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Hearing and hearing loss
Tests and treatments
Audiology at Skiff
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Hearing and hearing loss

More than 28 million Americans have some type of hearing problem. This astounding number makes hearing loss the third most common health problem in the United States. Hearing loss affects people of all ages. In fact, three out of 1,000 babies are born with hearing loss and more than half of all hearing impaired persons are younger than 65.

The ear is divided into three major sections:

  1. The outer ear collects and funnels sound into the ear canal
  2. The middle ear passes sounds through a vibrating eardrum and across the three smallest bones in the body.
  3. The inner ear contains the hearing organ (cochlea). The cochlea processes sound and sends it to the brain for interpretation.

A problem in any three of these areas may contribute to hearing loss.

Signs of hearing loss:

  • Asking people to repeat themselves
  • Ringing, buzzing or roaring in your ears
  • Misunderstanding conversations
  • Staying home to avoid social situations
  • Complaining that people mumble
  • Strained personal and family relationships
  • Undue fatigue and stress at the end of the day
  • Turning up the volume on the TV and/or radio
  • Difficulties understanding speech in noisy situations
  • Pretending you heard what was said
  • Intensely looking at who is talking

Hearing loss is an invisible condition that interferes with relationships, school performance, job productivity and your emotional well-being. If you frequently experience one or more of these signs, it is time to consult with an audiologist.

Causes of hearing loss

  • Ear infections
  • Head injuries
  • Genetics and family history
  • Normal aging process
  • Excessive exposure to loud noises
  • Certain medications
  • Viral and bacterial infections

Most people with hearing loss can be helped with medical intervention and/or hearing aids. Hearing aids are the most common treatment to help persons with any degree of hearing loss. If you are wondering, "How much are hearing aids going to cost?", our audiologist can assist you with all of your questions.

Tips for talking to someone with hearing impairment

  • Look directly at the hearing impaired person, keeping hands and other objects away from your face. Be sure the room lighting is good.
  • Remove competing noise (TV, radio) when having a conversation.
  • Be patient with mistakes.
  • If a person misunderstands, rephrase the sentence rather than repeating it.
  • Group situations are very challenging for a hearing impaired person. Assist them by telling them the topic of conversation and other hints/clues if they are having problems.
  • Speak in a normal fashion without shouting, as shouting just distorts speech more.
  • Avoid talking too rapidly. Speak at a moderate pace, enunciating clearly.
  • Do not talk from another room; if you must, make sure the person has heard you call and knows what room you re in.
  • Recognize everyone, especially the hearing impaired, hears and understands less when they are tired or ill.Get the person s attention before you begin to speak.
  • Do not have objects in your mouth such as gum, food or cigarettes.

Tips if you are hearing impaired

  • Avoid poorly lit and noisy areas.
  • Educate others. Tell them how best to talk to you.
  • Anticipate difficult situations and plan how to minimize problems.
  • Concentrate on the speaker.
  • Look for visual clues to what is being said.
  • Don't bluff.
  • Set realistic goals about what you can expect to understand.
  • Sit as close to the key speaker as possible.

Tests and treatments

If you are concerned that you may have hearing loss, consult your doctor. He or she will conduct a simple exam to determine whether or not you would benefit from a thorough audiological exam. Your physician may block each ear one at a time and check for your ability to hear whispers and other noises. A tuning fork may also be used to test for air conduction (how you hear sounds coming through the air) and bone conduction (how you hear sounds that vibrate through your bone structures).

A more precise measurement of hearing is provided through audiometry. You will wear earphones attached to the audiometer. When you hear a sound, you ll be asked to indicate it by raising your hand or pushing a button. A graph will be made of the lowest volume at which you are able to detect each tone.

Depending on the results of your testing, it may be determined that you would benefit from a hearing aid, a device designed to amplify sounds. Not all hearing aids are the same and they can vary to meet individual needs. The audiologist at Skiff will assist you in choosing the appropriate hearing aid for you.

Audiology at Skiff

Despite the prevalence of hearing loss, with more than 28 million Americans affected by some type of hearing loss, the average person endures the condition for seven to 10 years before seeking help. But there is no need to suffer in silence. There is help if you or a loved one is experiencing hearing loss. The first step is a visit to an audiologist, a professional who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of people with hearing loss.

Why consult an audiologist?

By the virtue of their education, professional certification and licensure, audiologists are the most qualified professionals to perform hearing tests, refer patients for medical treatment and provide hearing rehabilitation services.

Qualified audiologists:

  • Hold a master's or doctoral degree from an accredited university.
  • Have special training in prevention, identification, assessment and non-medical treatment of hearing disorders.
  • Have completed a full-time internship.
  • Have passed a demanding national competency examination.
  • Have state licensure, where required.

Skiff Medical Center employs a medically based audiologist who can provide you or your loved one with a wide range of services including:

  • Comprehensive hearing evaluations for all ages, including newborn hearing screenings.
  • Selection, fitting and dispensing of hearing aids and other assistive listening and alerting devices.
  • Monitoring the outcome of your hearing aid fitting and adjustments to maximize benefit.
  • Patient and family counseling.
  • Communication strategies.
  • Referrals to a physician if medical evaluation or treatment is needed.

Contact us

To learn more about  the audiology services Skiff provides to Newton, Jasper County and the Des Moines area, call (641) 791-4386.

Skiff Medical Center
204 N. 4th Ave E.
Newton, Iowa 50208
Phone: (641) 792-1273
Toll-free: (888) 792-1273

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At Skiff, the best care is close to home.
Skiff Medical Center, a member of Mercy Health Network, is located in Newton, Iowa. We provide services to Jasper County residents in all major health areas, including general surgery, orthopedic surgery, radiology, obstetrics, emergency medicine, hospice, home care, laboratory, respiratory, audiology, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. The Skiff Specialty Clinic hosts more than 20 physicians specializing in cardiology, dermatology, ENT, gastroenterology, nephrology, neurology, oncology, pulmonology and urology.
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