Health Podcast Post

Hearing Care with Dr. Dan Troast

George Grombacher July 13, 2023

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Hearing Care with Dr. Dan Troast

LifeBlood: We talked about hearing care, the problem of undiagnosed hearing loss, the challenge of talking with aging loved ones about this sensitive topic, how hearing aid technology has improved, and how to protect your hearing, with Dr. Dan Troast, hearing care professional with HearUSA.      

Listen to learn at what age you should start getting your hearing checked!

You can learn more about Dan at, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Dan Troast

Dr. Dan Troast

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:01
Well, hello, this is George G. And the time is right. Look at today’s guest, Dr. Profit. Dr. Dan troester. Dan, are you ready to do this?

Dr. Dan Troast 0:08
I am ready. Let’s go.

george grombacher 0:10
All right, let’s go in D Dr. Dan is a hearing care professional at here, USA. They are America’s largest hearing care real retailer. Dan, tell us a bit about your personal lives more about your work and why you do what you do?

Dr. Dan Troast 0:26
Well, personal life, I am a father to two wonderful kids live in sunny Florida enjoy the weather and the theme parks and all that we have to offer here in the beach.

Why do I do what I do, I do what I do, because I love impacting people’s lives, I get to work in a profession, where I’m making a positive impact every single day, changing relationships, getting people to participate back in their own life again, it’s just a very, very rewarding field to be in, I grew up in it. And so it’s, it’s just a very good place to be.

george grombacher 1:06
That’s a great way to put it to participate back in their lives again.

Dr. Dan Troast 1:10
Well, you know, that’s the the number one thing that happens with untreated hearing loss is you stop doing things that you would have otherwise done, you stop, you know, interacting with your family or going to events. And that’s what I hear time and time again, from people coming in and getting their hearing corrected is Oh, I got to do this. Again, I got to hear my grandchild here at this meeting, participate in this way that I that I stopped doing. So again, it really is like getting your your life back, you don’t realize that you’re retreating. Until suddenly you can hear again.

george grombacher 1:45
A common is that how common is hearing loss? Yes, and and and untreated.

Dr. Dan Troast 1:53
Untreated hearing loss is unfortunately very common. Only about 30 to 30 to 40% of people with treatable hearing loss actually pursue correction. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of negativity regarding the field regarding hearing aids in general, or the stigma of hearing aids. They are much much cooler and much more advanced than than what you think of everybody thinks of you know, the old hearing aids that you know, grandma and grandpa or whoever, you know, used to wear that, you know, big, clunky things hanging on the ears. They are not that way anymore. They’re very cool, sophisticated devices. But there is just so much people are so many people out there that could benefit from correction that just don’t do it. And again, the most common thing that I hear from people is I wish I would have done something sooner if I knew it was going to be this easy. If I knew it was gonna be this comfortable, I knew it was gonna be this cool. I would have done something a long time ago. So just trying to figure out ways to break those barriers, so that people aren’t afraid to come in and see me and pursue that.

george grombacher 3:02
Why do you say it is that I just gotta avoid it, maybe it’s gonna get better? I guess there’s so many different reasons why people put it off.

Dr. Dan Troast 3:12
There’s a lot of variables, you know, with, with hearing a lot of hearing it happens slowly, right? You know, you don’t most people, there are some instances the most people don’t wake up one day with hearing loss. it’s slowly happening over time. And because it’s slowly happening over time, you don’t necessarily perceive it, you know, with your vision. Either you can see this thing or you can’t see that. But okay with your hearing, if you didn’t hear it, you don’t even realize that you didn’t hear it right, unless you’re looking at the microwave and you’re saying I don’t hear the timer going off, you don’t realize that you’re missing that sound until it’s brought to your attention. And so, you know, you might for instance, one day you move the TV from volume 10 to volume 12, I only moved it up two notches, not that big of a deal, right? Six months later, you move it from 12 to 15. I only moved it three notches not that big of a deal. Now, seven years later, it’s at 50. But you’re not looking at where you were seven years ago at 10. You’re looking at the last time that you change to that right so you’re not seeing that big change until somebody is telling you, you need to get your hearing checked and that’s where it kind of the defensive guard comes up and things like that. So again, staying on top of that most people don’t realize that they should have their hearing checked that they should get a baseline even if they’re not having a problem so that we can track what’s starting to happen if things do start to change though. That’s an important variable as well as just get in and get that baseline so we know what’s what’s happening and what will happen in the future.

george grombacher 4:42
Tell somebody tells you, You know what, you really think maybe you should get your hair in checked. That’s not an easy or maybe it is maybe that is easy. Hey mom, the TV’s at 50 What are you doing?

