Can you hear me now?

Lawrence Speech & Hearing offers free tests on Saturday

Hearing loss impacts more than auditory senses, many times leaving those who suffer to become anti-social.

Huh? Pardon me? What did you say?

Audiologist and speech and language pathologist Dr. Christina Lawrence said people who suffer from hearing loss many times simply give up or avoid asking people to repeat themselves. Patients often become discouraged, thus leading them to become more withdrawn and reclusive, she added.

"Your quality of life diminishes when you can't hear everything around you," Lawrence said. "It can even change your personality."

To help those who may be shutting out the outside world, Lawrence will offer free hearing tests and one-on-one consultations Saturday, June 29, at the Lawrence Speech and Hearing Services on Grand Avenue. Lawrence said the service is a way to express her appreciation for the hospitality she's received from residents since opening her Mancos-based business in January 2012.

"I just want Mancos to know how grateful I am," she said. "The reception from the community has been very warm, and I want to thank them for supporting us."

At her clinic, Lawrence is able to create customized hearing aids. Through testing and a patient assessment, Lawrence said a hearing aid can be fit to both a patient's personal lifestyle needs and individual specific hearing loss needs.

The bells and whistles on modern hearing aid devices include background noise and feedback suppression controls, speech recognition mechanisms to cancel sudden impact noises and even automatic microphone plotting software.

Depending on the design, the customized, digital hearing aids range from $1,500 to $6,000.

The cost, however, is worthwhile when it comes to reuniting with loved ones.

"One woman told me I helped saved her marriage," Lawrence said.

The free screenings are held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 29.

Appointments are encouraged and can be arranged by calling (970) 459-1179.