Category: Personal Stories

December 3rd, 2015 by hearingdoc


The phrase “hearing loss” is typically associated with the process of aging and a “sign” of getting older; however what most people do not realize is that it affects people of all ages. I was born a pre-mature twin in 1990, within the first two weeks of my life I underwent two major surgeries, battled severe jaundice and was put on heavy antibiotics and medications. We now know, or at least assume, that the medications that I was given took away my hearing, but at the same time saved my life. These medications were probably ototoxic, which means that they are toxic to the cochlea or auditory system.

I was diagnosed at 3 months old with a profound sensorineural hearing loss, which was later modified to a moderate to severe hearing loss. At just 9 months old I was fit with my first set of hearing aids and began attending the parent-infant program at Millridge Center for the Hearing Impaired (MCHI), which is a part of the Mayfield City School District. Here, my parents worked with a variety of specialists to ensure that I progressed at the same rate as my peers. My parents knew they wanted me to be a mainstream student, however throughout my elementary and middle school years I would attend speech, language and auditory therapy sessions during some of my classes. I was fit with an assistive listening device while in school, it was a box shaped device that was connected to my hearing aids by two wires and the teacher had a microphone that transmitted their voice directly to my hearing aids.

When I was in third grade I was fit with my second set of analog hearing aids, I loved them; they were in a transparent case where you could see the internal hardware. As I entered middle school I became more insecure about my hearing aids and microphone, even though the device was now wireless I still felt “weird”. Our class size grew from 100 to about 400 students and I was afraid of being an outcast and labelled in a negative way because of my hearing loss. I always wore my hair down and was shy about handing my teachers the microphone in front of a class full of people. Now I realize how silly I was because most people did not even notice I had them. Good luck telling that to a pre-teen! I continued going to speech therapy and meeting with my special education teachers despite excelling in my classes.

Once I was in high school I overcame my insecurities with the help of friends. In 10th grade with the help of a teacher who noticed how unhappy I was in the special education program I opted out of the program and the IEP I was on. I was the first person to ever do so, I was tired of getting pulled out of classes for meetings and speech therapy, of hiding the microphone in my locker during the day because it annoyed me to hear my teachers directly in my ears, and I was excelling without their constant check-ups.

I was a football student athletic trainer, varsity tennis player, sprinter on the track team, flute player in the marching band and graduated from high school with a 3.4 GPA and was accepted into Kent State University. My third set of hearing aids came at the end of my college freshman year, these were digital, and it was the first time I ever had trouble adjusting to wearing hearing aids. Technology is a fast changing field and hearing aid technology had changed drastically in the 11 years since I had brand new hearing aids. It took me a few weeks to get used to the new sounds I could hear and the clarity. Five years later and a transfer to Cleveland State University in my sophomore year, I graduated with a Bachelor in Health Sciences Pre- Physical Therapy. I am currently pursuing my Masters in Health Care Administration while working for the Centers for Hearing Care. Last fall we travelled to Minnesota for training at the corporate headquarters for Starkey Hearing Technologies, I was fit with Halo i110 with power receivers. These “Made for iPhone” hearing aids allowed me to hear phone conversations through my hearing aids, stream music, make custom settings for various locations, record lectures, and so much more. They have made having a hearing loss so much easier and I hear with such clarity now, my friends and family are very impressed with the technology.

I think one of the hardest things I have heard from someone was a customer at a previous job who noticed my hearing aids and asked me if it was my fault that I did not have my hearing. She had assumed that I lost it from listening to music too loud or something along those lines. Being judged at times does hurt, but far less people judge and notice them for me to be bothered by it anymore. Without hearing aids I would not be able to efficiently work, go to school or have a social life. I would say that my hearing loss is probably comparable to a “normal” hearing person wearing ear plugs.

