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Manhattan and Queens Audiology Gives the Gift of Hearing during May

NEW YORK – Manhattan and Queens Audiology is giving the gift of hearing during the month of May, which happens to be ‘Better Hearing and Speech Month.’ The effort is part of a nationwide campaign to donate hundreds of hearing aids which provide a multitude of life-enhancing benefits to users including better communication and conversations, even in noise, a boost in self-image and confidence, improved social life and mental health, feeling healthier and less fatigued, and improvements in relationships and at work.

Dr. Joanna Roufos and her daughter, Dr. Anna Maria, owners of Manhattan and Queens Audiology, invited The National Herald to visit their Manhattan office on May 3, as they fitted the donated hearing aids for four of their patients and began the day with a blessing from His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, formerly of America, who also provided some historical background on the icon that hangs in the office, the Theotokos Gorgorepikoos “she who hears speedily.”

Dr. Joanna Roufos, audiologist, and her patient Mike Mandel. (Photo by Dr. Anna Maria)

This miraculous icon was a gift from Dr. Roufos’ mother for the grand opening of her current Manhattan office. From Mount Athos in Greece, the icon was hand-beaded by nuns in a monastery in Ukraine, before the current crisis began, and then sent back to Mount Athos. Blessed on the Holy Mountain, the icon was then shipped to New York City and placed in the office in 2019. The blessings included that both owners Dr. Joanna Roufos and Dr. Anna Maria, Audiologists, and the other audiology doctors that work with them would always be abreast of the latest audiological technologies and diagnostic and treatment methodologies to ensure all patients with hearing and balance pathologies can also hear speedily. The icon is also symbolic of their field of work.

His Eminence noted that there are 700 names for the Theotokos and Gorgorepikoos is just one of those, related to the original icon from Mount Athos which speedily hears the prayers of those who venerate the icon.

Dr. Anna Maria and His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, formerly of America. (Photo: Dr. Joanna Roufos)

The gift of hearing project included donations of the highest-end hearing aids for all recipients and Dr. Roufos and Dr. Anna Maria matched the number of hearing aid donations from Resound, the hearing aid manufacturer. However, due to the overwhelming number of patients in need, the mother-daughter duo furthermore added in three years of comprehensive warranty and professional doctoral level services for all recipients at no additional charge. The price for each set of aids with this comprehensive package is $8,000, totaling $28,000 for the day’s celebratory event on these items alone.

Dr. Anna Maria and Dr. Joanna Roufos. (Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Roufos)

Each patient was fitted individually and the devices programmed and dispensed specific to their hearing loss from their comprehensive audiological evaluations. The hearing aids were connected to cell phones for telephone calls and apps were downloaded to give patients additional control over various listening environments to optimize their hearing.

The important link between hearing loss and cognition was also reviewed.

Dr. Anna Maria and Gene Alston. (Photo: Dr. Joanna Roufos)

“Our office is based in NYC with satellite offices in Astoria and Whitestone, NY,” Dr. Roufos told TNH. “We thought you would be interested in hearing these heart-warming stories from the following four recipients who obtained free new top of the line Resound Omnia 9 hearing aids as a part of our giving back to the community efforts for individuals who do not have access to the best treatment or technology but require it for their specific hearing needs.”

“Today, 250 million Americans live with hearing loss yet only one in five people who could benefit from hearing aids do so,” Dr. Roufos continued. “Sadly, it takes an average of 10 years for individuals to seek medical care for hearing loss. Untreated hearing loss has physical, social, emotional, and mental health implications.”

Dr. Anna Maria and Dr. Joanna Roufos. (Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Roufos)

“Furthermore, hearing loss is the number one modifiable risk factor for dementia,” Dr. Roufos noted. “The proactive management of modifiable risk factors such as hearing loss may delay or slow the onset or progression of the disease. Additionally research associates hearing loss with a variety of other conditions, including diabetes, chronic kidney disease, heart and cardiovascular disease, anxiety and depression.”

Dr. Anna Maria fits Roberto Hernandez with his new hearing aid as his son and daughter-in-law look on. (Photo: Dr. Joanna Roufos)

“We are honored to bring the campaign to New York City and excited to introduce you to Mrs. Demetra Demetropoulos, Mr. Mike Mandel, Mr. Gene Alston, and Mr. Roberto Hernandez, whom we selected to receive the donated hearing aids and services which brought smiles, tears of joy and gratefulness that continue to remind us to stop from our busy clinical rotations to appreciate the gift from God that we have which we have dedicated to our doctoral studies and clinical applications over a combined 30 plus years,” she said.

Dr. Anna Maria was closing her first year of doctoral work in her private practice with her mother and she spearheaded the campaign to ensure that giving back to the community becomes an annual event. Their patients have repeatedly reported the combined talents of the experienced and the new, younger doctors bring a comprehensive model to ensure the most successful outcomes for patients who suffer from hearing loss.

Dr. Anna Maria fits Roberto Hernandez with his new hearing aid. (Photo: Dr. Joanna Roufos)
Mike Mandel and Dr. Anna Maria at the Manhattan Audiology office. (Photo: Dr. Joanna Roufos)

Mrs. Demetropoulos was particularly moved when she was fitted with her new hearing aid and thanked the doctors and staff warmly for all their efforts. “I want to thank you with all my heart for doing the best for me, you are the best, the best, God bless you,” she said.

Mr. Mandel is blind and works as a television composer and keyboardist. For over 25 years, he has written for major TV clients such as Warner Bros. Television and his music has appeared on Entertainment Tonight, TMZ, Extra, All My Children, NCIS, The Good Wife, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Also an advocate for visually impaired musicians, Mandel is working on his physical strength, so he can get a service dog again.

The icon of the Theotokos Gorgorepikoos “she who hears speedily,” at the Manhattan Audiology office of Dr. Joanna Roufos and Dr. Anna Maria. (Photo by Dr. Anna Maria)

Mr. Alston since COVID had not been able to obtain new hearing devices for his complex hearing loss, while Mr. Hernandez, the youngest of the four patients receiving a donated hearing aid on May 3, lost hearing completely in one ear and is beginning to lose hearing in his better ear.

More information is available online: https://manhattanaudiology.com/.

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