BNA Patients in Their Own Words

For over 30 years, Bloomington Normal Audiology has been one of the community’s strongest advocates for hearing education. Of the three common “Neck-up Check-ups” you can receive (eyes, teeth, and ears), your hearing is often the least understood and therefore most neglected. BNA, therefore, has a long tradition of filling that knowledge gap by raising awareness through various educational methods designed to make our friends and neighbors in Bloomington-Normal better and smarter stewards of their hearing.

Recently, we sat down with some of our patients for a video shoot, and what was envisioned as a simple testimonial series quickly became much more. As our patients began sharing their personal hearing journeys, it became clear that their engaging, often emotional, stories represented the next step in our educational outreach. Because while hearing from our five Doctors is beneficial (and we’ll certainly continue pursuing those methods), it’s often more powerful and relatable to hear directly from the patients themselves, in their own words.

Each episode of Hear My Story gives you an insider’s perspective on what it’s like to live with hearing challenges, but more importantly, serves as a great source of encouragement and motivation to take the next step in your own hearing journey. Watch the latest stories below, and then reach out to schedule your appointment at BNA.

See the most recent episodes below:

Susan Goeckner

In this powerful, touching episode of Hear My Story, Ivy Lane Bakery owner Susan Goeckner shares how her hearing challenges began to rise to the forefront after opening the bakery. Not only did she struggle to hear conversations among the noise of the large mixers, but she found herself exerting more effort simply to hear and understand customer orders. The real trigger, however, came when she learned of the connection between hearing loss and Alzheimer’s.

After closely observing a family member’s experience with that disease, Susan describes how she was motivated to take her cognitive health into her own hands, keeping her brain engaged and active by addressing her hearing. Not every health issue is in your control, but often, your hearing struggles can be. Susan’s story is a great example of proactively “doing what you can” to improve your quality of life.

Susan is a patient at Bloomington-Normal Audiology working with Dr. Natalie McKee, and we truly thank her for sharing her story!

Watch the full story below:

Greg Ekdale

In this insightful, personable episode of Hear My Story, Greg Ekdale talks about how he gradually noticed himself displaying the common warning signs of hearing loss, and how a former U.S. President motivated him to finally take action. After having initial experiences in team-based, academic audiology settings, he developed a preference for a more personal level of care where he could form a relationship with a primary provider and work with the same doctor each time.

After being impressed with the way BNA presented itself to the community, Greg made an appointment and was able to build that rapport with Dr. Hanley. Greg’s story is a great picture of the genuine interest BNA strives to take with each patient, and how prioritizing a dedicated, personalized relationship with an audiologist is critical to helping you navigate the experience of hearing loss.

Greg is a patient at Bloomington-Normal Audiology working with Dr. Sara Hanley, and we truly thank him for his kind words!

Watch the full story below:

Kathy McIntyre

In this powerful episode of Hear My Story, Kathy McIntyre opens up about the long-term emotional toll she experienced in work and social settings because of an inability to focus on a conversation or respond quickly. Throughout most of her life, she didn’t realize that these struggles could have been connected to a potential hearing issue. In fact, she compellingly describes how her hesitancy to visit BNA stemmed from the certainty it would provide. Meaning, if she didn’t have a hearing problem, it would confirm her fears that her challenges were rooted in something deeper.

But after summoning the courage to make an appointment, she learned that there was a hearing issue, and most importantly, that BNA could help. After getting her hearing devices, in addition to hearing voices, sounds, and songs like never before, she also realized how her new confidence was reshaping her personality. Maybe she wasn’t the reserved, introvert she always thought she was… Kathy’s story is deeply moving and motivational, and we hope it encourages you to take the next step.

Kathy is a patient at Bloomington-Normal Audiology working with Dr. Natalie McKee, and we truly thank her for sharing her story!

Watch the full story below:

Kristi Wykes

In this engaging & honest episode of Hear My Story, Kristi Wykes explains how she delayed taking action because 1) she thought she was too young, and 2) didn’t realize just how bad it really was. But when mask-wearing during the pandemic removed her ability to read lips, she realized how much she had been relying on lip-reading to compensate for her hearing challenges. Now, she’s hearing wonderful sounds she never knew existed, and characterizes life before-and-after hearing aids as a transition from dull to vibrant. She can also listen more, which, in her words, helps her be a better teacher, and a better friend. We hope Kristi’s clear, candid style encourages you to take the next step.

Kristi is a patient at the Pontiac, IL office of Bloomington-Normal Audiology working with Dr. Natalie McKee, and we truly thank her for sharing her story!
Watch the full story below:

Kitty Belsly

In this honest and insightful episode of Hear My Story, Kitty Belsly recalls the challenges posed by needing hearing devices at such a young age (her early 20’s). But once she overcame initial obstacles like cost and embarrassment, and took the time to find the device that worked best for her situation, her quality of life dramatically improved. Today, she’s an advocate for hearing devices, encouraging others to overcome their own obstacles and take action. We hope Kitty’s fun, energetic, frank style encourages you to take the next step.

Kitty is a patient at Bloomington-Normal Audiology working with Dr. Natalie McKee, and we truly thank her for sharing her story!

Watch the full story below:

Debi Post

In this fun and candid episode of Hear My Story, Debi Post shares important insight on why it can take time to accept you need hearing devices. In Debi’s case, she often chalked it up to a noisy environment, or other people not speaking clearly, but she gradually came to realize “it was her.” She describes the “light bulb” moment when she tried on a pair of her uncle’s hearing aids. Even on devices that weren’t customized for her, she recalls still being able to hear exponentially better. And once she knew what she was missing, there was no turning back. We hope Debi’s relatable, friendly style encourages you to take the next step.

