Hearing loss is a sudden or gradual decrease in how well you can hear, and is one of the most common conditions affecting older adults.
According to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), approximately one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss. Nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing.
The struggles of hearing loss
For patients of all ages, Baystate Wing Hospital’s Audiology and Hearing Improvement Centers located in Palmer and Ludlow offer routine hearing tests, specialized audiological testing and tests for middle ear function.
“Hearing loss tends to isolate people, with hearing aids it can bring them back into the mix,” said Sheila Tzoumas, who joins fellow audiologist Deborah Stroetzel, to ensures that all patients receive accurate, up-to-date information to help them find the best possible solution for their hearing loss.
Having trouble hearing can make it hard to understand and follow a doctor's advice, to respond to warnings, and to hear doorbells and alarms. It can also make it hard to enjoy talking with friends and family. All of this can be frustrating, embarrassing, and even dangerous.
“Depending on their hearing loss, we offer a demo program where our patients can try hearing aids for a few weeks,” Stroetzel said. “Our patients often return saying wearing the hearing aids not only enhances their hearing, but also improves their ability to participate in life again.”
Even with the obvious signs, it still can be difficult to admit that changes in one's hearing are taking place. When seniors experience hearing loss, they sometimes feel embarrassed, afraid and left out.
To address this, Stroetzel and Tzoumas offer free periodic hearing services at area local senior centers. These free services are provided by one of the team’s experienced audiologists and include hearing screenings, a check for ear wax accumulation, and cleaning and checking hearing aids.
These free audiology screening are offered according the schedule below, pre-registration is required:
- Belchertown Senior Center, 413-323-0420: Friday, July 31 and October 23, 11:00 am -12:00 noon
- Ludlow Senior Center, 413-583-3564: Last Tuesday of the month, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
- Palmer Senor Center, 413-283-2670: Second Thursday of the month from 11:00 am – 12:00 noon
For more information or to make an appointment with Baystate Wing Hospital’s Audiology and Hearing Improvement Centers in Palmer and Ludlow which offers comprehensive hearing aid program providing hearing aid evaluations, demonstrations, purchases, fittings, adjustments and cleanings, call 413-284-5499.