October is Audiology Awareness Month - “Hearing is only one part of you.”

Updated: Oct 25

Watch and listen to Kathleen's converstion with Audiologist, Angie Lederman, MS, CCC-A of Hear Now Audiology & Tinnitus Center to learn about why hearing our best is important, the causes of hearing loss, how we can protect our hearing, and more!


“Hearing is only one part of you.” Our sense of hearing keeps us connected to the world and is an important component of overall health. Watch the interview with Angie of Hear Now Audiology & Tinnitus Center to learn about why hearing our best is important, the causes of hearing loss, how we can protect our hearing, the Rayovac connection, giving back and more!


Angie graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree (Magna Cum Laude) in Communication Disorders and Sciences from Detroit's Wayne State University, where she obtained a Master of Science degree in Audiology. She has been the proud owner of Hear Now Audiology & Tinnitus Center since 2020.


She has worked with ENT centers, private practices, and hospitals. Her awards are numerous and include ACE (Award for Continuing Education). The Hearing Review awarded her, Best Of Hearing Healthcare Professionals. In 2011, she was voted the regional winner in Rayovac’s Hearing Professional of the Year (HPOY). Then, in 2012, she was honored with the National HearingProfessional of the Year Award! Royovac partners with the Starkey Foundation.


Angie believes in helping all people to hear better. She gave the gift of hearing to those in need, empowering them to achieve their potential with her financial award to the Starkey Hearing Foundation. Annually, HearNow Audiology and Tinnitus Center hosts “Hear for the Holidays,” fitting a special someone with hearing aids at no charge.

The field of audiology requires CEs, and Angie stays on top of hearing aid technology, aural rehabilitation, and tinnitus management. She is attending regional and national training to ensure that she is up-to-date on the most current trends in the hearing healthcare field.


Angie is a gem of a healthcare professional who spends extra time with patients getting to know their lifestyles and needs and providing tools and tips for a well-lived journey. She builds relationships graced with the rewards of helping clients hear better. Angie considers her career a privilege and a joy, not a job. Annually, Hear Now Audiology and Tinnitus Center hosts “Hear for the Holidays,” fitting a special someone with hearing aids.


I am excited to share our conversation, enjoy. We want to hear from you! let us know your favorite quote, Angie gave so great ones.


Thank you for watching I hope you found value in our conversation. We'd love to hear from you.


Visit Angie and her growing team at Hear Now Audiology & Tinnitus Center. They have so much to offer their patients.


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Video Transcript:


Why Audiology?


Kathleen: The first thing that I want to know, and most people want to know, is what was it that drew you into audiology.


Angie: So I always wanted to be in the medical field, and I wanted to be a radiologist my entire life, like my uncle. When I got to college, I knew I wanted a family. I got to college, and I started thinking being a doctor that’s probably going to take up a lot of my life. And I love the flexibility of not being on call. And so my mother worked for a neurootologist, and I followed him around for the summer. He had me meet a couple of audiologists, and I just fell in love. It has been my calling, and I really love what I do.


Kathleen: So what was… There had to be something that among that that happens that’s like that trips that.


Angie: I will tell you one of the first things was that all the audiologists I saw worked part-time. And what that meant was work-life balance. So the whole time my kids were in school, I had two days a week where I volunteered at their school and worked three days. So I loved that part of it. I fell in love with working with seniors. As an audiologist, you can specialize in a lot of different things. And I found working with older folks, especially the counseling aspect, and just helping them to communicate better.


Kathleen: That’s good. I find it always fascinating how people find a niche in life. So, that’s amazing. So your mom kind of opened the door for you.


Angie: Yes. I am very thankful to that physician, and I always will be. Yeah.


Hear Now History

Kathleen: So your business here is Hear Now. And you’ve been here for how long?


Angie: So we started in this location in January 2020. For the two years prior, it was just me, and I worked in an ENT office. I rented space from him, and then as that started to develop, I knew I needed my own place, and we found this location in January 2020.


Kathleen: January 2020. And you’re still here, so that’s amazing.


Angie: Yes, we are. We just rented the space next door. We’re expanding. Our business is growing quicker than we know what to do with it.


Hearing Loss Happens

Angie: Yes.


Kathleen: I’m very interested in the deaf community and the hard of hearing. My interest goes more toward children. But I’m also working on a project. We’re doing books for seniors. So yeah, that’s exciting.

So talk to us about, you know, there’s different ways you can develop hearing loss, or you’re born with it.


Angie: Number one is probably aging. And we call that “presbycusis” - that is hearing loss simply by getting older. It’s not inevitable that you’ll have hearing loss when you age, but it’s very likely. And so that’s the big one. Also, noise exposure is a big concern amongst our veterans. Especially here in Metro Detroit, we’ve got the auto workers, think construction, think hunters. Lots of noise here. Genetics is a big one. So you can be born with hearing loss. And so we see that more often in children.


Kathleen: Yeah. That’s a statistic that fascinates me, and I just can’t quite wrap my head around the phenomenon of that yet. And it was shocking the first time I heard it, and I’m still surprised each time I read it. That 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents. Can you shed any light on how that happens?