Dr. Dan Troast 4:55
It generally is not an easy conversation for people. Yes, there is the Hey, Mom, I can hear what you’re watching before I even get in the house, right? So there are some of those things that happen. Or I can’t even watch TV in the same room as he because I feel like I’m getting hearing loss from watching, you know, TV with you. Or, you know, if I have to repeat myself one more time, I’m just not going to do it anymore. Right. So sometimes they can get to that really bad point. But you know, hearing loss is a very sensitive subject for a lot of people. And so, you know, it’s, it’s a tough conversation to have, but it’s a good conversation to have, right? So sometimes the toughest conversations yield the best results. And so, you know, a lot of these people that want to have those conversations is because they want to communicate with this person, right? I want to be able to have an easier conversation with you, I want to be able to talk to you, you know, when I’m in the kitchen, and you’re in the in the living room, and have you understand what I’m asking, and I have to get right up in front of your face. So again, a lot of those things, it’s not because I’m trying to say something negatively, it’s because I want that relationship with you. And I want it to be better. And the way that it’s better is if we can have an easier method of community.

george grombacher 6:09
Yeah, certainly, I imagine that most of us want to have easy and the kind of interpersonal communication that we’ve always had with with our loved ones. And often I imagine the majority of people that begin to lose their hearing are folks that are aging. So it’s it’s it’s the baby boomers right now, but eventually, it’ll be me and maybe one day, even you, Dan, and then we’ll want our loved ones and our kids to say, hey, we want to keep our communication going for as long as we can. And I think you might need a little bit of help, or an intervention of some kind,

Dr. Dan Troast 6:44
correct? Absolutely. I mean, obviously, there’s very few people that as they age, everything on their workspace on their body works as well as it did when they were 20. Right. So it’s just part of the aging process. You know, every generation has their own way of accelerating the hearing loss, whether it’s, you know, unprotected noise exposure going to a concert, you know, nowadays with our air pods and headphones that were listening to unnecessarily loud levels. So everybody’s creating extra hearing loss by the things that they’re doing, every generation finds their own way of doing that, and creating that. And it’s just about having awareness. Obviously, I’m Uber aware, because of the field that I’m in. So I wear my hair procuring protection for for everything, right. But I’m also very cognizant of what’s happening around me because of what I do, you know, different professions are more aware of the field that they’re in. And it’s about just putting out awareness out there, you know, going to these different places, going to seminars, doing things for people understand that this is a valuable thing, working with, you know, primary care doctors to let people know, hey, just get you get a baseline hearing test. Let’s know where we’re at with some of these things, just because it’s beneficial to your overall health in the long run.

george grombacher 8:03
Yeah, it certainly makes sense. I know I think the we’re all interested in Romania is independent, it was bought as we possibly can be for as long as, as we can. So is there an age when I should start getting just get that baseline.

Dr. Dan Troast 8:17
So generally speaking, once we get into our 50s, that’s a good age to start with that baseline. If we’re just looking at the age related variable that can start as early as your 50s. Now, obviously, there’s some genetic predispositions right, both your parents didn’t develop hearing loss until they were in their 80s, if you don’t do anything to accelerate the process, and then like the noise exposure, and things like that, you’ll probably fall in a similar vein, you know, everybody thinks about their parents passing down, you know, the diabetes, and the heart disease and stuff like that. But hearing loss is another one of those things that can get passed down from generation to generation. But again, get that established baseline, if you come in to me and you’re 50 years old, and I test your hearing and your hearing is normal. Great. And we’re going to set up a plan for how frequently you should come back. You know, if your hearing is perfectly normal, maybe you don’t come back for another hearing test for three to five years, though we’re establishing that pattern, right? If we’re starting to see something that requires more attention, maybe you’re coming back more frequently, maybe you’re coming back every two years or every year. Again, the hearing test is one of the few tests that you go to the doctor and it doesn’t hurt so really, it’s not a bad test to have done. But it gives a lot of informations so that we can again just track what’s happening.

george grombacher 9:32
So let’s let’s assume that that I’m 55 years old, and I’ve been coming into to see you for for five years now. But things are my hearing loss has started a little bit and it’s starting to become noticeable. Is there something what what is the next step?

