Hearing Matters Podcast

Oticon OPN Play feat. Eden Emenecker | Pediatric Hearing Aid User

February 23, 2021 Hearing Matters Season 2 Episode 14
Hearing Matters Podcast
Oticon OPN Play feat. Eden Emenecker | Pediatric Hearing Aid User
Chapters
0:47
What life was like prior to wearing hearing aids
1:39
Hearing loss causes frustration
2:24
When Eden was diagnosed with hearing loss
4:12
Eden explaining being diagnosed with hearing loss
5:20
Dr. Delfino describing his experience working with the pediatric population
6:00
Eden describing her compensatory hearing strategies prior to wearing hearing aids
7:07
Mrs. Emenecker explains Eden’s decreased energy level and increased irritability prior to wearing hearing aids
9:03
Eden trialing the hearing aids
11:23
Mrs. Emecker describes Eden’s experience trialing hearing aids
12:51
Eden sharing her experience with her new hearing aids
13:50
Blaise and Dr. Delfino Discussing Brain Hearing
15:12
Mrs. Emenecker Sharing What She’s Experienced with Eden’s New Hearing World
15:45
Eden Discussing How Hearing Aids Have Increased Her Social Activity Level
17:32
Eden Sharing Her Experience Picking Out The Color of Her Hearing Aids and Bluetooth Connectivity
21:46
What Made Eden’s Hearing Aid Fitting So Successful?
Hearing Matters Podcast
Oticon OPN Play feat. Eden Emenecker | Pediatric Hearing Aid User
Feb 23, 2021 Season 2 Episode 14
Hearing Matters

The Hearing Matters Podcast discusses hearing technology (more commonly known as hearing aids), best practices, and a growing national epidemic - Hearing Loss. The show is hosted by father and son - Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS and Dr. Gregory Delfino, CCC-A. Blaise Delfino and Dr. Gregory Delfino treat patients with hearing loss, tinnitus, and Central Auditory Processing Disorder at Audiology Services, located in Bethlehem, Nazareth, and East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.

On this episode, we interview Eden Emenecker and her mother, Kristyn Emenecker! Eden presents with hearing loss and was fit with her first set of hearing aids summer of 2020 at Audiology Services. Prior to wearing hearing aids, Eden reports feelings of irritability. Months after being fit with her Oticon OPN Plays, Eden continues to excel academically, reports an increase in social activity, and can actively participate in complex listening situations, like at the dinner table our while dining out with her family.

During this episode you will learn: 

  • The importance of school hearing screenings
  • Teaming up with an audiologist that works with the pediatric population 
  • A mother's perspective as it relates to her daughter being fit with hearing aids for the first time 
  • How hearing aids continue to positively impact Eden's new hearing world 
  • Brain Hearing 
  • The importance of best practices 


Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

The Hearing Matters Podcast discusses hearing technology (more commonly known as hearing aids), best practices, and a growing national epidemic - Hearing Loss. The show is hosted by father and son - Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS and Dr. Gregory Delfino, CCC-A. Blaise Delfino and Dr. Gregory Delfino treat patients with hearing loss, tinnitus, and Central Auditory Processing Disorder at Audiology Services, located in Bethlehem, Nazareth, and East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.

On this episode, we interview Eden Emenecker and her mother, Kristyn Emenecker! Eden presents with hearing loss and was fit with her first set of hearing aids summer of 2020 at Audiology Services. Prior to wearing hearing aids, Eden reports feelings of irritability. Months after being fit with her Oticon OPN Plays, Eden continues to excel academically, reports an increase in social activity, and can actively participate in complex listening situations, like at the dinner table our while dining out with her family.

