Joanne DeVries is a special person and a joy to have as a new patient. I met her this year at my first Hearing Loss Association of America Florida Chapter board meeting. Severe hearing loss has not dampened her ability and passion to make a positive contribution to our society. I was truly thankful that she participated in our 2015 hearing aid field study of the Starkey Z Series hearing aid invention. JoAnne validates that better hearing technology makes for a better life. Since she wrote this story she has successfully experimented with the wireless accessories that connect those hearing aids to the telephone and other media devices. I was especially happy that the telecoils in the Starkey Z Series hearing aids allowed her to successfully connect to the wireless loops that allow hearing aid users to hear every word in a public venue. Here is JoAnne’s story.
My Experience with the Starkey Z i110 RIC hearing aids.
By JoAnne DeVries
I knew that I had hearing loss when I was in my late forties and noticed that I was having some difficulty with hearing, or rather my two sons started making comments that mom couldn’t hear. Family members, friends, and spouses often recognize the impact of hearing loss on a loved one long before they do. Despite research showing the importance of hearing, many people downplay their hearing loss and push off seeking treatment. On average, hearing aid users wait over 7 years after their initial diagnosis to be fit with their first set of hearing aids. It took me a long time to get over the embarrassment of needing hearing aids. I was one of the typical statistics.
I’ve been wearing hearing aids for the past five years. Recently I was struggling with my 5 year old hearing aids on the telephone, in business meetings and social venues were becoming a serious problem. I needed a change and wanted to upgrade my hearing aids. I am an active person who suffers from severe hearing loss so I was hopeful that technology would improve my ability to follow conversation and hear on the telephone more clearly.
I decided to participate in the Gardner Audiology research study of consumer satisfaction with the Starkey Z Series hearing aid invention. Starkey is the only American owned major international hearing aid manufacturer and Gardner is a Starkey group of audiologists in my Tampa Bay area. Gardner Audiologist Bart Baker fitted me with a pair of Starkey Z Series i110 receiver in the canal hearing aids on September 11, 2015 for a 6 week field study. I gave them a rigorous work out during my activities as a the President of the local Hearing Loss Association of America-Sarasota/Manatee Chapter, Florida State Chapter Coordinator for fourteen chapters in the State of Florida, Hearing Loss Association of America Loop Committee member, State Committeewoman for the Sarasota County Democratic Party and numerous other social organizations.
I never dreamed the new Starkey hearing aids would have this much of an overall positive impact overall on my life. Meetings, social events and just one on one conversation have showed me how wonderful the new Z Series technology is. My audiologist, Bart Baker, used a Live Speech Mapping process to verify that the hearing aids were perfectly adjusted to the needs of my individual hearing loss. Live Speech Mapping uses the voices of the clinician or patient’s family members for real ear measurements of hearing benefit. Wow—this verification tool should be a mandatory procedure that audiologists use to fit or adjust hearing aids.
The t-coils in my new Starkey hearing aids have been a life saver! Telecoils are recommended for hearing aid consumers because they connect hearing aids to phones and other venues such as loops. In looped venues, (we have over 130 looped theaters and other public places in Sarasota/Manatee county) I can hear every word. The hearing loop technology has dramatically improved my hearing and my life. I have been an advocate for looped venues for the past few years but now can speak with greater authority on how Starkey t-coils and looped venues will enhance your quality of life…as it has for me.
I am actively working in the State of Florida to increase looped venues. Let’s Loop Florida! My goal is to turn Florida into America’s most hearing-friendly state.
Hearing loss is often called ‘the invisible disease’ to rationalize why it often does not get the attention and support it deserves. Hearing loops have the power to transform those with hearing loss into more active consumers and community-minded citizens.
My new Starkey Z i110 hearing aids have dramatically improved my life and their t-coils enable me to hear and understand every word. I love these hearing aids!