Retrain brain after hearing loss

By Heloise Cruse

King Features Syndicate

DEAR HELOISE: Is it hearing loss or inattentive listening? As an audiologist in Oshkosh, Wis., may I ask you once more to raise public awareness about our precious sense of hearing?

Did you know that as our ears age, most of us can expect difficulty understanding fast speech or in a background of noise? It’s not that our teens, TV announcers or people on our answering machines are talking faster; we are listening slower. If a person has hearing loss, digital hearing aids will help in some remarkable ways, but they won’t help you hear faster. What will help is to ask people around you to speak clearly, or teach yourself to listen better by doing a new computer program. Easily done on a home computer, this program has been shown to improve listening skills for fast speech and in a background of noise.

Hearing should be evaluated by an audiologist every three to five years to determine if the understanding complaints are due to hearing loss or merely due to poor listening skills. Either way, this fun software, available through audiology offices, can assist your readers in getting more from their hearing instruments or helping retrain their brain.


May is Better Hearing Month. One in 10 Americans has hearing loss. Please make your readers aware once more of their precious sense of hearing, and the need to protect it and to be tested regularly. — Juliette Sterkens, audiologist in Oshkosh, Wis.

DEAR HELOISE: Here’s a neat idea I use for organizing jewelry. An 18-compartment plastic-foam egg carton with the top cut off is perfect for storing jewelry. Place a cotton ball or pad inside each compartment. Place a pair of earrings in each compartment. — Velma Lastrapes, Opelousas, La.

DEAR HELOISE: My daughter remarked that postage stamps would make a great gift for a bridal shower, with all the thank-you notes to write. I purchased a roll and put it on a little crystal ring holder -- the type you can get at the stores that sell stuff for a dollar. This made a really cute and useful gift for under $50, and what a great way to store stamps. — Stephanie Peek, Maumelle, Ark.

DEAR HELOISE: When I put my winter clothes in the plastic see-through bins, I layer scented drawer paper in with the sweaters, jackets, etc. It is a great way to store the clothes, make them smell good and use the paper. — Corrinne Berkland, Universal City, Texas

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or you can fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to

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