During this episode you will learn: 

  • The importance of school hearing screenings
  • Teaming up with an audiologist that works with the pediatric population 
  • A mother's perspective as it relates to her daughter being fit with hearing aids for the first time 
  • How hearing aids continue to positively impact Eden's new hearing world 
  • Brain Hearing 
  • The importance of best practices 


Blaise Delfino:

You're tuned into the Hearing Matters Podcast with Dr. Gregory Delfino, and Blaise Delfino of Audiology Services and Fader Plugs. This show that discusses hearing technology, best practices, and a growing national epidemic. Hearing loss. On this episode, we have Eden Emenecker and her mother, Mrs. Emenecker joining us. Eden, so happy to have you on the show. Welcome.

Eden Emenecker:

Thank you. Hi.

Blaise Delfino:

and Mrs. Emenecker, welcome to the show.

Mrs. Emenecker:

Thank you so much.

Blaise Delfino:

It's a pleasure to have both of you on. Eden, you are a current hearing instrument user. And can you kind of tell us what was life like, before wearing hearing aids?

Eden Emenecker:

Yes. So basically, before I had my hearing aids, I couldn't hear very much. And I noticed this kind of later on, like, a couple years ago, when I was around 10, maybe nine or 10. And basically, all that happened was like, I was struggling with hearing my friends, like at lunch and stuff like that. And even like my own parents who are very loud people. So yeah, that was basically what I found out. And then I started complaining a lot to mom, my mother, and my father. And so yeah, that's where we are now,

Blaise Delfino:

it was difficult for you to understand speech, especially when you're talking with your friends, maybe during lunch or gym class. Was that frustrating for you?

Eden Emenecker:

Very much so. And I think it was also frustrating for my friends, because I had to keep asking them to repeat something and that gets annoying for even me. And so I can understand that. Also, it was just it was hard. Because every time I would try and understand or like, try and pretend like I was acknowledging them by just shaking my head. And then they were like, What? That's doesn't make any sense to answer with that. When I said that they would repeat it. It was just a big mess.

Blaise Delfino:

A lot of frustration.

Eden Emenecker:

Yeah.

Blaise Delfino:

Mrs. Emenecker, I'm curious to know, what did you notice, prior to Eden wearing hearing instruments coming from the perspective of the parent?

Mrs. Emenecker:

Yeah, well, you know, what, we had no reason to assume that she had hearing loss, we didn't have any, in our family that we knew of. And so at first, you know, this is a kid, my oldest daughter has ADHD. So if I would say something to her, and she would say, I didn't hear you, I would go okay, sure, you know, you weren't paying attention. But then, you know, there were little things that we started to notice. Like, for example, everybody is familiar with those ear thermometers. And you know, you put them in and you it'll beep to tell you that it's done reading, and you should take it out and take a look. And she could never hear it. And it almost to the point where it became like a joke. Like, we thought we just didn't understand it. We were like Eden it beep to like, take it out of your ear, what do you what's going on. And now, of course, what we know is, you know, it's a high frequency, she just couldn't hear that frequency. So she truly never heard it when she was taking, you know, her her hearing. It took a while. I mean, she had been sort of complaining. And we thought, well, she even her pediatrician, you know, she passed all of her hearing screenings when she was young, everything's fine. And then she came home with a paper from the school after a routine hearing exam saying, you know, recommend follow up. And between that and the fact that she had been complaining, you know, we sort of realized maybe there is something actually wrong here and took her to get the first exam and and even still, the results of this exam. We were shocked. I mean, we just the poor thing had been really unable to hear and really, you know, working hard to compensate, and we we truly had no no idea that it was that bad. At least

Blaise Delfino:

Eden, do you remember that day, when you had the conversation with your parents of I truly can't hear that high pitch tone from the thermometer.

Eden Emenecker:

Um, yeah, kind of it was kind of over a couple of days. So I was kind of just complaining for a little while. And then it got to one point where she just like scheduled an appointment with an ear, nose and throat doctor. And so we went there for hearing tests. And then obviously, then we came here, and then I got my hearing aids. And so that's basically what happened. But for the most part, All I said was like, I can't hear anything, and it's really frustrating.