Angie: That’s probably more of a genetics question than me. But just like any other disease process, disorder, or abnormality, it can happen. There can be a family history. So we quite frequently see families that pass on their hearing loss. So, for instance, I have a father. He is in his early forties. He was born with hearing loss. Four of his five children have hearing loss, and if I put their audiograms next to each other, they’re virtually identical. So we’ve got that huge family tie. But then we can also say, you know, how did that child be born diabetic when there’s no history of diabetes?


Kathleen: Right.


Angie: Same with hearing loss. Just something in that genetic sequence.


The Deaf community celebrates the birth of a Deaf child, but a hearing family often is devastated.


Kathleen: It fascinates me. So, and I know the deaf community, they don’t consider hearing loss a disability.


Angie: Correct.


Kathleen: They consider that celebration time. Yeah, “He’s one of us.” She’s one of us.” So we can communicate with sign language. But for the parent that’s hearing or a family that’s hearing, and it can be quite devastating.


Angie: It can. And I can’t comment on that as much as I’d like other than I see it. Especially today in social media, there are groups for the deaf and hearing impaired. The deaf community is such a close, tight-knit community, and they really do not feel hearing loss is a disability or deafness. And so they’re very resistant, perhaps, to wanting intervention for maybe a cochlear implant because they don’t feel anything is wrong. But when you have one parent who can’t communicate because of not knowing ASL, that’s got to be a really difficult family dynamic.


Kathleen: Yeah, it is. And families will embrace it and take it on as a challenge like, “okay.” So the majority of families just completely go into a not-good place.


Angie: And I’ve seen it. We’ve years ago diagnosed a four-year-old girl with progressive hearing loss. And I remember sitting with her mom and just letting her mom cry as she just couldn’t believe that her perfect four-year-old had something wrong. And I’m still friends with them to this day. And I just remember comforting her and saying, “Hearing loss is one part of your daughter.” Well, this young lady, her hearing loss did progress. She eventually received two cochlear implants. She is in her mid-twenties today in college. She is thriving. She did amazing, and she said, “I will always look back at what you told my mom.”

(6:51) “Hearing loss is one part of me.”


Kathleen: So, is she still a patient of yours?


Angie: She moved to another state, but I actually went to Massachusetts to visit her, and she took me to Maine for a visit. So when she’s been back in Michigan, we’ve visited, and we’ve stayed in touch all of these years.


Kathleen: That’s awesome. That’s wonderful, and it’s so beautiful.


Angie: Yes, yes!


Kathleen: Yeah, and it’s a good story, you know, whatever worked out, you know, with being able to deal with it.


Angie: Some handicaps are visible, and hearing loss is invisible. And then I always tell my patients, you know, all of us have some disability in some way, shape, or form. We all have something not quite perfect. It doesn’t matter what it is. You can overcome any obstacles, and you work with what you’re given.


Kathleen: Yeah, and then that is so true. I say often, you know, we all have something.


Angie: That is so true.


Kathleen: And no matter how, whatever the rest of the world may appear, everybody has something.


Angie: That’s exactly right. Be kind.


Acceptance


Kathleen: Yeah, be kind. So we talked a lot about accepting that. So like from childbirth and now with your seniors, and as they get older and it’s a progressive loss. So talk to us a little more about that acceptance.


Angie: So accepting hearing loss can be very difficult for some people. There is, unfortunately, a stigma attached to hearing aids. That wearing a hearing aid makes you feeble, you’re old, you’re kind of put out to pasture. I’m out to change that narrative. When you have hearing loss, we talk about maintaining what you still have or working with what you have and improving on it. So if we can get you to accept that you have hearing loss and I say there is help available. People still have this mental image of that big old clunky hearing aid without realizing technology these days is amazing.


Changing the Narrative


And what we’re starting to talk about is hearing health is brain health. So your ears help funnel in the sound, but your brain does the actual hearing and interpretation. So we talk to our patients as they get older, a hearing loss is more noticeable than a hearing aid. People who know you know you have hearing loss. They watch TV with you. They had dinner with you. If you get a hearing aid, it sounds like you care. You care about those relationships and communication because you don’t exist in isolation. Right now, it’s very tough. Baby boomers are that generation that just are not going to go old. They are going to stay young. And so trying to get them to accept a hearing aid does not make you old. Not dealing with your hearing loss is what’s making you old.


Kathleen: Yeah, that’s a great perspective and a great, great narrative.


Angie: I’m out to change it.


Kathleen: I am too. You know the narrative about sign language, hearing aids, and cochlear implants, and all that. And the deaf community will come along and say that too, “We’re not disabled. We’re different-abled.”


Angie: Yeah, other-abled. Yes, absolutely.


Kathleen: So I think that’s really…


Angie: I think that that’s empowering.


Kathleen: Yeah.


Angie: That they’ve learned how to live in a community that isn’t always friendly to minorities, no matter what it is. It could be a wheelchair. We’re not a wheelchair-accessible world. We’re not always very friendly to the deaf community or others. And I like that they advocate for themselves and they frame it in such a positive manner. This is us, and we can still do it.


