Mariëlle was nominated by her patient Elsbeth, who described how her speedy response led to the discovery of a benign brain tumour and, with the right diagnosis and treatment, opened up her world and improved her confidence.
After living with a hearing impairment since she was born, in 2018 she finally made the decision to see if there were any hearing aids out there that would make her life easier.
In her nomination, Elsbeth explained: “I am divorced, have two boys aged 19 and 21, had suffered a heart attack and found this was a good time to take the next step in my life.”
Mariëlle’s professional services were recommended by a friend of Elsbeth’s and she booked an appointment to get her hearing tested, as her sons had noticed that it had worsened over time. “My hearing was tested by Mariëlle and the result was rather shocking. My hearing had worsened so badly that my audiologist thought the best course of action would be to send me to an ENT specialist at the hospital. Mariëlle got on the telephone and made an appointment for me immediately.”
Nine days later, she visited the ENT specialist, thanks to Mariëlle’s efforts. At the recommendation of the specialist, a scan was carried out on Elsbeth’s brain, which found a tumour, fortunately benign, but it could not be operated on because it was located in between her carotid artery. After being diagnosed, Elsbeth was able be treated and get the hearing aids she needed.
She continued: “Mariëlle has become more of a friend then just an audiologist. She was very concerned about me and frequently called me on the telephone to ask how I was feeling. She is an absolute darling; an expert and professional audiologist who is genuinely interested in her profession and the people whose lives she makes better, clearer and bigger by finding them the right hearing aid. She recommended equipment that helped me to hear the doorbell, the alarm clock and smoke detectors.”
The annual competition is organised by RAYOVAC®, a world-leading hearing aid battery manufacturer*, in partnership with Audio Infos, a leading international hearing publication for the audiology industry, the European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (EHIMA) and the European Federation of Hard of Hearing People (EFHOH).
Now in its twelfth year, the competition honours the top hearing professional in each participating country, nominated by their patients, who have received excellent levels of support, service and care from their audiologist.
A panel of judges from organisations connected with the hearing industry from across Europe selected Mariëlle’s entry as this year’s winning nomination from the Netherlands.
Elsbeth’s nomination detailed how her world had changed since meeting Mariëlle. “Thanks to her, my world has become much bigger and I am now able to move about the house more confidently because I am not afraid of being home alone without hearing the doorbell.
“A world opened up to me, such as the little beeping noises and sounds that I was unable to identify, but which could tell me that an appliance has finished its cycle. There are also noises that could only be heard upstairs, which I now also hear downstairs. I feel much more self-assured in a group of people. I am no longer afraid to answer a question that may have been asked by someone before me, which I did not hear.
“I hope that everyone who finally takes the steps to take better care of themselves – and I have not reached the end of this journey yet – will find someone as nice and dedicated to her customers as my audiologist.”
The leading audiologists from six countries will now vie for the coveted title of European Audiologist of the Year 2019. The winner will be announced at an Evening of Excellence and networking event on the 16 October 2019 which will be held on the RAYOVAC® stand at the EUHA Congress and Exhibition, the world’s largest congress of hearing aid acousticians in Nuremberg, Germany.
Speaking on behalf of the panel, Secretary General for EHIMA, Stefan Zimmer said: “Picking a winner from so many detailed and heart-warming nominations is never easy. What we are looking for is those hearing care professionals who are going above and beyond merely expected levels of care in their practice. Mariëlle’s was a clear winner in this regard.”
Paula Brinson-Pyke, Marketing Director at RAYOVAC®, said: “Together with our sponsors, we’re delighted to be announcing Mariëlle de Heer as the Netherlands’ Audiologist of the Year.
“We receive a high number of outstanding entries each year, showcasing the impressive standards of work that is taking place and this year has been no exception to that.”
Visitors can attend the annual Evening of Excellence and networking event on Stand 401, Hall 4A, Wednesday from 5pm, where the 12th European Audiologist of the Year will be crowned.