consultation with worcester ma audiologist
Restore Your Hearing Clarity Guaranteed With Invisible Hearing Aids!
102 Shore Dr, Worcester, MA 01605
Dr. Darrow Is The Only NeuroScientist In
America Practicing Audiology

News Article By Worcester Audiologist, Dr. Darrow

worcester audiologist

dr darrow featured in telegram

Posted Oct 28, 2017 at 6:00 AM at
To read the original article, click here

WORCESTER – Keith Darrow serves as director of audiology research for Hearing & Brain Centers of New England, located in Worcester. He received his undergraduate degree in communication science and disorders from UMass Amherst, a clinical degree in audiology from Brooklyn College and doctorate from M.I.T and Harvard Medical School, with a focus on speech and hearing bioscience and technology.

Mr. Darrow is a research associate at the Eaton Peabody Lab at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Institute as well as a professor of hearing science, audiology, research and consultation and treatment of balance disorders at Worcester State University.

The author of “Stop Living in Isolation,” he opened the Worcester hearing center with a staff of six employees four years ago. It serves surrounding communities such as Shrewsbury, Sturbridge, Leicester, Milford, Leominster, Framingham and more.

Why do you think people wait so long to have their hearing checked?

One of the reasons people wait so long is that hearing loss is a slow, progressive degenerative disorder that occurs over time. I believe people are sometimes in fear of going to a doctor – already knowing the diagnosis. Ninety-nine percent of the people who come here already have hearing loss and it’s a scary thing knowing you’ll be diagnosed with a disorder.

Hearing loss is the third most common disorder affecting seniors, according to Health and Human Services.

I also think people are leery because they’ve been bombarded with the retail and sales tactics involved in the selling of traditional hearing aids.

That’s one of the things that differentiates us. Our practice is involved in the medical treatment of hearing loss. We’ve phased out traditional hearing aids.

Even a mild hearing loss is a major problem. Even with a mild loss, your increased risk of developing dementia goes up 200 percent to as much as 500 percent.

What are your three top suggestions of things people can do to protect their hearing?

The most obvious is get your hearing tested regularly, starting at the age of 50. Just like going to primary care every year, it’s important you obtain a baseline and develop a strong relationship with your doctor of audiology.

We live in a very loud world so protection is very important. I can’t stress that enough. Science has now proven to us that noise exposure can significantly impact or increase the rate of hearing loss so that it happens at a much earlier age.

We’re all genetically prone to hearing loss. But those with noise exposure it happens much younger. In my 20 years of experience, I’ve seen my average age of patients go from 74 down to 66.

It’s both recreational and occupational noise exposure. If it is not at work, you could be going to loud rock concerts and be in a band so it’s both. Unfortunately, the limits that have been set are not stringent enough. If you don’t have control of the volume, you should absolutely wear hearing protection. It comes in all shapes and sizes from over-the-counter plugs to custom units.

The third thing: catch it early and treat it early. Treatment is critical to maintaining both the quality and quantity of connections to the brain.

After all, we hear with our brain, not with our ears.

What is NeuroTechnology and can you describe how being a neuroscientist impacts your work and makes you different from other people in the field?

I am the only practicing audiologist in the country that has a Ph.D. in neuroscience from MIT and Harvard Medical School. (There are two others but they are not practicing).

I believe that this approach, which is, understanding that we hear with our brains and not with our ears, helps us to better serve our patients and to help them understand the impact of hearing loss on their overall quality of life and cognitive function.

I’ve dissected brains and seen the actual impact of hearing loss on the brain.

Hearing loss can lead to cerebral atrophy – as much as a 40 percent reduction of neurons in the brain. My 12 years of research at Mass Eye & Ear really helped give a different perspective on the neurology of hearing and how to use that to help our patients.

We’ve phased out traditional hearing aids here. They essentially make things louder.

Ask anyone with a traditional aid and when they go to a restaurant, speech is louder, but so is the background noise, the clanging of the dishes, the radio, etc. So, they have the basic premise of volume enhancing.

NeuroTechnology is specifically designed to treat the cognitive aspects of hearing loss. It’s designed to enhance clarity, improve cognitive function, and most importantly, it has a noise reduction filter that mimics the brain’s normal hearing ability to reduce background noise. Once you get hearing loss, the filter is gone and it’s harder to follow a conversation.

NeuroTechnology provides a much more natural, clear experience. They are incredibly discreet and easy to manage and as an added bonus, it has some cool features that it can connect to cellphones, TVs and telephones to help stay connected to all forms of communication.

