Highlights from Wellness Wednesday: Looking at hearing loss, tackling addictions

OTC Hearing Aids
Sterling Sheffield, an assistant professor of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at the University of Florida, shows over-the-counter hearing aids Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, in Gainesville, Fla. OTC hearing aids started hitting the market in October after the FDA approved them for adults with mild-to-moderate hearing loss, and Sheffield has been testing them.
Alan Youngblood | AP

Every Wednesday on MPR News with Angela Davis, you can listen to in depth conversations on wellness topics.

This week, Angela shares highlights from two favorite Wellness Wednesday shows.

Nearly 30 million Americans suffer from hearing loss but only about one-fifth use hearing aids, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In the first Wellness Wednesday segment, listen to how the FDA approving over-the-counter hearing aids could improve people’s access to the medical devices. 

In the second segment, an alcohol and addiction treatment specialist talks about his recovery and another expert talks about how our brains create addiction patterns. In 2021, 1,162 Minnesotans died of alcohol-related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s a record number that doesn’t include deaths from drunk driving. That’s also more than the number of homicides and suicides combined for that year. 

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  • Peggy Nelson is a professor in the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences at the University of Minnesota. She teaches audiology courses and has researched how to make hearing aids more effective in daily settings. 

  • Rachel Allgor is an audiologist with Audiology Concepts, a clinic in Edina. She also uses a hearing aid. 

  • Dr. Joseph Lee is the president and CEO of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. 

  • Peter Hayden is the founder of Turning Point, a north Minneapolis clinic that provides culturally specific substance use disorder treatment. He has a Ph.D. in co-occurring disorders.

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Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.