The Cost of Hearing Loss

Posted by Amy Pajula on February 26, 2019

I had already been struggling with my hearing loss for years when I became a first year college student. Now, however, I was away from home and in danger of failing some of my classes. The frequent embarrassment in social situations and feelings of isolation (even in a crowded room) were something I had always struggled with. The addition of college-level academic stress was paralyzing and nearly unbearable. I was struggling to navigate it all. I was being tested on information I couldn’t make sense of. I went to the audiologist to share my frustration and she showed me a huge pair of hearing aids that would be a good fit for my loss. Although I was on a budget, it was very important to me that I had smaller and more hidden hearing aids. She reluctantly showed my a smaller pair that she felt wouldn't be as good of a fit. I put the entire purchase on a credit card. The set was $2300 and was the most expensive purchase I had ever made.

The hearing aids did help as I sat in the front of my classes. I wasn't straining as hard to understand and was able to follow the lecture. However, the second anyone behind or around me started shuffling papers, opening a soda,  unzipping a backpack, or flipping a notebook page all I could hear was the extraneous sounds so I missed the notes. The social stress continued as I lived in a dorm and was always around people and I couldn't wear my hearing aids all of the time.  The cost of batteries added up and they were not easy to find unless I went back to the clinic where I purchased the aids.

Three years later I was a junior in college and still sitting in the front row of my classes. Classes were more detailed, lectures were specific with examples, and I couldn’t create decent notes even with my hearing aids in. That familiar stress and anxiety set in and I knew I had to get my hearing re-tested. While my hearing loss had not changed, I learned my hearing aids were breaking down and needed an expensive repair. My audiologist reminded me that this was one of the drawbacks of hearing aids of this type because all of the mechanics were in the ear canal, which is a moist environment, and they would likely break down again. I had only recently completed my payments. She encouraged me to try newer, better fit hearing aids suggesting this would be a better investment. 

Trying the hearing aids, I was dismayed to see you could see them in my ear and they felt large and awkward in my small ears. I did notice I could hear better with them right away. At $3500 they were almost twice as much as my last ones and I couldn't believe how unlucky I was at having to purchase new ones. At the end of the day my ears were so sore, I had to remove them. Often times when going out at night, I did not wear them because in the louder environments they did not help me understand conversation and it was just a wall of noise and clanking silverware. However, in my classes I was able to survive.

I did not realize it at the time, but this would be my journey for many years. I would worry about my hearing and I would worry about my hearing aids. I would worry about different aspects of my life, my classes, and ultimately my job. I couldn’t understand the voicemail I had listened to 100 times, or couldn’t understand what the person calling me was asking. I was missing important information at meetings. I contributed to a meeting and was told “we just discussed that”.  My kids would get frustrated, my husband would get frustrated, and I would get frustrated.  My social life was challenging because there were times I just couldn’t follow what was going on despite using hearing aids.

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Topics: Esteem, hearing loss, testimonial, live well with hearing loss, hear everyday, all-day, costs, Amy

It's about more than just hearing.

Posted by Ashley Derrington on February 7, 2019

Getting the Esteem® is not an easy decision, and it’s not one to take likely, but if an audiologist says, “well, you could do just as well with hearing aid,” that is completely missing the point. Sure, on the surface hearing aids and Esteem® do the same thing – they help you hear better. They certainly do, but Esteem® offers you so much more than just better hearing.

It’s about waking up each day and, for a brief moment, forgetting I am hard of hearing because I can leave my Esteem® on throughout the night (heaven forbid a fire alarm goes off, I can hear it!). I don’t have to find my hearing aids, check for batteries, put them in, or anything like that. I wake up and I’m hearing at my best.

I don’t have that immediate reminder first thing in the morning telling me that I’m different from everyone else like I do when I have to put my hearing aids on.

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Topics: Esteem, recipients, testimonial, live well with hearing loss, hear everyday, all-day

Battery Replacement for the New Year - A personal Story

Posted by Amy Pajula on January 8, 2019

 As a bilateral Esteem® patient, I have experienced hassle-free hearing for almost 9 years. It has been an amazing journey and one that I would never change. Not for anything. I jump in lakes, go water-skiing, and hop on a paddle board when I feel like it. I throw my hair back in a ponytail when I go to the gym, and don’t worry about sweat. I pull my winter hat over my ears when I go outside without feedback or worrying about static electricity damaging something. I don’t have to clean earwax or worry about humidity, and I no longer live in fear of losing a hearing aid (which I did right before getting my first Esteem®). In addition, I can use earbuds just like everyone else and easily talk on the phone. I have as much freedom and access to my hearing as someone who hears well without an aid.

