July 2019

Hilton Head Hearing Service: We’re Listening! - Compassionate care for all your hearing needs

Author: Linda S. Hopkins

Compassion is often born of pain—a shared experience that allows us to connect to someone else’s suffering and perhaps help them solve a problem or feel less alone. Such was the case for hearing instrument specialist Steven Suminski, who has made a career of helping others cope with a problem he has lived with for most of his life.

As a child, Suminski was in and out of doctors’ offices with frequent ear infections and hearing difficulties. “I still remember telling my mom, ‘If I can ever help somebody not have the problems I have, I’m going to do that when I get older,’” he said.

But the field of aviation was also calling his name. Following high school graduation, Suminski enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he learned to fly. He later attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Professional Aviation and Delta College for computer science and business, obtaining his commercial pilot’s license and going to work for Comair. He realized his dream but quickly recognized that he didn’t want to live out of a suitcase. Married with two children, he needed a solid career—on the ground.

“My second love has always been hearing, so I went back to school for that,” he said. Suminski also has a hearing disability from being in the service on aircraft carriers. “I have a lot of difficulty, and that has pushed me even further towards helping other people.”

As a highly educated and specialized professional, Suminski could spout out technical terms, brag about his credentials and certifications, or tout his extensive experience. But he prefers to listen. What interests him is how you live your life: What are your hobbies and interests? How do you interact socially and/or in business? What brings you joy? What are you potentially missing out on because of hearing loss?

It’s no secret that untreated hearing loss has a profound impact on a person’s life and overall wellness. According to Suminski, besides frustration, depression and social isolation that often result, recent studies have shown that hearing loss can also lead to the onset and progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

“That keeps me motivated, because the products coming out today are truly amazing. I’ve had many patients come in over the years who were [seemingly] suffering from dementia, but they simply had a hearing loss and could not communicate,” he said. “When you see the light come on in their eyes and see them communicate again, it changes their whole perspective on life—and the family’s as well.”

Fortunately, the world we live in today provides many treatment options. Hearing aids using modern technology are smaller and more discreet than ever. They can connect to devices, like your mobile phone, TV or audio links. Some devices even have artificial intelligence allowing them to continually learn and adapt to your environment, Suminski explained.

“Originally, the only thing we could do was fit amplifiers. We could turn the volume up, but we couldn’t be sequential about it,” he said. “Today, we can individualize those frequencies and program them in so many different facets that we now have hearing devices that are better than human hearing.”

Suminski prides himself on staying up on the latest technology and the education to implement it. “I love to see people pleased by the results,” he said. “And I don’t just leave them out there and hope they do better. We follow up and do it consistently. We don’t let our patients fall by the wayside.”

If you are over the age of 50, it is recommended that you have your hearing checked once a year. “Don’t delay,” Suminski advises. “The biggest thing is taking that first step and going to someone who can thoroughly test your hearing.” But it’s not only about what the test shows. “I like to get to know my people and focus in on what they want to achieve,” he explained. “Everyone’s hearing loss is different.”

At Hilton Head Hearing Services, Suminski will help you understand your specific hearing deficiencies and offer solutions unique to you. “Don’t be misled by all the advertising out there about hearing aids,” he said. “People think they are too expensive or believe they can’t be helped. We have hearing instruments for most every budget, and our hearing test is free, so come find out.” 

Hilton Head Hearing Services is located at 23 Main Street, Suite 101A, Hilton Head Island. For more information, visit www.hiltonheadhearing.com or call (843) 681-6070 for an appointment.

About Steve
Steven Suminski is a nationally board-certified hearing instrument specialist and has been licensed since 1994. He has helped more people improve their hearing than any other hearing device dispenser currently practicing in the state of Florida. He is an avid pilot and has served as president of the Experimental Aircraft Association in Jacksonville, Florida. He is also a member of The Civil Air Patrol, working with cadets and flying search and rescue missions. Of Polish-German descent, Suminski grew up in Michigan with five siblings. He and his wife Cindy have been married 42 years; they have two adult children and two grandchildren.

What patients say

“When my single-ear hearing aid went on the blink, I went to see Steven Suminski. It was a simple malfunction, and he fixed it at no charge. I knew I was talking to a real gentleman. When I realized I needed double hearing aids, I went back to him, and believe me, I knew I was in the right place. He fixed me up immediately, and I’m able to hear so much better. My son and all my friends notice a big difference. In fact, right now, I am talking on my cell phone, but the sound is going through my hearing aids and I’m speaking through them. I’m very well pleased with their service and the product.”—William Stubbs

“It’s terribly frustrating to not be able to hear. Steven Suminski did something that was different. I had seen three or four different hearing specialists. No other people did this for me. I am very satisfied, and I would really recommend him.”—Sophie Miklos

“I’ve worn hearing aids now for 10 years, so this was not my first experience. I found Steven Suminski and Dianne, his assistant, to be very thorough, knowledgeable, personable … they’re a good team. His equipment is state of the art, and it’s a small operation, which is good. The new hearing aids he provided to me are just light years away from the ones I had five years ago. My biggest problem was being unable to hear the people across the table in a restaurant. Now I don’t hesitate to go to a restaurant, and I can hear and understand the people I’m with. I’m quite pleased!”—John Parsons

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