Jolene McManus of Simply Hearing wants you to hear all you’ve been missing. She is dedicated to testing accurately and fitting people with the perfect hearing aid they need. She is located at Family Eye Care at 180 Michigan Avenue, Orofino.

Hearing all you’ve been missing is important

By Alannah Allbrett

   Helping people hear better is Jolene McManus’ passion in life, and her enthusiasm is contagious. She began as an apprentice, working in cooperation with the Family Eye Care clinic, three years ago. When the need arose, she started her own company: Simply Hearing where she tests people’s hearing and assists them in finding the best products to restore hearing loss.

   Jolene has had her share of challenges: learning to operate her own business, keeping up with her training, introducing herself to new suppliers, while being the mother of two teenaged boys.

   She is eager to educate people on the importance of correcting hearing loss before it worsens. As with many professions, what she does is very specialized work, relying on multiple tests and different vendors to supply the correct hearing aid to meet a person’s individual needs and budget. “Digital is the way to go when it comes to hearing aids” she said. Technology has become so sophisticated that devices can now be tuned to exacting levels using computer interface.

   Today’s tiny, almost invisible hearing aids, can be fine-tuned for compatibility with television or even with Bluetooth phone technology. Twenty years ago, analog hearing devices amplified all sounds – even unwanted sounds such as traffic noise and barking dogs. Digital hearing aids have the ability to be fine-tuned to every frequency while noticeably tuning out unwanted noises.

   Naturally, it is conversation and communication that is important for a person to hear. The longer a hearing loss is allowed to continue, the more the human brain stops paying attention – listening for input.

   When Jolene’s customers are first fit with a hearing device, they are amazed at all they’ve been missing and think the sounds are quite loud. As the brain becomes, once again, accustomed to receiving more input, customers ask that it be adjusted louder as Jolene predicts they will.

   The human ear is an intricate, delicate, and extremely tiny organ for all that it is able to accomplish. It has tiny hairs that line the cochlea (the coiled tube in the inner ear) which are able to collect sound and transmit signals to the eighth cranial nerve to the brain.

   Through the natural aging process, these tiny hairs become flattened; a process called presbycusis, cutting down the amount of sounds the ear is able to collect. In the case of loud noises, however, damage may be permanently done in a much more rapid progression of hearing loss.

   The normal range of hearing is 25 decibels, A running chainsaw produces noise of 105 db; gunfire is 130 db. This is why it is so important to protect one’s ears from loud, damaging noises and also why hearing needs to be checked.

   In order to meet customers’ specific needs Jolene has set up accounts with top notch companies such as Starkey, Seimens, Rexton, and Phonak. Each company seems to specialize in hearing aids which meet different needs. Jolene said that she works with these companies to get the lowest prices possible so that people can begin hearing all they’ve been missing.

   Her office hours are every fourth Thursday at Brookside Landing (open to the public) between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. or as needed. Other Thursdays, she is available at Family Eye Care from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. She may be contacted at: 208-476-3921 (office) or 509-592-0597 (cell phone). Her email is: