OCAC Celebrates Anniversary and “Better Speech and Hearing Month”

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OCAC Celebrates Anniversary and “Better Speech and Hearing Month”

It’s been a year since Ocean County Audiology Center opened its doors in Lakewood. Dr.

Nosson Enock, the audiologist at the helm, has been successfully helping Lakewood residents

who have trouble with their hearing.

To celebrate its milestone, as well as to take part in “Better Hearing and Speech Month,” which

is held across the country in May, OCAC is offering a special deal. Along with a hearing test,

custom made swim molds/earplugs are only $25. See page ___ for OCAC’s advertisement.

While the extent of hearing impairment in any community is hard to measure, with much of it

unreported, experts agree that figures worldwide are on the rise.

“My mother is a practicing audiologist in Pittsburgh, so I was familiar with the profession from

my youth,” Dr. Enock says. “While learning in B.M.G., I became aware that there was a shortage

of frum audiologists in the area, and no frum audiologist who treated adults.” He subsequently

decided to pursue audiology as a career.

An audiologist requires a bachelor’s degree, followed by 4 years of postgraduate study, which he

completed at Montclair State University, receiving a Doctor of Science and Communications (Sc

D) degree. After graduation, he worked in several prestigious hospitals, namely Robert Woods

Johnson in New Brunswick, The Brooklyn Hospital Center, the VA Hospital in Brick, and the

Bacharach Rehabilitation Institute in Pomona, as well as in a private practice in New Jersey. As a

licensed hearing aid dispenser, he also sold hearing aids in Lakewood as a convenience to the

community. At the request of many local doctors, he opened his own private practice in

Lakewood last year. Until then, many people were going to Philadelphia and New York for

evaluations and for hearing aids, a trip of more than an hour that certainly put pressure on parents

of hearing impaired children whose hearing aids needed adjustment or repair. Now they can see

to all their needs only a few minutes from home.

The Shopper spoke with Dr. Nosson Enock about his expertise in audiology.

Your patients vary from pediatric to geriatric. How do parents know that if their young child

has a problem hearing, and what can be done about it?

There are two primary categories of hearing loss in children, congenital, that are present at birth,

and those acquired after birth.

Most states have mandatory hearing screenings for newborns, so the majority of babies are

screened before leaving the hospital. If an infant doesn’t do well on these tests, he’s referred to

an audiologist for further testing.

Children should have their hearing tested before they start school or any time there is a concern

about their child’s hearing. Many parents tend to ignore the pre-school testing if the child seems

to be doing well, not realizing that hearing tests take no more than 45 minutes, are non-invasive

and are covered by most insurances. As a result a child can have a mild hearing impairment in

one or both ears for quite a while before anyone notices it. Bear in mind that in these

circumstances the child himself probably won’t realize what ‘normal’ hearing he’s lacking.

Although this interview is not an adequate forum to discuss the multitude of reasons that cause

hearing loss, either in children or in adults, parents should be aware that many hearing problems

in children only become apparent as the child matures. Until the child is able to verbalize that

he’s finding it hard to hear his Rebbi or his friends, the parents have to be the ones to spot a

hearing problem. Signs of hearing loss in babies include not being startled at loud noises; not

turning to the source of the sound after 5-6 months of age; not saying single words such as

“dada” and “mama” by one year of age; not responding to his name if he doesn’t see you; and

appearing not to hear certain sounds.

Signs in children include delayed or unclear speech; not following directions (which may be

mistakenly interpreted as lack of attention, but could be the result of hearing loss); often saying

“huh?” or switching on the volume high when listening to music.

It is obviously harder to detect hearing loss in a child who is otherwise developmentally delayed.

Although these signs don’t necessarily prove that a child is hearing impaired, immediate

attention should be given to any indication of hearing loss.

Why is it important to seek prompt professional help if a problem is suspected, especially if, as

you say, the child is otherwise doing well?

For a child, hearing and speech are essential tools for learning, playing and developing social

skills. If hearing loss is severe it affects speech development absolutely. A baby who begins to

babble at about 6 months and does not hear the sound of his own babbling will normally stop

babbling and end up not talking. Interestingly, if -as would be rare today- he receives no

treatment until the age of 12, he will never be able to acquire the ability to speak.

