Beulah’s Story

Beulah Combs – A New Lease on Life

Beulah Odessa Combs was born on April 8, 1939, and grew up in Norfolk. After marrying her navy husband, she relocated to Florida with him. His early death left her with a void, so she made the decision to start fostering children since she was unable to have any of her own. She did this for over 10 years. Some of the children would just stay a very short while; others stayed for weeks or months. The last child she fostered was a two year old named Cheyenne whom she loved like her own daughter. She assumed it would be a temporary situation, but circumstances led her to ask for custody of this child. The day of the court hearing, the biological mother saw the love they had for each other and consented to a permanent adoption, giving Beulah full custody. Today, Cheyenne is 16 years old, and college bound and the light of Beulah’s life.

Beulah served in the ministry for some time, but left that calling as she felt her hearing issues compromised her ability to do the job well. In September, 2017, Josh Grohler at the Wards Corner Beltone office fitted her with two Beltone hearing aids correcting her hearing issues. Now, she has a new lease on life! She’s ready to re-invent herself and move forward.

“I just love Josh Grohler at Beltone. He has taken such good care of me. I love my new Beltone hearing aids. They’ve made such a difference in my life.”

Beulah Combs, pictured with Josh Groher, Licensed Hearing Instrument specialist, Ward’s Corner Office

Beltone – Giving Back to the Community

Our Hearing Specialists not only care for each and every one of our patients, but the Hampton Roads community as a whole.

The Beltone family is proud to give back to the community, and we make sure to give back in a variety of ways. Beltone Southside sponsors a variety of local events, participates in the Food Drive every year, and donates to many other charities, but one of our favorite ways to give back is when we award a deserving local a new set of free hearing aids. Stay tuned for a feature blog post about our awardee! In Jacksonville, NC, Beltone awarded a USMC Veteran with a set of new hearing aids.

The Doctor Is “OUT”

By Peter Cousin
Director of Marketing
Beltone Southside Hampton Roads

John Brein with Beltone Owner Bari Grohler


Dr. John Brein of Chesapeake had it all. A beautiful wife, two wonderful children, nice home, a sailboat and a successful medical practice united by some of the finest physicians in Virginia. And – just like that – his medical profession ended. Achieving his medical degree as a general surgeon in 1982, from the Medical College of Pennsylvania, Dr. Brein specialized in Anesthesiology, based on the medical communities’ forecast of a shortage in this field by the year 2000. They were correct.

Completing his Anesthesiology Residency at Yale’s School of Medicine, he moved to Virginia Beach for its appealing appearance and professional opportunities. As a contributing member of a medical practice, their group became the anesthesia group for DePaul Medical Center where Dr. Brein became Chairman of the Anesthesiology Department. Life was good.

“By the age of 38,” Dr. Brein explains, “I began to notice a loss in my hearing. It became more difficult to hear the surgeons in the operating room, mouths covered by masks and voices sometimes soft or hushed.” He told one of his friends, an Otolaryngologist, about his hearing problem and they suggested getting an audiogram done. At the conclusion of the test, he was told he needed hearing aids in both ears. In disbelief, he told his friend he had to be wrong. They both reviewed the test and the conclusion was he had a loss in both ears.

Dr. Brein purchased one hearing aid and sought the medical advice from a well-known ENT surgeon in our area. With the hearing loss moderate to moderately severe, he underwent a surgical procedure to improve his left ear. While it improved the hearing capabilities to a degree, it was clear his hearing would not return to a level needed for his profession.

At the age of 40, Dr. Brein went to a convention called Self-help for Hearing Loss. “It was part of my discovery,” says the Doctor. “I found people of all ages there. I thought I would be surrounded by those much older than me. That’s how I envisioned people would be with hearing loss. To my surprise, there were many younger people in attendance. What I realized was younger people have a self-image problem. I, on the other hand, wanted more information – as much as I could gain. I wanted to know anything and everything about this hearing loss I had. There were not a lot of answers. What I did find out is you don’t really know how much communication you’re missing and the people you’re hurting (especially those closest to you) when you don’t address the problem.”

By the age of 43, his hearing had worsened. Even with the use of very powerful hearing aids in both ears, he found himself at a disadvantage and at issue was the very safety of his patients. After advice from his attorney and discussions with his partners and family, he ended his career.

