LO's Sonus Westside offering free tinnitus tests in June

A lot of hearing loss can be corrected, says Susan Agricola of Sonus Westside in Lake Oswego.

While free tinnitus tests will end on June 30, Sonus Westside offers free hearing tests year around.

Tinnitus can be described as ringing in the ears, and there is no cure for it. However, Agricola says raising awareness can lead to better hearing.

"If you haven't looked into it, I encourage you to get your hearing tested," Agricola said. "Tinnitus can range from light irritation to causing profound disruption of your hearing. It can even make you suicidal."

The causes are many. The most common are age, loud noises and, for kids, wearing earphones. Agricola says people must protect themselves from noise.

"If music is too loud to carry on a conversation, turn it down, leave or get earplugs," Agricola said.

Underlying issues that hinder hearing are blood flow, medications, head injuries and popping your jaw. An examination by an audiologist can determine what is causing the problems.

"Eighty percent of the time major relief can be achieved through amplification," Agricola said. "The goal is to obtain a softer level of sound and let the brain start to filter it out. A small percentage of people need medications or counseling. Ear ringing is a problem that is unique for everyone. There is no way to predict who will have their hearing disrupted."

The common wisdom in the past for dealing with hearing loss has been "Learn to live with it." Agricola says this is wrong.

"There are things people can try," she said. "They can start by scheduling an ear test. If there is significant hearing loss, we can provide amplification."

Agricola said hearing loss is becoming more prevalent due to American military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with severe hearing problems.

Sonus Westside has been operating in Lake Oswego for 10 years.

Sonus Westside is located at 3975 Mercantile Drive, Suite No. 215. For information, call 503-389-5288.

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