NEWSPAPER STORY: Our Client, Precision Hearing was featured in a story about giving back to the community during the holiday season.
By Roxanne Brown
Posted Nov 16, 2019 at 6:45 AM
People in need of a hearing aid and who cannot afford one, may be in luck, because a Clermont doctor is giving away two of them for Christmas.
CLERMONT — Joseph Dimeglio did not realize just how quiet his life really was before he got his new state-of-the-art hearing aid.
Dimeglio had an old analog device he’d been wearing for years, but it wasn’t until last Christmas that he heard the world around him come alive with sounds he said most people, including himself, take for granted every day.
“It’s simple noises, like hearing the water running after turning on the shower or hearing the traffic I can see driving by that I can really appreciate now. When I walk the dog outside, I can hear birds,” Dimeglio said. “It’s like I went from a 1998 cellphone to one in 2019 is the only way I can think of to describe the difference.”
Dimeglio also said holding a conversation is easier and more rewarding now that he can understand what exactly people are saying without having to ask them to repeat themselves. He can rest easy, because he has no doubt he’ll pass the hearing tests that as a commercial driver he is required to take every couple of years.
“This new hearing aid of mine has helped my life,” he said.
Dimeglio, in December 2018, was the winner of a hearing aid contest Dr. Kristen Weinbaum, owner of Clermont’s Precision Hearing, sponsors as her way of giving back to the community.
Weinbaum said she wanted to do something to help those in need around Christmas and the best gift she could think of was the gift of hearing.
“It’s a good feeling to literally see people’s faces light up when they hear what they’ve been missing and many times they’d never even realized it because it comes on so gradually,” Weinbaum said. “That’s when you know they’re really happy and it made a difference to them.”
Additionally, Weinbaum, who suffers from permanent hearing loss in one ear and who has family members who wear hearing aids or have cochlear implants, understands how essential they are and also, how expensive they can be. She also knows that many insurances don’t cover them.
Because of all that, in 2017 she developed a contest, now called “The All I Want For Xmas Hearing Aid Contest,” inviting people to write her a letter explaining how a new hearing aid would help them or change their lives and what financially, has prevented them from getting one.
She said about nine people entered her contest the first year and 17 last year.
The first year, the winner was a local garbage truck driver with two children he had never been able to hear talk or laugh.
“Hearing loss creates a disconnect between an individual and their loved ones which becomes particularly noticeable around the holidays when there are lots of gatherings,” Weinbaum said.
She doesn’t want to judge the contest herself, however, for risk of bias, so each year, she’s put three friends from the hearing aid world in charge of reading through entries.
The feedback she got from them is that it was hard to choose just one winner, so Weinbaum turned to various hearing aid manufacturers and got them on board to spring for pair (in addition to the one she’s sponsoring.) So this year, there will be two winners.
“It warms my heart and that I’ve been able to make a difference in so many people’s lives. I feel very blessed to have a successful small business and to have helped so many people achieve better hearing, so now I want to give back even more this year to the community,” Weinbaum said.
Jeremy Weaver of Fuel Medical Group, one of the judges, said he doubts his job will be any easier. He said it’s awesome that he’ll get to have a say in choosing two winners of one, but said every story is a worthy one.
He said last year he even had to develop a scoring sheet to help him.
If people want to enter Weinbaum’s 2019 contest, they must simply write her a letter telling her their story, which should include what their hearing need is and how a hearing aid would benefit them and a brief explanation of their financial circumstance.
Additionally, the entrant must be a resident of Lake County or a surrounding Central Florida community.
Entries can be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, by fax to 352-708-5199 or by mail to: Precision Hearing, 4331 S. Highway 27, Clermont, FL 34711, before Dec. 9.
The two winners will be announced on Dec. 13.
Weinbaum then said she will fit them for their new state-of-the-art Oticon Opn and Phonak Marvel hearing aids in time for Christmas.
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