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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

For those who haven't heard, there are two more chances to get a free hearing screening as part of May's Better Speech and Hearing Month.

The screenings, which are open to the public, will be offered at UF's off-campus hearing and speech clinic located at 1405 NW 13 St.

They will take place between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., this Wednesday and May 27.

"We want to offer a service to allow people to see if their hearing is in the normal range," said Ryan Baker, a doctor at the clinic.

The screenings are pass-fail and are different from hearing tests.

They provide a starting point for doctors to determine if treatment is needed for hearing loss.

During the screening, tones are played through headphones and the patient must signal when he or she is able to hear the tone.

Since the clinic's opening in 2006, the screenings have been offered biannually and used to be held on-campus, Baker said.

Jarryd Bailey, 21, spent the past year dealing with the academic and social difficulties of hearing loss.

"I don't think I could ever take [my hearing] for granted again," he said.

Bailey suffered an ear infection and a punctured eardrum and has recently regained his hearing.

"I couldn't hear my professors; I couldn't hear conversations right in front of me," he said. "I just couldn't compete."

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Bailey said he thinks the screenings are important and that people don't realize how much they need their hearing until they lose it.

According to a UF release, hearing loss affects more than 36 million Americans.

Much hearing loss is permanent, but hearing aids, rehabilitation and assistive listening devices can be used by patients if audiologists deem them beneficial.

"Hearing loss takes shape in many forms," Baker said, adding that it can be caused by anything from wax buildup to permanent nerve damage.

Medical issues such as wax buildup can be treated by removal, he said.

Permanent damage, however, is treated through aural rehabilitation and amplification through hearing aids.

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