Thanks to a Hearing Aid, at 67 Years of Age, Jeff’s Hearing is Better Than it Has Been for Most of His Life

Every day, as Jeff puts in his hearing aid and hears the chime indicating they are working, he feels hopeful and optimistic. Jeff Anderson, 67, noticed gradual hearing loss as a boy, but learned to adapt along the way.

As his hearing continued to worsen, Jeff developed coping strategies such as reading lips, positioning himself closer to speakers in rooms, and mentally preparing for events to anticipate specific information that may be discussed.

With a relatively active social life, Jeff was acquainted with individuals who used hearing aids. What was discouraging was that he noticed that many of them were not consistent in wearing them, leading him to believe that he could manage without them. Jeff continued to live his daily life without hearing aid up until his retirement.

The COVID-19 pandemic and Jeff's retirement changed his circumstances. Living in the countryside with his wife, he found it increasingly difficult to hear during phone conversations. With everyone wearing masks in public, communicating with people became even more challenging, further isolating him from social interactions. Consequently, Jeff began retreating into a silent and lonely world.

In the fall of 2022, Jeff's son-in-law initiated a conversation with Jeff about getting hearing aids, emphasizing the importance of building a relationship between Jeff and his three-year-old grandson. During that fall, Jeff fell ill and had to stay in the hospital to recover. This experience reminded him of his mortality but also sparked the realization that he didn't have to accept his hearing limitations. Encouraged to take action about his hearing loss, Jeff asked his primary care provider to refer him to a specialist. After a few appointments and hearing tests with these other providers that left Jeff feeling uneasy, Jeff decided to seek a second opinion from Duke Audiology.

During his initial appointment at Duke Audiology, Jeff felt warmly welcomed by Dr. Bailey Heikens, a certified audiologist. Dr. Heikens took the time to thoroughly exam his hearing function and to understand Jeff's lifestyle and his expectations from hearing aids. Her positive approach, attention to detail, and comprehensive explanation of available options convinced Jeff to pursue hearing aids.

Following his hearing aid fitting, Jeff worked closely with Bailey to fine-tune the devices, ensuring they were not too loud and could pick up background noises naturally and that they met his hearing prescription Jeff appreciated that he could communicate with Dr. Heikens through secure email, and she was always available and encouraging him to come in for adjustments. Jeff considered Bailey the person who bridged the gap between technology and the patient.

Dr. Heikens discussed multiple device options with Jeff and dedicated time to educate him on the amplification and dampening capabilities of different microphones for optimal hearing results. Jeff, being tech-savvy, grasped the functioning of the devices in his ears and felt that the care he received was personalized to his needs and interests. He believed he had found the perfect hearing aids for him and that and that Dr. Heikens used best practices in delivering his care.

He vividly recalls three transformative moments: the first time he heard the clicker of the car's turn signal, the morning he experienced the chorus of various bird species in the countryside, and the overwhelming power of hearing Johann Sebastian Bach's Mass in B Minor, a piece of music that had accompanied him through life's ups and downs but had never heard in person in concert until then.

Jeff's quality of life has significantly improved since obtaining his hearing aids and incorporating them in his daily life. He can now communicate with his grandson, savor the sounds of country life, and enjoy evenings listening to Bach's masterpiece.

If you are interested in scheduling a hearing evaluation or learning more about how to improve your hearing function, then please call 919-804-0335.