According to the Archives of Internal Medicine, 1 in 5 Americans have hearing loss in at least one ear.  More than half of all hearing-impaired persons are younger than 65.  With the increased use of personal music players and earbuds as well as other noisy environmental factors, the number of Americans experiencing hearing loss at a younger age is growing.

Many people associate hearing difficulties with old age and do not know how to prevent hearing loss or who can help treat it. An audiologist is a licensed healthcare professional trained to evaluate hearing-related challenges, including balance disorders or tinnitus. As the director of audiology at ENT Specialists, Ken Stallons, MS, FAAA, has 29 years of experience in the hearing healthcare field.  He sees patients who have hearing loss, people who can benefit from custom hearing protection devices, and individuals who suffer from balance disorders.  Whether the primary concern has developed due to illness, age, or environmental impacts, advances in technology allow Ken to provide customized solutions for individuals. The following information provides some of the causes and solutions for hearing challenges:

Ear infections top the list of most common illnesses among children.  Most ear infections heal on their own or with medications, but recurrent ear infections need more attention.  If left untreated, an ear infection has the potential to cause damage resulting in hearing loss. It is important for a person with recurrent ear infections to schedule an appointment with an ENT physician to prevent permanent damage.

Noise is an issue in all age groups.  Any noise that is too loud can cause hearing damage.  Individuals who work in loud environments, such as construction sites or lawn care companies, are at a great risk of hearing loss if protective measures are not taken.  Many employers will provide generic earplugs or individuals can purchase custom fit plugs for better comfort.  The correct protection will filter out damaging noise, but will allow the wearer to hear other sounds. ENT Specialists, PC, can order custom made ear plugs for individuals unhappy with generic plugs.

Hearing aid solutions are an option for all age groups.  Current hearing aid technology allows for improvement of hearing challenges with products customized to a person’s lifestyle.   Hearing aids of the past were not comfortable to wear, visually appealing, or easily programmed and adjusted.  All of these problems have been virtually eliminated.  Digital hearing aids do not need to be replaced as often, have flexible programming, are more cosmetic and have minimal feedback.  Individuals with hearing challenges should have a complete hearing aid evaluation with an audiologist to determine the best hearing solution.  Hearing challenges can sometimes be corrected through medications or simple procedures.

Individuals interested in discussing hearing challenges and hearing aid options can make an appointment with Ken Stallons by calling 402-397-0670.  For hearing aid evaluations, a person should plan for a 1-2 hour appointment.  Ken spends time with each patient discussing the details of hearing loss and determining the important aspects of a person’s lifestyle in order to choose the best solution for each individual. Hearing aid evaluations are free, and hearing aid purchases include a 60 day trial period.  Insurance plans pay anywhere from 0 to 100% of the cost of hearing aids, and ENT Specialists, PC, offers a 0% interest payment plan or 5% discount for purchases paid in full on date of purchase.

ENT Specialists, PC, located at 366 Regency Parkway Drive, has been treating ear, nose and throat conditions for over 50 years.  The practice is led by a group of board-certified otolaryngologists and includes three board-certified audiologists.   More information can be found at

Ken Stallons,Board Certified Audiologist