Says Dr. Brein, “The perception is that hearing aids are too expensive and not “cool” for younger people. How untrue. I got hearing aids because I couldn’t hear what people around me were saying. Not only was it frustrating for me but it was frustrating for those around me I care about. I continued to have the TV too loud, spoke at a much louder tone of voice so people could hear me (actually so I could hear me) and never realized that the sore throat I continued to experience was from my own yelling.”

As the saying goes, “When One Door Closes, Another Opens.” This was true of Dr. Brein. He was Bari & Jon discuss his change of career closing out one successful profession and entering into a new exciting one as a Property Manager and owner of Home Choice Properties (Real Estate investment had been something he had been interested in for some time). “I buy homes, fix them up and rent them to wonderful people to enjoy. After wearing full-shell inside the ear hearing aids for more than 5 years, he was swayed by a Beltone newspaper ad he had seen and came into the office to see about the new technologically advanced hearing aid called True™. Being a “techy” of sorts, he wanted the very best hearing aid on the market with all the bells and whistles. When I asked him why he chose the True™ over less technological

Beltone” he says, “just sounds better. It’s clearer. With this new equipment, I can listen to MP3 formats and when the phone rings, the MP3 cuts off for my use of the phone. When I’m done with the call, the MP3 cuts back on automatically. That’s pretty nice. I can also listen to music or other media while still receiving the ambient sounds around me. That’s very close to normal hearing. Beltone’s new technology is on the cutting-edge and that excites me.”

I asked how it affected his hearing. He told me “before the True™ hearing aid, my right ear was so bad my old hearing aid provided next to nothing for me. With the new True™ hearing aid, it seems as though I’ve actually gained more than 50% hearing (and comprehension) in that ear. That is amazing.” I now wear the new True™ in both ears and it’s had a profound effect on my family life. My wife keeps saying I’m different. I’m no longer yelling when I talk and, at times, she has to listen to hear me. It’s great.

Jon holding the True™ in his palm sophisticated equipment he said “because I deserve it! If this is the best then this is what I want!

In closing, I asked Dr. (goes by Jon now) what he would say to someone in their 40’s and 50’s about hearing loss that might change the way they perceive the use of hearing aids. He said quite proudly, “The way it impacted me, was the people I love were suffering. I was blaming them for my problems of not hearing. You have no idea what you’re not hearing(and of course, understanding) and how much impact it has on people around you.

People with hearing problems, no matter their age, become bluffers. If you don’t hear what someone says or only catch part of it, rather than causing frustration or embarrassment, you make up in your mind what they are saying and hope you’re right. You’re not reading lips as much as you’re reading faces and expressions. After awhile you get to be pretty good at it but that’s not the answer for future happiness. The new hearing aids at Beltone fit over your ear and are not noticeable unless someone looks for them. And with the small clear tube that fits into your ear, you hear clearly not loudly, and are hardly noticeable. In short, hearing trumps everything else. It’s worth hearing what you’re missing. Call the folks at Beltone. They will take very good care of you… just like they’ve taken care of me.”

My Name is Dorothy, but you can call me ‘Sue’.

The story of a caring, loving, dedicated human being.

When 75-year-old Dorothy Airth was born into a family of 4 brothers and 2 sisters in Norwood, Massachusetts, her middle sister suggested they name her Sue or Susie. The other children agreed; and from that day forward, she was known as ‘Sue’.

“The first day of school, however, was a different story,” says Sue. “During roll-call, the teacher went through the student roster, acknowledging each person; then, she came to the name Dorothy Airth. “Dorothy,” she called. “Is Dorothy here? Dorothy Airth — are you in the room?” the teacher bellowed. Hearing her last name, she knew it must be her, so Dorothy replied, “I’m here!”

That afternoon, when she arrived home, she asked her mother why her name was Dorothy and not Sue. Her mother replied with a smile; and raising both her shoulders said, “I don’t remember. No matter. When parents name their children, the kids never like their names, anyway!”

