Recently, I met Seth Stetson from HealthU who is associated with the Alaska Regional Hospital. In this interview, we chatted all things hearing healthcare.
I like to take every opportunity to spread the word about healthy hearing and what you can do if your hearing is not what it used to be.
What We Do At Alaska Hearing & Tinnitus Center
We’re more than just a hearing center; we are doctors of audiology who are experienced in treating hearing loss, balance issues, and tinnitus.
My area of focus is tinnitus, which is quite common in Alaska. As a team, we have helped thousands of patients manage this condition. If you hear a buzzing, hissing, chirping, or ringing, then you may have tinnitus and should see us right away.
Here’s How We Help
Our expertise is in all areas of hearing. We have comprehensive hearing tests that help us collect data about your hearing and its status. These tests are used differently for each patient since everyone’s issues will be unique to them.
When we help newborns, we use a special kind of testing that does not affect the baby in any way at all. We monitor for responsiveness after sending in specific sounds.
Babies born in hospitals receive this automatically. Babies born elsewhere, at home, for example, will need to come in and have this test done.
If we don’t get the response we are looking for, then we use a second test to measure the child’s brain activity while they sleep. This can be done without disturbing the child in any way, shape, or form.
Taking a hearing test this early in life gives us a head start on managing any issues we may find. If no problems are found, it provides the parents peace of mind knowing their child is healthy.
To check the hearing health of adults, we implement a more complex testing procedure. It still includes the same test styles as used with children to measure responsiveness.
However, adult testing includes more responsive questioning tests. I’ll make a stimulus and then record the results of the patient’s reaction. This will go back and forth a couple of times to pinpoint the exact performance of your hearing.
- We perform otoscopy in our office, which is the physical inspection of the inside of your ear. We must identify the blockage.
- We look to make sure the blockage is the only thing causing hearing loss. We want to ensure the other components of your ear are functioning correctly.
- Once it’s determined that earwax is the problem, we can remove it right then and there. We use a handheld curette that acts as a tiny ice cream scoop to remove the blockage gently. We can also use a soft water irrigation technique to loosen the blockage and flush it out.
First Signs Of Early Hearing Loss
Identifying hearing loss can be a tricky task. Many people shrug it off as just another aspect of getting older. Common signs such as these below should be taken seriously and addressed as soon as possible by an audiologist.
- Hearing most of the conversation but missed certain words
- Blaming other people for mumbling too much
- Asking people to speak up or enunciate more
- Raising the volume of the TV
- Irritating your spouse by raising the volume of the TV
These minor miscommunications can add up and, over time, can cause a strain on all types of relationships in your life. If left untreated for an extended period of time, hearing loss can develop into much worse conditions that affect your cognitive skills.
Testing Is Our Greatest Weapon Against All Types Of Hearing Loss
Having a comprehensive hearing assessment answers a lot of questions for us as doctors of audiology. It gives us great insight into how you hear and how your daily environments affect your hearing.
We can also see any damage that has been caused over the years. This will tell us how we can help you and improve your hearing.
With the test results, we can present viable options that will get you back to hearing your best.
Establish A Baseline
Even if you don’t suspect any decline in your hearing, it’s a great idea to come for a test and get your hearing tests recorded. Knowing the capability of your hearing when it’s healthy will help us understand any issues that may arise in the future.
Prevention is still the best way to fight hearing loss.
A Detailed Look At What Happens At A Hearing Test
Seth realized its benefits while we were talking and volunteered to take a test right there on the spot. I was happy to oblige, and we recorded it to show everyone how easy and quick it can be to get your hearing tested.
Check out this video:
A member of our team is always standing by and ready to have a friendly no-obligation chat.
Until then, take care of your hearing. There are many loud environments here in Alaska, so we must be extra cautious to protect the lifestyle we love.
Can Earwax Cause Hearing Loss?
There are many causes of hearing loss, and some are more likely than others. While not the most common, earwax can cause hearing loss.
This type of hearing loss is temporary and 100% treatable.
If the wax doesn’t fall out on its own, we can remove it right in our office with a simple procedure.