MedWatch: Munson Hearing Clinic
The Munson Medical Center Hearing Clinic serves patients from birth to centenarians, helping to make sure they don’t miss a word, a note or even a bird chirping.
In this month’s MedWatch report, Michelle Dunaway introduces us to a woman who got her “amazing” back with the help of a checkup and a new set of hearing aids.
“I’m amazed at how many people ask me why I wear my hearing aids all the time, and I can’t figure out why wouldn’t I?” said Trish Fiebing.
Trish took control of her life and her well-being when she went to get a hearing test. Admittedly, a decade too late.
“I was truly not aware. I was still working then and the only thing I noticed initially was meetings where I was really having to force my hearing to hear what was being said, but I didn’t connect it that it was something wrong with my hearing. I was in my early or mid-60s,” explained Trish.
She made an appointment at age 75.
“I guess, finally, our oldest son said ‘Mom, you’ve got to do something about your hearing. You can’t hear, the TV’s too loud, we have to repeat everything,’” said Trish.
“Oftentimes, it’s a family member that will get them in the door. They may not notice that they’re missing some things and that’s pretty common with hearing loss. You don’t always know what you’re missing, you don’t’ know because you’re not hearing it,” explained Deb.
Trish is a very active member of the community. When she looks back, she realizes what an impact her hearing loss had.
“Meetings became such an issue for me. I would look for the right place to sit so I thought I would be able to hear the person running the meeting, but I was never quite able to figure that out,” explained Trish.
It was just as bad when she was out with friends.
“Missing innuendo, that’s another thing. When in a social conversation and you don’t quite hear the whole thing and everyone starts to laugh and you think ‘Hmm, I wonder what that was?’” said Trish.
Deb added, “We’re communicative beings, so if you are unable to hear well, that can impact your daily communication and that can lead to social isolation. We already know with older adults that’s something we can be concerned about, that can lead to depression and a slippery slope. So I think that if people have a concern, it’s relatively quick and painless to have a hearing test so we can get answers for people.”
If a patient needs a hearing aid, the options are so much better than they used to be.
“Certainly the tech has come a long way in 25 years with connectivity Bluetooth-wise and digital tech. Faster chips, the clarity is better, so we’re seeing a lot better understanding and noise than we used to with hearing devices. We really have come a long way,” explained Deb.
Once Trish got fitted with her hearing aids, she couldn’t wait to see and hear her family.
“I just wanted to run home and see my sons so they could see that I could hear. It was just exciting and it was really such a surprise to me how much I had been missing for too long. Just wish the kids would have said something sooner, and I would have gotten to it sooner,” said Trish.
Today she says her life has completely changed.
“Meetings are totally different and I am much more comfortable and relaxed, and I don’t have to worry about where I sit and that sort of thing. On the phone, it makes a big difference and talking like in a room we’re in or at the dinner table is, I don’t miss everything and I missed a lot at family dinners, and it’s not worth it to miss thoughts and feelings,” explained Trish.
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