Mrs. Emenecker:

Do you remember what you said to me after that first exam at the ENTwhen they brought out the results? And they were like, wow, this I mean, your daughter has hearing loss. Do you remember what you said to me in the car on the way home? I dont know like I told you You're like I told you you should have listened to me

Blaise Delfino:

Dr. Delfino, you've worked with the pediatric population pretty much throughout your entire career. And you have a passion for helping children get on the road to better hearing. What has your experience been like working with Eden and assisting her throughout her new hearing journey.

Dr. Gregory Delfino:

Working with Eden has certainly been a pleasure and easy to easy to work with because she's so interactive, she tells us exactly what's going on. What's what's interesting about Eden's hearing loss is that it sounds as though it come on later on in life, it was not something that she was born with universal newborn hearing screenings would have picked that up her speech and language is eloquent. So it really didn't seem to have any effect on early language acquisition. So discovering at this late stage is certainly difficult and life changing for Eden, for sure.

Blaise Delfino:

Eden was what were some of the strategies before being fit with the hearing aids that you would use in the classroom?

Eden Emenecker:

Okay, that was interesting. So I would just like lean over my desk to try and hear more maybe like, cup over my ear. It's a very cliche, saying, but it was actually something I found myself doing quite a bit, or I would just like, raise my hand and say that I couldn't hear you. And that mostly happened in fifth grade, because my teacher was kind of quiet. And she she was kind of hard to, like, my music teacher was really hard to hear, who is the she in this? And she was usually pretty loud for me. So which is why I was kind of concerned about that. But my main fifth grade teacher was a guy, so I could hear him a little bit clearer. But it was still it was still muffled. And it was still hard to hear.

Blaise Delfino:

We work with a lot of patients who implement these different strategies, whether it be in social situations in the classroom, things of that nature, Mrs. Emenecker? Or would you ever notice that Eden would come home more tired than usual? Because oftentimes, patients who present and implement these strategies will say, when I leave a social setting, I am exhausted?

Mrs. Emenecker:

Yeah. You know, in hindsight, I think probably she, it she would be irritable, a lot after, you know, a long day at school and just thought she was tired. And obviously she was, but I mean, just thought it was sort of the normal. But I'll tell you, when we really started to notice it was there was a period of time between when we first found out that she had hearing loss. At her initial reaction. Of course, we were we all had to adjust to this news. And so she wasn't ready for hearing aids yet. You know, after that time period, of course, Coronavirus, hit. And so everyone started wearing masks, and we went on vacation this summer. And the only dining was of course outdoors. So it was loud. And there was, you know, Car and Truck noise. And we started to notice that she would be very irritable at the restaurant, like the second week, she just was miserable. and realized that it was because she couldn't hear. And she was just so frustrated and exhausted from trying to hear and trying to understand the waitress and trying to you know, respond to things. And that was really when we had the conversation about, you know, I think it's time to to let you know, find somebody and see if we can get some help with this.

Blaise Delfino:

Absolutely. And then we had, of course, the pleasure of meeting you Mrs. Emenecker and Eden and you had visited our office and Dr. Delfino, you sent Eden home with the hearing instruments to trial for about about two or three weeks, which is so important, especially with the pediatric population, because in terms of acceptance of the technology in and of itself, and I know you've conducted some real ear, why is it so important Dr. Delfino to fit the pediatric population with the technology allow them to trial it and what was your experience working with Eden and Mrs. Emenecker, from the beginning? Because I know it was a very positive first follow up appointment following that trial.

Dr. Gregory Delfino:

Yeah, certainly there was some reticence because it's always difficult to first realize that your child has a hearing, hearing loss and then what to do. And so I think it's important to go slow, step by step, letting Eden try the instruments to kind of convince her as well that this in fact made a difference in the way in which she was able to hear and respond with the pediatric population always, always so important to make sure that you have the right fit the right prescription, we don't want to over amplify, and the guy with Eden I knew we needed to be very specific with her amount of amplification because of the configuration of her audiograms, primarily high frequency, and so we needed to be somewhat careful with how much loudness we put in so real ear measure made it audible and comfortable for Eden. So when she left, I knew that we were where we needed to

