Healthy Hearing conversation | Julie Quandt
Julie Quandt is a success. An accomplished business woman whose work takes her all over the globe, from India, Croatia and Slovenia to Germany, Spain and Austria, she’s accustomed to interacting with a variety of dialects from one week to the next. She’s also an avid runner, having competed in the Boston Marathon three times. What’s her secret to success? Ask and she might very well tell you it’s her hearing aids.
“I’m not sure everybody understands how much richer their life will be with hearing aids,” she said. “I don’t think I could function at the level I’m functioning now if I didn’t have them. If you think about the number of languages I’ve dealt with, having to deal with those accents is challenging even without hearing aids. I would miss so much of the conversation -- and I’m supposed to run the meeting. My spouse and kids were terribly frustrated before I had hearing aids,” she added. “I’m blessed to have them and that I’m able to hear.”
Excited about the solution
Julie, a 53 year-old resident of Grayslake, Illinois, said she first noticed her hearing loss about 12 years ago during a meeting with her boss, a soft-spoken man she struggled to hear. “But it didn’t connect,” she said. She decided to get her hearing tested after an exchange she had with her husband at home. “I was in one room and my husband was in the other room. He was talking to me, and I kept saying 'what?' He kept repeating himself. Finally, I said, 'I heard you speaking, but I couldn’t understand you.' It was at that moment I said 'Hmmmm.' It wasn’t too long after that I made my appointment.”
When the hearing care professional told Julie she had mild to moderate hearing loss and would benefit from wearing hearing aids, she said, “I almost became excited at the thought I could hear better.”
“From the point she gave me the brochures and I started reading about them, I couldn’t wait to get my hearing aids,” she said. “I can’t explain why I wasn’t worried about it."
"There was a reason that I couldn’t hear people and I could do something about it.”
Julie’s brother also had hearing loss, a condition she attributes to his years of working construction. And though Julie worked in a quiet professional environment and wasn’t a concert-goer (except for Amy Grant, she says with a laugh), she acknowledges cumulative exposure to loud city streets and transportation noise may have contributed to her loss.
“My father and his siblings have hearing loss so I think it’s genetic. We have sensitive hearing, which none of us ever realized until I went in and got tested.”
On the go and always connected
Soon after her diagnosis, Julie took up marathon running. Her hearing aids are part of her gear, mainly because she likes to listen to music when she runs but also because she needs to hear what’s going on in her environment. “I want to run with my hearing aids because I’m able to hear the gamut -- cars, dogs -- things that I need to hear in order to be safe. It’s not uncommon in my neighborhood when I’m running to see a neighbor who wants to start a conversation. The sweat protection is awesome. I’ve put hundreds of miles on them and it’s been great.”
She also wears her aids when she golfs. “To hear the sound of the ball, the other people on the course... it’s all a part of the life experience. I just really enjoy it. I feel privileged to have a way to do that.”
Because her father wore hearing aids, Julie has seen hearing aid technology change significantly through the generations, and she decided that Trust hearing aids from Beltone would fit her personal needs. Her hearing aids pipe music wirelessly to her devices while she runs, while allowing her to hear the sounds around her at the same time. Using the app on her smartphone, she can adjust her settings according to the environment -- so she can turn up the volume on the television at home or turn down the volume for the music at church.
Yet while Julie knew her hearing aids improved both her job performance and personal interactions, it wasn’t until she was on a business trip to Trinidad that she realized exactly how much they added to her life. Standing on the veranda at a big arboretum after the meeting, Julie could hear the birds chirping happily. “Just to see, I took my hearing aids out of my ears and could not hear a one,” she said. “That was an 'oh-my-goodness' moment. Until that minute, I did not understand my hearing loss.”
As a result of her positive experience, Julie is an advocate for hearing loss and hearing aids. “If you have any suspicion you have hearing loss, just go get tested,” she advises. “If you don’t have hearing loss, you’ll have that peace of mind. If you do and you need hearing aids, get them. Just because you’re 40 or 50, that’s not a reason to not get hearing aids. It’s not an age thing, it’s a life thing. You don’t know what you’re missing. Your life will be much richer when you can hear those sounds again.”
If you're not sure where to start and you want to finally do something about your hearing loss, visit our extensive directory of clinics to find one near you.