Dr. Dan Troast 9:53
So the next step, obviously we are doing and evaluation after hearing is we’re also evaluating what They’re not correction, whether or not hearing aids are an effective option for you. So we’re doing that in the testing, we’re doing that in the simulation to kind of figure out, you know, is your hearing loss at a point where we can actually get some benefit with the hearing aid. So when we get to that point, where we’re starting to say, Okay, now in the test, and the simulation, and all of those things, we can see that you’re going to have benefit, that’s where we’re gonna start putting things on your ears, we’re gonna start sending you out into the real world, not just a simulation and an office, but we’re gonna send you out into the real world, with something on your ears. So you can really get a feel for how that’s going to impact your day to day life, how that’s gonna impact you, when you’re at the meeting, when you’re with your kids, when you’re, you know, out with your spouse. So you can see in your everyday life, how big of an impact that’s going to have.

george grombacher 10:48
And then it’s personal preference, because I can go out and be like, Oh, my gosh, I didn’t realize what I was missing. Or it could be you know, it’s not that big of a deal. I don’t think it’s, it’s, it’s not really, it’s not really enhancing my ability to operate the way that I want to, and to hear and communicate with others. What about that to the things that I can be doing to to protect what I have.

Dr. Dan Troast 11:13
So there’s definitely things that you can be doing to protect what you have. So obviously, be aware of your noise levels, be aware of what you’re doing, you know, you’re going to the rock concert, it’s cool to go to the rock concert and not have any hearing protection. But it’s not smart to rock concert and not have any hearing protection. So if you’re going to be exposed to a lot of loud noise, make sure that you have that protection in your in your ears to preserve what you have left, you only have one set of ears. So however you decide to treat them, however hard you decide to be on them, you know, you’re going to see that down the road. So again, maybe that one incident doesn’t hurt you, but those incidences over and over and over, they’re going to take their toll. And your ears are going to show the some of that so that it’s never too late to start protecting whatever you have, whatever you have left. And, again, if we can’t get you satisfied with something, if you show that you have lost and we can’t get you satisfied with something, you know, there’s different options. There’s different form factors, there’s different hearing aids. So there’s lots of different things that we can try to work through to try to figure out if there’s a solution that can work for you. And if there’s not, then at least you kind of know where you’re where you’re at. And you’ve experienced it to see, you know, yes, this is going to help me No, it’s not going to help me. But again, it’s more information for you to have to make a good decision for yourself.

george grombacher 12:34
Release going into the situation with ears wide open, then

Dr. Dan Troast 12:38
it’s exactly, no pun intended, right. So to go into it and not be opposed to what’s going to happen. And just see for yourself what the difference is. Again, like I said earlier, you don’t know what you don’t know. And it’s hard to really realize what you’re missing because you’re missing it. And it’s and it’s not as black and white as vision has. So it’s really not so you can experience it that you can get a full picture or full value of what that could do for you.

george grombacher 13:09
So I’ve heard that if you give your liver a break over the course of time, it will regenerate or at least try. That’s not the case with with with our ears. And I’m curious as to what the actual mechanism is that helps me to hear.

Dr. Dan Troast 13:22
So the hearing is a very complex system. So you obviously have the outside part of your ear, okay, it’s not shaped this way just to hold on your glasses or anything like that. It’s actually also direct sound into your ear canal. So direct sound into your ear canal, at the end of your ear canal is your eardrum. So think just about you know, snare drum or something like that that sound hits that drum and vibrates it. Attached to the eardrum are the three smallest stones in your body. If you line them up, they’re about as light as a dime. So very, very small. And that just acts like a piston to push into where the nerve center of your ear is. So we’re in sends the sound up to your brain. So in that nerve center, you have all these little receptor fibers that look like little hairs and over time, okay, they start to fatigue because they’re not standing as strongly that noise exposure smashing wave smashing down on them. So think about the mental image of wave smashing seaweed, you know, if you’ve seen that picture before, again, it’s smashing down and as they lose their virility has the can’t stand up as robustly. That’s where hearing loss starts to occur. Now it takes more sound energy to stimulate those nerve fibers and they don’t regenerate on their own. Once they’re kind of damaged. They’re kind of damaged now. Yet the issue is your wax in your ears, we clean that out, you’re perfectly fine. If the issue you have is you have an ear infection, you clear that up, you’re perfectly fine. But when you start to get that sensory loss, that’s not something that can regenerate that’s where again, you have to Use, hear hearing aids and things like that to improve you’re here.

