Oakville Hearing Consultant Vincenzo Albanese has a message for youngsters – protect your hearing while you're young, or suffer the consequences.
One of the newest additions to the Connect Hearing Canada family, Albanese – who has been a hearing-health specialist for two years - has been at the Oakville location at Unit 12 – 511 Maple Grove Drive, Maple Grove Village Shopping Centre for a few months.
A former musician who still plays the guitar, Albanese lives with tinnitus – constant noise or ringing in the ears.
“I played in a band, a long time ago. I have ringing in my ears because of the loud music I was exposed to back in those days. It never went away,” says Albanese, who used to play at several social functions like weddings and clubs. “So my message to people – especially young people - is to think about your hearing health early, be conscious of the fact that what you do today has consequences into the future.”
Albanese says that he doesn't hear the ringing as bad during the hustle and bustle of the day when there's a lot of outside noise, but notices it more when the lights go out. Still, he feels very lucky.
“Some people suffer with severe tinnitus and have it extremely loud,” said Albanese. “For example, William Shatner has severe tinnitus. It's so loud for him that I read (People Magazine) that he actually contemplated suicide at one point."
The article in People Magazine went on to say medical authorities estimate that 10 million to 12 million people suffer from severe tinnitus, which can be triggered by loud noises, medication (some antibiotics, high doses of aspirin and the anti-anxiety drug Xanax) or sometimes simply by aging. While the condition cannot be cured, there are several medical strategies that can make it more tolerable.
We spoke to Albanese about his early years making music, trends in hearing health care, and the community of Oakville.
Connect Hearing: What interests you about your job?
Albanese: What interests me most about this job is that it allows you to blend many skills. From building a rapport with people and understanding their needs, to being able to explore anatomy, pathology, audiometry, technology and problem solving. This produces a result that makes a difference in all aspects of someone’s life.
Connect Hearing: What has been the most rewarding interaction?
Albanese: It was great to see a client beam while telling me that his spouse told him how much “sexier” he is now that he hears better.
Connect Hearing: Now that's funny. You don't often hear the word "sexy" used to describe improved hearing health!
Albanese: Well you know, she really wanted him to get the hearing aid. I think it was a ploy on her part to, you know, give him a bit of a push. She found it great that he was getting a benefit from the instrument. It wasn't a struggle - he could communicate better, and he beamed. His reaction was really good.
Oakville is a waterfront community west of Toronto that provides residents with a high quality of life. It has a busy core with many interesting shops and a wide variety of restaurants. In this community, most of the cases I see are age-related or noise-related. I just started in Oakville and our clinic is brand new. Most of the people I see are in their 60s. A lot of the noise-related injury hearing loss starts when people hit their 50s. It's often not noticed by the person who is developing it, it's usually noticed first by the people around them. For people dealing with hearing loss, they slowly get used to a quiet world.
So I think in this case, he was surprised to see just how much better he could hear and communicate. I think he was very happy that he listened to his wife and came in for a hearing test.
Connect Hearing: How has working at Connect changed your understanding of hearing health?
Albanese: The core values and approach taken at Connect has reaffirmed that if you approach people with the best of intentions and with the willingness to provide the best job possible, you will make a difference and improve the client’s quality of life.
Connect Hearing: What innovation has impressed you?
Albanese: I very much like how today’s hearing instruments can identify the environment the client finds himself in and respond accordingly. Automatic program switching makes the experience of wearing hearing instruments much more effortless and natural.
Connect Hearing: Are there any products out there that you really like?
Albanese: I do not have a particular product that I prefer. I like to try and focus on solutions that fit best with a client’s needs and lifestyle.
Connect Hearing: What do you do in your spare time?
Albanese: I like outdoor activities like cycling and hiking. I appreciate music, literature and the arts. I enjoy travelling and still have many places that I would like to visit.
Connect Hearing: What makes Connect Hearing stand out?
Albanese: The structure and level of support that Connect provides, enables my ability to focus on doing the best job possible, by providing my clients with the best and most appropriate solution available for their specific need.