Fine Tuning For Better Hearing
A first soprano who took voice lessons in her younger years, Ellen Franchina was wearing hearing aids by her early 30s. Throughout her life, she had frequent ear infections and gradual loss of hearing for both volume and pitch.
A series of ear infections in her early forties brought her to TriHealth’s Anderson Group Health Audiology. Since 2005, Jilonda Wilcox, MA, audiologist at the Anderson office, has helped Ellen navigate through a number of obstacles to find solutions that allow her to live, work and hear on her own terms.
“Jilonda is the best,” Ellen says. “Without her, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today.”
The 56-year-old Amelia, Ohio, resident is a senior sales support analyst for a local company and spends half of her day on the phone or in meetings.
She sometimes takes breaks from wearing the hearing aids at home. Her grandchildren know to signal when they want to talk with her by patting her and pointing to their noses.
Finding the Right Fit for Hearing
Wilcox first helped Ellen get a set of hearing aids that fit inside her ear.
“I could hear birds and my son singing to me. I was so grateful for that,” Ellen says.
Unfortunately, the hearing aids caused the skin of her ear canal to crust over and itch. She went back to Wilcox, who fitted her for a bone conductive hearing aid that is connected to a headset and sits on the mastoid bone just behind her ear canal.
“This has enhanced my life. The headset amplifies sound, and I have true hearing from vibrations of bone and tissue in my head,” Ellen explains. “This makes a big difference in meetings or on the phone.”
“Coming Out” about Hearing Loss
Ellen grew up not talking about her hearing loss. Although Ellen’s mom encouraged her not to view it as a disability, Ellen still felt embarrassed about her inability to hear typical sounds and conversations.
She credits Wilcox for recommending classes at the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation.
“After that class, I had my coming out. I realized people can’t know about my hearing unless I tell them. It puts both them and me at a disadvantage. My daughter-in-law thought I was ignoring her.”
Her husband attended a class at the bureau for hearing people to understand what it’s like not to be able to hear.
Ellen is extremely grateful for the total care she’s received from Wilcox and her TriHealth Group Health doctors.
“The key word is care,” she says. “In my early 30s, I didn’t have anyone working with me and I didn’t understand what was happening with my hearing. At Group Health, I am receiving complete care. Jilonda has been with me all the way through.”
Anderson Group Health Audiology works closely with ear, nose and throat physicians to evaluate hearing loss and help patients find solutions through hearing aids and other options. The office is located at 7810 Five Mile Road. For more information, visit TriHealth.com or call 513-246-7000.