While Dorothy was growing up (We’ll just call her ‘Sue’, since everyone else does!), she began losing family members in tragic ways: First, her sister, only 26 years old, died during childbirth. Her brother Bill, just 39 years old, died during an experimental cancer treatment. Sue stayed by his side until the very end. Sue’s devotion to her older brothers and sisters kept her strong; and as the “baby” of the family, she soon took on the position of family matriarch.

Now married with children, Sue’s oldest brother, Bob, talked them into moving to Virginia Beach to escape the harsh winters of Massachusetts; so, in 1977, they packed up and moved here with their two children (daughter Cheryl and son Alan). No matter the distance in the new home, the bond kept her in close touch with each remaining member of the family.

In the 60s — now divorced and a single mother of two — she rushed to North Carolina, where her 3rd brother’s wife was diagnosed with brain cancer. She took care of her brother and his family of 4 children, along with her own two. After extensive surgery, the doctors removed 95% of the cancer, and she pulled through. Sue remained in North Carolina to take care of her sister-in-law and the family for more than 3 months, before returning to Virginia Beach.

Sue remarried and gave birth to another girl, whom she named ‘Robin’. Now, with three children of her own, each time family members became ill, Sue rushed to their side — comforting them, loving them, giving of herself to make sure they had everything they needed, sometimes staying for several months until their passing.

Sue says, “They’re all gone now — my mother, my father, all my brothers and sisters. I’m the only one left. Family is the most important thing a person can have in this life. I believe I was born to take care of my family growing up and to become a healthcare giver, no matter who needs my help!”

Again divorced, Sue moved in with her youngest daughter, Robin, at her request. Robin said, “Mom, you have given so much to so many over the years…please let me take care of you.” Sue agreed.

“During the last ten years,” Sue tells us, “my hearing had become more and more strained. I was turning the TV volume up really loud and found myself saying, “huh?” every time someone talked to me. So, about seven years ago, after reading an ad about Beltone in Virginia Beach; and with the help of my retirement from 20 years at the Virginia Beach School System, where I worked in food service (Cafeteria), I scraped together the money to buy a set of hearing aids. This gave me back an important part of my life — the ability to hear. When my daughter Robin talks to me, she starts the conversation by asking, ‘Mom… you got your ears on’?”

“Over the last two years, my hearing has become worse; and my hearing aids no longer help me as much as I need. However, with my limited income, I know that I cannot afford to purchase new ones!”

Then, I received a call from Bari Grohler, the Owner of Beltone on the Southside. She said, “Sue, we’ve been thinking about you and would like to talk with you, if you can find some time to meet.”

“In a meeting with Bari, Beth Hall (Beltone’s VP), and Peter Cousin (Beltone’s Director of Marketing), Bari shared with me, ‘we began a tradition last year of gifting a set of hearing aids to a deserving patient whom we selected for having given to others unselfishly and without expectation of anything in return. While examining our files, yours continued to rise to the top for consideration; and we are so excited to inform you that YOU have been chosen to be our Second Year Recipient’!”

Tears rolled down Sue’s face, as she was handed a tissue, trying to choke back her emotions. “This is amazing! I’m overwhelmed at your generosity,” she said. “Thank you so much for this recognition, and I’m so moved to have been chosen! I don’t have the words to tell you how much this means to me! There is no way I could afford to purchase a new set of hearing aids at this time of my life.”

Bari continued, “Sue, we are thrilled to present you with a complete set of state-of-the-art, Beltone hearing instruments, which are digital and self-adjusting!” (Bari showed Sue an example, which she held in her hand.) “These will fit over your ear with a very small, almost invisible clear tube, which will fit comfortably into your ear canal. We want you to know that this gift also includes a lifetime of batteries, repairs and cleaning; and it is truly our pleasure to reward you for your lifetime of giving!” [The value of this gift is placed at more than $8,000.00.]

“This amazing person — a lover of life, friends and family — is well-deserving of this gift,” stated Bari Grohler, “and we are so thrilled to make Sue Airth this year’s recipient!”

Our Patient is Now a Legend!