I once overheard a person telling someone that “hearing aids do not work, one of my friends tried them and they did nothing”, I could have just ignored the statement; however I used the situation to educate her and the person she was speaking with. I did not want them to potentially lose out on the great technology available should they ever have trouble hearing in the future. I approached them and said while everyone has a different experience with hearing aids, sometimes it just adjustments and trying out different technology before you find the device that helps your hearing the most. I told them that I wear hearing aids and that without them I would not be able to have a normal conversation. I got the normal response, “You’re too young to have a hearing loss”, to which I replied you are never too young. It is important to be informed about hearing loss, how to prevent it and to realize that hearing loss does not have a face. It affects everyone.


Written by: Kelsey Bogacki    

Patient Care Coordinator

Centers For Hearing Care



Posted in Meet Our Staff, Personal Stories Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

October 12th, 2015 by hearingdoc

Someone asked me the other day,

“Why do you love your job so much?”

I gave that question some thought…

Great bosses, great co-workers, home town, patients that I truly care about, a sense of pride in what I do each day…….. Good answers.

I thought more about the answers and I realized they fall short of why I feel so strongly about what I do.

Stories; that is what it takes to understand what I love about working here.

It is the stories that patients tell me about wearing hearing aids.

One patient told me that before her new hearing aids, she never realized that her cat talked to her so much. She told me “she meows at many things through the day and I was missing it all.” Now she feels like she has even more company from her pet.

Many times, the knowledge of our Doctors picking the right technology for the patient’s hearing loss makes the best stories. One patient’s job requires that she use her phone all day long. She was matched up with the new Halo to IPhone technology. She stated “This has changed my life!” “Conversations are so clear!” One more patient had lost the hearing in her left ear as a child, she was matched to technology that lets her right ear tell her brain what her left ear is hearing. Her eyes filled with tears as she told us “My daughter whispered to me in church in my bad ear and I heard her!”(Her’s weren’t the only moist eyes). Another patient has been wearing hearing aids since he was a child. His technology allows him to give a remote to someone who is speaking to a large group or in a large room and he hears directly into his hearing aids. As he said “it is like the instructor is right beside me, no matter where they are in the room.” “I have been wearing hearing aids for years, but never heard like this.”

Stories are not limited to the patients.

Some of my favorite stories come from the families. One family told us their Mom is no longer the women in the nursing home that plays her TV too loud. Her hearing aids allow the TV to stream directly into her hearing aids and she can enjoy her TV shows without having others complain about the noise. A story that makes me smile every time I think of it comes after a family gathering. The family told us we had no idea how much our mother was missing due to her hearing loss until after she got her new hearing aids. We were sitting outside and she would ask “What is that noise?” We finally realized it was the crickets, then the fire cracking and finally the kids splashing in the pool. Sounds that bring pictures of summer to us, Mom had lost completely. We had no idea!

They say that happiness

is finding something that you love to do for a living.

I have been blessed to do just that.

-Deb Copeland

Centers for Hearing Care

Patient Care Coordinator (Liberty Office) – 6 years


Posted in Meet Our Staff, Personal Stories Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

September 1st, 2015 by hearingdoc

One thing I have always struggled with in accepting myself is my hearing loss. I have had a progressive sensorineural hearing loss in both ears since the age of 3. I started having chronic ear infections at the age of 6 months old. I had PE tubes in my ears eight times from age 1-8. Due to all the fluid in my ears, the doctors were not sure I had permanent hearing loss until I was 4 or 5 years old, and my loss was a mild high frequency loss at that age. I got my first pair of hearing aids when I was 6 and I would hide them behind my hair. They were a pair of Phonak, in-the-ear, analog hearing aids (you know, the ones that when you turned up the volume wheel, ALL the frequencies got louder, even the ones where I had no hearing loss!). I was in the first grade and every time I got feedback in my hearing aids, my teacher would say, “Oh we must have a little birdie in here!” I was thoroughly embarrassed.

