More than one in seven Americans have significant hearing loss. According to the Center for Hearing and Communication, that’s about 48 million people in the United States, making hearing loss the third most common chronic physical condition, following arthritis and heart disease.
Left untreated, hearing loss can significantly impact quality of life. Research shows that people with hearing loss are more likely to develop dementia, depression, anxiety and feelings of inadequacy. It can even affect one's income. Patients with untreated hearing loss are three times more likely to fall, too.
Yet, people are sometimes reluctant to get help when their hearing fades. Audiologist Margaret Fritsch Juelich, Au.D., CCC-A, F-AAA, and owner of Associated Hearing Professionals, along with her associate, audiologist Tina Daher McWhorter, say that hesitancy to get treatment means people suffer needlessly.
Margaret and Tina have been dedicated to improving the communication skills of those with hearing loss since their undergraduate days as students together at St. Louis University. “When we were studying communication disorders, there were not many audiology courses, but we were both just drawn to the field of audiology," Margaret says.
After graduate school, they both completed their Clinical Fellowship Year at Washington University School of Medicine. Margaret opened Associated Hearing Professionals in 2008, and Tina joined her shortly after.
They specialize in hearing care by evaluating, diagnosing, treating and managing all hearing-related problems. They now split their time between two offices, in Clayton and Chesterfield.
Tina says it’s important that their staff is highly trained and understands visiting a hearing doctor can be extremely stressful for some people. The team at AHP prioritizes patients' needs and provides individualized care and service.
Thanks to technological advances, such as digital and Bluetooth compatible hearing aids, Margaret and Tina are seeing life-changing outcomes for their patients. Even people in their 90s are using Bluetooth to connect to their phone.
“Modern hearing aids have special adaptations that make telephone conversations straightforward, protect against sudden loud noises, reduce echo, and enhance speech comprehension in noisy conditions,” Margaret explains.
Tina says it’s essential their patients have access to many choices so they get exactly what they need.
“We work with seven different hearing aid manufacturers giving us access to all the best technology on the market,” Tina says. “That way, our patients can get the best recommendation for their needs.”
Margaret and Tina say their patients’ reactions after finally being able to hear again are tremendously rewarding. “We see a lot of happy tears, and that is truly gratifying,” Margaret says.
For more information about hearing loss and assistance options, go to HearStL.com.