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Audiogram can answer doubts on your hearing

Test of the month

Jan. 9, 2013
 
Hearing aid specialist James Ogurek, as seen from inside an audio booth at Beltone Hearing Solutions in Wausau, demonstrates an audiogram Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012.
Hearing aid specialist James Ogurek, as seen from inside an audio booth at Beltone Hearing Solutions in Wausau, demonstrates an audiogram Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012. / T'xer Zhon Kha/13 for 13
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10 Warning Signs of Hearing Loss:
1. People seem to mumble more frequently.
2. You hear, but have trouble understanding all the words in a conversation.
3. You often ask people to repeat themselves.
4. You find telephone conversation increasingly difficult.
5. Your family complains that you play the TV too loudly.
6. You no longer hear normal household sounds, such as the dripping of a faucet or the ringing of a doorbell.
7. You have trouble hearing when your back is turned to the speaker.
8. You have been told you speak too loudly.
9. You experience ringing in your ears.
10. You have difficulty understanding conversation when in a large group or crowd.
Source: Beltone

How to talk to a loved one about the difficult subject of hearing loss
You can help improve your loved one's quality of life by addressing the problem with understanding and care. With a few simple steps, you can start the conversation and help find a solution.
Step 1: Conversation starters
Using the phrase "I've noticed recently..." is a great conversation starter. Give real examples that demonstrate the hearing problem: for example, explain how you've noticed the grandchildren don't want to play games with Grandma or Grandpa any longer because they get frustrated they can't be heard.
Step 2: Conduct a casual hearing test
Visit www.Starkey.com and have your loved one answer five short questions and then listen to a series of tones. It only takes a few minutes and will give you both a basic understanding of any hearing loss issue that exists.
Step 3: Make an appointment
Hearing loss can affect a person's ability to learn, socialize and enjoy life. It also can affect personal safety, such as when important phone calls or alarms are not heard. Help your loved one make an appointment with a hearing care professional for an expert diagnosis so the hearing loss can be addressed.
Source: Brandpoint

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There are more people with hearing loss under retirement age than over age 65. According to the Better Hearing Institute, more than 6 million people in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 44 are living with hearing loss, and nearly 1.5 million are school age. It is an individualized problem; some might suffer with some ability to hear sounds and others the ability to separate sounds and understand sounds clearly.

National board-certified hearing aid specialist Jim Ogurek of Wausau said that the need to hear all ranges of sound will vary depending on the person’s occupation or daily life. Grade school teachers, for example, might be concerned about even minor hearing loss because they need to hear those high-pitched voices in the classroom. Ogurek said most people hear low tones well.

To find out whether your hearing falls below the normal range of hearing, an audiogram screening is performed.

First, Ogurek said, a video otoscope is placed in the ear to determine if there are physical, visible issues that might explain hearing loss. Then a short test is performed as a patient wears headphones and responds to the tester when low and high frequencies are played. The entire screening process takes about 10 minutes.

If the specialist determines that there is some hearing loss, an additional screening called a bone conduction test sends sound to the inner ear through a device that is placed behind the ear on the head.

The audiogram is recommended yearly or those over the age of 50 and for anyone experiencing concerns about their hearing. If left untreated, hearing loss can cause patients to feel irritable, stressed and lonely and often it can affect job performance and earning power. “Find out for yourself,” Ogurek said.

There is no fee for the screening. Hearing aids are 100 percent reversible if a patient decides to stop treatment.

-13 for 13 staff

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