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Baystate Wing Hospital Celebrates the Gift of Hearing with Audiology Patients

July 05, 2018

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.

Baystate Wing Hospital offers audiology (hearing) services to patients of all ages in Palmer, Ware, and Ludlow. Services include routine hearing tests, specialized audiological tests, and tests for middle ear function.

One in Four People Between 65 and 74 Has Hearing Loss

“Hearing loss tends to isolate people, with hearing aids it can bring them back into the mix,” said Sheila Tzoumas.

Tzoumas joins fellow audiologist Deborah Stroetzel and Cassandra Hawk, an audiology intern, to ensure that all patients receive accurate, up-to-date information to help them find the best possible solution for their hearing loss.

“Depending on their hearing loss, we offer a demo program where our patients can try hearing aids for a week,” said Stroetzel. “Our patients often return saying wearing the hearing aids not only enhances their hearing, but also improves their ability to participate in life again.”

Hearing loss can be 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 four people between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing.

Baystate Wing's Audiology Team is Here for You

In addition to testing, the audiology team offers comprehensive hearing aid programs that provide hearing aid evaluations, demonstrations, purchases, fittings, adjustments, and cleanings. Special services such as swim plugs, noise protectors, and musicians’ earplugs are also available.

Staff from Baystate Wing’s audiology program also offer free clinics at the Palmer, Ludlow, and Belchertown Senior Centers, providing hearing screenings, checking ears for wax, and cleaning and checking hearing aids at no charge.

In 2008 the Baystate Wing Audiology Honor Fund (AHF) was established by an anonymous donor to help provide financial assistance to eligible individuals in the Quaboag Hills and Pioneer Valley Regions, who were motivated to improve their hearing with the use of hearing aids. Since the program began, 40 honor fund recipients have received financial assistance for hearing improvement aids thanks to the generosity of the donor and also many other donors that continue to grow the fund.

Applications for the honor fund are now being accepted, and recipients must meet certain criteria in order to obtain funding through the AHF. The necessary criteria includes: the applicant has a yearly income of less than 200% of the federal poverty level, and is serious about wearing a hearing aid. Applications are available by calling 413-370-5499.

Celebrating the Gift of Hearing

On Friday, June 29 2018, the Baystate Wing rehabilitation team hosted a patient appreciation breakfast at the Ludlow County Club to celebrate the gift of hearing with over 170 of their hearing aid patients from throughout the region. In addition to thanking patients for choosing Baystate Wing for their audiology and hearing aid care, this annual event was an opportunity for audiology patients and their guests to learn more about the wide variety of health care services offered by the audiology program, as well as the many health care services and new physicians that have recently joined the Baystate Wing Hospital.

“How wonderful it is to have such a talented audiology team to care for us locally,” said Georgette Korzec of Warren, who attended the annual breakfast. “With Deb and Cassie’s help, my hearing is back to where it used to be. They have opened a whole new world of sound for me.”

To make an appointment or to learn more about Baystate Wing audiology services, please call 413-370-5499.