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A blood test for your hearing loss or vertigo?

I recently came across this article: Detecting Hearing Loss, Vertigo Via Blood Tests

University of Connecticut Health physician-scientist Dr. Kourosh Parham has discovered two ear proteins that circulate in the blood whose presence and quantities correlate with ear disorders. As a result he has developed the first blood test to identify ear disorders. 

Does that mean the end of hearing tests? NOPE! This means that one day your Doctor may be able to accurately run a blood test that shows you have an ear disorder to expedite a referral to an audiologist or otolaryngologist!

So while this isn’t the end of sitting in a sound proof booth, this is scientific progress!

 

 

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Can I be frank about something?

I’ve recently had the worst summer cold ever, which started as a sore throat (for which my doctor gave me antibiotics), which worsened and then proceeded to make me bed ridden the entire long weekend +1. In this midst of all the this fun and excitement (ugh I felt like a bag of sand) both of my eardrums perforated. Ruptured. Tore.

I’ve now been without a significant portion of my hearing for 3 days. This is what’s called a conductive hearing loss.

con·duc·tive
kənˈdəktiv/
adjective
adjective: conductive
  1. having the property of conducting something (especially heat or electricity or sound).
    “to induce currents in conductive coils”
    • of or relating to conduction.

My hearing will gradually find its way back to me with the help of my Doctor’s magic drops and time, as my eardrums heal I should get my hearing back. It can take 8+ weeks to heal on its own. If it doesn’t, I need a referral to see an Otolaryngologist if my ear drums don’t heal on their own and I still have a significant hearing loss.

Here are the things that I have noticed since I’ve been for all tense and purposes placed in a sound proof bubble:

  1. Everything makes noise. My pen on the desk, my dogs’ nails on the floor. The neighbor’s car door, my car, my phone. I never really noticed how noisy the world was before – now that its gone the silence is deafening. Poof. Gone. The most bizarre sensation in the world is standing in the shower (with my ears protected from water) and not hearing the water fall. Bizarre. Like, I laughed out loud about it. I can’t hear the keys right now as I type, but I know they are making noise. So if a tree falls in a forest, it does make a sound.
  2. People suck at communication skills. I like to think that because of where I work, I may be an exception… But in general, when you tell people that you can’t hear them, they continue talking at the same volume and pitch they were speaking before, they make no greater effort for you to hear them out. i.e. my Doctor yesterday kept turning away from me when she was talking. And I would have to ask her repeat herself. Over. And Over. And Over. Look at me, because the pieces of the puzzle that I can’t hear can be filled in by my looking at your beautiful face!
  3. There’s a lot of noise in my head. Every inhale, every exhale. Every bite I chew. Every hair I comb, every time I move my head or jaw. Clearing my throat is loud. My stomach growling woke me out of a cold and sinus drug addled sleep. This is all a symptom of conductive hearing loss, and it is obnoxious that I can’t hear much that goes on on the outside of my own head. Everything on the inside… LOUD. Part of it of course is because I don’t hear anything else, its not drowning out the sound of my swallowing.
  4. I’m exhausted. Now that the general malaise is gone from my illness and it took some hearing with it, everything I do is a struggle and I’m exhausted trying to read people, struggle on the phone with all the fantastic people who call me (that’s you!) and it makes me tired. My brain is working too hard to compensate.
  5. Tinnitus is real. My particular tinnitus is pulsatile tinnitus, I can hear my heartbeat. Its not a sound that anyone else can hear, every heartbeat I hear loud and clear in my head. Every last one. Over. And Over. And Over. I wake up and its there. I try to sleep and its there. I can’t mask this with another sound, because I can’t hear that either. This will go away when my hearing comes back and I hear other things than what is happening in my head. I hope.

So that’s that. The first thing I said to Bernice and Paige when my hearing hopped a train was ‘I can’t understand why hearing aids don’t sell themselves’. So if I might be frank, this not hearing all the sounds is no joke. My hearing loss happened suddenly and traumatically so of course, I noticed all the sounds gone at once, not gradually like everyone else. None the less, this has been a real eye opener. I can’t imagine why anyone would not want to hear the sounds of life.

I’m frantic to get a piece of those sounds back. 8+ weeks seems so far away.

~melissa

 

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Protect your ears this summer

The summer season is fast upon us, and so are all the fun summer activities! We’d like to take a minute to remind you of how important it is to remember that some of the fun things you do could have an irreversible effect of your hearing.

