Growing up, Emily Roback’s younger sister, Megan, was her second pair of ears. At school, Roback’s friends filled in the blanks for her and she even had note takers to ensure she didn’t miss out on anything.
With degenerative hearing loss, Roback has relied on others to help her reach educational goals, but now that she is a professional, living away from her family, she has come up with a new plan.
Roback’s solution to improve her hearing potential came in the form of bringing home a dog.
Ivey, a five-month-old Weimaraner, is Roback’s new companion. She says that until Ivey became part of her life, “I didn’t realize how much I was missing out on.”
Ivey alerts Roback to strange noises in the kitchen like the coffee maker overflowing, the microwave beeping and the doorbell. She also plans to have Ivey assist her in her chiropractic practice.
Ivey helps Roback meet and greet new patients, but she says her clients will al-ways have the option – due to fears or allergies – to be cared for without the presence of the dog.
There are organizations which pair adults in need of assistance with trained dogs, but Roback says she did not want to conform to the standard requirements, preferring to create her own, personalized solution.
“I guess that’s the entrepreneur in me. I feel like I’ve always had to give in and take what is (available) and say, ‘I will work with that.’ But why not create your best day (yourself)?”
Roback says Ivey will help her maintain her inde-pendence in the workplace.
“Ivey will signal me when people are approaching me or talking to me and to alert me to a moan of pain from a patient.”
Roback is a registered chiropractor who also offers nutritional counselling and life coaching.
She moved to Alberta from Ontario, opening a practice in Red Deer that she moved to Calgary two years ago. Her clients include helicopter pilots and engineers who are looking for ergonomic solutions in their workplace.
Roback speaks and writes on this topic and methods for avoiding injury in these fields.
She plans to have Ivey accompany her to conferences when she is asked to present talks.
Roback takes Ivey out on two runs or walks a day and they always choose noisy places.
“It is important that she goes out in public to hear as many sounds as possible,” she says.
This will help prepare the dog to assist her owner in the most stressful situations.
Roback’s degenerative hearing loss is aggravated by anxiety.
Although she wears hearing aids, when Roback finds herself in a stressful environment, her hearing shuts down completely, rendering the aids useless.
Right now Ivey is on a leash, but eventually she will walk on her own at Roback’s side.
As a puppy, Ivey attracts a lot of attention, despite her working dog coat complete with registration number.
Roback has to remind admirers that Ivey is in training and shouldn’t be petted.
Already the two are developing a bond.
“If I don’t like someone, she won’t, either,” says Roback.
Hopeful that her ability to hear remains the same as she ages, Roback says that even if her hearing capabilities decrease, she expects hearing aid technology will continue to improve.
We don’t train dogs but if you need any advice about hearing loss or hearing aids contact Hidden Hearing!