Lori Mertes

Fairbanks, AK

“Consider what you do for a living and wanting to live life to the fullest. There are always options.”

How and when did you first realize you were experiencing hearing loss?

I have experienced hearing loss since I was 19 years old and was told I had Meniere’s disease and there was nothing to be done. I was told to live with it and make sure I moved close to hear.

I had severe dizzy spells which were incapacitating. However, I went on with my life and adjusted to make accommodations on those days I was not feeling well.. I got married, moved to Texas and had three children.

That brought a new set of issues with dizziness and nausea… and less and less hearing. It was hard to hear my babies crying so I relied on my husband to let me know. I did not realize it, but I started to withdraw from life and made excuses to not connect with people. I could not hear on the phone or in person. So, I would make excuses to not go places.

I did hesitate to seek care thinking it would not help. We moved to Alaska and I chose to go to an ENT for evaluation as teaching in a school was hard. I had my fourth baby and realized I need to be involved in activities with my family. The doctor, again, diagnosed me with Meniere’s and I was fitted this time with bilateral hearing aids. They worked for a while, but the hearing was changing.

I have severe/profound hearing loss in both ears and at the age of 49, the diagnosis of Meniere’s was reversed and it was recommended I get a cochlear implant in the ear that had NO hearing now.
So, in Oct. 2011 I was implanted. Now I wear an N6 in my right ear and a ReSound Quatro rechargeable in my left. I love it.

Based on your experience, do you have suggestions for others on how and where to start? Any other important things for them to consider?

I would recommend if you can’t hear, go and never take no for an answer. Keep going and never let anyone say nothing can be done. Consider what you do for a living and wanting to live life to the fullest. There are always options. Trust your hearing professionals, they will be your best friends. Your audiologist will be the one who you see all the time, not the ENT.

What was your biggest concern about hearing aids? Did that turn out to be true?

Will they work? Yes, each time I get a new hearing aid and upgrade, it is like hearing all over again for the first time. It is life changer.

What would you tell someone who is considering hearing aids?

It is important to remember that hearing is not the same as understanding. You need to make sure you can understand too as well as hear.

Which ReSound Hearing Aid(s) do you have?
Who is your hearing care professional?

Fairbanks Hearing and Balance in Fairbanks and Northern Hearing Services in Anchorage