we hope smiles can do the job…”

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