Patient Stories

MaryLynne's story

“Without my hearing aids I would be quite isolated”

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“My hearing loss was abrupt. It was in the mid-1980s when technology was in the developmental stages. It was scary…absolutely. The team at Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates is very professional but yet caring and friendly. Without my hearing aids, I would be quite isolated. Just today I highly recommended A&HAA to someone who is experiencing a notable hearing loss.”

– MaryLynne Evans

“I can now conduct conversations in a normal manner without saying “huh” or “what” all the time. I can even hear some types of birds singing and bees buzzing that I could not hear before.”

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“I realized that I might have a hearing loss when I began to not hear words when people were talking to me. Female voices were the first problem and then it got to the point that more and more male and female voices were harder to understand.

“I didn’t have any concerns before coming to Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates. I have been wearing hearing aids for 30 years. Hearing aids have gradually improved to the really good ones I now have. I have probably had 6-7 different hearing aid brands and types. The tests for hearing are painless, easy, and the people giving them are always pleasant.

“My first impression was that their team was totally competent, professional, and very helpful. I had been getting service through the VA, but that became impossible due to the COVID-19 virus reducing their services. Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates is much more convenient to deal with and the service has been super.

“The hearing aids I now have are the best I have ever owned, and they allow me to hear everything at a much improved level. I would say that on a scale of 1 to 10, my first hearing aids were about a 3. The type the VA gave me might have been rated a 7 at best and they were top quality. My new hearing aids rate a 9. I will never have perfect hearing, but the VA rated me with a 70% hearing loss, so I am really pleased with a 9.

“I can now conduct conversations in a normal manner without saying “huh” or “what” all the time. I can even hear some types of birds singing and bees buzzing that I could not hear before. You should have a test to determine if you have a hearing loss. If you do need hearing aids, I would totally recommend Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates. I have dealt with a lot of hearing aid professionals and these folks are top quality.”

– John Anderson

“I would sincerely recommend Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates for their professionalism and continued support.”

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“I first thought that I might have a hearing issue when I couldn’t hear the little birds in my yard very well. My husband seemed to be mumbling a lot, and then I came to discover that I could not hear very well in a crowd. I no longer liked to go out to eat or socialize because I seemed to need to only visit with one person and not a group. I could not sort out a single voice. I knew I was becoming lonely.

“I was already familiar with Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates, as I was actually visiting the ear, nose, and throat office in La Grande for some answers for being dizzy – thinking it might be something in my inner ear. It was discovered that I have a rather severe hearing loss and I was referred to Dr. Erica Shakespeare. I was not sure I wanted to wear a hearing aid, but that was only a vanity issue.

“I was very impressed with the professionalism and the explanations of being fitted with a hearing aid. I would say that it has made me happier – to be with friends again, to enjoy sounds of nature, to enjoy my music more, and to actually ‘hear’ what my husband is saying to me.

“I would sincerely recommend Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates for their professionalism and continued support.”

– Carol Hayden

“I can definitely hear conversations through the phone better without having to amplify the sound.”

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“Before my appointment at Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates, I was concerned about what had caused my hearing loss and where do I go from here? What is the connection of my hearing loss to other medical issues and will I continue to have more loss of hearing?

“Upon my visit, I found everyone to be kind and with honest answers. They helped me to understand issues when I was concerned and confused at times and when trying to find answers to questions I had along the way.
“I’m still relatively new to hearing aids and still adjusting, but I do like some of the features they offer in connection to smartphones. I can definitely hear conversations through the phone better without having to amplify the sound. I would tell anyone to check them out. Ericka and her team are willing to help where you need it most.”

– Sherry Nantz

“Do not hesitate to have your hearing tested by Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates.”

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“I have always been hearing impaired. I am deaf in one ear due to a fused stapes that did not respond to surgery in my teens. Over the years, my ‘good’ ear gradually lost some hearing due to loud music, gun shots (possibly), and heredity. Forty years ago, I got my first hearing aid with the encouragement of my mother whose hearing loss was dramatically helped with an aid. It opened up a new world to me! I heard bird-song and the rustling of leaves for the first time, and most importantly, communication with my toddler daughter and husband was vastly improved.

“We are fortunate that the audio technology responsible for increasing advancement in telecommunications has made the gains in hearing technology nearly miraculous, in my opinion.

