Over several years, my partner, (I’ll call him T), and I have been to several audiology clinics trying to find a way to improve his hearing. He has trialled a number of hearing aids in this time with two major and expensive purchases. They amplified sound – but that amplification extended to the sound of a child squealing in a restaurant 20 metres away or a woman unwrapping a sweet 10 metres away. I got used to seeing T wince when some unwanted noise blasted his hearing. In the end with both of these expensive pairs of hearing aids, he pretty much gave up because the adverse affects far outweighed the benefit. T described the sound through these hearing aids as artificial – electronic or tinny; not at all like natural sound.
This year, 2011, T decided to try one last time to find better hearing aids. But he said if this pair didn’t significantly improve things, he wouldn’t bother again. It was now or never. He went to a local audiology clinic, was tested and was quoted the prohibitive sum of $12,430 for a pair of hearing aids. What we were unaware of then was that the supplying clinic was wholly owned by a single manufacturer and thus alternative brands were not offered nor considered. T was offered their hearing aids whether or not their brand had the best solution for his particular situation. But it was the very steep price that was just too much for T (as a self-funded retiree) to pay. At this point I got to googling. And thank goodness I did, because I found Christo Fourie’s Value Hearing website, and that was the beginning of a short and easy journey to unbelievably improved hearing for T, greatly improved quality of life for both of us, and thousands of dollars of savings.
Everything on the Value Hearing website made sense and rang true. I became aware that most of the audiologists we had previously dealt with had narrower training and experience than Christo. Also, importantly, Christo offered a broad range of quality brands. The testimonials were very impressive – and I can now vouch for how true they are. T phoned Value Hearing and was impressed at the informative and transparent response he received from dedicated business manager, Jodie, who said Value Hearing could supply the same hearing aids (for which T had locally been quoted $12,430) for $8,700. A massive saving of $3,730. So we made an appointment to see Christo in Sydney.
At our first meeting, Christo listened closely and with empathy to T’s description of his experiences with hearing loss and with hearing aids. It was obvious Christo understood the physiology and the lifestyle effects of hearing loss and the science of audiology. He patiently answered all our questions so that we were comfortable each step of the way. The hearing test was done meticulously and Christo said there were two Phonak options he would recommend for T’s particular situation, and clearly explained the options. Both represented a further considerable saving on the $8,700 T had thought he was going to be up for. T made his choice but the alternative remained an option pending a trial. Christo explained that Phonak hearing aids (he calls them ‘instruments’) have an advanced microprocessor that is capable of instantly reducing audio input if a loud noise is detected. Christo demonstrated by clapping loudly. I looked over at T, expecting to see him wince. But no – indeed, just as Christo had said, the hearing aids had instantly compensated for the loud noise and, for the first time, I believed that T had hearing aids that might work well for him.
When T and I left the clinic, I was surprised to find that, on Elizabeth St with the busy traffic passing by, T easily heard conversation without being disturbed by the amplification of traffic noise. More surprisingly, he could hear me when I was speaking at normal volume on his right. It had been more than ten years since he could hear speech to his right. Over the years I had learned to always walk or sit to his left. Pretty much a miracle, really, that he could now hear me when I was on his right – even with other noise around us.
We went home for the two-week real life trial before returning to Christo for possible adjustment of the instruments. From the very first day, the instruments improved T’s hearing – so much so that at the end of each day, he didn’t want to take them out, they so comfortably and naturally improved his hearing. Two weeks later we returned for the adjustment – but Christo had so perfectly set up the instruments the first time, no adjustment was required.
Christo is an expert audiologist, who has developed a very professional and also caring practice – extending to his support staff. He has a wide range of hearing aid brands and models in stock – so chances are, when you go in there for your hearing test, he will be able to fit you with the best instrument for your situation, there and then. The price savings were considerable and much appreciated. But just as important was the feeling that Christo actually cares about improving people’s hearing, and cares about each patient as a human being with his/her own individual needs and preferences.
It gives me great pleasure to write this testimonial, and to unreservedly recommend Value Hearing as by far the most professional and caring audiology clinic and best value hearing instrument supplier either of us has encountered. I hope this recommendation encourages others to check them out and see for themselves – all it takes to start is to make a no-obligation phone call. From our experience, it’s the first step to greatly improved hearing. Christo Fourie and Value Hearing – they’re in a league of their own.