Hearing & Balance Doctors

Hearing Loss, Dementia, & Staying Connected

Dr. Richard Luekenga, Dr. Ryan Whitaker & Dick Nourse, retired KSL Channel 5 news anchorman, took the time to educate a group of St. George locals about the relationship between how we hear and how we connect (cognitively and socially).

This very important theme has been researched and studied by our doctors at the Hearing & Balance Doctors of Utah for years.

Peripheral Abilities

Dr. Luekenga expressed prior to the presentation, “We all have a neuro-audiology sub specialty allowing us to really evaluate how sounds are being processed in our more central systems.

“We devote a significant amount of our clinical time helping individuals understand their peripheral abilities (how they hear) as well as their neuro-cognitive abilities (how well they process and understand sound).”

Dick Nourse told his personal story of what it has been like to fight throat cancer. He acquired a moderate to severe sensorineural hearing loss as a result of radiation therapy, and he now has learned how to reconnect by improving his ability to hear and understand speech through his new personalized hearing treatment plan.

He told the audience, “At first, I really did not want to try hearing aids.  When my wife let me know that my hearing loss does affect her and the rest of the family, I decided that I better go see what my options are.  Everybody at Hearing and Balance Doctors of Utah, from the front office to the doctors of audiology, really seemed so interested in my hearing health.

“At my visit, I discovered that there is a very real relationship between hearing loss and dementia.  I never knew what an important role my ears play in helping maintain certain parts of my brain.

“I have known some people that have done well with hearing aids and others who have not.  These doctors really have helped me know how to achieve my very best.  These hearing devices not only sound great, they are so comfortable and you cannot even see them.”

If you feel like you are not hearing as well as you used to or your current hearing aids are not performing like they should, please call us for an appointment. Our phone number is (435) 688-8991.

Do you know somebody that needs to see this? Why not share it?

Dr. Ryan Whitaker

Dr. Whitaker joined Hearing & Balance Doctors of Utah in 2009. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Brigham Young University in 2005 with his Bachelors of Science in Audiology and Speech Pathology. He then received his Doctor of Audiology from the University of Arizona where he minored in Cognitive Neuroscience (the study of how people perceive sound). While at the University of Arizona, he specialized in evoked potentials, specifically researching Cortical Auditory Evoked Potentials and the Acoustic Change Complex. He gained clinical experience at Tucson Ear, Nose, and Throat; St. Joseph’s Hospital Balance Center; Arizona Hearing Specialists; and the Center for Hearing Impaired Children. Dr. Whitaker was raised in Orem, Utah with three older sisters and a younger brother (who is also an audiologist). His grandfather was a cartoonist for the Walt Disney Studios where he drew Donald Duck and many characters in Peter Pan, Cinderella, and Alice in Wonderland before starting the BYU Motion Picture Studio. Dr. Whitaker is married and has three sons. He is passionate about college football and also enjoys hiking in Southern Utah, reading, and traveling. He has traveled extensively through South Asia including Thailand, India, Nepal, and a church mission to the Philippines.

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