“The hearing in my ‘good’ ear is severely impaired now, but with the guidance of Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates fitting me with a hearing device programmable indefinitely to my own specific changing needs, my hearing is not perfect but dramatically improved, and I function well in most all social situations where there aren’t too many people.

“I have been with Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates for at least 25 years. While traveling in NZ in 1994, I dropped my hearing aid and accidently stepped on it. My audiologist at the time, Jim Thompson, rushed a loaner to me within two days! Erika Shakespeare has also come to my rescue as well above and beyond the call of duty because she understands how debilitating it is not to be able to communicate.

“Because of my history, I wanted to make sure my hearing could not be restored surgically before investing in a hearing aid, so I saw an ear, nose, and throat physician in La Grande. Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates was affiliated with his office and he recommended them. I’ve found that they are always compassionate and professional, they answered all my questions about hearing aids, and covered all my options.

“I cannot imagine being without my ‘little buddy.’ Although my hearing is far from perfect, I am able to function well socially in most situations. It means the difference between being a part of your family’s conversation and missing out on so much that is being said. Not being able to hear is isolating and can have physical and psychological consequences. A hearing aid maximizes the relationships in my life and enhances them in every way.

“Do not hesitate to have your hearing tested by Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates. They can assess your situation precisely and make recommendations that might include being checked out by a doctor. I would be happy to talk with anyone who has concerns or questions. There are many misconceptions about hearing aids that can easily be dispelled.”

– Stephanie Messersmith

“I don’t have to constantly talk too loudly or repeat myself. If you are thinking of making an appointment, then go.”

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“When I was a substitute at an elementary school, I had to keep asking students to speak louder and more slowly while leaning closer to them. I felt inadequate and embarrassed. Before my appointment at Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates, I was worried that I would not be able to afford any hearing aids.

“I found that everyone there was very sincere, kind, and informative. The cleanliness of the office and efficiency of the staff was amazing. I had a great deal of help in finding a way to be able to afford the hearing aid.

“The greatest impact has been with how Erica has helped my husband with his hearing loss. I don’t have to constantly talk too loudly or repeat myself. If you are thinking of making an appointment, then go. We live in Baker City and my husband has been seen by 3 – 4 other audiologists from here, La Grande, and over to Pendleton and back. Audiology & Hearing Aid Associates has been bar far the most helpful and skillful in assisting him with his extensive hearing loss. Same for me.”

– Dixie and Bob Sutton

“I would definitely encourage anyone to trust their hearing to the professionals at Audiology & Hearing Aid Associates.”

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“My wife told me I needed to do something about my poor hearing. I was in denial until I had a hearing test and someone told me that I did have a significant hearing loss and that the loss could result in dementia in the long term; that’s when I realized that I really had to do something.

“I have a very active lifestyle and did not want to have hearing aids get in my way; then there was the concern about cost. At my first appointment, I found the team to be very knowledgeable, helpful, kind, and understanding people.

“As for my new hearing aids, there is no doubt that in some ways they are a pain. However, I can now hear what is going on around me much better and I don’t miss all those funny remarks my grandchildren make! The major thing is that I feel they have helped me to maintain my mental acuity. Having seen how other organizations have worked in the lives of my family members, I would definitely encourage anyone to trust their hearing to the professionals at Audiology & Hearing Aid Associates because they have done an excellent job for my family and me.”

– Larry Pearson

“Now, I hear normal conversations a lot clearer. I can hear a lot of things outside that I hadn’t noticed before.”

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“About 15 years or so ago, I began noticing that I was having trouble understanding what people were saying, especially in situations like meetings or restaurants. I was asking people to repeat themselves. My tinnitus was also getting to a point that it was irritating and distracting, and sometimes making it hard to sleep.

Prior to my first appointment, my concerns included cost, appearance, and losing something so small. My first impression of Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates was that the facilities were clean, comfortable, and professional, and that the staff was friendly and informative. Now, I hear normal conversations a lot clearer. I can hear a lot of things outside that I hadn’t noticed before – and I spend a lot of time outdoors. Also the tinnitus seems to be less noticeable while I am wearing my hearing aids. The staff and audiologist are very knowledgeable and were able to come up with a plan that is working well for me.”

– Willy Crippen

“The team is wonderful to work with and they always provide needed equipment.”

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“I had my hearing tested at my place of employment & realized I had a hearing loss primarily in one ear. Before my appointment at Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates, I had no idea what to expect, as I didn’t know how serious the loss was and what could be done to correct it.

