By Mike Cook
“Hearing loss does not discriminate,” said Las Cruces Audiologist Hearing Care Expert (EHC) Dr. Allie Lambert.
Although the tipping point for hearing loss is often “aging-related changes to the auditory system,” said owner and audiologist Dr. Kelly Churchill, EHC has clients from infancy to 105 years old.
A basic hearing test is the starting point for every client, Churchill said.
This test will determine if there is hearing loss, how severe it is and what steps can be taken to address it, Churchill and Lambert said.
The test can also identify tinnitus (persistent ringing in one or both ears), earwax (wax) buildup, and other issues that can affect hearing quality.
In addition to aging, hearing loss can be caused by heredity, disease, and prolonged or even one-time exposure to high decibel sounds like fireworks, gunshots, and loud music.
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDOCD), approximately 15% of American adults (40 million) ages 18 and older report hearing problems.
Age is the strongest predictor of hearing loss in adults aged 20 to 69, with the highest number of hearing losses in the 60 to 69 age group, the NIDOCD said. Men are almost twice as likely as women to have hearing loss in adults ages 20-69, and non-Hispanic white adults are more likely than adults of other racial/ethnic groups to have hearing loss. hearing loss.
The institute also reported that less than a third of adults aged 70 and over who could benefit from using a hearing aid had ever used one. The percentage is about half that of adults aged 20 to 69.
For many people, Churchill said, hearing loss can come on so slowly that they are not even aware of it. Indicators include finding yourself frequently asking others to repeat what they said or someone asking why your television is on so loudly.
Churchill’s husband, Chris Churchill, a professor in the astronomy department at New Mexico State University, said he started suffering from hearing loss in his 30s, likely from exposure to loud music.
When there was a lot of background noise, Chris said he would “lose all clarity of speech” and found himself withdrawing from conversations to avoid embarrassment and trying to guess what someone was talking about. other was saying and how he should respond.
For Chris, the answer was a hearing aid.
“It opened up the world to me,” he said.
In addition to improving communication and relationships, a hearing aid can also help with cognitive issues that can be negatively affected by hearing loss such as memory and reasoning, Kelly Churchill said, as well as balance (the hard of hearing people are more likely to fall, she says) . It can “reorganize the brain in ways that reduce the risk of dementia,” she said. It also reduces the stress and exhaustion that results from “extending it to hear” for people who have to “work harder to decode what people are saying”.
Chris Churchill said he wears his hearing aid “because it keeps my brain healthier”.
Every EHC patient who needs one will receive a treatment plan, Lambert said. For those in need of a hearing aid, EHC offers a wide range of products including Bluetooth devices, in-ear and behind-the-ear models, and invisible in-ear models. Prices range from around $1,500 to $3,500.
Medicare and most insurance policies usually cover the cost of a basic hearing test.
“We’re super passionate about making a difference in people’s lives,” said Kelly Churchill. “We find a way to help patients and give back to our community.”
ECH has two locations in Las Cruces. The office at 4351 E. Lohman Ave., Suite 103 is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday. The office at 1180 Mall Drive, Suite C, is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Both offices are closed from noon to 12:45 p.m. daily.
For more information, call 575-888-2471.