Patients of Loretto Hospital in Austin will now have access to more treatment options. In a statement released on Aug. 18, hospital officials announced the opening of a new hearing health clinic this month.

“The new hearing health clinic will feature an onsite audiology service to provide diagnostic hearing evaluations, preventive care and treatment to individuals with undetected or untreated hearing loss,” according to the statement.

Dr. Sonia Mehta, Loretto’s CEO and chief medical officer, added in the statement that hearing loss or degenerative hearing “is one of those medical issues that is often overlooked and can actually be the cause of a number of illnesses in patients, especially our aging population.”

Loretto is partnering with the Americans for Better Hearing Foundation to operate the clinic, which will be staffed by a licensed audiology doctor and will offer audiology diagnoses, hearing aids and hearing aid batteries. The clinic will also offer hearing aid repair services.

“This new partnership is our way of ensuring that no matter what the diagnosis, our patients can achieve the comprehensive health care they need at Loretto,” said Mehta.

The Loretto statement cited studies by the National Institute of Health, Johns Hopkins Medical Center and the National Council on Aging showing that “untreated hearing loss may contribute to other very serious medical conditions or overall poor physical health.”

Untreated hearing loss, the statement added, “has been associated with up to a 500 percent increase in Alzheimer’s and dementia, a 300 percent increase in falls, and significant increases in depression, loneliness, anxiety, feelings of isolation, and a higher probability of hospitalization.”

Patients with Medicaid and “most of the Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs)” will be completely covered at the clinic. The clinic will have a private payment option at Medicaid levels for those patients without coverage plans or insurance, the statement reads.

For more information about Loretto’s new hearing health clinic, or to schedule an appointment, call 773-295-5034 or email