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New addition to Portland's South Waterfront: OHSU office with a ‘sound’ business model

Oregon Health & Science University has opened a unique office at South Waterfront with the goal of preventing and finding solutions for hearing loss. The SoundSource hearing store, 3550 S.W. Bond Ave., offers exams for adults of all ages. Patients can be outfitted with custom earplugs and headphones that reduce the risk of hearing loss from listening to music, as well as solutions for enhancing their listening experience.

"Hearing loss is commonly associated with aging," said Shelly Boelter, AUD CCC-A, a doctor of audiology at OHSU SoundSource. "However, the fact is that many adults, young and old, struggle with hearing loss at work on a daily basis. People have such a fear of looking old if they get hearing aids, and that is not the case at all. Hearing instruments are now small and discreet. The most popular style we have fits on a quarter. The technology has improved dramatically and they are even now capable of being Bluetooth receivers.”

At SoundSource, patients can try out hearing devices before purchasing them. Patients wear the devices as they go about their usual routine for a couple days before they decide if they want to buy them.

SoundSource accepts both walk-in and scheduled appointments. Because the store has connections to the rest of OHSU's providers and clinics, cases requiring additional expertise are easily referred onsite.

Facts about hearing loss (Source: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), National Institutes of Health)

  • About 17 percent (36 million) American adults report some degree of hearing loss.
  • The NIDCD estimates that about 15 percent (26 million) of Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have high-frequency hearing loss due to exposure to loud sounds or noise at work or in leisure activities.
  • Only 1 out of 5 people who could benefit from hearing instruments actually wears them.
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