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Crowded restaurants, outdoor football games and family reunions; most of us find ourselves encountering at least one of these events or situations at some point during our lives.

Now think about what it would be like if you struggled to hear. Suddenly you find yourself leaning in during intimate conversations, asking others to repeat themselves or maybe even distancing yourself or leaving altogether because of the mounting frustration of poor hearing.

Sound familiar? Well, you are not alone. Millions of Americans find themselves struggling to hear yet are hesitant to commit to wearing a hearing aid. However, thanks to emerging technology, now is the best time to get tested and start taking back your life while taking advantage of the enhanced features now available.

You've heard of Smartphones, well, think of it as a "smart" hearing aid. Not only are the new devices much smaller and require minimal maintenance, they also come with features that range from listening to your favorite music to tracking your blood pressure. Emerging technology and stylish, nearly invisible hearing aids are changing the course of hearing aid manufacturing!

Kelcey Cushman, Au.D, an audiologist at Midwest Ear, Nose & Throat, specializes in treating individuals with the proper hearing aids to fit their needs and lifestyle. "Participating in everyday activities can be difficult when you struggle to hear," said Cushman. "By utilizing these advanced hearing aids, users can interact with their environment naturally, improving quality of life."

Some manufacturers offer hearing aids with Bluetooth technology. "These new devices provide advanced wireless performance that is directly connected to your smartphone or other wireless accessories," says Cushman. "They can even stream phone calls, music or other entertainment options through cell phones."

And while these little extras may seem like small perks, some devices take things one step further and can even save lives. "There are advanced hearing aids available that can be used in conjunction with specialized hearing fitness apps. The data from the earpiece is synced with a fitness tracker that monitors heart rate, blood pressure, activity and sleep."

If you have had a complete hearing evaluation completed by a physician or trained audiologist and they recommend that hearing aids would enhance your quality of life, there are several reasons to take prompt action on your hearing loss. First, not hearing puts unnecessary strain on you and the people around you. Corrected hearing improves relationships, reduces stress, and allows you to live life to the fullest. Secondly, your hearing loss acts like a filter, only letting through sounds you can hear normally. Your brain starts to forget the sounds you are unable to hear which affects your speech understanding. Hearing aids help to preserve your current speech understanding by properly stimulating the auditory nerve. Third, recent studies have shown a direct link between untreated hearing loss and the development of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Remember, the most important role of your hearing aid is to improve your hearing. There are many hearing aid options out there, so do your research and talk to a hearing professional to find the best hearing aids for you. While wireless enhancements and connectivity may seem appealing to those who suffer hearing loss, make sure to choose a hearing aid that fits your needs and enhances your life-style and quality of life.

By: Jennifer Dumke - Sioux Falls Woman Magazine

Midwest Ear, Nose & Throat
2315 West 57th Street  •  Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57108  •  605-336-3503  •  Toll-free 888-336-3503  •  Fax 605-336-6010