May 9, 2017 — Do you find it difficult to follow a conversation in
a noisy room? Do you find yourself asking people to speak up or repeat
themselves? Do you often turn up the volume on the TV? Does your family
complain about your hearing? You’re not alone.
The average person waits seven years to address their hearing issues. Because
hearing loss is a gradual process, many people learn to cope with it until
it becomes a serious issue. Among other conditions, hearing loss has been
known to cause depression, fatigue, social withdrawal, diminished memory
and imbalance. May is “Better Hearing Month,” and the audiologists
at Marshall ENT & Hearing Center are encouraging residents to be aware
of their hearing health.
The first step in treatment of a hearing problem is a hearing evaluation
by an audiologist. Marshall Audiolgists Mark Payne, Aud, CCC-A and Michelle
Throp, MS, CCC-A, are highly educated and clinically experienced health-care
professionals who specialize in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating people
with hearing loss and balance disorders.
Hearing loss can affect patients of all ages—newborns, infants, babies,
toddlers, children, teens, adults, and the elderly. Although hearing problems
are commonly associated with the normal aging process, more than half
of all hearing-impaired persons are younger than 65 and growing.
The most common cause of hearing loss is noise exposure. This is preventable
in some situations. If you are regularly exposed to loud noises, wearing
hearing protection such as earplugs is an effective way to safeguard your
hearing. If you listen to music using ear buds or headphones, turn down
the volume to under 85 decibels.
While hearing loss cannot be reversed, hearing devices can improve a person’s
ability to communicate. The stigma associated with wearing hearing aids
has long disappeared. Today’s digital devices are small, sleek,
comfortable and discreet. There are also styles that are worn in the ear
canal, making them virtually invisible. Lyric®, an extended wear hearing
device, is a hassle free invisible aid that can be worn in the ear for
2 months at a time before requiring replacement. Patients can even shower
with the device. Other advances are: titanium in-theear aids for greater
durability, Bluetooth® compatibility for direct streaming with cell
phones and other devices, and rechargeable hearing devices that don’t
require battery replacement. Some can even utilize your iPhone as a remote control.
“The advances just in the last year have been remarkable,”
Throp said. “The digital technology in these devices has gotten
so good. At this point patients aren’t just hearing better, they
are appreciating the sound quality: They are happier with the way they
On being an audiologist, Throp added, “I’m blessed in two major
ways: I provide important care and I see really inspiring results occur
right away. I can’t describe the feeling of watching someone put
on a new device before experiencing improved hearing. That in itself is
“I really appreciate the interaction I get with my patients,”
Throp said. “And while helping others hear better as an audiologist,
I have to remind myself how important it is to listen.”
Is it time to have your hearing assessed? Contact your doctor for a referral
to Marshall ENT & Hearing Center or call 530-344-2010
Marshall Medical Center is an independent, nonprofit community healthcare
provider located in the heart of the Sierra Foothills. Marshall Medical
Center includes Marshall Hospital, a fully accredited acute care facility
with 125 beds in Placerville; several outpatient facilities in Cameron
Park, El Dorado Hills and Georgetown; and many community health and education
programs. Marshall has more than 200 physicians and 1,500 employees providing
quality healthcare services to more than 180,000 residents of El Dorado County.