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November 28, 2002

Audiology services move forward in Sudbury

From: Sudbury Star, Canada - 28 Nov 2002

By Jennifer McCauley/The Sudbury Star

Thursday, November 28, 2002 - 11:00

Life - The Canadian Hearing Society in Sudbury is now a one-stop shop.

With the addition of audiology services, which allow onsite hearing tests and diagnosis, the society now offers all the elements necessary to aid those with hearing problems.

Mayor Jim Gordon, the first to test the new equipment Wednesday gave the process a firm endorsement.

“I found it intriguing,” Gordon said. “A lot of people, especially as we get older, have diminished hearing, but (are) often shy from getting tested. But when you have a service in a community like this, it’s important to take advantage of that service.

“A lot of what we learn is visual, but for me, I really learn through hearing. That is why it is so important to find ways to compensate for hearing loss.”

Lorrie Matarazzo, an audiologist, said the new equipment adds a “very important component ...

“We’ve always had the counselling services, oral rehabilitation services, employment counselling and, now that we have the audiology services, it really rounds off our service.

“Now people can come here to be diagnosed and then receive the treatment they need.”

Victoria Baby, regional director, agreed. “We’re really excited to be able to help people from point A to point Z,” Baby said.

The testing is broken down into two areas. First, the outer ear and middle ear are tested with different pieces of equipment to ensure sound is getting to the ear properly and there are no obstructions.

The second part of the test is performed with headphones. Different words and sounds at varying levels and frequencies are played for the patient.

Based on the patient’s reactions, the audiologist can compile a profile. “This explains to the person why they hear some things and not others,” Matarazzo said. “This helps determine what type of treatment is needed.”

Results of the testing are immediate, and arrangements can be made the same day to order hearing aids or anything else that is needed to fit the person’s needs and lifestyle.

Baby said counselling is another major component of treatment for many. “For some it is a grieving period, so our counsellors work with the person to help them adapt to any changes.”

Aside from helping with emotional needs, the society also teaches how to use and clean hearing aids and how to minimize the impact of hearing loss on a person’s life.

Devices for the home, such as alarm shakers, which shake the bed to act as an alarm clock or to warn of an activated smoke detector, are available.

Many don’t have their hearing checked often or soon enough, Matarazzo said, because hearing fades so slowly, people slowly become accustomed to it. Often it is family members who notice first.

“Unfortunately there is still a stigma attached to hearing aids and there are so many people who could be benefitted by them,” she said.

“But, for either cosmetic or social reasons, they don’t want to wear them.

Those exposed to a lot of noise at work should have their hearing checked annually, Matarazzo said.

“If there is a child who has hearing loss in their family, they should certainly be checked as well,” she said. “But, for the average adult, if they are not experiencing problems or have no history of ear infections or surgery, a test isn’t necessary.”

Warning signs of hearing loss include ringing or buzzing in the ear and having difficulty in social situations.
ID- 15234 © 2002 , OSPREY MEDIA GROUP Inc. All Rights Reserved.