Auditory Fatigue


Kathleen: Yeah, exactly. I love that, too. So one of the things that I remember when I was taking signing classes, you really need your eyes to hear, right? So our eyes could get so tired, you know. And instructors knew that. They were Deaf. And so, they were like, “Yeah, I know your eyes are tired, right? Because you’re not used to listening with your eyes.” So, with hearing, when you’re losing your hearing, can be fatiguing as well.


Angie: So that’s a real phenomenon, Auditory Fatigue. When you don’t hear normally, you have to listen more attentively, which requires more energy. You have to focus. You can’t multitask. I have normal hearing. If I’m having a conversation, I could probably be tying my shoes or filing my nails and still attend. When you have hearing loss, you’re relying on your eyes to help. So you’re going to focus more. You’re going to lean in, and you’re going to strain. People with hearing loss, by the end of the day they’re more tired. They feel it in here because you’re just so ultra-focused on not missing a word. And it’s very tiresome. So yes, that is real.


Kathleen: And I know in the recent interviews we’ve done on our blog, Sarah Novic, she’s a Deaf author. Phenomenal! You have to read her books. You can’t put them down.


Angie: Okay.


Kathleen: Anyway, she says that, too. And I’ve read about others and, they’ll be in a hearing event, you know. And there might be an interpreter signing. But they just get tired and turn it off.


Angie: Yeah, it requires a lot of listening effort. So we talk to people that when you wear hearing aids, you require less listening effort, and you will be less fatigued. We know what happens when our bodies are tired. We’re less likely to remember. We’re more anxious or more frustrated, or annoyed. So a hearing aid doesn’t just help the hearing loss. It really helps your whole body. And so we’re starting to say hearing health is a very important part of your overall health.


Preserve Hearing with Protection


Kathleen: And that’s a great next question, so you have a newborn, or you’re a baby boomer or anywhere in between. How do you recommend protecting our ears? Or if there is a progressive loss going on, what are some things we can do to preserve?


Angie: So, as audiologists, we have a very broad scope of knowledge and practice. So we’re not just here to sell a hearing aid. We are educated on all aspects of hearing. And hearing protection is very important. So what I say to, I see mostly older people, your two main strikes against you are aging and noise exposure.

I can’t stop the aging process, but you can limit your noise exposure. We talk about everything from mowing the lawn, running a leaf blower, shooting a gun, fireworks, and some of these sporting events. Look at football these days. They’ve got the meter out there telling you how loud it is. Seattle, they call the crowd the 13th man on the field because that crowd can be so loud it can make the team not hear what they need to hear. But when you think about sustaining that amount of noise, it can cause hearing loss. And so we’re very big, we have a little handout we give to our patients showing them what’s loud.

These days even some vacuum cleaners or blow dryers could be loud and loud enough to do damage. So we talk about very basic hearing protection, which can be just earmuffs. We can also get much more expensive and sophisticated with electronic shooting protection for our hunters.


Kathleen: Or any other loud noise.


Angie: Exactly. So they can still have that on to hear the environment but protect their ears. So we’re very big on hearing conservation.


Digital Technology Advancements


Kathleen: Yeah, I can see that where my generation, maybe, might have some preconceived notions about hearing aids and, you know, how big they are.


Angie: Yeah, because your grandpa’s hearing aid was ugly. It was awful.


Kathleen: It was.


Angie: And with digital technology and advancements and nano production and how small we can make them. Most people come in with the notion, “I’m not wearing a hearing aid; they’re ugly.” And then I show them when I put it on their ear, and they look in the mirror, and they’re like, “Oh my gosh, I had no idea!” So if we can get past that social stigma and what they were in the past. So many people are pleased with technology these days.


Kathleen: Yeah, technology. That whole craziness.


Angie: Yes.


Awards and Global Partnerships


Kathleen: How it’s changed so much. I know that you’re very involved in audiology and have been given some huge awards. I’d love to hear about those.


Angie: Thank you. So, several years ago, Rayovac is one of the battery manufacturers in our industry. They would run a contest every year, looking for the Hearing Professional of the Year. Patients could write in and submit whoever. So in 2011, I won the regional award for the Midwest, which was exciting. And then, in 2012, I was voted the Hearing Professional of the Year for the country. It was very exciting. Both years it allowed me to donate my winnings to a hearing charity of my choice. I chose the Starkey Foundation. They go on missions nationally and around the globe, fitting people with hearing aids. It’s my goal one day to be on one of those missions. But I’ve felt very strongly, and I’ve seen what they do.


Kathleen: Throughout the United States?


Angie: And also globally. Yeah, so, for instance, they’ve partnered with the Clinton-Bush Initiative, and they’ve committed to fit one million hearing aids in ten years. So that would, yeah, be a really big, big commitment. And they are standing behind what they do, and I just felt that would be a great choice.


Kathleen: Yeah, it is a great choice. And I’m curious, how is Rayovac seem to…


Angie: So they’re a battery supplier for hearing aids, yeah.


Kathleen: But they give back in the…