About Dr. Darrow
My name is Dr. Keith Darrow, and I’m a Neuroscientist and Clinical Audiologist! When people hear what I do for a living, they almost automatically . . . wince! They try not to be too obvious about it. (Hey, doctors have feelings, too!) But it’s usually there, if only for a brief moment. It’s okay; I’m used to it.
The fact is, the less you know about Neuroscience and hearing loss, the more reason you have to be afraid of it. Once upon a time, audiologists meant one thing: heavy, ugly, big beige banana-like things dangling from the back of your ears.
They were hard to put on, hard to keep on and an eyesore for patients. They meant you looked ‘old’ and even kept many patients from going out to socialize. Many people still cling to the unfounded notion that this is the only option for hearing loss treatment and dementia risk reduction today; but they are wrong!
The fact of the matter is that audiology is more than just old fashioned hearing aids. How much more? Technically speaking, audiology is the treatment of the auditory system in order to restore hearing clarity by bringing proper stimulation to the ears, brain, and overall auditory system.
Restored hearing simply allows your ears and brain to function better, reducing your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Properly prescribed medical-based NeuroTechnology™ devices improve your ability to hear conversations, interact socially, and improve your cognitive function.
NeuroTechnology™ is a wonderful investment with life-long returns, and yet people still fear bringing themselves or their spouse to the audiologist for one simple reason: fear of aging!
In fact, the one recurring theme I hear about folks going to the hearing doctor is that it’s going to make them old. (Short answer, it doesn’t! But missing out on conversation, family interactions, and your social life does!) But there are lots of other fears that keep people from coming to see me and my colleagues.
To overcome the fear of aging that keeps many of you from visiting an audiologist, let me explain why early treatment could actually help slow or prevent many pieces of the aging process. I will say that, in my experience, these are The Top 5 Reasons Why Seeing An Audiologist Is So Important:
- Early Intervention Can Prevent Bigger Problems Later in Life
Your spouse should see the audiologist by their 50th birthday, or whenever the first hearing struggles begin. Usually around 50 years of age, we begin to struggle in noise. Your spouse should see the audiologist to establish an audiology home, receive a hearing evaluation and preventive care that can protect your spouse’s hearing and cognition well into the future..
- Cognitive Decline can happen very early in life (especially in those with hearing loss)
After the first hearing struggles begin, at-will social isolation should be avoided and additional sources of auditory stimulation should be started. Avoid allowing your spouse to become disconnected, or unengaged.
Hearing compensation efforts, like increasing TV Volume, should be avoided as this is only a crutch that delays crucial treatment of auditory deprivation. Acting as your spouse’s ‘human ear’ dramatically increases the risk for delayed treatment…resulting in detrimental consequences to their brain health. Patients are afraid it’s going to take too long / miss too much school or work.
Regardless of the type of orthodontic procedure your child needs, time is of the essence. Modern technology and ease of access allows us to work around your child’s school schedule with a minimum of absences. After initial visits and barring the actual procedure itself, most visits and/or adjustments are routine and can take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes.
- Untreated Hearing Loss can lead to cognitive decline, brain atrophy, and other health conditions
Although hearing struggles increase with age, untreated hearing loss can lead to Dementia, Cognitive Decline, Social Isolation, and a myriad of other health issues. Some seniors wait up to 7 years to seek treatment; often times setting them behind in the treatment process and cognitive impact. We recommend evaluation by an audiologist at the age of 50 to establish a baseline. The audiologist can educate, diagnose, and treat hearing loss before its long-term effects set in.
- Good auditory health starts now!
One of the most common questions I receive as an audiologist is “when should I start tracking my hearing ability?” Start at 50; or sooner if you have a reason. Schedule a Medical Hearing Evaluation with a Dr. Darrow approved hearing care professional.
Studies show your best interest lies in having your hearing checked annually. Besides being able to hear well, having your hearing checked may help identify any potential cancers on or in the ear, recognize depression caused by the social isolation of hearing loss, and help you better understand the comorbidities of hearing loss.
A result of such a situation may be a decision on the part of the person with hearing loss to avoid dealing with the embarrassment and frustration of such situations by refusing to communicate by avoiding conversations altogether.
- Your audiologist can help with many potential problems
Early detection and treatment is the key concept in all medical conditions; hearing loss is no different. Social Withdrawal, Cognitive Decline, and Dementia are significant concerns and major cause of stress amongst aging adults. After your spouse’s hearing begins to diminish and is left untreated, their health begins to suffer.
If you’ve ever voiced a concern about not visiting an audiologist because it will make you look ‘old’, hopefully this brief discussion has put your mind at ease about the benefits of such a visit on maintaining your vitality. But don’t stop now; there’s much more to explore here. In my practice, I see spouses like you every day. You’re worried about your husband or wife’s hearing, but none too eager to put him or her through such an emotional step in their active-aging life.
But we see patients as well; patients that are self-conscious about their hearing and missed conversations, who have taken to living in isolation to avoid others thinking they are just not quite ‘with it’ any longer.
This book is called Stop Living In Isolation because there is simply no reason for your spouse not to have an engaged, active, fully involved lifestyle with the hearing clarity they deserve! The world of modern audiology is not what it was when your grandfather had big, bulky, beige looking hearing aids dangling from the backs of his ears.
What you and your spouse need aren’t more questions, but answers. You don’t need more doubts, you need results. Well, you’ve come to the right place. I’m a Harvard Medical and M.I.T. Trained Neuroscientist and Clinical Audiologist and I’m here to help.
What do I do? How do I do it?
When should you come see me?
I’m glad you asked: my best patients are active participants in their healthcare decisions. Providing your spouse with restored hearing is an important investment. The time and effort you spend researching audiologists now will lead to a confident decision in the type of care you receive and when you receive it. Simply stated, effort equals result. Be an active participant in your spouse’s healthcare now and reap the rewards for a lifetime.
This short book is meant as a guide for spouses who are unfamiliar with hearing care and audiology. Maybe you’ve never had modern NeuroTechnology™ devices for yourself, but you want to provide this important investment for your loved one. Like any unfamiliar endeavor, the initial steps can be overwhelming. Giving you the confidence to make decisions about the timing of your loved one’s treatment is the basic goal of this publication.
In fact, this book answers over two dozen of the most commonly asked questions about audiology. Stop Living In Isolation is easy to read and will serve as a quick reference and valuable resource in the journey of restoring your spouse’s hearing clarity.