  1. Yard Work: A well groomed yard shouldn’t lead to hearing loss as you age. Protect your hearing from lawn mowers, weed whippers, chain saws and leaf blowers!
  2. Fireworks: The beautiful displays of fireworks can damage your hearing. Ringing in at up to 125dB, that’s enough to permanently cause a threshold shift. Remember your children’s ears as well at fireworks time.
  3. Sporting Events & Concerts: The loud cheers at your favorite ballpark (Go Tigers!) and summer concerts can last up to 3 hours. On average, the sound levels can reach 95dB+. That duration and intensity of sound may result in tinnitus the next day – that’s your ears’ way of telling you they were overexposed to sound.
  4. Boats and Motorcycles: Its not just the engine noise that can harm your hearing – wind noise can be the culprit! Consult our audiologists for custom hearing protection that will still allow you to hear the important sounds around you while riding and boating safely.

Make sure you get outside and enjoy all of the super activities that are part of summer traditions, but please – PROTECT THOSE EARS! If you are experiencing ringing, buzzing or fullness in your ears this summer, consult our Doctors of Audiology, Audiologists!

 

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Hearing Loss: No, it’s not just you.

You’re experiencing hearing loss, and you assume it’s just you. But it’s not just you. One out of every nine of us have hearing loss, that’s nearly 4 million Canadians.

That’s important for you to know if you are experiencing hearing issues. It can help to know that you are not alone. 

Hearing loss occurs naturally as people get older, but it’s not just seniors who are affected. Changes to your hearing can begin to occur for many when they reach their 20s, 30s and 40s, and while approximately 30 percent of people over the age of 65 have some degree of hearing loss, more than 65 percent of those who experience hearing loss do so before retirement age.

About 15 percent of Baby Boomers (ages 41-59) and 7 percent of Generation Xers (ages 29-34) already have significant issues with their hearing.

Because hearing loss occurs gradually, its effects are sometimes not immediately obvious, especially when it comes to recognizing a change in one’s own hearing. Often it’s a friend, family member or co-worker that points it out, and even then it can be hard to believe that it’s happening to you.

Taking care of your hearing is your responsibility. It’s up to you to be alert to the signs and have your hearing checked if you suspect that your hearing may be changing.

These signs may include: Turning the TV louder, requiring others to repeat themselves, thinking that others are mumbling, having ringing (tinnitus) in your ears, feeling tired or exhausted after strenuous listening activities or have a family history of hearing loss.

For a limited time, there is no cost to have your hearing assessed by our Doctors of Audiology if you are an adult aged 18+. We simply ask for a donation to the Essex Area Food Bank. A hearing assessment takes but an hour and will help alleviate your concerns. We are able to arrange an appointment for you Monday through Friday, from 9am until 5pm. Call today to arrange your appointment! (519) 961-9285.

BPPV Testing and Management

Vertigo and “Ear Crystals”

We have a large number of patients who call us to inform us that their Doctor has told them that they have “Ear Crystals” and that they should come to see us; that we may be able to help them. Everyone has ear crystals, but when they migrate or move away from where they are supposed to be, most often, YES, we can help them! But how?

Trouble with “Ear Crystals’ is another way of describing BPPV, Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. Benign: the condition almost always goes away with proper treatment Paroxysmal: the condition may return causing vertigo without warning Positional: it is brought on by specific type of head movement Vertigo: the sensation is that of spinning that may be mild or violent.

These crystals normally lie in a gel layer inside the utricle in our vestibular systems. A common symptom of migrated crystals is that there is dizziness or vertigo when you wake up, nausea and vomiting. The vertigo may stop when the position of your head is held still. The common reasons that these crystals migrate can be: head injury, aging, or idiopathic (the cause is not known). Some studies show there may be a correlation between allergies and respiratory infections and BPPV.

Whatever the reason that caused those crystals to migrate, the treatment is same: Particle or crystal re-positioning – getting those crystals back into the utricle. Our Doctors of Audiology are well versed in this. We often hear that people have tried these maneuvers at home, without success – we do not recommend this, as if completed improperly may cause more harm than good.

So what should you expect of your appointment with us? Well, we always ask you to fill out a case history and those documents will be reviewed with the audiologist. Then a few very precise head and body maneuvers will determine if you could be helped by the crystal re-positioning. The entire appointment takes but 1 hour and symptoms may disappear entirely with one treatment.

If you are tired of feeling dizzy or imbalanced when changing positions, simply call us to arrange an appointment with the audiologist at The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic.

