August 30, 2021
Frayda Kleiman is no stranger to hearing loss. Having worn hearing aids since her early 40s for hereditary nerve damage in her inner ears, Frayda knew she needed a volume boost in 2019 when it became increasingly difficult to function at her husband’s busy oral surgery practice, which she manages.
Now 67, the Metuchen, New Jersey, resident felt it was time to check into ever-improving technology that could fine-tune her hearing abilities. Frayda visited the Center for Audiology at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute, which treats adults and children with hearing and balance-related problems.
“I wasn’t able to make the pair of hearing aids I had loud enough. My hearing had deteriorated,” recalls Frayda, the mother of two grown sons. “Talking on the phone was very difficult, and my job is basically being on the phone all day long. When I’m communicating with patients, I’m really at a disadvantage if I can’t hear well.”
At the Center for Audiology, Frayda met with Virginia Gural-Toth, AuD, CCC-A, manager of the Audiology, Tinnitus and Balance Programs, who performed hearing tests and created molds to customize Frayda’s new hearing aids to the shape of her ear canal.
Frayda had always valued the tiny size of her older hearing aids, which fit neatly inside her ears, but also needed her devices to suit her listening needs in various surroundings. While her prior hearing aids had two settings—loud or soft—Frayda’s new set is programmable for restaurants, phone calls, music-listening and normal conversation.
Hearing aid technology improves every year, Dr. Gural-Toth says, with newer hearing aids offering quicker processing speed. For this reason, those with the devices should think about updating them at least every three years.
Frayda had long worried her hearing loss would make her retreat from social interactions, as it had for her father. “When you don’t hear, it’s like you become introverted,” she explains. “You don’t want to participate in conversations because you can’t hear anything.”
With the latest technology, “it’s almost indescribable how much my quality of life has improved,” she gushes. “It opens up so much once you can hear everything.”
Frayda continues to visit the Center for Audiology for regular hearing aid cleanings and annual hearing tests. “Frayda doesn’t have to strain as much to hear what others are saying and can converse despite background noise,” Dr. Gural-Toth says. “She can feel confident in what she’s hearing, and that’s a big boost. It’s life-changing.”
Frayda’s husband of 47 years, Michael Kleiman, DMD., an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and chair of the Board of Directors at JFK University Medical Center, also wears hearing aids. The couple are considered “hearing aid evangelists” after encouraging others to get their hearing checked.
For both, crisp hearing proved pivotal during the pandemic, when video chats were the only way to see their three young grandchildren, who live in another state.
“It’s so important, especially when you’re video-chatting and the sound quality isn’t always great and the kids don’t talk into the microphone,” Frayda says. “If I didn’t have my hearing aids in, I would have missed a lot.”
Next Steps & Resources:
- Learn more about the Center for Audiology at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute
- 5 ways to prevent hearing loss from headphones
- Why do my ears feel clogged?
The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.