December 3, 2023

Joel Streed | (TNS) Mayo Clinic Information Community

When does a trickle sound like a waterfall? After you get listening to aids, in response to Charlie Pierce.

“I spent so a few years not listening to the issues that I can hear now. I can hear the smallest noise within the subsequent room,” he says. “It’s unbelievable.”

Charlie’s improved listening to has accomplished greater than amplify the sounds he hears ― it helped the 55-year-old begin a brand new profession.

Building work and overcoming dependancy

For over 40 years, Charlie labored in building. However his profession was starting to take a toll on his physique, and he felt drawn to a special path — working with the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA).

“I began the applying course of to work for the TSA, however I talked myself out of it,” Charlie remembers, feeling that the timing wasn’t proper.

Charlie continued his job as a building superintendent in Tennessee. He additionally overcame a 38-year dependancy to medication and alcohol, due to attending two dependancy restoration packages in 2019. He and spouse, Amy Pierce, had been married the next yr.

“Amy and I agreed that we wouldn’t make another main life adjustments till I used to be a yr sober,” he says.

Making a change

In September 2022, the Pierces determined to relocate to Faribault, Minnesota, to be nearer to household. When Charlie noticed an commercial for TSA positions on the Minneapolis-St. Paul Worldwide Airport, he knew simply what to do.

“It appeared like a God second that I used to be seeing it once more, so I utilized,” he says.

Throughout the utility screening and medical examination course of, Charlie realized that years of building and energy instruments had taken greater than only a toll on his muscle mass and joints. He had listening to loss that would doubtlessly exclude him from a TSA profession.

Time was of the essence for Charlie in addressing his listening to concern. He knew that his utility could be denied for medical causes if he failed the listening to take a look at.

“I knew I wanted to see somebody immediately,” he says. “I wasn’t simply going to surrender at that time.”

Audiology, listening to aids to the rescue

Per week later, Charlie’s listening to was evaluated by audiologist Dana McCray, Au.D., at Mayo Clinic Well being System in Albert Lea, Minnesota.

“When Charlie arrived in my workplace, it was evident that it was terribly necessary to him to get into TSA,” says Dr. McCray. “He shared a few of his story with me and the way he was actually working exhausting to get on a greater path.”

Dr. McCray totally examined Charlie’s listening to and found that his harm was totally different in every ear.

“Typically when listening to adjustments, it occurs equally, left and proper,” says Dr. McCray. “His loss is milder on the left and reasonably extreme on the fitting. We might by no means actually know what brought on the higher loss for Charlie in only one ear.”

Dr. McCray defined the diploma of Charlie’s listening to loss to him and really helpful listening to aids to enhance it. Listening to aids digitally course of incoming sounds. They make comfortable sounds extra audible whereas holding a restrict on the general output in order that the amount isn’t too loud.

Charlie was fitted with listening to aids which have a small instrument behind the ear linked to a domed earpiece in every canal. Dr. McCray explains that this fashion is comfy for individuals who put on glasses like Charlie. They’re additionally well-suited for the sphere he wished to enter.

“Charlie wanted one thing that may assist him hear as clearly as attainable in tough environments with background noise,” says Dr. McCray. “His listening to aids are the identical mannequin in every ear, however they’re programmed in another way based mostly on his listening to loss.”

Dr. McCray explains that some professions — together with building — improve the chance of listening to loss resulting from loud noises from gear or devices used. Another examples embrace mechanics, truck drivers, farmers, manufacturing facility employees, surgeons and dentists.

“In case your employer requires listening to safety on the job, use it. Noisy hobbies, like woodworking, searching and engine repairs, must also embrace listening to safety when sound ranges are excessive,” says Dr. McCray. “Listening to loss has an additive impact over a lifetime so preserving [hearing] early makes a distinction.”

Shifting ahead

Two weeks after his preliminary appointment, Charlie received his new listening to aids. Dr. McCray accomplished the mandatory paperwork and testing so he would clear the employment medical analysis. He was employed by the TSA and commenced coaching.

In July, Charlie was chosen to present the commencement tackle on the finish of TSA coaching. He shared his speech with Dr. McCray at a follow-up appointment.

“It was actually shifting to know that every one his effort and exhausting work had introduced him to that grand conclusion,” says Dr. McCray. “I’m actually happy with him.”

Charlie says he’s having fun with his new profession on the airport and is grateful for the experience of the Mayo Clinic Well being System Audiology workforce.

“The work that Dr. McCray did was above and past to assist make all these items come to fruition for me,” he says. “She is sort of a grasp of her craft and knew precisely what we wanted to do.”


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