Local firm offering free hearing tests, ongoing contest

June 9, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

“Take care of what you have.”

A simple statement that can be referred to almost anything in life, although one local ear specialist says it’s something that rings particularly true with your hearing.

Alysia Cutting has worked out of the Hear Well, Be Well office on Broadway since its opening in Orangeville in late 2015. Since that time she has educated hundreds of local residents about the importance of protecting one’s hearing.

A fully trained hearing instrument specialist, she has also helped countless others rediscover what it is truly like to listen. In an interview with the Citizen, Ms. Cutting explained why it’s so important to look after the little guys on the side of your head.

“Hearing loss happens to everyone, it’s just a fact of life,” Ms. Cutting said. “It’s just one of those things where, the older you get, the more likely you are to suffer from some level of hearing loss. The unfortunate thing is that once your hearing is gone, you can’t get it back, so it’s important to take care of it while you have it.”

Common steps people could and should be taking to try to protect their hearing include: listening to the TV at a reasonable level, avoiding playing loud music down head or earphones and making sure you wear earplugs while using a lawnmower or snowblower. While you would likely struggle to find someone who has not enjoyed attending a deafeningly loud concert over the course of their lifetime, doing so consistently could bear awful consequences.

And, while hearing loss is more prevalent among the elderly, it isn’t completely restricted to it.

“We live in a noisier world now than ever before. I’m seeing people in their 30s and 40s walking around with hearing aids, not because they were born with some level of hearing loss, but because they’ve acquired it. That’s quickly becoming quite normal,” Ms. Cutting said.

Although you would think losing your hearing is something you should notice, Ms. Cutting noted it quite frequently goes undetected for years right up until the point  where action stops being optional and becomes almost necessary.

“Hearing loss drops so slowly that we don’t even notice that it’s happening, it’s a gradual decline each and every day,” Ms. Cutting said. “Because of that, it’s important for people to get their hearing tested, especially older people. Everyone over the age of 55 should have their hearing checked on an annual basis.”

Hear Well, Be Well offers free hearing tests to anyone in the community willing to take the time to book an appointment. The cost of the test, which can sometimes take up to two hours according to Ms. Cutting, is absorbed by the company.

“It’s a cost our owners simply waive,” said Ms. Cutting. “They feel it’s incredibly important that people educate themselves and learn how good, or bad, their hearing is.”

The test itself is completely painless and includes a general observation of the ear canal, and full audiometric assessment. The company also offers wax removals.

The biggest part of Hear Well, Be Well’s business, however, comes through the sale of different hearing aids. Following the completion of your hearing exam, the specialist will make a recommendation, if necessary, to purchase one of 1,400 hearing aids available in Ontario. The cost can be quite substantial, with a pair likely to set you back anywhere between $2,000 and $10,000.

“It can be expensive to purchase hearing aids. The thing you have to consider though is that each aid contains two tiny, high powered processors, they’re waterproof, durable, dust resistant, made with medical grade materials… It all adds up,” Ms. Cutting said. “When you think how much it costs for a laptop, then times that by four because of the fact each aid contains two processors… They’re not cheap things to make.”

Right now, Hear Well, Be Well is offering local residents the chance to win a pair of hearing aids for free. ‘The Gift of Hearing Contest’ runs until June 15; all you have to do to be entered is call or drop in to the store to book a free hearing assessment. The winner will receive a pair of advanced technology, custom-programmed Beltone hearing aids.

“This contest is really a potential win-win for anyone who feels they should probably get their hearing tested. They come in, learn a little bit about themselves and then have the opportunity to walk away with a high-end pair of hearing aids. It’s a no-brainer,” said Ms. Cutting. “I always try to encourage everyone to get their hearing tested because hearing loss can also lead to other potential health problems.”

She continued, “Tests have found a direct connection between increased risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia for people who have hearing loss. There are higher risks of depression, people have longer hospital stays, experience more falls… Brain scan studies have found that there’s more brain shrinkage for people for hearing loss than there is for comparative people with good hearing. Everyone cares about their brain, so if you want to take care of that, you have to take care of your hearing.”

For more information on Hear Well, Be Well or to book an appointment call 519-943-0006, or visit their website at

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