“The office was well organized with all the equipment to test for hearing loss; plus Erika showed me what the hearings aids looked like, how they worked, and explained why it was so important to regain my hearing as soon as possible.

“I can now hear everything my husband says to me. I can hear conservations and questions that people have at the nursery where I work. It has also made my life safer because I can hear approaching traffic and equipment in my daily life and at work.

“The team is wonderful to work with and they always provide needed equipment (brushes, containers, solutions, etc.) and cleaning of hearing aids very promptly.”

– Evie Bull

“Go check it out. You will be happy you did.”

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“Prior to my first appointment at Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates, I was a bit worried. I wondered do I have to wear aids? How is this going to work? How will this impact my life?

“I found their team to be professional and knowledgeable. My new hearing aids have definitely helped me get along, but they are not new ears by any means. They help me in crowded, noisy situations to understand what is going on.

“Go check it out. You will be happy you did.”

– Bob Messinger

“With my hearing aids, it’s much easier and more fun to talk with people.”

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“My biggest concern about my hearing was the necessity to ask others to repeat what they were saying. It happened so often that I was becoming very embarrassed. The Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates team is very friendly, knowledgeable, and easy to talk to. With my hearing aids, it’s much easier and more fun to talk with people. I would definitely recommend them – go for it!”

– Ginger Mackie

“It has been a pleasure working with Erika.”

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“Ten to 15 years ago (2005 to 2009), I realized I was ‘missing’ more subtle sounds, and I was ‘reminded’ by others that I was asking ‘What?’ more often. Erika is the second audiologist (plus a technician) that I have visited. I cannot say I have had concerns with A&HAA. It has been a pleasure working with Erika, as she has ‘tuned’ my hearing aids to function better than I’ve experienced in the past. Erika and A&HAA have provided very professional treatment while at the same time providing a very personable atmosphere. She has not hesitated to answer questions in a professional and forthright manner. I can now hear quite well in a manner that is near normal. Erika provides the best service that I have experienced – including excellent hearing aids.

– John Busch

“It is a life changer.”

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“I first realized that I had a hearing loss 8-10 years ago. I visited Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates because I was mainly curious about what I was missing in conversations. I found everyone there to be kind and understanding. With my hearing aids, I hear better. I have the feeling that I’m not lost in this world. If you are considering an appointment, then don’t wait. It is a life changer.”

– Brian Buckingham

“If you are considering an appointment with them, know that you are making the right choice.”

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“I realized I might have a hearing problem when I had trouble understanding what was said on TV or in a group. It could be embarrassing. At my first appointment at Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates, I knew right away that they were there to help and that they had the correct training to do so. Now, with my hearing aids, I just feel more confident. If you are considering an appointment with them, know that you are making the right choice.”

– Risa Hallgarth

“It is easier to hear on the phone.”

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“I figured that I had a hearing loss when listening to phone calls. Prior to my appointment, my only concerns were about the cost and where do I park? It is too early to define how my hearing aids have helped me, but it is easier to hear the phone for sure. Taking off masks is a challenge. Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates provide a good service.

– Anonymous

“My hearing aids let me be able to join in conversations and be part of the group.”

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“I suspected that I might have a hearing loss because I felt left out and could not join in conversations with my family. My first appointment at Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates was very good. My hearing aids let me be able to join in conversations and be part of the group. I would encourage everyone to get their hearing loss treated.

– Roy Box

Erika’s Story

I’m Erika. I love learning about new technology, particularly with technology designed to help people hear and connect to their families, friends and community. I first learned about the Jabra Enhance Plus 18 months ago in a tech talk related to OTC hearing aids. OTC stands for “over-the-counter”; this was driven by the PCAST report (President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology) that was published in 2016 and was rejuvenated by Biden’s Executive to the FDA to develop regulations and labeling on a new classification of non-prescription hearing aids that would be available to purchase by consumers without professional engagement.

The purpose was to introduce lower cost entry to hearing aids for consumers. This is opening a whole new pipeline of devices from manufacturers of consumer electronics to manufacturers of medical devices to get into the lucrative market of entry level amplification. Bose had launched their new “hearing aid” which was a terrible flop, it didn’t have rechargeability, it had a ton of feedback (whistling), it didn’t even have basic streaming features. Signia launched a product, Apple Air pods added transparency mode and developed an app to “test” your hearing to apply mild gain to your Air Pod Pros, and Resound’s research team partnered with GN’s consumer electronic group that makes Jabra products to develop a hybrid hearing aid/consumer electronic sometimes referred to as a Hearable, PSAP (Personal Sound Amplifier), or and OTC hearing aid. Other companies have come out with products that they are marketing as hearing aids, the FDA has been playing whack-a-mole with these illegally labeled products. Whatever you may call the widget, it is an electronic device that is not programmed by a licensed hearing health care professional.

