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Hearing loss diagnosed in 15 seconds

News Release

Hearing loss diagnosed in 15 seconds - Doctors equipped with new screening technology

Auckland, May 26 2004 - People who suspect they have hearing loss can now be screened at their local doctor’s surgery in 15 seconds. Over 2000 new hearing screeners have been made available free to GPs across New Zealand by leading Audiology group, Bay Audiology.

Bay Audiology Director Peter Hutson says the screeners are a huge step forward. “Until now there has been a limited array of tools available to doctors for quick and effective hearing screening. Many doctors use whisper and finger clicking tests but people now expect a more sophisticated and scientific approach to diagnosis.

“GPs and patients often have a very short time to discuss many general ailments and the additional time pressure of doing hearing tests has made screening patients very difficult. The new screener tests people’s hearing across a broad spectrum of frequencies covering normal conversation and gives a quick and accurate result.”

Hearing loss is most commonly associated with those over 65 years old and is often ignored by people who consider it an embarrassing sign of ageing waiting as much as eight years before asking for help. There are several high-risk patient groups who should be regularly screened including those working or previously exposed to noisy environments.

“There is strong evidence linking hearing loss with reduced social interaction and depression so it is important to intervene as early as possible to improve quality of life. The hearing screener gives doctors a clear indication of any problem allowing them to refer appropriate people to treatment specialists,” says Mr Hutson.

ENDS

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