Blaise Delfino:

Eden I was actually in the office for your be. first follow up post trialing the hearing instruments and I think the first thing that you said was I heard my father from like three rooms away, can you tell us about your initial experience with the hearing aids/

Eden Emenecker:

So that was actually a really fun time. So those hearing aids were not as good as these hearing aids that I have now. So I could hear like everything was more amplified. And these are like more specific. Basically, when I came home, it was like the very first second I came home. Apparently, my dad has done this a lot. He would say, Eden, can you hear me from a few rooms over to see if I could hear him. And I never could. And I never knew that until the first day, I got my hearing aids, and I was in the garage, and the garage connects to the kitchen, which connects to the living room. And he was right in the doorway to my living room in the kitchen, which is relatively far away from where I was. So it was pretty far. And so what happened, he said, he said that he's asked that before.

Mrs. Emenecker:

Well, it was just so cute. Because he said, you know, in the same voice as always Eden, can you hear me? And you said yes. He was. And he was like, woah.

Blaise Delfino:

Mrs. Emenecker? What was your initial reaction when Eden, went home had the hearing instruments and you know, of course, her brain how to get used to this new hearing world? What did you notice? And what were some of the, the aha moments that you experienced?

Mrs. Emenecker:

I think the first one for me was actually in the office before we even left when she first had gotten them on. And we you know, changing all the settings and, and she was getting used to it and said, Eden you know, can you hear anything? And just at that moment, the fan clicked on for the, you know, heating or air conditioner was in the room. And she went, I heard that fan, come on, you know, and I got chills, and then you know, things like she would talk about he being able to hear her feet on the carpet and things that she just hadn't heard for such a long time that now she was noticing. It was Yeah, I get goosebumps still now thinking about it.

Eden Emenecker:

Yeah. I even noticed that because like some of my songs have parts of it that I can't hear. And then when I hear it again, I would hear these like different musical sounds in the background that I could never hear before. Yes. So it was interesting. That was fun.

Blaise Delfino:

It's amazing. You're like, Oh my gosh, I didn't know that that trumpet part was in in that song or something of that nature. Absolutely. And it's so interesting. I always we always tell our patients you know, our patients listen with their eyes. So when you first come to our office, sometimes you might be squinting a bit or reading lips and you've always been you know from working with you so positive and Eden that has absolutely helped you throughout this entire journey. Can you share with us what your overall experience has been like, with the hearing aids?

Eden Emenecker:

I really like these hearing aids a lot better than the last ones. However, there definitely have been, you know, some bumps here and there like it would get like I since I can hear so much more. It was kind of overwhelming. Like especially like today I got off the bus. It was really loud on the bus, but it got tamer. Luckily, like I got off the bus, my bus ride is much shorter now. It's just since I can notice all these sounds. There's like pros, like many, many pros, but at the same time, there's this one con and that it's overwhelming. And there's lots of noise. And that kind of stresses me out a little bit sometimes, but it definitely, for the most part, I prefer having hearing aids, I do wear them a lot actually. And I think if I keep wearing them like the better it feels because sometimes when I take them out, I'm like woah, I cannot hear a thing and then I have to put them back in. So that's also a really nice experience.

Blaise Delfino:

We talk about this term brain hearing and Dr. Delfino regarding Dr. Douglas Beck's interview with Dr. Anu Sharma, this specific article talks about your brain getting used to this new hearing world can you dovetail off what Eden said because I think that's so important for our listeners,

Dr. Gregory Delfino:

The article that Blaise is referring to has to do with a thing called auditory integration, how well we are putting together the auditory stimulus with a meeting context. And for you, having not had that information available to you and trying to live and function with it. It certainly leaves you at a significant disadvantage, but allowing you to use the instruments to stimulate that portion of the brain which is responsible for things like auditory integration, even parts of our visual projection area are involved with this as well. So it really brings to brings together that whole concept of hearing with our brain that auditory cortex is getting so much more information so you're better able to understand things. It makes more sense to you. And again, what what I love to hear you say is that when you take them out you notice such a huge difference in that that's how we know we've done the right thing.

