People think Children’s Care only serves children, but many of our outpatient services also are offered for adults. Our staff audiologist cares for the hearing needs of both children and adults in the region. Dr. Paul Brueggeman CCC-A, FAAA has spent over a dozen years fitting hearing aids and assessing hearing for both children and adults. In the past, he taught doctoral-level Audiology courses in the areas of hearing assessment, hearing aid fitting, and hearing rehabilitation. “Out of everything I have done in my career, nothing makes me happier than seeing what hearing aids can do to improve a person’s quality of life. That is really what it boils down to when you look at what hearing aids do,” says Dr. Brueggeman. What is underappreciated by those not suffering from hearing loss, is how isolating it can be to not understand others speaking. When people cannot hear, they cannot participate in life to its fullest. It is disheartening to see people not going out any more to church, restaurants, and other family functions simply because they cannot hear in those settings.
Only about 1 in 5 adults with hearing loss actually get help in the form of hearing aids. Why? One factor is the cost. However, when one looks at the price of hearing aids as compared to other consumer items such as a new car, a loaf of bread, or a gallon of milk going back to the 1920’s, an interesting pattern emerges. That is, that the cost of each has stayed in line with one another. There are other factors that influence why people don’t use a hearing aid, including hearing from others that hearing aids don’t work or knowing someone who had a bad hearing aid fitting. How people think others will see them when wearing a hearing aid also is also very influential.
Hearing aids can help restore hearing for people, but they only work as well as the person programming and fitting them. The public doesn’t realize how important this step is. Hearing aids are not automatically programmed for a patient’s hearing loss. Audiologists’ or hearing aid dispensers’ jobs are to do perform this step, and it’s a huge influence on the end-benefit a person gets. “I always have told patients that I fit “in the ear” hearing aids, not “in the dresser drawer” hearing aids,” says Brueggeman. “That means my goal is ultimately to order and fit a hearing aid that meets a person’s needs and lifestyle. This also means that I need to program and verify the hearing aid on the person’s ear to ensure an appropriate fit through a specialized verification process. When people are having problems hearing or having issues with their current hearing aids, I want them to know I am a resource for them to come to.”
For people who have never tried a hearing aid and know their hearing loss is impacting their lives, a comprehensive hearing evaluation will reveal what types of hearing aids will benefit them. For an appointment with Dr. Brueggeman—remember, we serve adults of all ages with audiology services—call Carla at (605) 782-2400.
Dr. Paul Brueggeman CCC-A, FAAA obtained his Master’s Degree from the University of South Dakota and Doctoral Degree from Vanderbilt University and Central Michigan University. He has practiced as a clinical audiologist for fourteen years in the Midwest. His research interests have included: pediatric electrophysiology measures, NICU noise levels, adult learning, hearing rehabilitation, and middle ear function in Native American children. He has published several research papers and textbook chapters, and has presented at conferences throughout the country. He enjoys calling Sioux Falls home, along with his wife and two sons.