The Women's Journal

What Did You Say? How’s Your Hearing?

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Riddle_Barbara_MaddenBy Barbara J. Madden, Au.D.

Director/Doctor of Audiology

More than 36 million Americans have hearing loss.  Some people are born deaf, others lose their hearing through accident or disease; most hearing losses occur gradually.

Hearing losses that affect the inner ear are, in most cases, permanent.  Although these hearing losses cannot be “cured”, improvement can be achieved with proper hearing aid use and training.

If you suspect hearing loss, the following information about audiologic testing and hearing aids may be helpful.

What are signs of hearing loss?

*People mumble or speak too softly.

*You often ask others to repeat what they’ve said.

*The TV is louder than others would prefer.

*You watch others speak to understand what was said.

*Background noise and groups makes it difficult to hear.

*You hear others talking but don’t understand.

*You feel left out of conversations and miss so much that you wish you had stayed home.

*One ear hears better than the other.

*You have ringing, buzzing, or roaring sounds in the ears.

If any of these situations sound familiar, read on.

Who should I consult for a hearing test?

An audiologist is a licensed healthcare professional, who specializes in the identification, measurement and rehabilitation of hearing loss.  Audiologists have completed either a doctorate or a master’s degree.

What services can an audiologist provide?

*Thorough evaluation of hearing

*Discussion of your listening needs and hearing aid consultation

*Recommendation for products and optional accessories to improve communication

*Hearing aid orientation and follow-up care

*Recommendation for medical care, if indicated

Will a hearing aid help my problem?

Before purchasing a hearing aid, an evaluation will be completed by the audiologist.  The audiologist will discuss the results and solutions, which may include various models and styles of digital hearing aid technology for your particular communication needs.

With many recent advances in technology, the computer sound processing can be modified significantly to meet the needs of most hearing impaired people.  Be mindful:  A hearing loss is a complex disorder that often involves both loudness of sound and clarity of speech.

To wear and fully appreciate the benefits of hearing aids, an adjustment period is necessary.  Hearing aids will improve communication, but not necessarily in every situation.  For instance, when background noise is loud, understanding speech may still be challenging.

What else should I know about hearing aids?

Successful hearing aid use involves responsibility on the part of the wearer.  You must learn how to use and care for hearing aid(s), replace the batteries and learn about the special features that hearing aids have.  Most importantly, you need to know where to have the hearing aids routinely serviced and repaired if needed.

Where should I go for a hearing evaluation and a proper hearing aid fitting?

The Riddle Hospital Audiology Department offers complete audiologic and hearing aid services and is equipped to meet the needs of patients of all ages.  The department also offers a full service Hearing Aid Center.

Final Advice>>>>>>>>

Identifying and effectively managing a hearing problem requires accurate diagnostic testing, hearing aid demonstration, fitting and follow-up service with an experienced audiologist.  Contact the department for more information.

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