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January 27, 2003

New hearing center opens in Hartland

From: Livingston Daily Press, MI - 27 Jan 2003

A picture is worth a thousand words, and a picture of the inside of the ear can make all those words much clearer.

Livingston Hearing Center in Hartland Township is open for business to provide all kinds of hearing services. The business can test for hearing loss, fit for and repair hearing aids and offer solutions to prevent any further hearing loss.

The first stop of the business, owned by David and Kimberly Kelley, is the fitting room, where a video otoscope takes a picture of the inside of the ear canal. It projects the image of the ear canal on a screen, so patients can see any damage done to the ear.

The picture can also tell if hearing loss is caused by wax buildup, damage to the eardrum or foreign objects. Kimberly Kelley, a licensed audiologist, said she's seen eraser tips, small toys and even bugs in ears, especially children's ears.

"Not all hearing loss requires hearing aids," Kelley said.

The next step is the sound booth, where headphones emit tones to which patients respond. A bone conductor test checks for deafness, and if any medical problems are found, the patient can be referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist.

Sometimes, the solution is as simple as a television or telephone amplifying device. If a hearing aid is needed, the patient's lifestyle and hearing problems are discussed first.

"We try to match the patients with the best hearing solution," Kelley said.

Among the Starkey Labs hearing aids Livingston Hearing Center can provide, digital hearing technology aids process the sounds by breaking them up into computer bits. Background noise can be filtered out and a limit can be placed on how loud a sound gets

"These are not the same hearing aids that your Uncle Bob wore," David Kelley said.

Hearing aids can now be made so they fit almost invisibly in the ear, or larger for people with limited dexterity.

David Kelley is also pro-active in hearing loss prevention, and the business offers ear plugs, swimming plugs and advice on how to prevent any further hearing loss. He said the goal is for patients to leave the office and be able to function in society as a person with normal hearing.

When people hear better, they communicate better and have better relationships, he said.

David Kelley also visits senior centers and other gathering places for screenings and demonstrations. They will host an open house Feb. 19-21, with a representative from the Starkey company demonstrating digital technology.

Starkey Labs sponsors foundations, giving out thousands of hearing aids for the underprivileged children in America and other countries. David Kelley said once the business gets settled, he would like to sponsor such a trip.

Livingston Hearing Center will also forward donations of old hearing aids to be recycled.

Livingston Hearing Center is located on the east end of the township, on the north side of M-59, at 12319 Highland Road. The office is in Suite 201 of the Trillium Professional Center and can be reached at (810) 632-0900.

By Kristin Lukowski DAILY PRESS & ARGUS

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