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The Dr. Bettie Borton Interview (Page 2 of 2)

Caregiver Thought Leader Interview
Dr. Bettie Borton
President of The Board of Directors
American Academy of Audiology


Gary Barg: If you’re the person with hearing issues and you’re using a captioning telephone, you know you’re not hearing what you’re reading.

Dr. Borton: That’s exactly right and I think there are lots of entryways to broaching the discussion of hearing loss. One of the best avenues I’ve found to do that is to get a hearing evaluation with your partner yourself. In other words, “Let’s both go get our hearing tested today and just see what our baseline audiogram is.”

Gary Barg: What would you say to somebody who’s still using cotton ear swabs?

Dr. Borton: I would say, “Stop; be very careful.” Sometimes, people who wear hearing aids tend to have more issues with wax in their ear and they have a compulsion to get that ear as clean as possible. But I would remind them about their grandmother’s admonition that you shouldn’t put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear canal.

Gary Barg: What would be that one most important piece of advice you’d like to leave with a family caregiver?

Dr. Borton: Don’t underestimate the importance of screening for hearing loss. Right now, only 13 percent of primary care physicians screen for hearing loss. And this is catastrophic because we know that hearing loss will not show itself in a quiet exam room. The physician comes in and says, “How’s your hearing?” You say, “Fine,” even if you have a severe hearing loss because the room is small, quiet, well lit, and the guy’s talking loudly. That’s not a good hearing test.

Hearing loss is sneaky; it comes on very gradually and it needs to be assessed. Every single person in this country should have a baseline hearing assessment and we’re not doing a very good job of ensuring that that happens.

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