george grombacher 15:03
Got it. Thank you. So technology research, the good work of folks like you has made the actual device itself a lot more streamlined and lower profile and probably cool. But also, I imagine much more effective at picking up what I do want to hear and not picking up what I don’t.

Dr. Dan Troast 15:26
Correct. So the first thing that I always tell people is to remember what the goal of the hearing aid is. And that’s to hear what you’re supposed to hear. Okay. If there was a hearing aid, where I could specifically tune out the things that I didn’t want to hear, I might wear that hearing aid even though I have normal hearing, right? Okay, so we have to keep everything in perspective. But yes, the ultimate goal of the hearing aid is to give you the target sic more than the ambient noise. So there are things in place so that when you do hear the air conditioner, when you do hear, you know, the road noise when you’re driving, when you do have that sound that’s behind you out the restaurant, the hearing aid is smart enough to optimize out those other sounds, in spite of the sounds that are not interested to you. Not that you won’t hear them at all. But so that that key sound, that speech sound, that dialogue that you want to hear is coming through with more clarity than those other sounds. That’s ultimately what our goal is, with the technology. And it’s, I’ve been doing this for 18 years, what I could do 18 years ago, versus what I could do now is like a dial up phone, or rotary phone versus a smartphone. So again, there really is no comparison in terms of where technology is at with hearing aids now, compared to where it used to be.

george grombacher 16:41
Excellent. And in terms of affordability, how do I pay for this is insurance cover some or anything.

Dr. Dan Troast 16:48
So there are lots of ways that you can pay for it. So insurances more and more, especially over the last few years, have more and more coverage for hearing aids. So that’s definitely a good first start, is to check with your insurance and see what kind of coverages there are there. Sometimes they are discount plans, there’s in office and incentives, there’s, you know, financing options, and things like that. So there’s lots of different ways that you can go about trying to find an affordable option for you. And again, there’s lots of different options out there as well. So there, there’s hearing aids designed to fit, you know, different budgets and different needs and things like that. So, again, if you’re motivated to hear better, if you come into a clinic, like here, USA, we’re going to find something that fits all of your all of your variable needs. So you know, your budget, your lifestyle, your sound hearing demands, and we’re going to help you put that puzzle together so that you can come out with a good solution.

george grombacher 17:48
Excellent. Well, Dan, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? And now that this is on the minds of of me and other people who are listening? How do we have what what is that first step.

Dr. Dan Troast 18:03
So first step, I would say is you want to go to our website, so WW die here,, you can find locations on there. There’s an online hearing assessment on there, which is just kind of a very basic, primitive pre assessment, if you will, and all of our hundreds of locations across the country are on there, if you want me specifically to come to sunny Florida, and I’d be more than willing to to help you out there. We’re also on social media. So Facebook, you know, Instagram, all those social media aspects. Some of our local clinics have local pages as well. So again, you can find us out there and social media, on the web, and just start that journey. Our website, again, has tons of information about hearing loss hearing devices. And again, just get into that clinic you’re on the web, you can get a lot of general information in the clinic without appointment, you can get stuff that is specifically tailored to you so you don’t get bogged down and all the details that might not pertain to your particular situation. So always best to just come in, get that concept, rotation, it doesn’t cost you anything to see where you’re at.

george grombacher 19:14
Excellent. Well, if you enjoyed as much as I did show Dr. Dan, your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas, or that person who seems to be struggling with their hearing, or is pretending not to listen to you, whatever the case may be. Go to hear And check out two great resources, find a location that is convenient for you and go get that assessment for free and figure out where you are at and the appropriate next steps based on what we’ve been talking about today. Thanks again, Dan.

Dr. Dan Troast 19:46
Thank you very much.

george grombacher 19:47
And until next time, remember, do your part by doing your best

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