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Can You Hear Me Now? May Is Better Hearing Month

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 are hearing.”

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 an experience.”

“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 is an independent, nonprofit community healthcare provider located in the heart of the Sierra Foothills. Marshall 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.