Art of Aging: Hearing loss

Thursday, January 15, 2015
VIDEO: Art of Aging: Hearing loss
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In this week's Art of Aging series, Lisa Thomas-Laury reports on a treatment for hearing loss.

In this week's Art of Aging series, Lisa Thomas-Laury reports on a treatment for hearing loss.

Do you often ask people to repeat themselves? Do others complain you have the TV up too loud? If you answered yes, chances are you have hearing loss.

A stint in the army followed by a career in industrial engineering have taken their toll on Rich Winner's hearing.

"I was in service, firing big guns," said Winner.

Dr. Barbara Madden, an audiologist at Riddle Hospital Main Line Health, says hearing problems can develop suddenly - but most of the time, we barely notice them coming on.

"There's actually mechanical changes to the nerve, where the nerve cells, the hairs are physically damaged," says Dr. Madden.

If you suspect trouble, she says see a doctor first to check for any physical causes.

Then, comes a hearing test - to measure the type and degree of any hearing loss.

Next is the very important listening needs assessment.

Dr. Madden says, "Because each one of us has different environments that we're in each day, and that listening needs assessment, in combination with the hearing test, helps us formulate a treatment plan."

She says there's been a revolution in hearing aids since she started.

"We were adjusting hearing aids with screw drivers," she adds.

Now, almost all hearing aids are like mini-computers.

"We can adjust the sound-processing, noise-reduction features and a lot of the comfort features right on the software," said Dr. Madden.

Winner says, "I hear more surroundings."

Some devices even link with smart phones - directing calls, highway navigation or music right into the hearing aid.

You can find more health tips on our Art of Aging section.