Friday, March 29, 2019

Hear ye, hear ye! State of the art help for hearing impaired people

AccuQuest hearing specialist Nathan Bruce-Black walks Bruce Keller through the steps in adjusting and monitoring his hearing aids. Keller loves the optional mobile app which he calls "exciting." It allows adjustment for all environments.


Bruce Keller toasts his upgraded hearing aids -- barely visible -- on a
trip to southern Europe. Here, he enjoys a biscotti and double espresso,
and banter with the waiter, an impossibility before AccuQuest.

MOST OF US take hearing for granted.  Bruce Keller never has, probably because he's been hard of hearing since childhood.
Like many hard-of-hearing people, he made concessions and got by -- leading an active professional and family life, building a successful career, traveling the world.
When we became a couple more than a dozen years ago, he began sitting through 110 plays and concerts a year with me. He decided his hearing needed improvement.
After years of deep-sea diving, and  engineering and construction projects rife with clanging, drilling and other loud noises, his childhood hearing problems had worsened. Looking back with his state-of-the art hearing aids, Keller says he hadn't realized how it impacted everything -- a night out, shopping, TV, radio, movies,
In Rome at an art gallery, Keller and Cookie listen
happily to a soft-spoken anthropologist on a private tour. 
travel, telephone calls, conversation.
WE DECIDED on AccuQuest after months of research -- reviewing websites, weighing pros and cons, checking with friends and relatives who had dealt with hearing issues. Just as we suspected, he has hearing loss in both ears.  The correction to his left ear was greater, who knows why. Each individual is different. The result: he is thrilled.
"I remember having difficulty in grade-school," Keller told the AccuQuest specialist who ran him through the gauntlet of tests.
Sierra, office manager at AccuQuest La Jolla is a helpful,
congenial person, keeping with AccuQuest's reputation.
His hearing problem could stem from childhood --  hard to tell.
WE ARE delighted with the improvement and offer unsolicited testimony because we're at the age where we notice our problems -- and those of others.  When it comes to hearing, Keller's problem is not unique. Several friends wear aids; others should. Says AccuQuest's Nathan Bruce-Black, "We work with all ages, including many who have lived with hearing loss for a long time. Having good hearing opens up a whole world, enhances understanding for patients from 18 to 90."
During each year's trip to the Oregon 
Shakespeare Festival, "Cookie and Keller" 
see up to a dozen plays. 
Our play-going and travel demand our senses be sharp. It's wonderful now to sit through a drama, knowing that Keller is getting the dialogue. With a concert or musical, he could ride on the songs' coattails. Not so with "Julius Caesar," "King Lear" or "Macbeth."
Shakespearean tragedy and contemporary drama with quick dialogue demand concentration. Concentration relies on good hearing.  "It's wonderful to understand the words and not just hear noise," Keller says. When we're at the Ahmanson in Los Angeles, in row M orchestra center, he no longer needs to rent the audio booster. "My hearing has gone from a scratchy vinyl record to a smooth sounding CD," he says with delight.
UNLIKE OTHER clinics, AccuQuest offers an impressive range of hearing devices from many manufacturers. The huge selection helps patients find the best fit for lifestyle, improved hearing and budget. We've never felt high pressure and we've dealt with a half-dozen employes, recently the amiable dispenser, Bruce-Black, at the La Jolla branch, and his able assistant, Sierra. Hearing aid technology even includes artificial intelligence which helps learn and clarify important familiar voices for patient and family. Keller is on his third pair of hearing aids -- upgraded -- and this latest pair is state of the art.  Technology is constantly evolving and these classy new aids have a mobile app which he adjusts to more frequencies, diminishing background noise, allowing him to concentrate on conversation. He's one happy guy.
The comical ear trumpet of old has paved
the way for state-of-the art small hearing aids.
BRUCE-BLACK is patient, knowledgeable and encouraging. We initially spent around $6,000 then another several thousand for upgrades. A generous warranty, free "tweaking," trial periods, consultations and cleaning are included. And because AccuQuest works with so many manufacturers, there's a price range for everyone in the growing company's 16 states.
Our life is enhanced. Casual conversation is easier at dinner parties, on cruise ships, in small foreign restaurants with several languages around us.
Cookie and Keller at their Montana place, with Nick and Nora, hearing birds
and the sound of a nearby creek and able to enjoy casual conversation.
Sailing, traveling, asking directions and hearing the answers, understanding announcements from the cockpit,  even hearing a waiter or flight attendant ask what he'd like for dinner, consulting with colleagues, understanding phone callers....  All  are improved. He hears the sound of a creek on a mountain hike and savors the singing of birds. And theater -- ah, the AccuQuest aids are a savior for Shakespeare.
GOOD HELP for the hard-of-hearing is recent.  The 17th Century introduced the ear trumpet, which "funneled" sound through a narrow tube into the ear. Today, Keller's hearing aids are barely visible.
We're thankful to live in an age of technical wizardry and encourage readers to take the first step by booking a free hearing test with AccuQuest, then moving forward to correct a problem that won't fix itself. Our life is enriched!

San Diego's lovely skyline beckons travelers from all over the world
to enjoy one of the country's most ideal mid-sized cities. Find out why.
UP NEXT: It's an extraordinary time to welcome spring in San Diego.  Rain has brought green and purple hillsides and the cruise terminal is seeing ships off to Mexico, the Pacific and Panama Canal. What makes San Diego so special? (Perhaps the average temperature of 70.) Art, music, scenery and temperature provide a quality of life unequaled in most of the rest of the world. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekends for a fresh take on the arts, travel, nature and family. 


  1. AccuQuest AdmirersMarch 30, 2019 at 1:48 PM

    Fun story on a serious problem for many. May it encourage people to seek help. AccuQuest our choice, too. Great equipment, friendly knowledgeable people.

  2. Fabulous story and so true! My wife's hearing aids changed our world of travel, theater, even dinner-time visiting. Hooray for technology. And thank you for providing this insight.

  3. Minnesota MavericksApril 3, 2019 at 9:11 PM

    Fun story about the wonders of technology.

  4. California Play LoversApril 9, 2019 at 1:54 PM

    We are in the process of getting hearing aids for my mother, who convinced my father to get them 10 years ago. Life altering and we love AccuQuest, too. Good tips.

  5. Very helpful in our present search for hearing help for my husband....will call today!