Debi is a patient at Bloomington-Normal Audiology working with Dr. Arica Rock, and we truly thank her for sharing her story!

Watch the full story below:

Marshall Davis

In this warm and honest episode of Hear My Story, Marshall Davis describes coming to grips with the reality that he was missing a lot of what people were saying. He explains his reasons for delay, how Dr. Chalmers helped him overcome that hesitation, and how hearing devices have helped him be a better participant in conversations, both personally and professionally. We hope Marshall’s easy-going, friendly style is the approach that encourages you to take the next step.

Marshall is a patient at Bloomington-Normal Audiology working with Dr. Stacy Chalmers, and we truly thank him for sharing his story!

Watch the full story below:

Kiersten Miner

In this entertaining and insightful episode of Hear My Story, Kiersten Miner shares her experience dealing with, and overcoming, hearing challenges at a young age. Patients often mention all the new sounds they discover upon receiving their first hearing devices, but Kiersten’s list of examples is among the best. Through her story, you’ll gain a new appreciation for all the simple (and sometimes embarrassing!) sounds that often get taken for granted. Kiersten’s fun, engaging, always-smiling style should be all the encouragement you need to take the next step.

Kiersten is a patient at Bloomington-Normal Audiology working with Dr. Natalie McKee, and we truly thank her for candidly sharing her story!

Watch the full story below:

Steve Peterson

In this laid-back and comically entertaining episode of Hear My Story, Steve Peterson discusses how natural aging plus a career in construction led to increased hearing difficulties. As is commonly the case, a loved one prompted him to see a doctor, and he chose the audiologists at BNA. An engaging storyteller, Steve shares his experience rediscovering certain sounds, and offers strong advice about seeing a doctor instead of going to the “lumberyard.” His frank style and perspective should resonate with anyone who may be hesitating to take the next step.

Steve is a patient at Bloomington-Normal Audiology working with Dr. Arica Rock, and we truly thank him for his kind words…and for constantly making us all laugh during the shoot!

Watch the full story below:

Larry & Judy Mays

In this easy-going, relatable, yet convicting episode of Hear My Story, Larry and Judy Mays share what it was like to realize they weren’t hearing certain sounds as well anymore. This initial self-suspicion is common, but as Larry describes, he was willing to tolerate it, thinking it wasn’t that bad. His two sons, however, were noticing it too, and their ongoing “loving encouragement” eventually prompted him to take action. Judy had the same suspicions about her own hearing, and once Larry took the first step, they teamed-up to tackle their hearing issues together. The Mays’ laid back, warm, comforting style will set you at ease, and their story highlights the importance of listening to the perspective of others when it comes to your hearing reality.

Larry and Judy are patients at Bloomington-Normal Audiology working with Dr. Arica Rock, and we truly thank them for sharing their hearing journey in such a positive way!

Watch the full story below:

Gina Barnhart

In this emotionally uplifting and often surprising episode of Hear My Story, Gina Barnhart speaks candidly about struggling to accept her need for hearing devices at a younger-than-expected age. But as the months and years went on, she explains how she came to embrace them as a source of confidence and empowerment that restored her quality of life. Gina’s optimistic, smiling, energetic style will win you over, and her story highlights how hearing technology can improve your life no matter how old you are.

Gina is a patient at Bloomington-Normal Audiology working with Dr. Arica Rock, and we truly thank her for sharing her hearing journey in such a positive way!

Watch the full story below:

Robert Handley

In this insightfully wide-ranging episode of Hear My Story, Robert Handley makes a thorough and extremely articulate case for the value of hearing devices. From his childhood experiences to his time in the Army, Mr. Handley discusses the varying challenges he faced with inadequate hearing technology during its early days, how he overcame those challenges, and then how his quality of life dramatically improved once BNA helped him find a set of modern devices that restored what he had been missing. With an approachable yet matter-of-fact style that’s both compelling and persuasive, Robert’s story is a motivational call to end the delay and rejoin the conversation.

Mr. Handley is a patient at Bloomington-Normal Audiology working with Dr. Natalie McKee, and we truly thank him for sharing his hearing journey in such a clear and transparent way.

Watch the full story below:

Mona Lohnes

In this episode of Hear My Story, Mona Lohnes explains that she ultimately became a patient through her husband George. For many years, while Dr. McKee worked with George on his hearing situation, Mona would regularly attend. She developed a familiarity with BNA during those office visits, and came to feel great about the service and environment…but then struggled to accept that she needed hearing devices herself.

In her story, she shares how she overcame that hesitation, as well as her secret for staying young…because we’re sure you’ll agree that she does not strike you as being 91 years old!

Mona is a patient at Bloomington-Normal Audiology working with Dr. Natalie McKee, and we thank her for sharing her hearing journey in such a clear, powerful way.

Watch the full story below:

Bruce Boeck

In the series premiere of BNA’s new educational video series, Hear My Story, Bruce Boeck shares his experience over a lifetime of mechanized hearing, how it impacts his profession as a therapist and counselor, and offers advice to anyone hesitating to take the first step toward addressing a hearing issue.

In the video, Bruce says, “Being able to hear is something most people take so for granted. For example, there was a point, I wanna say I think it was last Fall. And I was looking out the window listening to the crickets. Just nice background noise. I was getting ready for bed and I was looking out the window. Just savoring the sound. And I took my aids off… and the crickets were gone. It’s such a simple sound. We take it for granted.”

Bruce is a patient at Bloomington Normal Audiology working with Dr. Natalie McKee, and we thank him for sharing his hearing journey in such a captivating, insightful way.

Watch the full story below: