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Audiologists Are Transforming the Lives of the Hearing-Impaired.

It is likely that at least a few who read this article will recall the days when a hearing test involved the subject standing with his or her back to a family doctor who then proceeded to whisper a phrase and gradually move closer until he or she correctly identified it. This, of course, was not a reproducible procedure and offered little more than an indication of a possible hearing problem. It was only with the establishment of audiology as a diagnostic tool and the emergence of trained audiologists that it became possible to evaluate the efficiency of an individual’s audition and prescribe the means with which to help patients manage their hearing loss.

It had long been recognised based on the high incidence of impaired hearing among soldiers returning from battle that continued exposure to loud noise could cause deafness. Today, we refer to this as noise-induced hearing loss or NIHL, and its incidence has been increasing steadily, overtaking chronic ear infections and other medical conditions, to become the most common cause of hearing loss and the biggest source of workplace compensation claims. Almost everyone is now exposed to the risk of NIHL, so the services of audiologists have never been more important or in greater demand.

Whether it is the result of a chronic infection, exposure to ototoxic medications or chemicals, or working in an excessively noisy environment, hearing loss is a progressive condition. Without some form of intervention, it will worsen, progressing from mild to moderate and subsequently to severe and profound. By recognising auditory impairment at an early stage, its progress can be slowed significantly or even halted with the help of a suitable assisted hearing device. It is through the early identification of the cause and the severity of hearing loss that audiologists are now managing to transform the lives of those with hearing difficulties.

Sadly, although many people find themselves experiencing difficulties, many remain reluctant to accept the implications and choose to take no action – often only doing so when their condition becomes apparent to friends, colleagues, and other family members. There is, as yet, no way to reverse hearing loss, but timely intervention and the right hearing aid can enable one to manage it and avoid the risk of a life of silence. In some cases, where deafness is severe to profound and is the result of diminished sensorineural function, the only option open to audiologists is to recommend a cochlear implant and to refer the patient to an ENT specialist to evaluate whether he or she is a suitable candidate for implantation.

Either way, these healthcare professionals provide welcome help for the hearing impaired.
Liezl Dale – Director
Liezl graduated at the University of Pretoria in 2004, where she completed her degree in B.Communication Pathology.  She has 14 years of experience in the field of audiology and managing practices in a retail setting.  Her passion lies in the improvement, continuous development and growh of audiology practices, ensuring continuous refinement of the service delivery within the field of audiology.

“I have realized that, in the 14 years I have worked in the hearing industry, that there is still a big area of improvement when it comes to delivering professional hearing service, and simultaneously creating a personal hearing experience for each patient.  YourHearing was built on the belief that it’s not only important to deliver high quality hearing service, but also necessary to make a difference on a personal level to each of our patients.  I am also passionate about enabling other audiologists to live out their dreams within the framework of our practice. I truly believe that it is much better to give back to others and the community through serving others than it is to receive “– Liezl Dale
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