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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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What do William Shatner, Beethoven, Will.I.am & Ronald Reagan have in common?

William Shatner, Beethoven, Will.I.am & Ronald Reagan seem likely to have nothing in common. An actor, a classical composer, a rapper and a former American President – they seemingly couldn’t be more different. But according to an article by stoptheringing.org they all (and many others) suffer from Tinnitus.

Tinnitus is commonly referred to as a ringing or buzzing in the ears, and it is the perception of sound when there is no external sound present.

The British Tinnitus Association recently released a Top Ten List about Tinnitus for Physicians.

 

Ten Top Tinnitus Tips 

1 At any point in time around 10% of the population experience tinnitus – both sexes are equally affected and although tinnitus is more common in the elderly it can occur at any age, including childhood. The perceived sound can have virtually any quality – ringing, whistling and buzzing are common – but more complex sounds can also be described.

2 Most tinnitus is mild in fact it is relatively rare for it to develop into a chronic problem of life-altering severity, but it does happen. The natural history of tinnitus in most patients is of an acute phase of distress when the problem begins, followed by improvement over time. But for a minority of patients the distress is ongoing and very significant, and they will require specialist support.

3 Tinnitus is more common in people with hearing loss tinnitus prevalence is greater among people with hearing impairment but the severity of the tinnitus correlates poorly with the degree of hearing loss. It is also quite possible to have tinnitus with a completely normal pure tone audiogram.

4 Tinnitus can be associated with a blocked sensation for reasons that are not clear tinnitus and sensorineural hearing loss can give rise to a blocked feeling in the ears despite normal middle ear pressure and eardrum mobility. Otoscopy and, if available, tympanometry can exclude Eustachian tube dysfunction. Decongestants and antibiotics are rarely helpful.

5 Giving a negative prognosis is actively harmful it is all too common to hear that patients have been told nothing can be done about tinnitus. Such negative statements are not only unhelpful but also tend to focus the patient’s attention on their tinnitus and exacerbate the distress. A positive attitude is generally helpful and there are many constructive statements that can be made about tinnitus, such as: most tinnitus lessens or disappears with time; most tinnitus is mild; tinnitus is not a precursor of hearing loss.

6 Enriching the sound environment is helpful useful sources of sound to reduce the starkness of tinnitus include quiet uneventful music, a fan or a water feature. There are inexpensive devices that produce environmental sounds, and these are particularly useful at bedtime.

7 Hearing aids are helpful straining to listen causes increased central auditory gain and this increased sensitivity can allow tinnitus to emerge or, if already present, to worsen. Correcting any associated hearing loss reduces this central auditory gain and thereby reduces the level of the tinnitus. Hearing aids are useful even if the hearing loss is relatively mild and an aid would not normally be considered. Recent Department of Health guidelines have emphasised the value of audiometry in a tinnitus consultation, and this is the definitive basis for decisions about hearing aid candidacy. If in doubt, refer for an audiological opinion. In our view, all people who describe tinnitus deserve an audiological assessment. Decisions on when to start using a hearing aid and what sort to use are up to the individual patient and audiologist.

8 Underlying pathology is rare, but be vigilant in many cases tinnitus is due to heightened awareness of spontaneous electrical activity in the auditory system that is normally not perceived. It can however be a symptom of treatable and significant otological pathology, such as a vestibular schwannoma or otosclerosis. One should be especially vigilant if the tinnitus is unilateral, or if it has a pulsatile quality.

9 There is no direct role for drugs although they can be used to treat associated symptoms such as vertigo, insomnia, anxiety or depression. There is also no conventional or complementary medication that has been shown to have specific tinnitus ameliorating qualities and there is anecdotal suggestion that repeatedly trying unsuccessful therapies worsens tinnitus.

10 Self-help is often effective – Audiologists provide excellent information on tinnitus and common sense advice on managing symptoms. Written by: Dr David Baguley PhD, Head of Audiology

Of course, as Doctors of Audiology, our Audiologists have extensive education and experience with tinnitus. If you or a loved one experience tinnitus, please feel free to call our office for more information about how we can help.

Can tinnitus be alleviated by Hearing Aids?
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Why do we have earwax?

We stumbled across this video today:

Earwax is another of our body’s mundane, under-appreciated, yet totally amazing protective devices. Like eyelashes and nose hair, earwax shields our body from outside invaders, including dust, bacteria, and other micro-organisms that can get in and irritate, inflame, or infect. Earwax lubricates our ears, in much the same way as tears lubricate our eyes. Without adequate amounts of earwax, our ears would feel dry and itchy.