In cases where hearing loss is evident, but less severe, the child will miss a lot of the speech and

language around him if the loss is undetected or untreated, especially if severe hearing loss

occurs at birth or before speech and language are acquired. A likely result of this will be

emotional difficulties and low self esteem, and learning and social/ behavioral issues in school.

Permanent hearing loss, in varying degrees, affects two in every 100 children, with many more

enduring temporary losses due to fluid in the ear. The most effective treatment for all forms of

hearing loss is achieved through early intervention. The longer the delay, the harder it will be for

the child to make up for lost time.

What type of treatment is available for children with hearing loss?

When hearing loss is identified, a thorough search for its cause must be undertaken. If the

hearing loss is attributed to infection or to fluid trapped in the middle-ear, the pediatrician will

prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. If the infection persists, or the hearing loss remains

after treatment, the child is referred to a medical doctor who specializes in diseases of the ear and

auditory system (an otolaryngologist or ENT). The otolaryngologist administers further testing,

and may subsequently recommend surgery (ear tubes) where an excess of fluid occurs.

(However, many doctors are of the opinion if no infection exists, it is advisable to see if the

problem will clear as the child matures).

If the hearing loss is related to a nerve or inner-ear problem, the otolaryngologist will often refer

the patient back to the audiologist who will evaluate his suitability for hearing aids and

rehabilitative (social and language) therapy. In some cases the ENT, together with the

audiologist deems that it is preferable to insert cochlear implants through a low-risk surgical

procedure

Can you explain what cochlear implants are?

Cochlear implants are electronic devices that transform speech and other sounds into electrical

impulses that stimulate auditory nerve terminals in the inner ear (or cochlea). Cochlear implants

do not restore normal hearing, but they simulate the recognition of sound and thereby improve

communication for children with severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss in both ears who

get little or no benefit from hearing aids. The younger deaf and hearing-impaired children are

when a cochlear implant awakens their hearing, the better they will do.

Parents of children with cochlear implants report that their child can function socially and

academically on the level of their peers. Incidentally, they are often distinguished by their

heightened sensitivity and understanding of the problems and issues of others!

We’ve been looking until now at pediatric audiology. At the other end of the scale, why do many

people suffer from some degree of hearing loss as they age?

Hearing loss is actually part of the aging process and can begin when a person is as young as

forty. Apart from the affect of age, it can be caused by several other factors, including genetics,

illness, ototoxic (ear damaging) drugs, tumors, head injury and exposure to loud noise.

Impairment can range from mild to complete deafness.

Many people experiencing hearing loss are loathe to visit an audiologist because they want to

feel that they’re ‘still young’! They anyway don’t like the idea of wearing a hearing-aid

(commonly dubbed as a ‘beige banana’), or feel that depending on hearing aids will ultimately

worsen their condition. Studies have shown that the opposite is true!

Even if there is a small possibility of hearing loss, it is worthwhile to have a ‘baseline hearing

test’ to determine if a problem exists; this allows a person to gauge the extent of hearing

deterioration that may occur later. When hearing becomes difficult, people often find themselves

cut-off from the flow of life and become depressed, and this can have a harmful effect on their

health. If a person is rehabilitating after an illness, it’s important to check his hearing and supply

hearing aids if required; social interaction is known to promote recovery.

It’s far easier to begin wearing a hearing aid before serious impairment occurs as it can then be

difficult for a person to adjust to its ‘sound’. Ironically, a person who has impaired hearing is

more irritated by noise.

(It should be noted that in cases of sudden hearing loss a person of any age should seek treatment

without delay; the condition may be due to a virus that can cause permanent damage if left

untreated).

Call Ocean County Audiology Center at 732-987-6590 to solve your hearing problems today.

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Contact

Ocean County Audiology Center
921 E County Line Rd
Lakewood, NJ 08701
Tel: (732) 987 6590
Email: ocacdr@gmail.com

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