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Others noticed that I had started losing my hearing in my 30s, but I was in denial. Losing my hearing would affect every aspect of my life. I was emotional when my husband sat me down and told me my hearing was getting worse, and that I should really go see someone. It took me a few months to gather the courage to go, hoping that it was something that could be fixed.

The first audiologist that I went to was not very empathetic, stoically going through the tests and finally saying that I needed hearing aids for both of my ears. I tried to protest and ask questions, but he was quite dismissive and basically shrugged his shoulders. He told me there was no other alternative. His product was an in-the-ear mold. I was devastated. I did not want hearing aids.  Nonetheless, I had the molds made and paid, what was for me, an exorbitant price. I received no sympathy, no empathy, no guidance, and no follow up. I hated the hearing aids. They were too loud, they hurt my ears, and they made my inner ears itch. As a result, I mostly did not wear them.

My hearing deficiency persisted and I eventually went to another audiologist a year or two later, who worked in tandem with an ear, nose and throat specialist. They were helpful, friendly  and for the first time, I realized that I needed to start coming to terms emotionally, psychologically  and physically with my hearing loss. This audiologist helped me a lot with this. I wanted a lot from a hearing aid, due to the high demands of my job, and I suppose I was still not accepting that some of my hearing ability was gone and that it would not improve, but rather deteriorate. The biggest challenge I faced was that she only supported one product, and it was very, very expensive. It was a good product and I wore it for many years, but I still wanted more.

As I came to terms with my hearing loss and adapted my life to wearing the hearing aids and having them tuned often to try get the best out of them,  I started thinking that in today’s world there must be innovation and improvement in the area of hearing loss. I decided that I should try explore this avenue more. After a recommendation from a colleague that had recently received a hearing aid from Agneta (more about why I don’t refer to her as Dr Grove later), I made an appointment to see her. It changed my life.

Agneta took so much time to understand my hearing loss, at every level. She understood my lingering frustration that the hearing aids that I was wearing, were just not enough for me. We discussed this a lot. She took the time to answer my questions and explain the scientific issues. She also took a lot of time and care in trying to understanding my lifestyle, my family and my job. She gathered the information to help me transition into a better level of acceptance and helped empower me to provide her with the information to help me move forward, and to get the best benefits from my hearing aids.

Agneta went to the trouble of letting me test several brands and models of hearing aids, whilst carefully tracking the diagnostics and documenting my feedback. Sometimes additional tuning that was required, which happened within a day or two. She made the time. She stayed in contact. She followed up to see how I was coping with the new changes after an adjustment. At the end of all the trial and error, we had been on a journey together. We still are on this journey – even though I have lived on another continent for the last 5 years.

Agneta is still my chosen audiologist. I trust her. I know she is there for me. I sometimes feel guilty because she goes to such great lengths to help me, whether it be her coming in extra early so that I can try miss traffic, or seeing me on what was supposed to be a day off or a weekend day, or couriering my hearing aids to me if I could not collect. All the while, she has always been professional and friendly, asking about my life, recommending a new audio test if she thought it was required and calibrating the necessary changes to help me get the best optimal performance out of my hearing aids.

Although we have a professional relationship, I think of Agneta as a friend. She is a friendly face with a positive attitude, someone who is empathetic and listens, someone who really is a credit to her profession and who has a genuine desire to help people like me. Agneta is someone who really does go the extra mile to alleviate challenges and to provide support to those with hearing challenges. No matter where I am in the world, and shortly it will yet again be on another continent, I know that Agneta is just an email or message away. I still choose her. I hope that I will be blessed to call her my audiologist for many years to come.


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