Since our ears are self-cleaning, we should never, ever stick anything in them! Hence the old adage that you shouldn’t put anything in your ears smaller than your elbow and YES! that includes Q-Tips, even though they seem perfectly designed to fit inside the narrow ear canal. Keep these swabs and any other objects – including your fingers – out of your ears. When you put something in your ear – to scratch an itch or to attempt to remove wax – you risk pushing wax further into the ear, where it can block sound from meeting your eardrum.

If you feel your earwax may be affecting your hearing, contact your doctor for an appointment, it may be useful to instill a few drops of oil daily into your ears for a couple of days before your appointment. And of course, afterward come to see us at The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic to have your hearing tested.

 

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May is Better Hearing Month!

Who’s ready to kick off Better Hearing Month?!?

For the entire month of May we will be celebrating…US!  By us, we mean – Doctors of Audiology, Audiologists!

While that may sound a bit self-serving, celebrating US means focusing on what we can do for you!

Through daily blog posts for the month of May, we will show you all of the ways that we can help you, your family members, friends, and co-workers with improved hearing health.

Our main goal is to help you improve your quality of life through better hearing and balance. Your EARS connect you to the people you love and the activities you love to do – it is imperative that we celebrate this!

In the spirit of Us: Doctors of Audiology, we absolutely LOVE —–>  this video  <——  It shows one of the many reasons why we wanted to become Audiologists.

So cheers to us, and Better Hearing Month! #BHSM 

P.S. Best of luck to the #Essex73s taking on Port Hope tonight! We’re rooting for you! Bring home the Schmalz Cup!

 

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Essex Free Press Article about our Tinnitus Lunch & Learn

Happy Thursday!  Hope everyone is staying dry and warm on this “spring” day.

Please see Sylene Argent’s article titled Clinic Shares Information about Tinnitus in the Essex Free Press this week. Sylene reported on our Tinnitus Lunch & Learn that we hosted on March 23, 2015.

If you or a loved one is suffering from tinnitus, or have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic at 519.961.9285

Diabetics are twice as likely to have hearing loss

Diabetics – Schedule Your Annual Hearing Test Today

Happy Wednesday!

We all know there are many causes of hearing loss; exposure to loud noise, aging, head trauma, etc. What you may not associate with hearing loss is DIABETES. Studies show that people who are diabetic – even pre-diabetic, were twice as likely to have a hearing loss. Considering there are 2.4 million Canadians who have been diagnosed diabetic, a visit to our Doctors of Audiology at The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic for an annual hearing test is a must!

If you or someone you love suffers from Diabetes, call 519.961.9285 today to arrange your diagnostic hearing assessment.

The full article can be found here -> http://www.healthyhearing.com/report/52369-Diabetics-twice-as-likely-to-have-hearing-loss

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Winter is Ear Infection Season!

Acute ear infections occur most often in the winter. You cannot catch an ear infection from someone else, but a cold may spread among children and cause some of them to get ear infections.

Risk factors for acute ear infections include:

  • Children Attending daycare
  • Changes in altitude or climate
  • Cold climate
  • Exposure to smoke
  • Genetic factors (susceptibility to infection may run in families)
  • Not being breastfed
  • Pacifier use
  • Recent or Previous ear infection
  • Recent illness of any type (lowers resistance of the body to infection)

We like these tips to help prevent ear infections, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ear-infections/basics/prevention/con-20014260

See your Doctor if you are experiencing any pain in your ears for more than a day, if the pain is severe or if there is any discharge from the ears.

While its common to experience some mild hearing loss or a feeling of wearing ear plugs while the ear infection is active, once treated, the hearing should return to normal. Chronic ear infections can lead to permanent hearing loss. Its important to keep those ears healthy!

If you or your child experience recurrent ear infections, call our Doctors of Audiology to arrange a hearing test!

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How your hearing loss affects your whole family

Many times when asked,  we hear that men are in our clinic at the prodding of their wife, and wives visit because their husbands or children asked them to come in.

Often, our patients don’t fully appreciate the affects their hearing loss has on the people that love them most, the frustration, the fatigue, the patience that is needed for better communication with their loved one.

This Family Day, do your family a favor and come on in for a Hearing Test. If your loved one is having trouble hearing, give them our number.

We’d love to have the opportunity to help.

Don’t waste another minute NOT hearing your loved ones!

We love how this video talks about the different ways a hearing loss can affect the way you communicate with your close family:  http://www.today.com/video/today/38932880#38932880