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Better Hearing for You or Someone You Love
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Hearing Loss and You
It is estimated that 31.5 million Americans suffer from hearing loss; that is about 10% of the population! Hearing loss effects all age groups. In fact, 65% for all people suffering from hearing loss are younger than 65 years of age. Click here to screen if you or a loved one may be experiencing hearing loss. Hearing loss may affect your outer ear, middle ear, or hearing nerve. A full diagnostic hearing exam conducted by your audiologist will pinpoint the location of you or your loved ones hearing loss. It is important to treat the hearing loss as soon as it is detected. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to loss of income, depression, anxiety, social phobias, and even dementia. The longer people wait to treat the hearing loss, the longer it may take for the brain to understand sound again.
Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
Tinnitus affects 1 in 5 people and is defined as the perception of sound in the ears or head where no external sound source is present. It is often referred to as “ringing in the ears” or may be categorized as buzzing, roaring, crickets, or pulsating. Tinnitus may be triggered by noise exposure, wax buildup, jaw misalignment, cardiovascular disease, certain types of tumors, or ototoxic medications. Treatment options vary but may include: tinnitus masking, amplification (hearing aids), or cognitive therapy. At Quality Hearing & Audiology Center, Dr. Nelson will perform a full evaluation and work with you to determine the cause of your tinnitus and the appropriate tinnitus treatment plan for you.
For more information about tinnitus, visit the American Tinnitus Association website, www.ata.org.
The audiologists at Quality Hearing & Audiology Center understand hearing loss effects every patient differently. We pride ourselves in listening to your unique challenges and providing a hearing plan for you to get back to your daily activities. Quality Hearing & Audiology Center offers hearing aids with programmable digital technology with advanced noise cancellation in all styles including behind-the-ear (BTE), in-the-ear (ITE), completely in-the-canal (CIC), invisible in-the-canal (IIC) and extended wear hearing aids. We can help you choose the hearing aid that is most appropriate for your specific hearing loss and customize it to your lifestyle and financial situation.
Meet Your Local Audiologist & Team
Pamela Shattuck Nelson, Au.D.
Quality Hearing and Audiology Center is owned and operated by Dr. Pamela Shattuck Nelson, a licensed and certified audiologist. Dr. Nelson received her undergraduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at Texas Christian University. She received her doctorate in Audiology at the University of North Texas. Dr. Nelson completed her externship at Newport-Mesa Balance and Ear Institute in Newport Beach, CA, gaining experience in diagnosing balance and hearing impairments. She then worked at Providence Speech and Hearing Center, closely associated with Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), as a pediatric audiologist and served on the CHOC craniofacial team. Dr. Nelson also gained audiological experience with Cochlear Americas, the leading cochlear implant and BAHA manufacturer, and Resound, a hearing aid manufacturer. Dr. Nelson has been published in the Journal of the Academy of Audiology in 2008 and received the 2013 Trainer of the Year award from ReSound.
Dr. Nelson enjoys serving the St. Joseph community. She is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Sertoma Club. She is devoted to providing St. Joseph and surrounding communities with all hearing health care needs.
Bachelor of Science in Speech-Language Pathology/Audiology; Texas Christian University; Cum-Laude
Doctorate of Audiology; University of North Texas
Newport Mesa Balance and Ear Institute
A meta-analytic comparison of binaural benefits between bilateral cochlear implants and bimodal stimulation. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, October 2007.
2013 Outstanding Performer; Resound
Meredith Nitcher, Au.D.
Dr. Nitcher’s interest in audiology began in childhood when she saw how hearing impairment affected her grandfather. Witnessing how wearing hearing aids brought joy to her grandfather’s life inspired her to help others improve their quality of life through better hearing. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Kansas State University in 2010 and her Doctorate of Audiology from Missouri State University in 2015. Dr. Nitcher completed her externship at the Arkansas Otolaryngology Center in Little Rock, AR, where she gained extensive knowledge and experience in diagnosing hearing impairments and vestibular disorders. Dr. Nitcher is a member of the American Academy of Audiology and holds her certificate of clinical competence in Audiology through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. In her free time, she enjoys cheering for the Chiefs and the Royals, as well as spending time with her family.