Blaise Delfino:

Mrs. Emenecker? What did you notice the most after we fit it in with her hearing instruments? Was she more socially active? Of course having family dinner? kind of share what what you experienced?

Mrs. Emenecker:

Yeah I mean, you know, this is a, this is a crazy year to, to think through, you know, social things, of course, because it's not quite normal, but certainly in family settings, she was able to be more participatory irritability that I talked about before, you know, was much less she was able to, you know, carry on the conversation. And I do think that she hasn't seemed as tired. You know, you notice these things in retrospect.

Eden Emenecker:

Yeah. And the socially thing actually is definitely true. I don't talk a lot in school, like, I'm rather quiet, that probably has something to do with my hearing loss. But now that I can hear more, I definitely think I actually have been more socially active. Like when I first got the demo ones, I was still, you know, I was still relatively quiet to everything because it was also new. But then when I got my new hearing aids like I have, now I have a new friend who I haven't talked to in a really long time and all that stuff, which is always like really nice. And yeah, I think that they've definitely helped me socially, which is weird, because it mean, it probably could have helped me a lot more if it wasn't in Coronavirus times. But yeah, I really am grateful for that.

Blaise Delfino:

And that's amazing, because we always talk about the goal. Why do we wear hearing instruments, it's not to make everything louder, it's to make speech clear. And the goal of fitting Eden was to reduce overall listening effort, how much effort she has to put forth to truly understand what's being said, and to increase overall speech understanding. A lot of times when patients are just fit with their hearing technology, they'll say, you know, I'm hearing all these sounds, the the microwave, or the refrigerator, things of that nature. And you just haven't heard those sounds for quite some time. But over time, your brain does adjust, you will get used to this, this new hearing world. Eden when you had moved forward, and you said you know what, yes, I'm ready to move forward with hearing technology, you had the chance to pick out your color. And what I thought was very cool, for lack of a better term is you did your research, you said, Yep, these Oticon Opn plays are going to be able to connect to my iPhone, share with us the experience of picking out your color, and the phone connectivity and the fun stuff like that.

Eden Emenecker:

Yeah, that was actually my favorite part, especially the color, I really liked that. So like when I first got the demo pair, I actually connected to my phone. And it was really fun. I did get to control the volume. And I did get to play around with some other things, which was really nice to have, just on my phone and the color of thing, I have this really pretty color. And I really liked that. And at first I was thinking I was going to go for something darker or something that would match my skin tone more so it'd be invisible. But I didn't even need to because these hearing aids are so small, no one can even see them. And they're very fun to look at when they're just charging or anything. So I really like the color.

Blaise Delfino:

Mrs. Emenecker, as a parent, this has to just number one make you so proud of Eden and you know, she's an incredible student and she loves to write and she's so well spoken. This just has to get you and your husband, your family so excited that Eden's now better able to hear to understand and participate in all these different conversations.

Mrs. Emenecker:

Yeah, oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, first of all, I've always been so proud of her. And this experience has also helped me to realize, you know, how much more even than I knew she was she was already doing and, and going through with such a positive attitude and you know, carrying it forward. I mean, I don't you should tell them about your grandma and kind of the conversation you had with her and what you've inspired. She's sort of, you know, paid it back already.

Eden Emenecker:

Yeah, that was fun. So my grandma has hearing aids actually similar to mine, I think they might be a little bigger. She got them a little while back. So they're not as high tech as mine. But she didn't really wear them that often. And so before Halloween, like right before Halloween, maybe right after but I think it was before Halloween, she FaceTime me, so we could call and basically, we were chatting about how like the whole thing we were talking about just a little bit ago how there's like the brain hearing and all that stuff. And it mostly you have to adjust to it with your brain. And since then, she's been encouraged to wear her hearing aids a lot more, which is really good on her because she can't hear at all.

