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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

 

sounds tinnitus

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?
Tinnituspic

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

Happy Friday!

With March Break upon us, we wanted to take this opportunity to remind you that the silence of your child wearing headphones or earbuds while listen to music or video games is NOT always golden.

An iPod’s maximum volume is more than 10 times as loud as the recommended listening setting & the sensory damage caused by prolonged listening is irreversible.

With hearing loss on the rise in teens in the last decade, we urge you to implement some simple – but effective safe listening rules for your child.

1. Never allow listening through headphones for longer than 4 hours per day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), being exposed to more than 85 decibels (about the level that teens listen to their music today) of sound for eight hours can damage your hearing.*

2. Provide your child with cool – but safe – listening gear. Such as these headphones which control the volume through filters which caps the output of sound.

3. Have your child’s hearing tested. If he or she listens to a lot of music or plays a lot of video games with headphones on, we recommend a hearing test every 2nd year. Call The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic at (519) 961-9285 today to have your child’s hearing tested!

Have a safe and fun March Break! We’ll keep our fingers crossed for nice weather!

____

*Read more HERE

 

 

The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic

Can Hearing Aids Help People With Tinnitus?

As we are leading up to our Tinnitus Lunch & Learn on Monday March 23, we thought we would try to shed a little bit of light on how hearing aids can help those who suffer with tinnitus.

Tinnitus is a ringing, buzzing or chirping sound, perceived when there is no external sound present. Research shows that aging, exposure to loud sounds, earwax accumulation and ear bone changes (otosclerosis) contribute to the cause of tinnitus.

Many factors affect a person’s tinnitus such as: anxiety, stress and blood pressure.  There are many studies show that of the 20% of the world’s population suffers from tinnitus & many also have a hearing loss.

Which bring us to the question: Can Hearing Aids Help People With Tinnitus?

The short answer is: YES!

Studies* show that of those who complain of hearing loss (from the most mild loss to the most severe) together with tinnitus, hearing aids in both ears alleviated tinnitus perception in 69% of users!

Can tinnitus be alleviated by Hearing Aids?

Why do they help? Hearing aids provide a diversion for our brains. They tell our brain “hear this instead” and those sounds which would be lost by our hearing loss now act to stimulate the areas that were previously the source of our tinnitus. Hearing aids also make our sound range much larger, giving us more things outside of ourselves to listen to. Hearing aids reduce anxiety caused by troubled communications and help reduce stress while also having the added benefit of an improved social life. Hearing aids reduce the fatigue brought upon us by always listening closely. Hearing aids can also be programmed to mask the tinnitus with a sound that is more pleasant than the tinnitus itself.

Our Doctors of Audiology can help you with your tinnitus.  Just because there is not a cure for tinnitus, it does not mean there is no hope/help.  At The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic we are able to perform tinnitus testing and provide treatment, counselling and management. Call (519) 961-9285 to book your appointment today!

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Hunting and Hearing Loss

Hello again!

I hope everyone is staying warm and enjoying the transition to winter.

Can anyone see what is wrong with the picture above???

NO ONE IS WEARING HEARING PROTECTION!!!!!!

It is that time of year where I cannot stress enough the importance of wearing hearing protection while hunting!  Why are only half of you hunters wearing ear plugs/muffs??!?!! Did you know that a single gun shot can cause a permanent threshold shift, also known as a permanent hearing loss???  That buzzing sound or ringing in your ears you may be hearing after shooting a rifle without the use of hearing protection is your ears screaming out in pain; the hair cells in your cochlea have experienced acoustic trauma.  That ringing in your ears might become permanent too.

If you have a history of recreational/hunting noise exposure, ringing in  your ears (tinnitus) and/or hearing loss, please schedule an appointment with myself for a hearing assessment.  Let’s monitor your hearing stability and discuss hearing protection options that will protect your ears, but will benefit you by enhancing your ability to carry on conversations, detect game and hearing your surroundings all while protecting your ears!

Wishing everyone a safe hunting season filled with hearing protection!

Paige

Please read the article below from Michael Stewart discussing recreational firearm noise exposure.

Recreational Firearm Noise Exposure
Michael Stewart, PhD, CCC-A, Professor of Audiology, Central Michigan University

Firearms Are Loud
Exposure to noise greater than 140 dB can permanently damage hearing. Almost all firearms create noise that is over the 140-dB level. A small .22-caliber rifle can produce noise around 140 dB, while big-bore rifles and pistols can produce sound over 175 dB. Firing guns in a place where sounds can reverberate, or bounce off walls and other structures, can make noises louder and increase the risk of hearing loss. Also, adding muzzle brakes or other modifications can make the firearm louder. People who do not wear hearing protection while shooting can suffer a severe hearing loss with as little as one shot, if the conditions are right. Audiologists see this often, especially during hunting season when hunters and bystanders may be exposed to rapid fire from big-bore rifles, shotguns, or pistols.

Hearing Loss Due To Firearm Noise
People who use firearms are more likely to develop hearing loss than those who do not. Firearm users tend to have high-frequency permanent hearing loss, which means that they may have trouble hearing speech sounds like “s,” “th,” or “v” and other high-pitched sounds. The left ear (in right-handed shooters) often suffers more damage than the right ear because it is closer to, and directly in line with, the muzzle of the firearm. Also, the right ear is partially protected by head shadow. People with high-frequency hearing loss may say that they can hear what is said but that it is not clear, and they may accuse others of mumbling. They may not get their hearing tested because they don’t think they have a problem. They may also have ringing in their ears, called tinnitus. The ringing, like the hearing loss, can be permanent.

Protecting Your Hearing From Firearm Noise
The good news is that people can prevent hearing loss by using appropriate hearing protective devices (HPDs), such as earmuffs or earplugs. However, studies have shown that only about half of shooters wear hearing protection all the time when target practicing. Hunters are even less likely to wear hearing protection because they say they cannot hear approaching game or other noises. While some HPDs do limit what a person can hear, there are many products that allow shooters to hear softer sounds while still protecting them from loud sounds like firearm noise.

Two types of HPDs designed for shooting sports are electronic HPDs and nonlinear HPDs. Electronic HPDs make softer sounds louder but shut off when there is a loud noise. The device then becomes hearing protection. Electronic HPD styles include earmuffs, custom-made in-the-ear devices, one-size-fits-all plugs, and behind-the-ear devices.

Nonlinear HPDs are not electronic and are designed to allow soft and moderate sounds to pass through, while still reducing loud sounds. Nonlinear HPDs can be either earplugs that are inserted into the ear or custom-made earmolds. Nonlinear HPDs that have filters are the best choice. They are better than those that use mechanical valves. This is because the valves may not close fast enough to protect hearing from loud noise.

The U.S. military uses both electronic and nonlinear HPDs to protect soldiers’ hearing during combat and weapons training. Electronic HPDs cost from less than $100 for earmuffs to over $1,000 for high-technology custom-made devices. Insert plug-type nonlinear HPDs cost around $10–$20, while custom-made nonlinear devices cost around $100–$150 per pair. Talk with your audiologist to choose the type of hearing protection that is right for you.

Tips To Protect Your Hearing:

  • Always use some type of hearing protection any time you fire a gun.
  • Always have disposable HPDs handy—make them part of your gear.
  • Double-protect your ears, like putting muffs over plugs, when shooting big-bore firearms.
  • Choose smaller caliber firearms for target practice and hunting.
  • Choose single-shot firearms instead of lever action, pump, or semi-automatic guns.
  • Avoid shooting in groups or in reverberant environments.
  • Use electronic or nonlinear HPDs for hunting.