Communication Sciences and Disorders; Kansas State University
Doctorate of Audiology; Missouri State University
Arkansas Otolaryngology Center; Little Rock, AR
Heathor is the patient care coordinator for Quality Hearing & Audiology Center. She will be the voice you talk to on the phone and the first welcoming face you will see when you enter the building. Heathor truly loves being able to help people in their path to hearing better. Heathor enjoys spending time with her family and being outdoors.
Do you have hearing loss?Find Out Now
The following questions will help you determine if you need to have your hearing evaluated:
If you answered “yes” to three or more of these questions, you may have a degree of hearing loss. Contact us.
A hearing test is quick, simple and painless. In most cases, the results are instantaneous—you will learn immediately if you have a hearing loss and what steps you should take to improve your hearing. There are different testing methods, but most start with brief questions about the health of your ear, your general health and your lifestyle. These questions determine the cause and nature of your possible hearing loss.
Remember that you are in the hands of a doctor of audiology who has been trained for years in the advance diagnostic testing and wants to help you improve your quality of life. Do not hesitate to discuss your concerns or ask any questions.
The first thing your audiologist will do is take a look in your ear with an otoscope. This is done to examine the ear canal—the tunnel that leads from the outer ear to the eardrum. Inspection of the ear can provide a lot of information about your eardrum and the middle ear. Looking into the ear does not hurt.
A hearing test evaluates your hearing sensitivity and is performed by using an audiometer, which determines sensitivity at different frequencies.
- You will sit inside a sound-treated room with a set of foam earphones placed in your ear canals.
- Your earphones are connected to the audiometer. The audiometer is calibrated to measure your hearing with precision.
- The audiometer sends tones at various frequencies to one ear at a time, while the doctor of audiology plots the loudness (in decibels) on an audiogram.
- While you are being exposed to the different tones, you’ll signal to the doctor of audiology by pressing a button when you hear the tone, no matter how quiet it is. The doctor of audiology is looking for the softest levels at which you can hear the tones important for understanding speech. You may hear the same tone many times. Don’t worry: this is part of the test and ensures accurate results.
- Over the course of the test, the doctor of audiology plots points on a graph that will explain your hearing in comparison to the normal range.
- The test will produce results in the form of a graph that shows your hearing loss in pitch and loudness. The result is referred to as your “threshold.” Normal hearing for adults is being able to hear sounds that are 25 dB or quieter.
- Your evaluation may include other subtests such as speech audiometry. Your doctor of audiology will read lists of words to you through the earphones, and you will do your best to try and repeat the words. Do not worry if you miss any of the words. Just do the best you can.
- Your Doctor of Audiology will discuss the results of your hearing test in full detail with you.
Our Hearing Aids
Remember… A Hearing Loss Is A Lot More Noticeable Than A Hearing Aid!
No two people have exactly the same type of hearing loss. Small, comfortable and powerful, our hearing aids are sophisticated pieces of digital technology that can be tuned to suit your unique hearing needs. At Quality Hearing & Audiology Center, we offer three different categories of hearing aids:
Daily Wear Devices
Daily wear hearing aids are sophisticated, discreet and durable devices which give you exceptional sound quality and speech understanding through advanced noise cancellation technology so that you may engage effortlessly with family, friends, and colleagues in any listening situation.
Extended Wear Devices
Lyric is the world’s first 100% invisible extended wear hearing device.Extended wear hearing aids (Lyric) are comfortably placed in the ear canal without the need for surgery or anesthesia. Once placed, Lyric can be worn 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for months at a time, during daily activities like sleeping, exercising and even showering. Not only does Lyric’s deep placement inside the ear canal allow it to completely disappear from sight, it also helps the Lyric hearing aid to use the ear’s own anatomy to deliver exceptional sound quality and advanced noise cancellation.
