Tuesday, April 25, 2006

What? Could You Repeat That Please?

Aging Baby Boomers. Dr. Farrell of Affiliated Clinic told me that 'Baby Boomers' must have the moniker 'Aging' in front of it. That's right. Those of us born in those years following WWII are now slowly heading for the sunset. It was interesting circa 1968-70 to live in a country where half the population was under the age of 25 and don't trust anyone over 30 was the mantra.

Hearing loss affects many boomers including this one. I had one form since birth and general loss of overall hearing from age 20 to the present. A recent hearing test shows that I have a dismal 35% of normal hearing. If good hearing is 100%, 80% hearing is the low end of what is considered normal.

During the course of the hearing test my Word Comprehension was checked. I scored 20% on that one. That means that if I have my back to someone I can discern with regularity: TWO WORDS OUT OF TEN! That scares me.

The audiologist said: "Sit down and look at me. Gary, I find it quite amazing that you are able to carry on a conversation. Your ability to lip read and read gestures and facial nuances is indeed quite amazing."

I knew my hearing was bad but I didn't know to what extent. The good news is that I should have a pair of digital programmable hearing aids in about three weeks.

There is more...

Everyone, even those without hearing loss, lose the ability to comprehend words as they get older. I call it Hearing Dyslexia. That is when a person says one thing and I hear something that bears no resemblance to what they said.

Captain Beefheart in the Trout Mask Replica album:
-She was under duress,
-He was under her dress.

It is horrible to live on a daily basis where one tells me something and I hear something else.

There is a new online program which deals with this problem. It is for hearing aid and non-hearing aid persons. The program claims it can increase word comprehension in some cases by 30%! I would be beaming if I could increase mine by just 10%. Here is the address: http://www.neurotone.com

I was tipped to this by my audiologist Juliette Sterkens. Juliette is a remarkable person. She is half the partnership of Fox Valley Hearing Center just off Witzel near Hy41. A native of Holland, Juliette has just received her Doctor of Audiology Degree. She was in San Francisco recently where she attended a conference on 'ear-obics' and she wants me to do the online program. I'm excited. There will be a report on this when I'm finished.


Juliette Sterkens, Au.D. said...

A few correcions Gary: I attended the AAA (American Academy of Audiology)convention in Minneapolis.The program to train your listening skills is called LACE ( listening and Communication Enhancement). I just called it Ear-obics(a play on the word Aerobics)because it sounded cute. The study that will we published in Novemeber 2006 in JAAA about the LACE training results suggests that average participant showed improvment. In fact 80% of the paricipants showed improvements although the degree varied from person.

I only wish the convention had been in San Fransisco...

Gary said...

Isn't it interesting what havoc poor hearing causes. I thought you went to San Francisco and I understand now that you were referring to the people who came from the left coast to the Twin Cities!