With masked mouths the norm these days, people may suddenly realize their hearing loss has been uncovered.

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Wearing a mask muffles speech and obscures the mouth and lips, so people who might have been just ‘getting by’ with mild hearing loss are starting to struggle.

By Patricia Nugent

Wearing face masks has become an everyday protocol. You keep them everywhere, at the ready—in your purse, your car, your back pocket—so you’re prepared for whenever you walk into a public place.

But what’s not an everyday thing is what masks might actually be unmasking…hearing loss.

“Wearing a mask muffles speech and obscures the mouth and lips, so people who might have been just ‘getting by’ with mild hearing loss are starting to struggle,” says Joe Baker, founder of Hearing Science in Westlake. “I’m seeing lots of patients who have noticed with mask wear how much their hearing has slipped. As soon as the sense of hearing begins to falter, people subconsciously begin to read lips to compensate for it. And that’s not an option anymore.”

Think that you may have been just getting by? Joe has all the technology and training to help you find out.

He opened Hearing Science to introduce a premier level of high-tech audiology services to the area. With a 30-plus-year career spanning every facet of the audiology field—from preventive hearing healthcare in the military to practicing audiology to teaching others to be occupational hearing conservationists eliminating hazardous noise in the workplace—he’s uniquely qualified to treat your hearing loss.

Hearing Science owner Joe Baker only works with the latest tech in digitally integrated diagnostics and evidence-based practices. For instance, he is one of a handful of audiologists in the area to work with REM, or real ear measurement. (Photography: Benjamin Margalit)


Why You Shouldn’t Wait
“Hearing loss is dangerous on many levels,” he explains. “First of all, it happens so gradually people often don’t realize it until the loss is significant and has already created negative health repercussions. Secondly, people tend to put off doing anything about it. After noticing loss, the average person waits up to 10 years before getting their hearing tested.”

For seniors especially, untreated hearing loss has been linked to increased cognitive decline. And the longer you go without addressing it, the faster and more severe the decline.

Diagnostics Optimize Hearing Quality
For Joe, only working with the latest tech in digitally integrated diagnostics and evidence-based practices is key. For instance, he is one of a handful of audiologists in the area to work with REM, or real ear measurement.

“The process precisely calibrates hearing aids better than other methods,” he says.

During REM, a miniaturized microphone enters the ear canal and produces sounds. It picks up the sounds that are produced and compares them to each patient’s prescription based on their specific loss.

“This protocol is really one of the best tools I have in my arsenal to ensure my patients get the best value for what they pay for,” he says.

Another piece of equipment is the video otoscope. A tiny camera goes in the external ear and produces a picture of the ear canal and eardrum.

Whether you are experiencing loss or not, Joe recommends everyone gets a baseline audiogram by age 50.

Joe Baker opened Hearing Science to introduce a premier level of high-tech audiology services to the area. With a 30-plus-year career spanning every facet of the audiology field, he’s uniquely qualified to treat your hearing loss. (Photography: Benjamin Margalit)

The Next Generation of Devices
Hearing aids have changed markedly over the decades Joe has been in audiology.

“The new models are wonderful,” he says. “They can stream sound directly from a phone or television screen into the aid for crystal clear sound.”

He says devices are also Bluetooth-connected, and can be adjusted via a computer screen, saving patients having to come back into the office.

The manufacturers he likes to work with are Phonak, Signia and Widex. Each offers an ample breadth of cost options and features.

Speaking of cost, Joe is passionate when it comes to every person who needs hearing aids getting them. He offers a financing program with 24 months same as cash, so everyone can put hearing aids within their budget. He also offers an inviting lease program. Just like with a car, you can lease aids for three years of monthly payments, then turn them in and upgrade to a new pair at that time.

Hearing Science is located within the Crocker Office Park at 815 Crocker Road, Suite 8, in Westlake, just steps from the railroad tracks and Bay Village. Appointments can be scheduled conveniently online. Call 440-438-3401 or visit HearSci.com for more information.