Joan remembers a brilliant warm day in September 40 years ago. Her husband was trying to get his red Catalina convertible ready for selling. He never should have had that car to begin with. The car was sitting up on the hill in front of their garage and her 10-year-old son was in the car helping his dad with the finishing touches. She decided to go pick up the newspaper at the end of the driveway when she heard the desperate screams of her husband shout out “Joan, look out!” She turned around to the shiny chrome fender approaching her head.
The next thing she remembers is waking up in a hospital bed wrapped in bandages. Her head was pounding and she felt like a balloon was blown up in her right ear. It was difficult to hear her husband who was holding her hand and trying to talk to her.
Over the next 40 years, the feeling in her right ear persisted. She felt like she was trying to hear through a cotton plug. The hearing on her left side was also fading. Listening to conversations required a lot of concentration and became exhausting. She began to feel detached from her family and friends, afraid to engage in conversations because she was embarrassed by her confused interpretation of what was being said.
Fortunately, that all changed when she met Dr. Rajool Dave, Dr. Scott Kay and Ms. Karen Herring, a team of hearing professionals at Princeton Otolaryngology Associates. They took an extensive medical history, performed a thorough physical exam, and used the latest technology to test her hearing. She was diagnosed as having a hearing loss due to a temporal bone fracture 40 years ago. She could not undergo surgery to fix it but she could receive rehabilitation through the use of hearing aids. They provided her with a pair of hearing aids from Oticon called Alta, which, she reports, “has changed my life.”
Her new hearing aids have a feature called “Speech Guard E” that can recognize the contrast between a voice and surrounding background noise and accentuate those contrasts to make it easier for her to hear conversations more clearly.
She doesn’t get the whistling sounds from her aids that a lot of her friends would complain about.
Her aids also have something called “Spatial Sound,” which processes surrounding sound information between both of her aids to provide her with a three-dimensional quality to sound allowing her to locate where sounds are coming from and preventing sounds from sounding tinny.
She tells us, “Since I’ve been wearing these devices I don’t have to think about keeping up with the conversations around me. Now I can concentrate on the content and the people in front of me. I am looking forward to the sights, smell and SOUNDS of this Thanksgiving.”
Princeton Otolaryngology Associates, 7 Schalks Crossing Road, Plainsboro. 609-897-0203. drscottkay.com. See ad, page 16.