Mrs. Emenecker:

So yeah,

Blaise Delfino:

So you've bridged the gap.

Mrs. Emenecker:

She She I mean, she really, like encouraged my mother. So in my family, I said we don't have hearing that's not true. We have hearing loss. It's just age related hearing. Yes, right. There's a lot of that my family, none at this age, but so yeah my mother can't hear. And when were her hearing aids, and they got on and Eden said to her, it's not your ears that have to adjust it to your brain. And, you know, she sort of repeated all the things that she had learned here. And now my mom has really committed to wearing hers and getting used to it. Yeah.

Blaise Delfino:

That's amazing. Eden, when we were just we were just talking before we started to record this episode. It's so uplifting number one to to dovetail off what you said Mrs. Emenecker, your positive attitude moving forward with hearing technology you came in with an open mind you were excited. It seems as though you're just a forward thinker, which is so cool. And we were saying, you know, you can really pave the way for kids your age who also present with hearing loss. I mean, that is so cool.

Eden Emenecker:

Thank you.

Blaise Delfino:

It's so exciting. Truly.

Eden Emenecker:

I mean, yeah, it's been tricky, but like the irritability stuff. I think I can handle that because it definitely gets better with time. Like, the more I have them in, the easier hearing obviously gets and it's actually really quite nice. And it's also really amazing because like, I can hear everything and then at the end of the day, I just have these like noise cancelling things. I just have to take them out and then I can I don't hear anything and I just it's much easier to go to sleep that way.

Blaise Delfino:

Absolutely. Dr. Delfino, what do you feel as though in terms of moving forward with hearing technology of course having a positive attitude which Eden encompasses and has continued to display throughout this process, for any audiologist or hearing healthcare professional that works with the pediatric population? What do you think made Eden's fitting so successful?

Dr. Gregory Delfino:

It was really all about Eden, every child is different. Eden was was ready, she recognized that there was some deficiency and she wanted to make it better. What I was most taken by is Eden's description of the isolation of how that feeling of not hearing people and interacting with them can be so isolating, and stop you from making friends. Eden has a long life to live and lots of relationships and people to talk to and be involved with. And I think having her be able to be the best she can be here, all that she can all just make her her future that much brighter.

Eden Emenecker:

I love my hearing aids.

Mrs. Emenecker:

It's been a it's been a very positive experience. And, you know, I'm proud of her even here coming in today to have this conversation. You know, I think she really wants to inspire other kids who might be like her, maybe they can't hear really well, but the thought of you know, going through and getting instruments and and making it you know, real is is scary. And so the ability to say no, it's so much better. You know, just go do it, I think is is really inspirational. She inspires me.

Blaise Delfino:

You're tuned in to the Hearing Matters Podcast with Dr. Gregory Delfino, and Blaise Delfino of Audiology Services and Fader Plugs. Today we had Eden Emenecker and her mother Mrs. Emenecker on the show today, discussing Eden's success story with her new hearing aids, the Oticon plays until next time, hear life's story.

What life was like prior to wearing hearing aids
Hearing loss causes frustration
When Eden was diagnosed with hearing loss
Eden explaining being diagnosed with hearing loss
Dr. Delfino describing his experience working with the pediatric population
Eden describing her compensatory hearing strategies prior to wearing hearing aids
Mrs. Emenecker explains Eden’s decreased energy level and increased irritability prior to wearing hearing aids
Eden trialing the hearing aids
Mrs. Emecker describes Eden’s experience trialing hearing aids
Eden sharing her experience with her new hearing aids
Blaise and Dr. Delfino Discussing Brain Hearing
Mrs. Emenecker Sharing What She’s Experienced with Eden’s New Hearing World
Eden Discussing How Hearing Aids Have Increased Her Social Activity Level
Eden Sharing Her Experience Picking Out The Color of Her Hearing Aids and Bluetooth Connectivity
What Made Eden’s Hearing Aid Fitting So Successful?