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Topics: Esteem, hearing loss, testimonial, live well with hearing loss, hear everyday, all-day, Amy

Hearing the Sights and Sounds of Life

Posted by Envoy Medical Staff Member on November 27, 2018

 

Before Jill McAlister and Marcie Pratt went skydiving together, they had never met. But, the two shared more in common than they would have believed. They both have congenital hearing loss, with late diagnosis due to several years of misdiagnosis as young children; they are both Esteem recipients; and now, they’ve jumped out of an airplane together.

Jill and Marcie met on a trip to San Diego to give a presentation to an advisory panel of otologists about their success with their Esteems. At the meeting, both women got to reconnect with the surgeons who performed their implant surgeries, Dr. Jack Shohet and Dr. Michael Seidman, in a heart-warming reunion. Jill and Marcie also took questions from the audience – a feat that would have been impossible for both women just a few years ago.

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Topics: Esteem, hearing loss, recipients, skydiving, testimonial, live well with hearing loss

What to expect. A surgeon's perspective.

Posted by Envoy Medical Staff Member on November 23, 2018

Can you imagine having your cake and eating it too? That might be what you can expect with the Esteem® hearing implant. The Esteem® is a hearing solution that alleviates your hearing loss, but without the external device and without the hassles or frustrations of hearing aids – an all day, everyday hearing solution that works with you and your lifestyle.

If you’re curious about what to expect from the Esteem® procedure, you’re in luck. Here to share insight into the procedure is Dr. Jack Shohet, a neurotologist who has completed over 300 Esteem® cases, more than any other active surgeon in the U.S.

1.     What is the Esteem implant procedure like?

Surprising to some, the Esteem® implant procedure is actually an

 outpatient procedure, meaning patients come in and out of the office on the same day. The whole process takes only several hours - patients are administered general anesthesia, we place the implant components and then patients are free to go.

2.     Can you describe the average recovery process?

After the initial procedure, patients 

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Topics: Esteem, recipients, testimonial, live well with hearing loss, Safety, hear everyday, all-day

What I Wish The Skeptics Knew

Posted by Ashley Derrington on November 16, 2018

When people find out I have the Esteem, their reaction is usually one of two things: amazement and a desire to learn more or skepticism and no aspiration to understand more about my choice in hearing restoration.

I know many people are skeptical about Esteem. Heck, I used to be one of those people! It is new and different. Change is hard to accept sometimes. It was not an easy road to implantation and acceptance of the Esteem, but now that I have it I can’t imagine my life without it. I wish skeptics could see a video montage of my life before and after Esteem. I think you’d see that my overall quality of life has improved significantly, and I’m better off as a result.

I spoke with a friend recently about the benefits of having my Esteem. She mentioned that my descriptions reminded her a lot of her experience with Lasik eye surgery. Great results with the benefit of convenience and being hassle-free. Maybe that’s an image more can understand. I must add, though, that the concepts of convenience and hassle-free only touch the surface of what needs to be known about this life-changing device.

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Topics: Esteem, hearing loss, recipients, testimonial, live well with hearing loss, hear everyday, all-day

Back to School with the Esteem Hearing Implant

Posted by Envoy Medical Staff Member on August 17, 2018

Article written by an actual Esteem patient. He chooses to remain anonymous, but wanted people to understand how Esteem helped changed his life. (And with Esteem, no one needs to know you have it implanted.)

school work

School is not a fun place to be when you struggle with hearing loss. The worst is when a teacher calls on you, or someone is trying to ask you for a pencil, and they think you are ignoring them. It's also incredibly difficult to participate in a spelling bee when you can't hear the word you're supposed to be spelling. The truth is, I never wanted to wear hearing aids because I wanted to fit in and just be like everyone else. I didn't want to have to sit in the front of every class or be treated differently. The reality of the situation is that kids can be cruel and it's tough to grow in an environment where you are self-conscious about your hearing loss.  I was so self-conscious of wearing hearing aids that I let my education suffer as a result. I was constantly playing catch up and never felt like I was reaching my potential. I am convinced my head is full of grey hairs from being so stressed out all of the time in class because I never knew if someone was calling me or not. Quite frankly, I was embarrassed to admit that something was wrong with me. It got to the point where I was more focused on trying to hide my hearing loss than actually learning. Over time I learned to adapt and find ways to get through school, and learned what I needed to learn. Whether it was reading lips or being overly alert, I did what I had to do to get by.

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Topics: Esteem, hearing loss, recipients, testimonial, live well with hearing loss

Hearing loss is a lifelong journey that can be an emotional roller-coaster. It can be daunting, frustrating, and isolating. It is important to know, however, that you are not alone. You are one of tens of millions of people live with some type and level of hearing loss. There is a broad community of people who understand what you are going through. 
 
That being said, your journey is unique, and how you approach your hearing loss is up to you. Hopefully, with the support and guidance of family, friends, and, of course, hearing healthcare professionals.  
 
The Sounding Board blog is designed to provide some insight on everything from general hearing loss topics to the specific experiences of individuals willing to share some stories from their personal journey.
 
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