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.

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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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Hearing Loss Around the World

iStock_000003138140_SmallThe World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 5% of the World’s population (360 million) has disabling hearing loss. Latin American and the Caribbean account for 9% of global hearing loss, but the highest prevalence is found in the Asia Pacific, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. About half of all cases of hearing loss worldwide are easily prevented or treated.

Untreated ear infections, particularly among children, are the leading cause of hearing loss in low-to-middle income countries. Vaccine-preventable infectious diseases such as rubella, meningitis, measles, or mumps also lead to hearing loss in these areas.

80% of deaf people live in low and middle-income countries. Childhood deafness is a significant global issue, affecting more than 62 million children younger than 15 years old – two-thirds of whom reside in developing countries.

Many countries lack trained health personnel, educational facilities, data and national plans to address the needs of those living with ear and hearing problems. The gap between need and services is greatest in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the Department of Prevention of Blindness and Deafness at WHO, fewer than one out of 40 people in developing countries who need a hearing aid have one.

WHO estimates that through immunizations, early identification and intervention programs, access to hearing aids and other medical treatments, over 50% of the burden of hearing loss in developing countries could be reduced or eliminated.

ReSound has donated hearing aids to a number of missions both domestically and internationally in countries that need help with treating hearing loss, particularly among children. Some of our recent missions include Guatemala City, Antigua (Guatemala), Malawi (Africa) and Honduras.

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ReSound Gives Sound to a Deserving Florida Teenager

It took just one phone call to remind Angela Waite, Audiologist at ENT Specialty Care Center at Physicians Regional in Naples, FL, why she does business with ReSound.

Dr. Angela Waite

Dr. Angela Waite

Alan Dimmitt, Founder of Liberty Youth Ranch in Bonita Springs called Angela requesting help for one of his residents – a 13-year-old girl who had lost her hearing aids and unfortunately didn’t have the means to replace them. Liberty Youth Ranch provides a permanent and loving environment for children who are in need of a home.

This girl had been without her hearing aids for nearly a week and already was falling behind in her school work. As soon as she hung up the phone with Alan, Angela made calls to three hearing aid manufacturers asking for help. She heard back from one – ReSound. Within two days, new hearing aids were delivered to Angela at no charge. “The hearing aids sent to me were not entry level devices, but premium hearing aids that worked with an iPhone!  ReSound went above and beyond to help my patient,” said Angela.

“When people ask me why I do business with ReSound, I can easily explain that it’s not just because of their advanced technology or excellent customer service, it’s also their willingness to go above and beyond to help me better serve my patients,” explained Angela.

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Posted in Noise & Feedback | 2 Comments