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Hearing loss impacts life at home and work; here’s how tech can rebuild relationships

Hearing loss impacts life at home and work; here’s how tech can rebuild relationships

The story of the day is often how technology is affecting our ability to form and maintain relationships – and not in a good way. But if you ask Myron Ballain, he’ll sing a different tune.

In 2003, Ballain was a school administrator, a job that revolves around healthy relationships with students, colleagues and parents, alike. One day while talking to a child about his school behavior, a fellow employee informed Ballain he had missed a few pieces of information when reciting back what he heard from the student.

“I thought, ‘Uh-oh, I guess it’s time to do something,’ ” Ballain said with a chuckle.

Ballain turned to the audiology experts at Boys Town National Research Hospital, a highly credible organization that had a good standing amongst his peers and is known internationally for hearing research. The team was known for not just selling hearing aids, but truly helping people who have hearing deficits. After 40 years of research and clinical care, Boys Town’s hearing process is efficient and life-changing. From start to finish, Boys Town Hospital lived up to its reputation.

The process started with a series of tests to help diagnose any problems with the eardrum or middle ear and to measure the type and degree of hearing loss. Ballain admits that in the beginning, the tests were a little bit frustrating, until he learned his results.

“They took me into the hearing booth and explained what the equipment was going to do,” Ballain said. “Some of that was a bit exasperating because they’ll play real soft tones and then some sharp tones, and you’re not sure what you heard. But the clarity comes after the testing. They lay the results out in front of you, and they show you what the technology can do.”

When Ballain first arrived, he did not use any technology to aid his hearing. Now, he can’t get enough of it. He routes phone calls directly to his hearing aids using Bluetooth. He adjusts his hearing aids for unique environments using an app. He even measures the decibels of the space he’s in using his Apple Watch. Ballain is in constant use of technology, and the effects he’s seeing are thrilling.

“Oh my goodness,” he said. “My wife was very frustrated with our previous relationship because of my hearing deficit. She wound up repeating things three or four times. Now, my hearing aids allow me to adapt to multiple settings. I can zero in an individual, a small group or even a large group.”

Both Ballain and his wife appreciate the results. He’s happy to spread the word about hearing health with anyone who will listen.

“People who have hearing deficits should not walk to the next hearing test they can get at an organization like Boys Town – they should run,” Ballain said. “You’ll never regret it. You’ve got to help yourself with your hearing before you can address your personal relationships, or working relationships or community relationships. Boys Town has the skills to help.”

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