January 2021

Hear Ye, Hear Ye: Randy Rose of Rose Hearing Healthcare Centers isn’t just a hearing aid expert; he’s a client.

Author: Barry Kaufman | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

Anyone who has suffered from tinnitus knows how debilitating it can be. Far more than just an annoyance, the constant ringing can drown out conversations, lead to permanent hearing loss and create a sense of overall frustration.

If you frequently experience tinnitus, there is some good news: it’s all in your head. “With information that we do have, we’ve found that the sound you are hearing is generated by your brain,” said Randy Rose of Rose Hearing Healthcare Centers. As the only certified tinnitus specialist in South Carolina, he’s delved deep into the science behind this affliction. In layman’s terms, the ringing that you’re hearing is nothing more than a signal sent out by your own brain in a misguided attempt to correct the hearing issue. The brain overcorrects, resulting in the ringing.

The good news is there are ways to hack your brain. If you ask Rose about it, he’ll pull out his phone and show you the app connected via Bluetooth to his hearing aid. “I’m hearing Zen music in my ears even right now, though I can still hear you,” he explained. “Eventually I won’t hear it, but my brain will still be trying to track a pattern in the music.”

The specialized music, an ambient soundscape of different tones and varying patterns, essentially shorts out the brain’s tinnitus response. “There is no set pattern to the music, but the brain keeps trying to find one. While it’s doing that, it stops creating the tinnitus signal,” Rose explained.

The neurological science behind it is something Rose has acquired over 42 years in the hearing aid business. The hearing aid itself is something he acquired due to his service in the U.S. Army Reserve.

“I was at Fort Benning doing weapons familiarization on the 50 cal, and we all forgot to put our protection in,” he said. (For the uninitiated, a 50 cal is a very large, extraordinarily loud gun.) “The ringing started that night. I lost hearing for four to five hours. It eventually got better, but then in my mid-40s it came back with a vengeance.”

Fortunately, Rose was already quite familiar with hearing aids at that point, having started on a journey that would see him open nine hearing health centers across California. When he made the journey to South Carolina three years ago, it was initially to retire. It didn’t last long.

“I don’t golf, I don’t fish, I don’t hunt,” he said. “So, after four months I said, ‘I need to get back to work.’”

He opened Rose Hearing Healthcare Centers on Main Street, allowing him to get back to what he loved: helping others hear better. As he had done for years in California, he brought to his new practice an insatiable thirst for new advancements in hearing aid technology.

The app on his phone doesn’t just calm his tinnitus. It’s packed with different features that enable better hearing in a variety of situations, from one-on-one conversations to crowded rooms. And it’s just one of the dozens of different options available to help combat hearing loss.

“We have all different sizes of hearing aid, whether it tucks behind the ear or goes in the ear. It all depends on the level of hearing loss,” he said. “And we carry all the different manufacturers.”

One new advancement he’s particularly excited about is the new Widex models with the ZeroDelay pure sound technology. Rose Hearing Healthcare Centers was among the first in the nation to get them. “It’s been an amazing product,” Rose said. “People love it, and the sound quality is probably the most natural sound I’ve worked with.”

The marvel of this new tech is the way it cancels out the echo effect that has plagued past hearing aid models.
“Think of it like when you’d watch an old kung fu movie and the lips don’t always match up with the words,” Rose explained. “It’s been the same way with hearing aids. People have complained about echoes and occlusions, but with the technology we have and the speed of this new platform, it’s been pretty amazing.”

This new technology couldn’t have come at a better time. “Because of the pandemic, people have realized how much of their ability to hear comes from their ability to read lips,” he said. “Regardless of what people think, we all read lips.”

Rose points out that one of his basic hearing tests involves having patients close their eyes. “If I let them open their eyes, they’ll get the words right just watching the way I talk,” he said. “But if I have them close their eyes, nine times out of ten they’ll get a pretty poor score because they hear the vowel sounds and not the consonants.”

For those relying on lip reading, it obviously becomes much harder to do when everyone is wearing a mask. As a result, Rose has had one of his busiest years to date. “It’s been unbelievable.”
Thankfully, if the masked reality of the new normal has you struggling to hold up a conversation, there is hope. You’ll find it at Rose Hearing Healthcare Centers.

Find out more at rosehearinghealthcarecenters.com.

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