Restoring the Sounds of Life
By Amber Mabe
Imagine for a moment that you wake one morning to find that the soundtrack of your life has been muted. No rustling of leaves and singing of birds outside your bedroom window. No sputtering of percolating coffee or whirring of the refrigerator as you make breakfast. Much worse is the loss of music. The loss of laughter and conversation. The loss of awareness when the sounds that keep you safe and help you function disappear. Unimpaired hearing is something many of us take for granted each day. For the hearing healthcare professionals at High Point Audiological, restoring the sounds of life to their patients is not just a job, it is a passion.
With her family roots growing deep in the Kernersville area, Dr. Michelle Novakovich has a love for the people and community of the Triad area that overflows into her practice. “We are a patient centered practice that focuses on hearing healthcare. We take an interest in who our patients are and develop treatment plans based on their individual needs,” says Dr. Michelle. “We have patients that have been with our practice for over twenty years and now we are seeing their children. They truly become family.” High Point Audiological has been serving the Triad area for more than 35 years and has always been family owned and operated. Drs. Michelle Novakovich and Karen Sikes not only bring a high level of professionalism and expertise to the practice, but also strong teamwork skills based on a friendship that can be traced back to the time they spent together in graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. After graduate school, Drs. Karen and Michelle each received their Doctorate of Audiology degrees from Salus University in Pennsylvania. Together with office manager Debi, whose care for patients makes them feel right at home, Drs. Michelle and Karen use their extensive training to diagnose and treat a wide range of auditory disorders. “We pride ourselves in taking the time with each patient to navigate through that process, determining the most cost-effective choice for each particular patient, while at the same time, not sacrificing their hearing health care needs,” says Dr. Karen.
Although hearing loss is quite often associated with age, there are many other factors that can influence auditory health. Ear infections, too much ear wax, physical trauma, genetic determiners, nervous system issues, excessive noise, and even certain medications can also negatively impact hearing in severe ways. The impact of hearing loss goes beyond physical discomfort and lifestyle changes. The feeling of loss, the reduced ability to communicate, and feelings of helplessness can often lead to depression, frustration, and isolation for patients struggling with hearing impairment. The good news is, the healthcare providers at High Point Audiological have the knowledge and technology to evaluate, diagnose, and treat each patient based on their individual needs. Additionally, Dr. Michelle and her colleagues treat tinnitus, a perception of sound that can have a severe negative impact on a patient’s life and can be caused by a number of physical and environmental factors.
No matter what brings a patient to High Point Audiological, Dr. Michelle says their top priority is to bring the gift of hearing to those in need. Working closely with state agencies and programs, High Point Audiological helps patients remove the obstacle of financial difficulty that may be standing between themselves and treatment by working together with state agencies and available programs. High Point Audiological also serves military members and veterans by providing mobile hearing services around the country. Finances are not the only obstacle facing patients, however. Although technological advancements, the event of FDA approval of over-the-counter hearing aids, and insurance assistance have opened doors for those with hearing impairment, the complexity of the modern landscape of hearing healthcare can sometimes make the process of choosing treatment and hearing aids difficult. “Hearing healthcare is based not just on the hearing aid itself, but the follow up, and the attention to detail that High Point Audiological is known for providing to their patients,” says Dr. Michelle.
Regardless of age, if you or a loved one experience changes in hearing or symptoms of hearing loss, it is never a bad idea to contact High Point Audiological and consider a consultation. The signs may be subtle at first, such as having difficulty following conversations, asking people to repeat themselves, or finding yourself turning up the volume when watching television or listening to music. The gradual loss of hearing can be disheartening for both the affected person and the people close to them. Dr. Michelle hopes to take the frustration and embarrassment out of hearing healthcare by making audiological care both accessible and easy to understand. “I want our patients to know we are there for them through their entire hearing journey,” she says.
Though many factors that affect hearing health cannot be controlled, there are a few things you can do to protect your ears. If work or recreation places you in the range of high-decibel noise such as heavy machinery, loud music, sirens or firearms, be sure to wear protective ear gear. Regular hearing tests are a great way to keep tabs on your hearing health if you know you are regularly exposed to dangerously loud noises. Headphones and earbuds are a part of everyday life for many of us and are often required for work or school in addition to recreation. Limiting yourself to half-volume and taking regular breaks, if possible, will go a long way in protecting your hearing. Children especially should be monitored when using headphones to make sure they are listening at a responsible volume. Many computers and personal devices are now equipped with volume-limiting controls and will even help to monitor sound exposure.
For more information about High Point Audiological and the services offered, or to schedule a consultation, visit www.HighPointAudiological.com or call the Kernersville office at 336-310-0311. Do not wait to take control of your hearing health and let Dr. Michelle and the High Point Audiological family help keep the gift of sound vibrant in your life.