Beltone Hearing Aids Helps Hampton Roads Local’s Life

By Peter Cousin Beltone Southside Hampton Roads

Four years ago we met Jon Brein, a prominent Property Manager and Real Estate investor in Hampton Roads, Virginia. By the age of 43, Jon was enjoying a lucrative position as Chairman of the Anesthesiology Department at DePaul Medical Center in Norfolk, Virginia, until his hearing became an obstacle in surgery he could not overcome. Moving his career to property management and investments, Jon wore full-shell custom hearing aids for more than 5 years. This allowed him to perform his work but the quality of hearing was not what he wanted. It was loud enough but he couldn’t hear clearly and found himself asking people to repeat themselves multiple times.

Finding a Local Hearing Aid Center

Jon first contacted Beltone in November of 2010 to try out the new True hearing aid. “Being a ‘techie’ of sorts, I wanted the very best hearing aid on the market. It just sounded better. It’s clearer. This new equipment allowed me to listen to MP3 formats and when the phone rang, the MP3 cut off allowing me to use the phone. When I was done with the call, the MP3 cut back on automatically. That’s pretty nice. I also was able to listen to music or other media while still receiving the ambient sounds around me. That’s very close to normal hearing.  Beltone’s technology is always on the cutting-edge and that excites me.” I asked how it affected his hearing. He told me “Before the True™ hearing aid, my right ear was so bad my old hearing aid provided next to nothing for me. With the new True™ hearing aid, it seemed as though I actually gained more than 50% hearing (and comprehension) in that ear. That is amazing.” I now wear the new True™ in both ears and it’s had a profound effect on my family life. My wife keeps saying I’m different. I’m no longer yelling when I talk and, at times, she has to listen to hear me. It’s great. In June this year (2015) Jon came in to have his True™ hearing aids serviced. While in the office, he inquired about new technology available from Beltone called Legend™. Beth Hall, VP of Operations and Licensed Specialist, told Jon about the new units. She explained the improvement in the system including a larger battery with more life. Jon told Beth he bought the best hearing aids on the market four years ago from Beltone. “I’m always interested in what’s new and better.” Beth shared the advantages of the newPersonal Sound ID™ and explained that it was built for everyday life, including extreme sports and bad weather. Beltone Legend is treated with the HPF80 NanoBlock coating which blocks moisture and dirt. Jon was very impressed with the new interfacing. The made for iPhone® integration streams sounds wirelessly to the hearing aids from an iPhone, iPad® or iPod touch®, while the HearPlus app can control the hearing aids directly from an iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. He told Beth to hold on servicing his older units and to hook him up with a new set of Beltone Legends. “I’ve been a one man office with my business as an investor and property manager. I manage all the tenants, do repairs myself, take care of the books and answer the phones. These new hearing aids will help me take it to the next level without hiring others because of my hearing disability. These new aids are everything I could want in a quality hearing aid.” “To be honest, I had been looking around for all types of hearing aids and companies and what new technology would best suit my personal needs. Beltone has always been good to me with pricing and service and the people at Beltone are just the best. I have a good relationship with several of their people and their owner, Bari Grohler. I’m very happy with this product and recommend it to anyone and everyone who needs hearing aids either for the first time or as an upgrade to what they’re wearing currently.” In closing, I asked Jon what he would say to someone in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s about hearing loss that might change the way they perceive the use of hearing aids. He said quite proudly, “The way it impacted me was, the people I love were suffering. I was blaming them for my problems of not hearing. You have no idea what you’re not hearing (and of course, understanding) and how much impact it has on people around you. People with hearing problems, no matter their age, become bluffers. If you don’t hear what someone says or only catch part of it, rather than causing frustration or embarrassment, you make up in your mind what they are saying and hope you’re right. You’re not reading lips as much as you’re reading faces and expressions. After awhile you get to be pretty good at it but that’s not the answer for future happiness.” “The new hearing aids at Beltone fit over your ear and are not noticeable unless someone looks for them. And with the small clear tube that fits into your ear, you hear clearly not loudly, and they’re hardly noticeable. In short, hearing trumps everything else. It’s worth hearing what you’re missing. This is the most cutting edge aid in my experience out there. With Beltone you get quality, reliability and service to back it up. This is the best hearing aids on the market.” “Call my friends and professionals at Beltone. They will take very good care of you… just like they’ve taken great care of me.” Contact Beltone today at 757-497-3900. They are conveniently located with six offices throughout Hampton Roads, Virginia. You NEED to hear what you’re missing!