Press Releases 

Music to the Ears: Kenneth's story about hearing aid technology
Date: 8/29/2014
Ewing resident opens up a whole new world with hearing aid technology
Kenneth listens to live jazz wearing barely visible hearing aid.

No matter what you love to do, your body is equipped with five senses to help you enjoy it. For Kenneth, listening to live jazz at his favorite club is at the top of the list.

“I love music. And I really have a passion for jazz. I cannot play an instrument or carry a note, but I admire the talent and skill of musicians. I enjoy taking in live music whenever I can,” explains Kenneth.

With a long family history of hearing loss, Kenneth knew for years he probably was not getting the most out of his visits to the jazz club. At work and at home, however, Kenneth’s hearing loss had begun to have more of an impact.

“I had tricks. I was able to compensate for close to 30 years, but I began missing important things in conversations. That’s when I knew I had to do something,” Kenneth explains.    

Obstacles to Better Hearing

“Hearing loss occurs naturally through the process of aging, but can start early in life if there is a genetic component. It can also occur due to trauma (head or noise), chemotherapy, or certain diseases and conditions,” explains audiologist Lorraine Sgarlato, AuD, CCCA.

In Kenneth’s case, his hearing loss is a genetic condition he shares with all of his siblings and family members going back generations.

“When Kenneth came to my office for the first time it was quite apparent he was using lip reading to help him ‘hear.’ Whenever my back was to him he asked me to ‘repeat’ or didn’t respond because he didn’t hear me,” recalls Dr. Sgarlato.

Kenneth is not unlike many living with hearing loss.

“Most people with hearing loss have difficulty understanding speech when in noisy environments or when the speaker is not facing them or is a distance away,” explains Dr. Sgarlato.

“They usually require the volume of the television to be raised louder than needed for the average person and have problems hearing in meeting halls, church or lecture rooms.”

This deficit of hearing can be a great challenge in day-to-day life. Often, however, people are hesitant to move forward with improving their hearing. Dr. Sgarlato says there are typically three obstacles to hearing correction:

·         Vanity – Today’s technology offers the sleekest and most low-profile devices ever on the market. Hearing aids can be virtually unnoticeable.

·         Experience of others using old devices – Hearing aid technology has come a long way. Each hearing aid is custom fit for the individual and with modern devices, one can have better hearing with an easy-to-maintain device.

·         Cost – While the cost of the proper hearing aid can be high, it is an investment that can have a tremendous impact on one’s quality of life.

The Right Specialist

For Kenneth, his audiologist made a world of difference during his decision making process. In fact, he visited several audiology professionals before he found Dr. Sgarlato.

“I felt more comfortable with Lorraine during the testing process. She was more sensitive and concerned, and she was able to provide a clearer picture as to what may be transpiring,” says Kenneth.

Many are not even sure what type of specialist to seek out. “It’s important to know what you’re looking for. Not all hearing aid dispensers are audiologists, and not all audiologists have a doctorate in audiology,” says Dr. Sgarlato. “It can really make a difference for the patient.”

Upon testing Kenneth, Dr. Sgarlato explained his hearing deficit was a serious one that was only worsening. Kenneth was fitted for his first hearing aid, and knowing he had a 30-day return policy for the device made him feel better going into the purchase.

With that one hearing aid, Kenneth found a whole new world opened up to him. “I realized after having a hearing aid, I pick up on so many of the technical nuances of the music and every part of the conversation. It’s just a fuller experience,” he says.

Soon after, he returned to Dr. Sgarlato to purchase his second hearing aid.

“Hearing aids have made huge advancements in technology, and today most hearing aids are ‘wireless’ with Bluetooth capability,” Dr. Sgarlato explains. “All hearing aids today are digital which provides for improved clarity and understanding ability – especially in noise.”

“I am a big advocate of hearing aids now. Everyone has to get on that path based on their own recognition of what it would do for them, but I tell them it would be very revealing to hear what they’re missing,” says Kenneth.