Holiday gatherings could be perfect time to get your ears checked

Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 4:52 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - As we gather for the holidays, you might find yourself asking your loved ones to repeat themselves more often than you used to.

This could be one sign that it’s time to visit an Ear, Nose, and Throat professional.

“If you’re withdrawing from a conversation because you’re not sure what you heard and you don’t want to embarrass yourself. If you’re having trouble extrapolating what’s being said because of background nose, there’s technology that can help with this situation,” Central Texas Sinus & Allergy ENT Specialist Dr. Thomas Salzer, M.D. said.

“Holiday gatherings usually generate a lot of concern, awareness, and curiosity,” Salzer said.

On Aug. 16, the FDA approved access to a new category of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids. Salzer says this could ultimately be a good option for some folks, but that OTC hearing aids are not for everyone.

“They’re not individualized. You don’t have a hearing test. They’re set for mild to moderate standard hearing loss, but if you don’t actually have hearing loss, they’re not going to work for you. They’ll actually work against you,” he said. “If you have poor speech understanding, they’re going to add to distortion.”

He says when buying an OTC hearing aid, patients miss the opportunity to get a professional medical opinion and a good hearing test that could provide an individualized prescription for a specific brand or style of hearing aid.

When you visit Central Texas Sinus & Allergy, Dr. Salzer and his team will start you off with an ear examination.

“We’ll assess function, anatomy, and put a physical examination together with the patient’s medical history. Then, we’ll go into a very detailed hearing test. This tests for ear pressure, reflexes, responses to tones throughout all frequencies, and speech understanding at different volumes,” Dr. Salzer explained.

Dr. Salzer says his work is all about relationships.

“It’s about trying to help people restore their hearing, restore their communication, and improve their quality of life. It’s very satisfying when you get it right,” he said.

You can watch the full interview with Dr. Salzer below.