Ten percent of the U.S. population suffers from hearing loss. But only a few are actually diagnosed and treated. New technology is now allowing family doctors to get a jump on a diagnosis.
Willie Slater knows he’s losing his hearing. “Yeah, my wife, she tells me all the time because I talk loud, so she says that’s a sign,” he said.
He voiced his concerns to his family doctor.
Dr. Damon Weddington said, “Hearing is extremely important, extremely important sense probably next to sight as important, if you can’t hear, it makes life very, very difficult.”
Willie’s run through some standard screening questions. Based on his answers, the doctor suggests more extensive testing with a new tool called the Otogram.
Dr. Weddington said, “It gives you grades on how they did and whether it’s just minimal, whether they can be retested in a year to see if they’re continuing to have a loss or if it’s severe enough where they need to go to an ENT physician for further workup.”
No sound booth is needed. A medical assistant sets up the automated system. Willie follows a series of touch screen prompts.
“I was surprised that I could do it myself,” Slater said.
Within minutes, the doctor reviews the results and determines that Willie has minimal age-related hearing loss.
“I lost some part of my hearing,” Willie said. “But I passed the test.”
The Otogram can conduct the hearing tests in nine different languages. About 500 doctors nationwide are using the new testing system and most insurance companies cover the cost.
From CBS 2 Chicago