East Edition

Whittier clinic offers help with hearing issues

WHITTIER — The adverting phrase “Can You Hear Me Now?” is more than just a commercial for a cell phone, say owners of the Whittier Hearing Center, 13121 E. Philadelphia St., marking its 61st year.

Hearing loss can put tension on the brain and contribute to dementia, says Mary Ann Gilbert, owner of the clinic for 30 years.

Hearing loss can also affect your balance, leading to falls, says co-owner Kim Ortega, who joined the firm six years ago.

Both women are auditory specialists, which requires a doctorate degree, requiring eight years of study.

The women say many people do not pay enough attention to hearing problems, which is why the clinic will sponsor a free hearing health expo May 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Liberty Community Plaza, 13181 Telegraph Road.

The expo will include hearing screenings to determine if hearing loss exists, a video otoscopy to check for wax or infection in the ears, balance screening, information about amplified and captioned telephones and how to maintain hearing aids; and how hearing loss is related to memory loss, dementia, depression, anxiety and diabetes.

“Many people don’t have access to this information,” Gilbert said. “We want to put it out in the community.”

“We recommend hearing exams every other year,” Ortega added.

Such exams are especially important as people get older and should start between age 55 and 60, Gilbert said.

More and more baby boomers (those born between 1945 and 1965) are experiencing hearing problems, and not primarily because of hearing loud rock n roll music in their youth.

The main problem is aging.

“As people get older, their ears get older too,” Gilbert said.

Most of the services provided at the hearing expo are available at the Whittier clinic, along with problems such as speech communication and tinnitus, a ringing in the ears.

The clinic also sells hearing aids and teaches people how to use them.

Besides Ortega and Gilbert, there are another five additional doctors, with a total staff of 12 or 13 including clerical.

Gilbert says the clinic diagnoses about 100 patients a month and provides hearing aids and maintenance information to about 50 to 60 a month.

Gilbert earned a bachelor’s degree in communication problems and speech disorders and a master’s degree in those subjects at Cal StateFullerton. Her audiology doctorate is from A T Still University in Arizona.

Ortega earned her bachelor’s degree at Cal State Fullerton, her master’s at Cal State Los Angeles and here doctorate at the University of Florida.

Information: (562) 698-0581.