Au­di­ol­ogy professionals

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - ENT SPECIAL -

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.

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