Guthrie hosted a clinic today highlighting the importance of good hearing in honor of Better Hearing and Speech Month.

Dr. Kyle Conrad, a Clinical Audiologist at Guthrie, said something as ordinary as sound can potentially be more than that.

“With the COVID pandemic, this really was kind of bought to light,” said Conrad. “But now even those individuals with mild losses are experiencing some difficulty because the masking, these are low-pass filters,” he added. “But the clarity of speech, that’s those high frequency, those consonants are degraded as a result of these masks,” Conrad said.

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, it’s estimated 46 million people in the United States have a hearing, or other communication disorder that Dr. Conrad said isn’t alarming.

“It’s not surprising for me because I’m in this realm, I see it every day, but if you are someone who’s not privy to the dangers of noise; I mean 85 decibels is an actionable level for OSHA, and 85 decibels could be your vacuum cleaner,” said Conrad.

Dr. Conrad said two words that come to mind when he thinks of people living with a hearing impairment.

“An invisible disability because I could be walking down the side of the road and I’m walking fine, I’m talking fine, no one knows that I have these complications,” said Conrad.

Dr. Conrad said to practice patience when caring for someone or living with this condition.