Better hearing, clear conversations and vibrant music are all an important ingredient for a happy and gratifying life. A world without sound could be a frightening thought. Yet, with today’s advancements in hearing wellness, a world without sound is almost extinct.
Advancements in the field of audiology can greatly impact individuals of every age, and the Sanford Health Easton Place Clinic is located in Alexandria to offer those special services. Located at 510 22nd Avenue East in Suite 602, Sanford Health is easily accessible, right off Broadway.
Erin Loeffler, AuD., Audiology, joined the professional staff at Sanford Health Easton Place Clinic in July 2014. Dr. Loeffler is passionate about helping people who have hearing loss. There are many reasons for hearing loss, whether it’s genetics and heredity or because of viruses, bacteria, heart conditions or stroke, head injuries or tumors. One of the most common causes of hearing loss is exposure to loud noises. New studies have revealed some new causes of hearing loss, such as diabetes or hypertension, and another is natural, occurring with age.
Whatever the cause, better hearing health and wellness is made possible as Dr. Loeffler assesses each individual and finds a solution. In some cases the team of doctors at Sanford Health Easton Place Clinic work together to correct an individual case. For example, children who suffer from chronic ear infections will have their hearing tested by Dr. Loeffler, and management and/or treatment will be provided by William Richards, DO, who is an ear, nose and throat specialist. The specialized team of doctors at Sanford Health Easton Place Clinic treat patients of all ages, ranging in age from infants through the Baby Boomers and up.
Dr. Loeffler has a Doctorate of Audiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and she completed her undergraduate at Minnesota State University-Mankato, with a degree in communications disorders, a precursor to audiology and speech pathology.
“I am very excited to treat patients because we can give results to tests almost immediately,” Loeffler explained. As an audiologist, Loeffler will evaluate and rehabilitate patients with many different types and degrees of hearing loss and recommend a solution.
“Test results allow us to start treating and managing hearing loss, and give options to the patient immediately.” Loeffler added, “There are so many ways that people with hearing loss can benefit from the use of a hearing aid, or a pair of hearing aids, yet, most wait an average of seven years before addressing their individual issue of hearing loss. Whether it’s stigma, or just putting things off, it’s amazing how people react the first time they begin hearing clearly again, when they hear what they’ve been missing.” Because of hearing loss, people have a tendency to stay away from social situations, they isolate, and many become depressed. “As soon as the hearing loss is corrected, people can hear the conversations again.” Dr. Loeffler will consult with hearing loss clients to find the best solution for each individual.
Evaluations include hearing, balance and tinnitus. Throughout the entire evaluation and consultation, Dr. Loeffler will assist her patients and ultimately assist with the perfect fit in hearing aids. Conversation about the technology of hearing devices, advancements in design and style, general information, including fitting, follow-up and repairs of hearing devices, is all covered with Dr. Loeffler.
An audiology consultation with Dr. Loeffler begins by talking about what brought you in to have your hearing evaluated. Was it a family member complaining about your hearing, missing important conversations with co-workers or friends, or missing the birds sing in the morning? The testing is completed in a sound booth with headphones. There are a battery of different tests that are done to gather information about the type and degree of each patient’s hearing, which is done with state-of-the-art equipment. After the evaluation, Dr. Loeffler describes what was found on the hearing examination and sits down to discuss your options.
Sound complicated? According to Dr. Loeffler the advancements in technology and digital programs have made solutions in hearing loss easier. “It’s so exciting. There is an especially high demand to treat ‘baby boomers.’ We have something for most every type and degree of hearing loss. It’s so exciting when people hear things they didn’t know they were missing. Patients are so surprised with the difference.”
Dr. Loeffler is quick to explain that hearing aids work through a damaged hearing system and can amplify, but won’t give you back normal hearing.
Understanding, interacting and engaging in conversation is important to everyone, and once the consultation with Dr. Loeffler is completed, she reviews several options to her patients. There are behind-the-ear hearing aids and in-the-ear hearing aids that come in varying sizes to fit the needs of each patient. Insurance often covers the hearing evaluation; however, it does not typically cover the cost of the hearing aids. Patients have a 45-day free trial period to test out any new hearing aid device. Prices vary, depending on the technology level a person chooses. “There are devices that have premium technology that are beneficial for difficult listening situations, like restaurants, outdoors and large gatherings.”
Superior sound quality is Dr. Loeffler’s primary goal when working with patients. Each patient’s hearing loss and hearing needs are individualized and different.
“I want my patients to be happy with their hearing aids and confident in their choice to hear better,” she said.
Technology advancements have made the process of personalizing hearing options much easier. Patients can fulfill their personal needs in every environment and every experience. Patients can enhance their telephone conversations. Now there is better technology to eliminate annoying feedback, buzzing or whistling in their ear. There are features that can speed transition to new hearing aids by gradually adjusting settings which allow hearing aids to learn new sounds. There is groundbreaking technology that provides consistent wireless performance in noisy restaurants, parties or sporting events. There are even hearing aids that pair directly to an iPhone, iPod or iPad using Bluetooth technology which allows the user to make personal adjustments to the hearing aids and stream phone calls or music directly to the hearing aids.
“It’s so cool, and so amazing. Technology is changing things quickly and constantly,” Dr. Loeffler explained.
At Sanford Health Easton Place Clinic, Dr. Erin Loeffler will evaluate, assess and discuss options for all people experiencing hearing loss. “I am here to help diagnose your hearing loss and give you the best solutions to match your needs, your lifestyle and your budget. Hearing improves quality of life, and I’m here to serve you.”
Sanford Health Easton Clinic is one of three Sanford Health sites in Alexandria. For an appointment, please call 320-763-0144 or visit www.SanfordHealth.org to learn more.