Making new friends hear again

AudioCare opened its doors in 2007 and since then has helped close to 1,000 people that struggled with hearing loss. “Throughout the years we’ve managed to maintain a high level of service that allowed us to develop a really close relationship with our patients”, says Kate van Duijvenbode, Certified Audiologist and CEO of AudioCare. “That being said, we also invest a lot in the new development of hearing aids’ technology that allow our patients to regain their quality of life”, she adds.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) there are around 466 million people worldwide that have disabling hearing loss and 34 million of these are children. It’s estimated that by 2050 over 900 million people will have some type of disabling hearing impairment.

Hearing loss can have many origins and may result from genetic causes, complications at birth, certain infectious diseases, chronic ear infections, the use of particular drugs, exposure to excessive noise and ageing. However, 60% of childhood hearing loss is due to preventable causes and 1.1 billion young people (with ages ranging from 12 to 35 years) are at risk of hearing loss due to exposure to noise in recreational settings.

Unaddressed hearing loss poses an annual global cost of 750 billion US dollars (approximately 662 billion Euros) and interventions to prevent, identify and address it are cost-effective and can bring great benefit to individuals.

According to the WHO, people with hearing loss benefit from early diagnosis and identification, that leads to the use of hearing aids, cochlear implants and other assistive devices, as well as captioning and sign language, along with other forms of educational and social support.

“It’s very common to hear people say that being blind is much worse than being deaf, however, the big difference is that blindness takes you away from things, deafness takes you away from people”, says Kate.

Those who struggle with hearing loss often have the feeling that people mumble and don’t articulate well, although this is not necessarily true, it’s just how they perceive speech. The alphabet is spread out between frequencies and if the impairment is in an area where these letters are spoken, it may interfere with the understanding of speech and words are heard incomplete, so patients frequently say they can hear, but they don’t understand.

It’s fundamental to act in the early stages of the hearing loss, to help maintain the stimulation between the ear and the brain before this connection is lost. By working closely with patients and understanding their lifestyle and needs, the hearing aid technology has evolved and is nowadays better than it’s ever been. At AudioCare the new hearing aids available allow you to control the volume, change programs, accept incoming calls from your mobile devices, find your hearing aids should you misplace or lose them, and can also be connected with your TV. And although it may sound overwhelming or too complicated if you’re not a “tech person”, the whole system is quite intuitive and can be bespoke to each one’s needs.

“All our hearing aids come with a 5 year warranty and an excellent service”, says Kate van Duijvenbode, AudioCare’s CEO, “we take pride in that and can safely say that the large majority of our clients have become our friends”. Based in Guia, and available to be visited by appointment, from Monday to Friday, AudioCare is a high-tech family business that promises to completely alter the lives of those who struggle with some sort of hearing disability. “We are so sure we’ll change people’s life, that we offer all our clients a two week trial period where they can experience the true benefits of being able to hear again!”, Kate says.

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