Active. Social. Happy. Fulfilled. Those four words can and do describe people with hearing loss. Or, more accurately, people who have acknowledged and received help for their hearing loss.
Our senses add so much enjoyment to our lives and losing any of them, especially sight or hearing, can be difficult to deal with. Corrective measures for sight seem more easily accepted than those for hearing. Many people have worn glasses for years; some are even worn as fashion statements. But for many with hearing loss, the only statement hearing aids make is: “I’m old.”
In reality, missing parts of conversations, asking for repeats, and answering incorrectly can be more obvious than hearing aids. Although it is possible to make a fashion statement with hearing aids, most people choose aids that are nearly or completely invisible. And now there is an extended wear option available as well.
Quality Customer Service
Kristine Herrman, audiologist at Hometown Hearing and Audiology in Normal, enjoys educating her patients about the tremendous advances in technology and the many hearing aid choices available.
Headquartered in Missouri, Hometown Hearing and Audiology is a network of more than 50 hearing health care offices throughout the Midwest. Their goal is to provide patients with high quality hearing care through the expertise of experienced and extensively trained audiologists, and to do so with honesty and integrity. “We focus on customer service by taking time to listen and working with each of our patients. Our goal is that they receive the help they need and feel at ease with every aspect of their new hearing experience,” says Kristine. “Our office is warm and comfortable because we want our patients to feel at home.”
Kristine holds a master’s degree in audiology from Illinois State University and is furthering her expertise by obtaining her doctorate in audiology through A.T. Still University. She is licensed through the state of Illinois, certified by the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) and is a member of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA). She has lived in Normal for many years and has been with Hometown Hearing and Audiology since July 2013. Prior to coming to Hometown, Kristine commuted to Pekin and worked in a private practice. She has also had experience working in hospitals and with ENT specialists for a total of 20 years in the field of audiology. She was excited to take advantage of the opportunity with Hometown because it allows her to live and work in the same community. “It’s great to work five minutes from home and my family appreciates it too,” she says.
The relationship with patients is a network-wide objective borne out in each local office. Rhonda Monge, Clinic Manager, greets patients as they enter the office on Boeykins Drive. “I think our office has an advantage over larger, more clinical settings,” she says. A friendly smile, willingness to spend as much time as necessary, and explaining the benefits and features of various types of hearing aid technology all work together to meet the patient’s needs and wants. The office is open Monday through Friday with same-day service in many cases.
Variety of Aid Options
Another benefit of Hometown Hearing and Audiology’s approach is the variety of aids they can offer patients. “We are not limited to only one or two brands; we have access to many different products including most major brands and models,” explains Kristine.
Today’s hearing aids are digital, wireless, and nearly or completely invisible, depending on the style you choose. They sit discreetly behind or in the ear, providing natural sound quality for use in business meetings, private conversations in noisy settings, or while enjoying the sounds of a summer evening. There are aids available for those whose active lifestyles include exposure to water, perspiration, humidity, and dust. And, of course, modern hearing aids allow seamless connectivity with smart phones, MP3 players, computers, televisions, and other high-tech gadgets at volumes set just for you. A rechargeable feature on some aids allows you to place them in the charger at night and in the morning they are ready to go. And, if you are one to make statements, there are a variety of designer options available, some in vibrant colors wrapping widely around the outer contour of the ear as a fashion accessory.
“Feedback and squealing issues are essentially a thing of the past,” explains Kristine. Technology has improved so much over the years that hearing aids no longer need be sources of frustration or embarrassment.
Unique to the Normal Hometown Hearing office, Kristine is the only local provider of Lyric. Lyric is the world’s first 100 percent invisible hearing device. It works with your ears' own natural anatomy by sitting comfortably close to your eardrum. Lyric is worn 24 hours a day. It does not need to be removed for daily activities such as showering, sleeping, or exercise. The lyric has a unique long-term battery that will last for months at a time. “The Lyric is a great option, especially for very active patients. It can be sized and fit immediately in the office,” says Kristine.
There are a number of factors taken into consideration before recommending a particular hearing aid for an individual. Lifestyle, medical history, manual dexterity, and finances (interest-free financing available) are a few of the topics discussed at the free, initial hearing evaluation and consultation. Each patient’s needs are unique, from simply improving the quality of life at home and in private conversations, to helping with active lifestyles including social and work settings.
After a patient has selected and purchased their hearing aids, the service continues. “We’ll do as much follow-up as they need after the initial fit of their hearing aid and make as many adjustments as necessary so they are completely comfortable. We also service, clean, and check them on a regular basis to ensure they are functioning properly,” says Kristine.
Untreated hearing loss gets progressively more difficult to treat, as the brain “forgets” sounds it hasn’t processed, so early treatment of hearing loss produces better hearing aid results. At Hometown Hearing and Audiology, they work to provide the best hearing instruments for each patient’s needs, as well as the best care for each individual.
“There is not a one-size-fits-all hearing aid,” says Kristine. “Our priority is to help each patient hear to the best of their ability and ultimately improve their quality of life.” Those patients are then able to join millions of other hearing aid wearers who participate in and enjoy their surroundings.
For more information, you may contact Kristine Herrman, certified Lyric provider, at Hometown Hearing & Audiology, 309-452-9300. Her office is located at 112 Boeykens Place, Suite 4A. Kristine has been in practice for 20 years and currently resides in the Bloomington/Normal community with her family.
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