Children’s division enriches more lives

2017-03-15 08:20
A girl listening to the sound of the ocean in a seashell.               Photo:SUPPLIED

A girl listening to the sound of the ocean in a seashell. Photo:SUPPLIED

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AFTER 25 years of addressing the retail hearing aid market in the Eastern Cape for those aged 14 and older, Hear Clearly Group has expanded their range to include the young ones with their new children’s division.

The staff at Hear Clearly Group has noted an increase in the demand for testing children in recent times.

“We found that we were getting a lot of enquiries from concerned parents needing to have their child’s hearing tested, and who were not sure what to do or where to go,” said Henry Mann, an Acoustician at Hear Clearly Group.

As such, they have created a brand-new “centre within a centre” which caters to this more specialised need. Dedicated audiologist, Mampho Dlulane, will be taking charge of the new division.

The new division includes a room-size walk-in sound booth that is ergonomically and aesthetically designed to be child-friendly. It also doubles as an anechoic chamber for more specialised hearing aid verification tools, as well as deeper diagnostic tests.

“We can now do an in-house referral to Mampho and she can do more advanced tests. With children comes greater responsibility,” Mann said.

“For kids it is typically middle ear problems. You can look at the ear and it seems fine, but their hearing is affected. That is where audiology comes in. It could just have been that one time (of having an infection) and the ear didn’t go back to exactly the way it was before. It is always best to just make sure,” Dlulane added.

According to Dlulane, the biggest cause of hearing loss in small children is a middle ear problem. Sometimes the ear is not even sore. If it happens frequently, they start thinking that it is normal and don’t mention it.

In older children, noise-induced hearing loss can be of concern.

In America it is estimated that one in every six children has mild high-frequency hearing loss in their teens from using earphones that pipe loud music directly into the ears.

“Hearing loss is incredibly common and, of those that need hearing assistance, only about 20% worldwide do something about it,” Mann revealed.

With children the problem is that they compensate for the problem quicker than an older person and just won’t tell you about it.

Some warning signs to look out for:

Parents

. Complaints of earaches, blocked ears or head noises

. Academic problems

. Seemingly speaking different from other children

Teachers

. Easy loss of concentration

. Inappropriate response to questions/instructions

. Academic problems, especially with languages

According to the team at Hear Clearly Group, one of the biggest reasons people avoid the problem of hearing loss is because hearing aids are generally only associated with older people or an admission of frailty.

“These perceptions are definitely changing and we strive to push that trend along. With kids, if you don’t act sooner rather than later, the window of opportunity closes and it sets you back for the rest of your life,” Dlulane explained.

With modern technology being what it is, hearing aids are now stylish and practically invisible to others.

Mann advises people to get their ears checked once a year, especially when they have noticed a change in their hearing.

“We want to have a holistic service that looks at hearing in context. We believe in prevention, rehabilitation and correction.”

For those in dire need who do not have medical aid or the financial means to afford hearing aids, Hear Clearly Group also has their Gift of Hearing Foundation where they donate new or reconditioned hearing aids.

“We believe that no one with a genuine need should not be able to hear better and cope more effectively in both family and work environments,” Mann said.

“We are here to serve the people of Port Elizabeth and we look forward to welcoming you to our new centre.”

Hear Clearly Group has branches in Port Elizabeth, Jeffreys Bay and the Southern Cape.

Their PE office is located at 125 Fordyce Road, Walmer.

For more info contact them on 041 360 9304 or go to www.hearclearly.co.za.

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