The Women's Journal

Improve Quality Of Life And Well-Being Through Better Hearing

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By Barbara J. Madden, Au.D.
Director/Doctor of Audiology

For most people, hearing changes very gradually over a lifetime, so when conversation becomes muffled and soft sounds in the environment disappear, life becomes frustrating and often a struggle.  For more than two decades, my professional days as an audiologist have been filled with challenges and rewards as patients with hearing loss relay their listening barriers and daily frustrations followed by resounding delight when a solution restores their quality of life through better hearing!

Your Hearing Health is Your Personal Decision

If you want to maintain a sharp mind and active life, hearing loss should not be ignored.  Left untreated, diminished hearing may contribute to lack of stimulation to the centers in the brain specifically wired for auditory information.  Not only will the world become quiet and muffled, vitality may wane and quality of life may silently slip away as you become isolated from others and avoid once-loved daily activities.

Stay Socially Active and Live Life to the Fullest

Healthcare today focuses on staying healthy and youthful.  When health problems are ignored or untreated, people slowly and unknowingly begin losing the active lifestyle and vitality they cherish.  Fortunately, those who acknowledge their hearing loss and use hearing aids effectively experience satisfying improvements in their quality of life. Digital technology today includes advanced sound processing, discreet designs and functionality in demanding listening situations.  This is a tremendous improvement over the instruments of yesteryear.

And the Timing Couldn’t Be Better!

The evidence is clear that an increasing number of Americans are suffering from hearing loss at younger ages, many years before retirement, and as early as their teens. Even mild hearing loss interferes with daily activities, work responsibilities and social engagements.

Help Us to Help You Hear Better!

Making the decision to pursue hearing aids may seem daunting; however, an audiologist can guide you through the process.  A thorough case history and complete hearing evaluation are just the start.  We each have individual needs, specific to our lifestyle and listening environments; these need to be identified and addressed.  Most commonly reported listening challenges include conversing in noisy restaurants, avoiding social situations, missing the sermon during worship, unclear phone calls, not hearing birds chirp and being told that the TV volume is ‘too loud’!

Turn Daily Challenges into Life’s Simple Pleasures

After completing a listening needs assessment and establishing realistic goals for improvement, your audiologist will recommend a hearing solution which best fits your lifestyle needs and budget.  Once again, you will enjoy conversations with family and friends, engage in phone conversations, hear more clearly in restaurants, meetings and places of worship and delight in social situations.  Better hearing also contributes to improved self-confidence, safety and independence.  The benefits of amplification have even been linked to enhanced cognitive skills, memory and sense of humor.

Last year, a comprehensive study was conducted by the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) to determine if high quality hearing aids improved quality of life.  Their results revealed that when fit well and appropriately, most hearing aid wearers reported an improvement in their relationships with family and friends.  Their renewed ability to communicate in most situations resulted in an increased desire to socialize, to join in group conversations and meetings.

Also noted by the BHI, hearing aid benefits are directly related to the quality of care provided by the hearing professional.  Your audiologist is uniquely qualified to provide these specialized services, including testing in a sound booth, verifying the hearing aid fit with probe microphones, counseling and providing rehabilitation strategies to help you adapt best to new hearing aids.  The process should be comfortable, safe and leave you feeling well-informed with a plan that meets your individual needs and goals.

If the people you love are mumbling, background noise drowns out conversation and the world is slowing becoming quieter, make an appointment with an audiologist and get your hearing checked.

Reconnect with the world of sound and the people that matter most – through better hearing!

For more information or to schedule an evaluation or treatment, contact your physician for a referral to the audiologists at Riddle Hospital.


Barbara J. Madden, Au.D., Doctor of Audiology/Director

Catherine M. Marino, Au.D., Doctor of Audiology

Denise E. Stewart, M.S., Clinical Audiologist

Lisa C. Mackenzie, M.S., Clinical Audiologist

For an appointment with a Riddle Hospital audiologist, call 484.227.3200 (new number) or visit