I was awarded a slot to participate in a pilot project to evaluate the Jabra Enhance Plus product before it was released commercially to the public. I have been wearing the device for the last 10 days. I have about 4 pages of feedback for the developers for the app and also the device itself. Here is my pro/con list.

Pros: The size and fit. It doesn’t look anything like a hearing aid, it is like a small button Bluetooth or wireless earbud. There is nothing hanging out of the ear to catch on masks. The green, faded yellow and red indicator lights on the device and the charger are intuitive ways to alert to battery life. The little charging case holds a charge even when it is not plugged in. It is easily portable, fits great in a pocket of my purse so I have them with me. The streaming is pretty seamless. The app controls are deceivingly simple, it seems like there should be more, but it is really just the volume up and down. They were a lot more comfortable to wear while reclining and listening to streaming audio than other wireless earbuds that I have used. It was easy to switch to a call while streaming. They enhanced listening when I was watching TV.

Cons: The built-in personalization didn’t seem to customize the sound; The filter setting was something that I wanted to change frequently, but it is a buried feature in the app. The fit was sort of uncomfortable in one ear and the selection of domes were not adequate. The occlusion effect for my own body noises was significant. My voice sounded too far away for people on the other end of the phone call. The sound quality for phone calls and streaming audio was inferior to other wireless earbuds that I use. I struggled in noisy situations to hear other people over my own body sounds. They move a lot in my ears with talking. They don’t connect to my computer, so going between zoom meetings and phone calls or other activities was cumbersome and I have to switch devices. My overall assessment is that there is a place in the consumer electronic world for these cute little hearing enhancers, but they will not yet replace my wireless earbuds. I look forward to future software updates that will hopefully improve and expand usability (like connecting to my PC for zoom calls).

Tom’s Story
Tom was not as happy as Donna after his 10 days with the devices. He much preferred his own hearing aids. He did like that his mask never got caught on them. His biggest issue was that he got whistling from them when he turned them up loud enough for him to hear the TV. He did enjoy the streaming capabilities. He struggled the most with pairing the devices, which may have been because he used his Bluetooth a lot for other things and the Jabra devices did not seem to respond well to intermittent connectivity.
Donna’s Story
Donna wore the devices for 10-12 hours everyday for ten days. She loved how much better she heard in group settings and in conversations with friends and family. She mentioned that after a long day she did notice that her ears would get a little sore and she thought maybe a smaller prescription hearing aid would be better for her long term, but she thought these self fitting hearing aids were great and easy to use. She would definitely consider buying them and even had several of her friends ask where they could buy them.
Linda’s Story

Linda wore the Jabra Enhance Plus 5-6 hours a day. Mostly while watching TV. She loved how much easier it was to hear the dialogue on TV. She also enjoyed hearing her husband more easily while they were having conversations. She had little difficulty connecting the devices to her app, the most difficult part of the connection that Linda had was remembering her apple password. She was really impressed with the product and the price.

Beth Story

Beth wears the Jabra Enhance Plus about an hour a day, primarily for streaming while exercising. She loves the quality of the streaming for phone calls and listening to audio books. She tried the devices in a restaurant with friends, but really struggled to adapt to her own voice and thought that it was actually harder to focus on the voices she wanted to hear over some of the other environment sounds being amplified. She really didn’t find them helpful in the classroom like she had hoped, but she admitted that only tried them once in that setting.

Jan’s Story
I'm Jan. I have enjoyed being part of this new technology. After day two I did experience right ear canal discomfort and was not able to wear the device for a few days. I feel if the device was a little bit smaller it would be more comfortable for me. I felt muffled and my own voice was hollow. After a few days I didn't notice it as much. I am not totally comfortable with new technology but found the setup for Jabra to be easy. The charging was easy, and the hearing test was relatively easy. I have normal hearing, therefore did not experience a lot of amplification. I found the app was user friendly. I would recommend them to someone who had a mild to moderate hearing loss that could not afford hearing aids.