AUDIBEL PROMOTES HEARING HEALTH

According to hearing health providers, nearly one in five Americans age 12 years and older – 48 million people – experience hearing loss severe enough to hinder communication. Hearing loss is the third most prevalent age-related disability in adults age 75 years plus, following arthritis and hypertension. Only 5 percent of hearing loss in adults can be improved medically or surgically. The vast majority of Americans with hearing loss are treated with hearing aids.

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“We do a full spectrum of audiometric testing, such as air and bone conduction tests and speech testing, to evaluate the hearing and find out where we stand,” Hoagland said. “At Audibel Hearing Aid Center, the test itself is free. It usually takes about an hour and it’s quick and painless.”


Bone conduction testing is extremely important, Hoagland added. “It allows us to find out what type of hearing loss the patient has, whether there’s something structural preventing sound from getting to the cochlea or whether it’s traditional sensorineural loss, which is basically nerve damage.


”During the testing, the hearing specialist may use a video otoscope to look into the ear. “It allows us to see exactly what’s going on inside the ear,” Hoagland said. “So if it’s something as simple as ear wax that’s causing the hearing loss, we can spot it and address the problem.”


A silicone impression is taken of the ear soa custom-made, custom-fitted hearing instrument can be created. Everyone’s ear canal is different; that’s why it’s not a good idea to use someone else’s hearing instruments.


“I strongly prefer custom-fitted hearing instruments as opposed to the over-the-counter hearing instruments that are one-size-fits-all,” Hoagland said. “At Audibel, we’re big proponents of custom-fitted hearing instruments. Everyone has their own fitting formula that’s best for them. The settings are different, and the key is to get it properly fit.”


Besides age, a number of other factors can cause hearing loss, including today’s environment in general. “The world is a noisy place,” Hoagland said. Hearing loss can occur because of working in a loud factory or because you use headphones to listen to music. Heredity plays a major role in hearing loss as well.

According to hearing health providers, nearly one in five Americans age 12 years and older – 48 million people – experience hearing loss severe enough to hinder communication. Hearing loss is the third most prevalent age-related disability in adults age 75 years plus, following arthritis and hypertension. Only 5 percent of hearing loss in adults can be improved medically or surgically. The vast majority of Americans with hearing loss are treated with hearing aids. Audibel, a Starkey Hearing Technologies brand, is recognized worldwide as a premier provider of hearing health care.


 “Audibel has been my family’s company for 68-plus years,” said Michael Hoagland, an audioprosthologist at Audibel Hearing Aid Center in Lexington. (An audioprosthologist is a specialist who fits hearing instruments.) “We’ve been here for quite a while.”


Over the years, there have been many intriguing innovations in the design and development of hearing instruments.


“The world’s first hearing aid was your hand cupped behind your ear,” Hoagland said. “A lot has changed since then. The difference today is night and day. It has changed dramatically, even in the last two years. We’ve made leaps and bounds in technology. It’s always evolving.”


Hoagland said Audibel is a pioneer in nanotechnology, which has

AUDIBEL PROMOTES HEARING HEALTH

made it possible to shrink hearing instruments and their components and put more features into them, such as noise reduction and feedback cancelation. “It enables people to hear better in noisier environments,” Hoagland said. “We have industrial patents on just about everything we do and we usually stay ahead of the curve as far as that technology goes.”


Perhaps more important for many people, hearing instruments these days are practically invisible. That’s a strong rebuttal to the often- heard argument against getting a hearing instrument – people who need them often are reluctant to let others know they have a hearing problem.


“One of the most popular hearing instruments today is what they call an invisible in-the-canal hearing aid,” Hoagland said. “They tuck discreetly in the ear to where no one can see them at all. Unless you told someone you were wearing it, they would never know. That’s what I wear.”


The first step toward getting a hearing instrument is to have a hearing evaluation. Hoagland recommends having your hearing checked during your annual physical, especially if you’re age 55 years plus.

TANYA TYLER

Tanya Tyler is the Editor of Health & Wellness Magazine

more articles by Tanya Tyler

Hearing loss has a vital connection to brain health. “There have been two studies that have come out recently that have found a definitive link between what they call brain atrophy and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and early-onset dementia,” Hoagland said. “The brain is a muscle and if it doesn’t get exercise, eventually it will fail you. If the ears aren’t carrying the signals to the brain, the brain can’t do its work; it can’t exercise. We need to keep those signals going up to the brain and keep it active.”


The good news is, the earlier your hearing loss is detected, the easier it is to treat.


“That’s one of the things we really, really want to drive home: early detection,” Hoagland said.


Taking care of hearing aids is relatively easy, but Hoagland says he prefers seeing his patients about every three months for maintenance. He’ll perform a 10-point check-up on the hearing instruments and the ears to make sure everything is working properly.


Several factors will determine which hearing instrument will be the right one for you. These include the nature and severity of your hearing loss; your lifestyle and the activities you regularly enjoy; your job; and the size and shape of your ear canal. If you’re still not sure whether a hearing instrument is right for you, Audibel offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on the purchase of a hearing instrument.


“Try it and see how it works for you,” Hoagland said. “If it works, great. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t cost you a penny.”

120 Cherrybark Drive, Lexington, KY, 40503

(859) 278-9568

www.centralkyaudibel.com