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Community Spotlight: Dr. Karen Draper of The Hearing Spa

What do you think of when you hear the words “hearing aid”? Do you think of a bulky accessory on the back of your ear that’s hard to operate?

The truth is that today’s hearing aids are lighter and more discreet than ever. Hearing loss is often occurs as we get older, so that means a growing number of people will require hearing aids. According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, 48 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss.Dr. Karen Draper Audiologist

The Hearing Spa of Bradenton and Sarasota can help you or someone you care for get their hearing evaluated and fit with hearing aid(s) if needed.

The Hearing Spa is a family-owned business that works with adults and children for hearing testing, hearing aid fitting and repair, and cochlear implant programming. The Hearing Spa has been in the Bradenton/Sarasota area since 1981, and the Moore family has owned the practice since 1999. Dr. Karen Draper, an audiologist, works at The Hearing Spa with audiologist Dr. Vicky Moore and licensed hearing aid specialist Noel C. Moore, a father/daughter team.

The scoop on hearing aids

The prospect of wearing a hearing aid may not sound fun, but it’s important to address hearing issues early on, Dr. Draper says. If you don’t “exercise” your hearing ability, the brain functions you use to hear can stop working properly. “There’s a study from Johns Hopkins University that finds you’re five times more likely to develop dementia if you have untreated hearing loss. You have to keep your brain nourished,” Dr. Draper says. “You use it or lose it.”

Hearing loss can negatively affect your quality of life. When you can’t hear you tend to isolate yourself from others, Dr. Draper says. In turn, you’re not forming the valuable social connections that we all need. That’s why she recommends getting a hearing test by age 60 or sooner if hearing loss is suspected. That gives audiologists a baseline in case hearing loss occurs. If that hearing test or a future one finds you may need a hearing aid, her office can help you find the right one for you. There are a variety of hearing aids nowadays in different shapes and colors. There’s even an implantable hearing aid called Lyric that is replaced every three months. Those around you can’t even see it.

There’s also interesting technology associated with today’s hearing aids. For example, you can stream phone calls directly from your cell phone to your hearing aids so you can hear phone conversations clearly. In addition, Dr. Draper says there are remote microphones that work with the hearing aids wirelessly so that you can hear better in noisy situations like restaurants and meetings.

If you suspect that you or a loved one might have hearing loss Dr. Draper believes it is better to address it sooner rather than later. With all the hearing aids options and styles available today, there is something out there to suit everyone’s lifestyle.

The Hearing Spa participates with some insurance plans and will check your insurance for hearing aid benefits. Although Medicare does not currently cover the cost of hearing aids, some supplemental insurance plans do offer some hearing aid benefit.

To learn more about The Hearing Spa or to set an appointment with Dr. Draper, call 941-755-5535, or visit The Hearing Spa is located on 26th Street West in Bradenton and in downtown Sarasota. You also can find The Hearing Spa on Facebook.

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