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Annika’s story: Hearing aids make ’huge difference’

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

By: Melissa Barth


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Annika Johnson wanted to improve one thing about her life.

 

It wasn’t her job. She loved working at her family business in Door County, serving traditional Swedish cuisine. What she wanted to improve was her hearing. Annika couldn’t hear well.

 

Annika’s hearing loss created difficulties as she worked as a dining room manager at Al Johnson’s in Sister Bay. Visitors know the restaurant as “the place with the goats on the roof.”

 

“My coworkers noticed that I always said ‘What?’ and I always had to turn my head because I could hear better out of one ear than the other,” Annika says. “So, I had to constantly turn my head just to hear everything. It got to be very much annoying for everyone around me.”

 

Annika’s hearing woes started when she was young.

 

“At the time, I didn’t understand a lot about ears. I learned to live with it and after a while, I didn’t really realize I had a problem,” Annika says.

 

Learning to live with it wasn’t a permanent solution, though. After years of hearing muffled voices, Annika wanted to hear clearly.

 

She’d known for a while she was a candidate for hearing aids, but hesitated to explore the option.

 

“I just thought, I’m not old enough to have hearing aids, this is weird,” she says. “And all the hearing aids I had seen were giant. I don’t know if it was the stigma or I just was used to not hearing.”

 

She scheduled an appointment with Dr. Andrea Federman at The Hearing Center BayCare Clinic. Federman quickly changed Annika’s mind.

 

“I came in and got an appointment and did the audiology again and I could tell it was bad. She showed me the selection of hearing aids,” Annika says. “The minute she put them in my ears, I thought, ‘Why didn’t I come in here 10 years ago?’”

 

After dreading the thought of wearing hearing aids, Annika enjoys their convenience and simplicity.

 

“At first, I thought it was going to be complicated, but it’s very easy and you can have them adjusted,” she says. “If I travel, which I travel every weekend, I take just a small carrying case and everything fits right in it – your little charger, cleaning things. It all comes in this little itty-bitty carrying case.”

 

The hearing aids were matched to the color of her hair to make them less noticeable.

 

“I didn’t really want to have people see them,” Annika says.

 

 

Having hearing aids makes a difference of “night and day” for Annika. For others who have hearing loss, she has some advice.

 

“You should think about getting them or you should just go try a pair on and see the difference,” she says. “Because if you could just try a pair, you would really get that it makes a huge difference.”

 

Dr. Andrea Federman sees patients in Green Bay. To request an appointment, call 920-288-8230 or do so online.

 

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Federman Andrea

Andrea Federman, AuD, received her Doctor of Audiology degree from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry and Audiology in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. Dr. Federman’s areas of special interest include audiologic testing in children and adults, hearing loss assistance, and vestibular evaluation: ENG.

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