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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!

 

hearing-test

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.

VEDA-BAW Save the Date-for website

Top 10 Facts About Positional Vertigo (BPPV)- Balance Awareness Week

Is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)  a rare and exotic disease? No, on most clinic days, I see at least one person with BPPV, and often, I see several. For some, BPPV is a minor annoyance. For others, it’s a nightmare of dizziness, loss of balance, nausea, and inability to work or participate in family activities. — Gregory T. Whitman, M.D. (otoneurology)

Here are the Top 10 things you should know about Positional Vertigo (BPPV), with thanks to the Vestibular Disorders Association

1. If you woke up with vertigo, it is likely you have BPPV.

2. If you have vertigo that comes on when you lie down, it is likely you have BPPV.

3. If you have had more than 2 episodes of severe vertigo, there’s a strong possibility you have BPPV .

4. If you have BPPV in both ears, it will almost certainly throw off your balance.

5. If you have a past history of migraine and develop BPPV, you may notice an increase in headaches or light sensitivity. These symptoms will likely decrease after the BPPV has been successfully treated.

6. After BPPV has been treated, it’s a good idea for the doctor to ensure that dizziness, imbalance and related symptoms resolve.

7. If your vertigo makes you nauseated, and you do not have any vestibular tests planned, you may want to ask your audiologist if it would be all right to take a medication for vertigo before the Epley Maneuver. This can make BPPV treatment much more comfortable.

8. Curing a bout of BPPV can require persistence. Doctors and Audiologists always talk about the “easy” cases, miraculously cured on the first visit. However, I have seen patients who needed treatment on 10 different days in one month to finally clear the symptoms.

9. Another version of Rule 8: if you’ve “had BPPV for a year” or more, it’s likely you haven’t been treated enough.

10. In some cases, BPPV follows a previous inner ear infection that has damaged the inner ear and/or vestibular nerve. If this is the case, and if you still have symptoms after successful treatment of BPPV, the best treatment may be vestibular physical therapy, intended to train the ear and brain to work well together.

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If you think that you or someone you may know may benefit from speaking to our Doctors of Audiology, please give us a call! We’re here to help you (519) 961-9285.

VEDA-BAW Save the Date-for website

Adventures in Dizziness – What does ‘Dizzy’ feel like to you?

Continuing with the theme of Balance Awareness Week, I sat and thought what would be interesting for our followers to read. As I think about the dizzy, vertigo and imbalance patients that we’ve been lucky enough to see at The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic, their stories came to mind.

The moment that they got dizzy, felt the world spin or that they were spinning.

I stumbled upon this blog post by blogger Mysocalleddizzylife and was amazed at the clarity with which she described her symptoms.

My Dizziness is sometimes more like a little ripple of vertigo, this weird uncomfortable sensation: like if I turn my head, it feels like my head hasn’t caught up to where I am.  My head feels unsteady.  I feel unsteady.  When I’m dizzy I can feel nauseous.  I feel it if I turn around too quickly or when I’m practicing some of my vestibular rehabilitation therapy exercises.  And like butterflies in your stomach when you feel naseous, I also feel the butterflies in my head, spinning around, making me feel woozy.  When this happens, I want nothing more than to close my eyes and pray for the tranquility of stillness.  When I’m really dizzy, I have no balance.  I’m more than clumsy.  If I walk, I look like I’m drunk.  Unsteady and stumbling.

The other night I felt so dizzy; it was like there was a violent sea in my head, waves sloshing around so that I couldn’t find my balance.

Emily’s blog describes the beginning of her symptoms, tests, treatments, vestibular rehabilitation and her life after her dizzies. How many of our readers have shared their dizzy stories with family and friends and learned that they too have had some vestibular dysfunction?

Balance Awareness Week isn’t just learning about imbalance, but about knowing that you aren’t alone.

Wellness Flyer

Please join us September 12 for a Wellness Block Party!

Please join us September 12, 2015 for the Victoria Plaza Wellness Block Party!

The clinics at the Victoria Plaza (The old Siefker Plaza) would like to welcome you to learn about local health and wellness services!

The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic is offering complimentary Hearing Screenings for all attendees of the Block Party!

We hope to see you September 12, 2015 from 10:00am until 2:00pm! Wellness-Block-Party-09-03-15

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This was fun!

Melissa stumbled across THIS WEBPAGE today.

In this test, created by Amplifon, players are taken to three different locations filled with noises.

It’s the player’s task to locate the waterfall, birds and telephone. The interactive sound map lets you move 360 degrees around the public location to pin-point the source. The noises get louder and clearer as you explore the map. After you’ve had a stab, it reveals where other users have guessed.

Aging is the most common cause of hearing loss, but the World Health Organisation recently said that the single largest cause of preventable loss is loud noise, such as from heavy industry in work places and loud music.

Generally, we don’t like online hearing tests – as they are only as good as your speaker system, but this was a fun take on showing how well we localize sound.

Put on your headphones and give it a try! And if you don’t score as well as you had thought, you know who to call!

GN Resound LiNX², made for iPhone

Who needs Beats when you have these?

It’s estimated that half of baby boomers have some degree of hearing loss, caused by everything from rock music to lawn mowers or just aging. (It happens.) Yet only a quarter of those who need hearing aids actually get them. As one study notes, “For many people a hearing aid is an unwelcome reminder of the aging process, one that they simply cannot accept.”

Screw that. When I explain what my hearables can do, the kids are envious.

We love this article on the Mother Nature Network, and the vigor with which Lloyd Alter writes about his ‘hearables‘. We wish that everyone had the appreciation for the raw power of these tiny little devices that sit in our ears. So much more than a hearing aid, hearables help control the life around us and connect us to family, friends and the rest of the world in a way that leaves “kids envious”. Who needs Beats when you have these?

Forget wearables; let’s talk hearables, the devices formerly known as hearing aids. The hearing aid/hearables market is $5.4 billion worldwide, compared to the $2 billion headphone market. Apple buying Beats may have made headlines, but Apple building Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and an accessibility app into the iPhone 5 and 6 is much more newsworthy. Why? Because this opens up the hearables market so wide that the $3 billion Beats purchase will look like small change — and make Google Glass look like a toy.

We think it’s pretty cool too! If you’d like to try a set of ‘hearables‘, please give us a call and we’d be happy to demonstrate this new realm of hearing technology on you! Call to arrange an appointment with our Doctors of Audiology, Audiologists. (519) 961-9285

 

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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.