Austin, TX, is a great place for a music lover. It’s particularly great if you're a music lover and work in the high pressure, high stakes environment of law. Because there will be a need to decompress, unwind and let loose on a pretty regular basis. Music sure is great for that. But only if you can hear the music you love. What if you couldn’t? What if you didn’t have that release from the pressures of the work?Michael is 44 and the perfect picture of a busy professional. He leads the kind of life we envision in college, with a successful career, his work in the legal profession making a difference.It’s a high pressure environment for sure. But it comes with a real sense of achievement and is punctuated by those defining moments where you throw your arms up in the air, exclaim ‘we did it’, and celebrate after work with colleagues.
The social calendar is as full as the work schedule and, living in the Austin, Michael gets to indulge his passion for music.
It’s his outlet. A way of decompressing and when the music is playing, there’s an order to the world, a needed downtime that acts as the perfect counterbalance to the stresses of high-pressure cases. It’s a balance that works. Only less so recently.
What Janet’s screening told us was this - she was right. Janet didn’t have any hearing disorders present and passed the screener with flying colors. This is where Tuned’s patient centric approach comes into play. We know from experience patients rarely seek help from traditional audiologists, and if they do, they are often dismissed if tests show no issues. At Tuned, we understand the limitations of traditional audiology. We delve into the individual context of a patient's hearing, offering a holistic treatment service that goes beyond traditional services.
What does audiology look like beyond the traditional approach? The headphones Janet was using for work were neither physically or auditorily comfortable. This was causing the volume to be inched higher, which was contributing to the fatigue experienced at the end of the day. Exposure to sounds has a compounding effect and after prolonged periods of listening, it was no surprise Janet wanted to avoid people and social interactions.
Both physically and mentally, she was over listening.
Some years ago, Michael was diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease. It’s a condition of the inner year characterized by sudden attacks of dizziness and feeling like the room is spinning (vertigo), a ringing noise in the ear (tinnitus) and hearing loss. In Michael’s case, it's hearing loss that’s most prevalent. So much so, he’s been wearing hearing aids for a number of years. Although Michael’s company prides itself on great benefits for employees, Michael finds himself increasingly frustrated with the nonexistant options for help under his major medical plan.Here’s a legal professional who is rightly obsessed with the rule of law and championing others. You know where you stand with the law but Meniere’s Disease results in attacks that come and go. The gaps between those attacks might be days, weeks, months or even years. For Michael the attacks are relatively common and have been upsetting that critical balance in his life more and more frequently. At work, where words are carefully considered and precise, his hearing loss has led to him feeling isolated. That’s creeped over into his social life too, including his beloved music. When the two things you love the most are both out of kilter, your entire world is more lonely and difficult.
Michael has been proactive. Because hearing health beyond hearing aids is an afterthought in his major medical, he’s spent thousands of his own dollars in visiting many different audiologists, explaining the situation and seeking advice from the experts. For someone with such a busy schedule, this in itself is difficult. Which makes the results all the more disappointing. It didn't matter if the audiologists were part of the PPO offered by his plan, or ones he found after extensive research, all of them just wanted him to wear hearing aids. When discounted hearing aids are all that’s available under most major medical plans, it’s no wonder most clinics just sell devices. For Michael, it means he’s not getting the help he craves and needs. No-one understands the needs of someone his age (44),his career and lifestyle, or offered options beyond hearing aids.
When his husband mentioned Tuned, it appealed for a number of reasons.
It was a totally different approach to hearing care (which is always a little exciting), geared towards someone his age, and if Michael could connect with an audiologist specialzing in Meinere’s disease over a convenient virtual visit, it could be ideal.
Since Tuned sits outside of major medical plans, and Michael’s husband’s company offered Tuned for spouses and dependants, Michael booked his appointment.When he first sat down with his Tuned audiologist, Michael made it clear that success for him would be both education and understanding new, less expensive technology and techniques for dealing with his hearing issues. He wanted to try the new OTC amplification devices, he wanted sound amplified in a way that provided superior sound quality (just turning everything up does not make music better) and he wanted to protect his residual hearing at concerts.That his audiologisteven understood Michael’s need to go beyond just hearing aids was a great start. To quote Michael, he felt Tuned ‘got him’. It’s a hallmark of the Tuned approach, where the specialist audiologist takes the time to probe and ask questions to best understand the needs of that specific patient.
At Tuned, it’s not about device sales. It’s all about helping the people who need it. After all - that’s why audiologists went into the profession, and that’s what patients want. His audiologist helped educate Michael about his own hearing loss, how to self-manage his changing needs and better cope in different environments. Michael now knows which communication strategies work in different listening environments (like a conference room versus an open office or video call) and uses them. As a completely brand agnostic provider, Michael’s audiologist recommended amplification devices that better suited his needs, and a local audiologist who could assist with fitting them. The end result is Michael now has access to great care in real life, and online (IRL/URL) that he wanted, and he has access to the most up-to-date advice on hearing options that work for his lifestyle. Actually, that’s not the end result. The end result is the balance is back. Michael is back to enjoying his twin loves, one where the words make so much difference legally. And the other where they make a difference emotionally.