Several times throughout the year I like to write about “stuff” that happened recently in our office.  Now is the time to do that again.

**If you did not catch last month’s Senior Savvy, we are partnering with The Community Care Clinic of Rowan to provide their patients hearing services.  We are in need of used hearing aids that are out dated but still in working condition.  We are going to present the clinic with their hearing screener this month, so Dr. Wilson and her staff can check their patient’s hearing.  We will then be using donated hearing aids on their folks that need assistance, but do not qualify for financial aid.  We greatly appreciate the devices we have received so far…A special thank you to Karel, Jean and Uta for their donations.

**We have known the dangerous effects of noise exposure for a long time.  Of recent concern is the effect of listening to loud music with earbuds.  This is having a negative effect on our young people.  Last month, I tested a North Rowan High School student, referred by Salisbury Pediatrics, because he did not pass his hearing screening.  His father reported that he continuously listens to loud music while using earbuds.  His hearing test revealed a noise induced, non-correctible hearing loss. As an audiologist for almost 35 years, historically this is not a population we typically see with hearing loss.  So, please remind your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren…”Turn it down!”

I told you last year about another High School student who was sleeping with his earbuds.  I saw him last month for a follow up.  I am glad to say, his mother took away his earbuds and as a result he has not had further decrease in his hearing ability. We will continue to monitor his hearing.  Any additional decrease and he will be referred for hearing aids.  I think he heard my message loud and clear last year.  I am proud of his mom.

**Sidney sent me a very interesting article from the Washington Post titled “For those with hearing impairments, restaurant noise isn’t just an irritation; it’s discrimination. Under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, restaurants- as places of public accommodations- must accommodate disabilities. But what if the disability is a hearing impairment and the request is for lower volume?  The law also requires “full and equal enjoyment in places of public accommodation”.  We know that many people with hearing difficulties don’t fully enjoy noisy restaurants.

Restaurants these days are louder than ever.  Restaurant noise routinely climbs into the high 70-decibel range (the whir of a canister vacuum) and sometimes hits the mid-80s (the roar of a nearby diesel truck). At 70-decibels, only half of speech is intelligible.  By 75-decibels, people can’t converse at all without shouting.  And that’s for people with normal hearing. So imagine the difficulty those with hearing impairment encounter.  But we can all make a change.  Please be proactive…asking your servers to turn down the music.  Support our local restaurants that make the dining experience enjoyable.

**I evaluated two women who came to see us due to bothersome tinnitus.  One related the onset to taking Xanax for anxiety.  Once she determined why her ears were making strange noises she stopped the medication.  However her tinnitus continues.  The other woman associated her tinnitus with taking Lipitor for slightly elevated cholesterol.  She stopped the medication, changed her diet, and lowered her cholesterol but still her ears are ringing.  So, my take home message, check the side effects of new medication before you start taking them.  Be sure to ask your physician if other options are available.

If you have any questions, concerns or would like to schedule an appointment, give Beth or Jamie a call at (704) 212-2376.  Be sure to check out our website www.hearingsolutionsofnc.com. Jane and I look forward to seeing you soon.