Having a hearing loss is something that I did not like about myself growing up. I was the only one in my school with hearing loss. Some kids teased me and made fun of me. Sometimes they would pretend to talk to me but no sound would come out of their mouth. I was not fooled, nor was I amused. Other times they would come up behind me and cup my ears to make my hearing aids squeal. As I got older and was in middle school, my loss progressed across all frequencies to a moderate hearing loss. I got my first pair of behind-the ear hearing aids and even had an FM system to use in the classroom to help me hear my teachers.  I had to work so much harder at focusing and listening in the classroom because it was so difficult to hear, even with hearing aids. It was exhausting, and I came home from school many days in my earlier years crying and would take a nap.  I also felt like a fool when I would hear something incorrectly and give an answer that had nothing to do with what we were talking about. I did not accept this part of myself and questioned why God would create me this way. I prayed for God to heal my ears daily.  I wanted so bad as a child to be normal and be considered normal by other children rather than that girl that can’t hear. I rejected this part of myself so much that I refused to learn sign language as a child because I did not want to be seen as “deaf”.
Even so, I delved into my studies, sports and extra-curriculars. I was determined to show my teachers and peers that I was not any less of a person or student even though I had a disability. I surpassed many of my classmates in all that I was involved in.  I was a wonderful flute player in band and sat first chair in concert band in high school.  I was successful in track, cross country, and swim team all throughout high school. I graduated with a 4.0 and went on to college to achieve a Bachelor’s of Science in Hearing, Speech & Language Sciences (3.4 GPA), post graduate work in Audiology and later in my life, a Masters of Arts in Teaching (4.0 GPA).
In college and mid-twenties, my loss progressed even more to a severe sensorineural loss across the frequencies. I had to order power BTE hearing aids now, and I still felt like I had trouble hearing. I have always feared that eventually I will reach an age where I will be deaf, and I felt like my fear was slowly becoming a reality. I was just beginning my family, and I worried that I wouldn’t be able to hear my baby cry when she would wake up, hear when she called for me or spoke her first words. I had met Dr. Figliano a year earlier, and decided to call the Centers for Hearing Care and make an appointment.
The care and services I received at the Centers for Hearing Care have been above and beyond the care and services I received at any other hearing aid providers. All of the staff are kind and courteous and the doctors are extremely knowledgable, patient, and determined to find the hearing aid that best suits the needs of the patients. Also, free batteries and cleanings for the life of my hearing aids (5 years!!!)! I have not received services like this elsewhere! Dr. Figliano help me pick a great pair of hearing aids that gave me enough amplification and clarity of sounds. I heard my babies when they cried and spoke their first words.
Dr. Shobel helped me pick and program my most recent pair of hearing aids. The technology has changed so much! This is my first pair of fully digital aids with Bluetooth technology.  Phone calls and music from my iPhone stream directly into my hearing aids. It has changed my quality of life in several ways. First, I do not dread receiving a phone call. I do not get embarrassed now on phone calls, because I do not have to ask them to repeat over and over. I can hear the person talking and my hearing aids reduce other sounds around me. Second, I hear music in a whole new way. It’s almost like I was not hearing the full spectrum of sounds from instruments and voices before. Music has always been very beautiful to me, but the first time I heard music through my new hearing aids I cried. Finally, my new hearing aids have shown me that I was not hearing soft consonant sounds of speech. I think this was something that I gradually lost as my hearing changed over the past 10 years. Now I can hear people pronouncing the “S “sound, the “T “sound, the “ch” sound and the “sh” sound. That makes a huge difference in discriminating speech! I can even hear myself making these sounds and I realize I hadn’t heard myself say those sounds in a long time. It took me 4 to 5 weeks to get used to hearing everything new with my new hearing aids, but it was worth it!
It took me a long time to realize that other people did not look at me as a disabled person. They looked at me as a normal person. I was the one that saw myself as disabled. It took me a long time to come to a point where I fully accepted that this is who I am. This is how God created me and I am okay with that. I don’t need my ears to be healed to accept myself. And I don’t need my ears to be healed for me to experience a full life. I could have very easily taken a different path in my life succumbing to my fears and insecurities, but I continually choose to overcome this.  I graduated high school, went on to college and even graduate school. I’ve held really great jobs. I got married and had children. I didn’t let it hold me back. I still get overcome with anxiety and worry every time I have my annual hearing test, but then I always feel encouraged knowing that I have great doctors at the Centers for Hearing Care who support me and always make sure I have good working aids that help me experience a full quality life!
–Julie Larson


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