FORMERLY known as Gnosis Professional Hearing Services, 20dB Hearing will be celebrating its 14th anniversary this year.
Since 2002, the professional audiology healthcare services company has expanded to 16 centres nationwide with 20 audiologists and speech therapists.
Founder and chief executive officer Mok Yong Yaw started the company when he realised the pressing need for expert audiology services in the country.
“Hearing aid centres are not regulated in Malaysia yet, so many run hearing aid dispensers without formal education in audiology.
“At 20dB, however, our services have been provided by audiologists who are university graduates. With this, we are able to design a comprehensive range of offerings, including services catered for babies and children,” says Mok.
20dB advocates newborn and child screening for early detection and treatment of hearing loss. Thirty per cent of those who seek services at its centres are children whose parents have noticed they are not speaking or responding well.
According to Mok, the critical time for speech and language development among children is the period from birth up till when they are four years old.
If their inability to hear or speak is picked up during this time, children can acclimatise to the use of hearing aid or cochlear implant and continue living a normal life, including being enrolled in a mainstream school.
Besides this, 20dB also offers speech- language therapy for children who are prelingual, when they require guidance to listen in order to learn to speak.
“This is not just for children with hearing impairment, but also those with other conditions that complicate speaking, such as autism, attention deficit disorder ( ADD) or Down’s syndrome.
“Adults, too, may require speech therapy after suffering a stroke ( which can make articulation difficult) or overusing their vocal cords,” says Mok.
Approximately 70% of 20dB’s customers are adults who develop permanent hearing loss. Adults who work in loud environments such as factories, airports, pubs or karaoke centres where they are constantly exposed to noise above 85dB are susceptible to hearing loss.
Therefore, it is advisable to get a yearly screening if you are exposed to loud noises or are in your golden years ( above 50), as auditory senses typically start to deteriorate at this stage.
“Even teenagers who use earphones for prolonged periods of time at high volume are exposed to this risk as the effects are not immediate but take years to develop,” Mok explains.
Audiologists at 20dB are committed to providing comprehensive assessment, consultation and treatment to manage hearing loss.
To begin, a pure tone audiometry test is conducted to produce an audiogram, which charts individual hearing levels at different speech frequencies. Only then do audiologists determine the suitable hearing aid, taking lifestyle factors and personal preferences into account.
Those with severe to profound hearing loss who are not benefiting from hearing aids will be suggested to be fitted with cochlear implants instead.
These specialists also ensure users are able to benefit optimally from their device before it is purchased – users can choose a hearing aid flexi- plan that allows them to bring the device home on a 20- day trial before deciding if it is right for them.
If they are not able to commit to the payment up front, customers can also rent their hearing aid for up to a year, which is a testament to 20dB’s commitment to helping people hear.
Mok advises Malaysians looking for quality assessment and aid to study the hearing centre and ensure they will be served with proper testing and consultation from qualified audiologists ( with at least a degree in audiology) before making a decision.
For more information, visit www. 20dbhearing. com.