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Over 28 million people across the country are affected in their ability to communicate effectively because of hearing loss. While some may find a solution through medication or surgery to correct or improve hearing loss, others are forced to either live with the condition or opt for a hearing aid. Robert Froke from Midwest ENT has specialized in hearing aid technology since 1990. During that time, he has witnessed many exciting changes to improve the lives for those who struggle with hearing loss. "Digital advances and micro-chip technology are allowing our patients to hear more clearly and naturally than every before, especially when dealing with background noise," adds Froke.

Surprisingly enough, hearing aids have actually been around for over a century, which means its nothing new for hearing loss sufferers to be aware of this option. But in addition to digital advances, discreet cosmetic appeal and integration with smart devices to stream phone calls and music makes hearing aids more effective and appealing. "With the improved ease of listening and how they are able to fit much more comfortably, the aids are breaking down the barriers that the make you look old," says Froke. "In fact, today a person with a hearing aid can look pretty tech savvy and sophisticated."

But how do you know if you need a hearing aid? The answer may not always be loud and clear. "Anyone with a significant enough hearing loss where it adversely affects or impacts their life and those around them should look into acquiring a hearing aid," says Froke. "Signs to look for are observing a person asking others to repeat words more often, turning up televisions and radios or withdrawing themselves from environments such as ballgames, restaurants and social situations where conversing may be difficult."

If you or a loved one has experienced these signs, Froke advises to initially schedule an appointment to consult with a qualified hearing professional. From there, they will make the best diagnosis and recommendation. "The types of hearing devices today range from the very small and invisible, deep in the ear canal to the open ear devices with a compact casing fitting comfortably behind the end and a thin wire or tube down into the ear canal." Factors such as budget, lifestyle and personal preference are also taken into consideration when determining the best device. 

"My personal philosophy in regard to hearing aids is if a device can help restore the vital sense of hearing, the preservation of this is priceless and critical to allow a person to maintain their independence and overall quality of life."

Written 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