Marble Falls High School freshman Mandy Mullarkey walked out of Estes Audiology in Marble Falls on Dec. 23 streaming music and video chatting with a friend through new Bluetooth-enhanced hearing aids.
Mullarkey, who has been hearing impaired since birth, was able to replace previous aids she had been using for the past six years with a new state-of-the-art set through the Gift of Hearing from Estes Audiology Hearing Centers. The new hearing aids came at no cost.
Each year, the Gift of Hearing awards a set of hearing aids to one member of each community it serves. Since 2005, Estes Audiology has given away thousands of dollars in hearing aid devices to Central Texans through the program. Nominations for 2020 ended Dec. 4.
The new aids have greatly improved Mullarkey’s quality of life.
“Her current hearing aids, because of their age, have been in disrepair for quite a bit of the time,” said Dr. Mendy Engler of Estes Audiology. “So, she’ll now have devices that will be up and running and will have warranties for years.”
In addition to providing better overall sound, the noise processing provided by the hearing aids will be higher and greater than Mullarkey’s old devices.
Scene analysis is greatly improved, meaning she will be able to handle hard-to-hear situations better.
“It’ll be more automatic at picking sounds out and knowing what the situation is,” Engler explained.
Basically, these hearing aids will help Mullarkey better adjust to her environment as it changes.
The hearing aids also provide connection to the school’s FM system, which it uses for hearing devices in classrooms.
“I have a hard time hearing in school, so that’ll help,” Mullarkey said.
The new devices’ Bluetooth capabilities allow Mullarkey to stream audio from her cellphone. Before she left the doctor’s office, the teen was busy testing this new feature.
A few days after her calibration, the new hearing aids were running a little bit loud but otherwise were working great, said Mullarkey’s mom, Crystal Reynoso.
“She loves, loves, loves the Bluetooth,” Reynoso said.