Free Hearing Screenings Offered May 2-4

More than 28 million Americans are estimated to have some form of hearing loss. Hearing loss can affect people at any age, but the problem is even more pronounced among older Americans, many of whom attribute the lost sounds to the natural process of aging.

UC Health audiologist Stephanie Lockhart says there are a variety of treatment options available for all kinds of hearing loss—meaning patients don’t have to suffer the effects of hearing loss just because they are getting older.

As part of Better Hearing and Speech Month, audiologists with UC Health and UC Neurosensory Disorders Center will offer free hearing screenings from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 2, at the West Chester Physicians Office and Thursday, May 3, at the Clifton Physicians Office. Screenings will be offered at both locations from 8:30 to 4:30 p.m. Friday, May 4.

Hearing screenings are available to anyone concerned about hearing damage or interested in learning their own hearing levels, says Lockhart, who serves as director of audiology in UC’s Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery.

But she especially advises individuals age 40 or older to get their hearing screened, preferably once a year.

She says it’s because people over 40 are statistically more likely to have hearing loss—three in 10 people over 60 have hearing loss, and one in six baby boomers has a problem with hearing.

According to the National Council on Aging, people with untreated hearing loss tend to have more anxiety and depression around social events, leading them to withdraw from such activities or enjoy them less.

“The psychological impact of hearing loss is just as important as the actual hearing impairment,” says Lockhart. “Those who experience hearing loss can grow more and more isolated, even from those they live with. The ripple effect can extend to family members, friends and even co-workers.

“The good news is that the same study by the National Council on Aging found that treating hearing loss with hearing aids led to a significant increase in social activity and less depression and anxiety,” she says.

General warning signs of hearing loss include:

  • Frequently asking people to repeat themselves
  • Losing your place in group conversations
  • Turning the television louder than others like it
  • Turning an ear toward sound when listening
  • Pain or ringing in the ears
  • More difficulty than usual in restaurants or other noisy environments

During a hearing screening, an audiologist conducts a visual examination of the external auditory canals and eardrum with an otoscope. They will also place headphones or small ear plugs into the patient’s ear and instruct him or her to press a button upon hearing a beeping tone.

“In addition to asking patients about their hearing history, the exam allows us to determine if the patient needs a more comprehensive test to evaluate the type and severity of their hearing loss and develop a treatment plan,” says Lockhart.

Hearing loss can be caused by a number of things including genetics, medical conditions, injuries, medications, noise exposure and aging.

If the patient is found to have a significant loss, the treatment may involve medical intervention from an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat physician), or hearing aids may be recommended. To schedule a hearing screening, call (513) 475-8400.

The UC Health Physicians Office in West Chester is located at 7700 University Drive. The UC Health Physicians Office in Clifton is located at 222 Piedmont Ave.

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