If you have certain types of hearing loss and are currently struggling with hearing aids, an implantable hearing solution may be able to help. These advanced hearing treatment options, including a cochlear implant or bone conduction system, are easy to use and are designed to help you hear better in all settings, from quiet conversations to noisy places. Your audiologist will determine if you are a candidate for an implantable solution and make the appropriate recommendations.
10 Reasons Why You Should Wear 2 Hearing InstrumentsLearn More
Binaural Hearing: Receiving Sound in Both Ears
- 1Better understanding in noisy places.
By wearing two hearing instruments, selective listening is more easily achieved. This means your brain can focus on the conversation you want to hear and ignore the unwanted background noise more easily.
- 2Binaural hearing allows you to better identify the direction of sound.
This is called localization. This helps you determine from what direction someone is speaking. It also helps you tell what direction traffic is coming from or where your children are playing. Simply put, it helps you better detect which direction a sound is coming from.
- 3Binaural hearing creates better sound quality.
When you listen to a stereo, you use both speakers to get the smoothest, sharpest, most natural sound quality. The same can be said of hearing instruments. With two, you increase your hearing range from 180 degrees reception, with just one instrument, to 360 degrees. This greater range provides a better sense of balance and sound quality.
- 4Binaural hearing creates smoother tone quality.
Wearing two instruments generally requires less volume than one. This results in less distortion and better reproduction of amplified sounds.
- 5Binaural hearing creates a wider hearing range.
It’s true. A person can hear sounds from a further distance with two ears, rather than just one. A voice that’s barely heard at 10 feet with one ear can be heard up to 40 with two ears.
- 6Binaural hearing allows better sound identification.
Often, with just one hearing aid, many noises and words sound alike. But with two instruments, as with two ears, sounds are more easily distinguishable.
- 7Binaural hearing keeps both of your ears active.
Research has shown that when only one hearing instrument is worn, the unaided ear tends to lose its ability to hear and understand, whereas those wearing two hearing instruments will keep both ears active.
- 8Binaural hearing is less tiring, therefore it makes listening a more pleasant experience.
Many binaural hearing aid wearers report that listening and participating in conversation is more enjoyable with two instruments, instead of just one. Thus, binaural hearing can help make life more relaxing.
- 9Binaural hearing creates a feeling of balance.
Two-eared hearing results in a feeling of balanced sound, known as the “stereo effect”, whereas monaural hearing creates an unusual feeling of sounds being heard in one ear.
- 10Binaural hearing instruments are more comfortable when loud noises occur.
A lower volume control is required with each of two hearing instruments than with just one hearing instrument, resulting in better tolerance of loud sounds.
“I could hear my daughter for the first time on the telephone after Dr. Nelson reprogrammed my hearing aids.”
“I have tried several different types of hearing aids. All hearing aids hurt my ears. Until I met Dr. Nelson. They are the most wonderful things I have ever had. I have gotten back to my social life.”
Thank you for taking time to explain about my hearing. You made it so clear, even an old gal like me could understand. I just want you to know how much I appreciate being able to hear again. I have a niece who is ill. I call her each night and could hear her like she was right here in the room with me. It blessed her and blessed me. Thank you!
-N. Dittmar, current patient
No one should have to miss out on the “Sounds of Life” because of finances…
Wells Fargo enables you to finance all or a portion of the cost of hearing aids and make low monthly payments. Similar to a credit card, you can make only a small minimum payment or make larger payments to pay off early, with no penalties. 12 Month 0% interest is also available.
We are proud to work with Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation, which helps Missouri residents obtain hearing aids to gain or maintain employment in Missouri. The program includes specific hearing loss and financial criteria. Just schedule an appointment with us, if you’d like to pursue assistance through Missouri’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program.
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Vote us Best of St. Joseph
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Common causes of Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Check out this article on sensorineural hearing loss.