Back in the Conversation

Back in the Conversation

It’s not always easy to admit when a part of our body has somehow slowed down or stopped working. But for Trish Fiebing, the decline in her hearing happened so slowly that she didn’t make the connection. All she knew was that she was missing out.

It started approximately ten years ago when the now 76-year-old Traverse City resident was still working and attending the many meetings that came with her work as a volunteer coordinator.

“The only thing I noticed initially was meetings, where I was really having to force my hearing to hear what was being said,” says the avid volunteer and winner of the 2014 Mary Stanton Volunteer of the Year and 2005 ATHENA Award.

For years, Trish attempted to fix the problem by trying to sit in a more optimal spot. She blamed her inability to hear – and the confusion that came with it – on the size of the room, the length of the table, and the number of people in the room. But as her hearing worsened, Trish soon realized she was straining to hear more than just important business matters. She was missing out on critical moments with her children and grandchildren as well.

“I missed a lot at family dinners. It’s not worth it to miss those thoughts and feelings,” she says.

Thankfully, Trish’s sons suspected the root of the problem was and encouraged her to have her hearing checked. Her oldest son accompanied her to an appointment at our William and Leni Carls Hearing Clinic on the Munson Medical Center campus, where Trish quite literally heard what had been causing her so much frustration for the past decade. With the aid of some hearing equipment Trish could suddenly hear.

“It was quite a surprise that I was as bad as I was,” she admits.

A few visits later, Trish was fitted with her hearing aids: a pair of buds, designed to blend in with her skin tone, that nestle right inside her ear.

“I just wanted to run home and see my sons so they could see that I could hear. It was so exciting!” she says. “And it was really such a surprise to me how much I had been missing for too long – way too long a time. I wish the kids had said something sooner, and I would’ve gotten to it sooner.”

Today, Trish is just as vibrant as ever. When she’s not sitting in her beautiful, partially wooded yard, enjoying the sweet sound of birds, going for nature walks, or enjoying television with her husband Greg (at a much lower volume, she says), she can be found doing the other things so near and dear to her.

“Meetings are just totally different, and I’m much more comfortable and relaxed – and I don’t have to worry about where I sit,” she says. “On the phone it makes a big difference. And talking in a room like we’re in and at the dinner table. I don’t miss everything. I’m amazed at how many people ask me why I wear my hearing aids all the time. And I think ‘Why wouldn’t I?’”

Video courtesy of 9&10 News.


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