What are the causes and warning signs of hearing loss?

The number one cause is aging. There’s also loss resulting from medication, noise exposure, viruses. … Nearly 50 percent of people between ages 60-70 have hearing loss, 70-80 is up to two-thirds and over age 80, it’s more than 80 percent.

Signs include: having difficulty with background noise, having to really focus and work harder to follow the conversation; tinnitus or ringing in the ears; and reduced clarity is one of the biggest. My patients will tell me, ‘I can hear you but I can’t understand everything you are saying.’ They are losing some of the speech details.

What is the connection between dementia and hearing loss?

Hearing loss increases the risk of developing dementia by 200 to 500 percent.

The data first came out in 2011 from John Hopkins and the National Institute of Aging.

It’s been verified in multiple research reports since then.

There are three major links. One is social isolation and depression – both factors for developing dementia. Hearing loss leads to cerebral atrophy or brain shrinkage. You can lose as much as 40 percent brain volume – especially in the memory, language, speech portions of the brain. In neuroscience, the third is called cognitive overload.

Think of it as working too hard to hear. My patients will tell me, ‘let me put my glasses on so I can hear better.’ They are trying to use lip reading or environmental cues to fill in the missing pieces.

The brain wasn’t meant to work that hard. I liken it to, your brain on hearing loss is like driving your car 60 mph in second gear. You are wearing down the gears over time.

It’s probably a mix of all those factors that lead to increased risk of dementia.

There are three studies (France, Columbia University and Lancet Journal) that looked at all modifiable risk factors for developing dementia. The single most factor to protect from dementia is treating hearing loss. It’s greater than increased social activity, physical activity, etc., all of those combined.

The science is really there to help people realize that treating hearing loss can reduce your risk of dementia.

Compiled by Correspondent Susan Gonsalves

dr darrow free hearing test and consultation

learn more about link between hearing loss and dementia

5-Star-Rated Worcester Audiologist for Hearing Care in Worcester, Sturbridge, Leominster, Milford, Shrewsbury, Holden, Paxton, Sterling, Auburn, and Leicester, MA

Award-Winning Worcester, MA, Audiologist Serving Worcester, Sturbridge, Leominster, Milford, Shrewsbury, Holden, Paxton, Sterling, Auburn & Leicester, MA
"The staff was very knowledgeable as well as professional. Assistance was provided in figuring out a payment plan that met my personal needs. I feel extremely comfortable that if any problems do arise with my hearing aids i will receive prompt attention from the Hearing and Balance center."- Judith M. best worcester sturbridge leominster ma audiologist
"Couldn't have asked for more. Really impressed with how everything went from the time I arrived until I left. Wasn't rushed and always felt they had my best interest in getting me the best to help with my hearing loss."- Gerry W. best worcester sturbridge leominster ma audiologist
"I heard Dr. Darrow talk about hearing aids on our local radio station. He had great news about new hearing aid technology. He was offering a hearing test and a free trial period using the new Oticon hearing aids. I took him up on his offer. I wasn't disappointed. There was a dramatic difference in the old hearing aids from the Veterans Administration, and the new ones from Dr. Darrow. I was sold on their product. Dr. Darrow and his office staff are true professionals on treating hearing loss."- Paul C. ...
"Kimberly was very caring and professional. She conducted an audiologic exam and recommended an ENT consult. She was very informative. The office staff were also extremely helpful. Would recommend this office!!"- Christine N. best worcester sturbridge leominster ma audiologist
hearing and balance center of new england reviews
dr darrow worcester ma audiologist reviews   hearing and balance center of new england google reviews   hearing and balance center of new england facebook reviews   hearing and balance center of new england yelp reviews
Dr. Darrow, Ph.D., is the only M.I.T. and Harvard Trained Neuroscientist in America practicing in the field of Audiology. Our Worcester MA audiologists provide 5-star-rated hearing care, including hearing aids, hearing loss treatment, invisible hearing aids, reducing the risk of dementia, improving cognitive function, restoring hearing clarity, tinnitus treatment for ringing in your ears, hearing protection devices, hearing tests and hearing assessments.
Come experience Hearing Brain Centers of New England! You will see for yourself that our Worcester, MA audiologists provide 5-star-rated hearing care in Worcester, Sturbridge, Leominster, Milford, Shrewsbury, Holden, Paxton, Sterling, Auburn and Leicester, MA.
We Serve ALL of the following areas and their surrounding areas...
© 2021 Hearing Brain Centers of New England
Worcester MA Audiologists | Sturbridge MA Audiologists
Designed by