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Thank you Essex for your Support!

It’s Food Bank day at The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic!

THANK YOU Essex County for your support of our non-perishable food donations to The Essex Area Food Bank.

We had set a goal of 500lbs to collect for those in our community who are in need of our help, doing hearing tests in exchange for non-perishable food items. We are happy to report that we have SMASHED that goal with at least twice what we had hoped! You brought everything from noodles to beans, rice to corn meal and cereal and baby food.

Please call if you are in need of your annual hearing screening. For a limited time, our Doctors of Audiology will provide complimentary adult hearing screenings for a canned food donation. Call today to arrange your appointment at (519) 961-9285

‘Tis the season to BOGO!

We are quickly getting into the Christmas spirit with our biggest sale of the year! BOGO! Buy one hearing aid of any technology level, style or price and get a second hearing aid of the same value for 50% off!!! All sizes of hearing aid batteries are buy one, get one free (a $30 value!)! All hearing aid cleanings (even for those purchased elsewhere) are buy one get one free as well, that’s a ($25 value)! 

Christmas at The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic is time to give back to our community, and so, we’re providing Complimentary Hearing Screenings (completed by a CASLPO registered Doctor of Audiology, Audiologist) with a donation of canned foods for The Essex Area Food Bank. (An $80 value!)

To schedule your appointment, simply call Melissa at (519) 961-9285. Hurry! These offers expire January 15, 2016!

The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic is always proud to give back to our community. We are happy to bill 3rd party insurances when applicable – including but not limited to: Green Shield, Manulife, Sun Life, Great West Life etc., and are registered providers with ADP, ODSP, Ontario Works, Veterans Affairs and WSIB. Please feel free to call us if you have any questions!

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Our Doctors of Audiology, Audiologists, Paige Pierozynski & Bernice McKenzie

How hearing loss differs from vision loss

Debbie Clason, the staff writer for healthyhearing.com recently published a remarkable article on the differences between hearing loss and vision loss.

Debbie describes how correcting vision loss with prescription lenses restores your vision to 20/20 as soon as the lenses are put to use. However because most of those with hearing loss wait several years before pursuing hearing aids – the brain needs to readjust to, and learn to process the sounds that the hearing aid is amplifying.

Research indicates the average person diagnosed with hearing loss waits an average of seven to 10 years before seeking treatment. During that time, other medical and social problems such as an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia as well as anxiety, depression and social isolation can result.

Of course, the sooner hearing aids are prescribed and worn regularly, the less risk of losing the word understanding in those auditory pathways in the brain.

The bottom line: Both your vision and your hearing are important senses which should be evaluated on a regular basis. When you are diagnosed with vision loss, you wear corrective lenses but the same people are more unlikely to treat a hearing loss.

Don’t be a statistic! Have your hearing tested by our Doctors of Audiology, Audiologists! Call today to arrange your appointment with our doctors of Audiology at (519) 961-9285!

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The Hurdles to Getting Hearing Aids

A New York Times blog posted this morning struck a cord with us here at The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic. (Click here to read it.)

Jane Brody writes that

Hearing loss is usually gradual, and people often fail to recognize when it becomes severe enough to warrant hearing aids. Some deny that they have a problem, and instead accuse others of mumbling when they know people are talking but can’t understand what is being said. Still others regard hearing aids as unattractive devices that make them feel and look old in a society that prizes youthfulness.

We see this every day. Mostly those who could benefit from a hearing aid value their vanity over communication with family and friends.

What many people with hearing loss don’t realize is that the signs of the untreated hearing loss are more noticeable to others than hearing aids.

If you feel you are having trouble communicating or are isolating yourself socially because of your hearing trouble, give us a call. We would be happy to walk you over perceived hurdles. Our Doctors of Audiology are here to help. (519) 961-9285

 

 

 

 

What's Your Favorite Sound?

Comment to Win! What’s your favorite sound?

Kittens Purring.  Waves Crashing.  Thunderstorms!  Cards Shuffling.  Bonfires.  Laughing Babies.  Engines Humming.  Skates on Ice.  Snow Falling.  Favorite Song.  Dogs Barking.

Visit us on Facebook  and simply tell us about your favorite sound to be entered to win 4 tickets to an upcoming Windsor Spitfires home game with VIP Parking and Crown Royal Lounge access!

One winner will be selected randomly Wednesday September 30, 2015, no purchase necessary, simply comment with your favorite sound on our Facebook post.

So do tell us: What’s your favorite sound?