One Size Does Not Fit All: Finding the Right Hearing Aid with ARC Audiology
May 31, 2017
When asked about his hearing aids, Wayne K. says, "I exist just because of them. Without them, I wouldn't be worth two cents. With them, I'm fat, sassy, and happy."
Wayne and his wife, Merry, are longtime ARC patients who have been seeing Dr. Robert W. Norris, MD at ARC South 1st "forever and ever."
"Dr. Norris is an excellent man," Wayne says. "If he says jump, I jump."
Wayne decided to get hearing aids in 2011.
"I kept turning up the volume of the television and I still couldn't hear," Wayne says. "And it was up so loud, Merry couldn't hear anything in the other room." Wayne was also having trouble hearing people when they spoke to him.
Wayne was fitted with Phonak CROS hearing aids, which are for patients who have hearing in just one ear. Unfortunately, the hearing aids were not working well and even a technician from Phonak couldn't figure out why.
Finally, Wayne went to see Audiologist, Angel F. De La Cruz, AuD, FAAA at ARC Round Rock. Wayne was immediately impressed.
"Angel is top shelf," Wayne says. "From the first time you walk into Angel's office, he's like your friend. He's very personable and easy to talk to. He listened and he understood me. Then, as soon as I handed him the hearing aids, he used a magnifying glass and said, 'no wonder these aren’t working, there's a crack in one of them.'"
Dr. De La Cruz immediately ordered a new pair and, after a couple of visits for adjustments, Wayne's hearing improved.
In 2015, Wayne's hearing aids stopped working. Rather than re-ordering the same pair, Dr. De La Cruz recommended that Wayne try a different type of hearing aid that would be more appropriate for him because he had some hearing in both ears. He fitted Wayne with hearing aids made by Oticon.
"It took three trips to see Angel and then I could hear everything. No problems at all," Wayne says.
Wayne began hearing sounds he hadn't heard in years. "I went outside to drink my coffee and I had to take off my hearing aids," Wayne recalls. "The birds were so loud they sounded like a nuisance. But that was just part of the process of getting used to them."
Soon, Merry noticed a problem. "Wayne was avoiding talking on the phone," she says. "He and his son used to converse a lot and I know his son was missing him."
"I had to take my hearing aid out to talk," Wayne explains. "It was difficult to communicate on the phone and I felt discouraged."
Wayne's avoidance of the phone cut him off from friends and relatives as well as the couple's four children and six grandchildren.
At Wayne's next visit with Dr. De La Cruz, Merry mentioned the telephone issue.
"Angel suggested Wayne try a device that connects the hearing aid directly to the cell phone." Merry says. "I went down the hall and called him and it worked great!"
Wayne is very happy with the device, which turns his hearing aids into a personal wireless headset.
"I just have to push a button and I can hear the phone on my hearing aid," Wayne says. "And I have a special box that hooks up this device to the television, too."
Wayne is careful not to get his hearing aids wet, so he takes them out when he's working in the yard on hot days to avoid getting sweat on them. Because the couple lives on the lake, Angel recommended that Wayne use a "Zephyr" each evening to dry moisture out of the hearing aids.
"Angel takes the time to explain how to clean the hearing aids and how to extend their life. He is very thorough," says Merry.
Wayne and Merry enjoy country-western dancing with their community of friends.
"We all talk and have good conversations," Wayne says. "Everybody just turns loose of everything in their lives and we're just there for the night to have a good time."
Wayne is grateful that his hearing aids enable him to hear the music, converse with friends, and hear Merry talk to him as they dance.
"Those hearing aids are so important to him that if they aren't working, he won't go dancing or to play dominos. He becomes a total recluse," Merry says.
Wayne and Merry have recommended Dr. De La Cruz to several of their friends who have all been happy with the recommendation.
"Angel's the man," Wayne says. "And I wouldn't go to anyone else."