Monthly Archives: April 2012

Ringing in the Ears

We’ve all had it at one time or another–that sound of ringing in your ears—that can range from subtle to shattering.  Tinnitus (TIN-ih-tuss) is the medical term for the perception of sound in one or both ears when there is actually no external sound present.  It can come and go or be constant, and causes vary.

Common causes of tinnitus:

  • Hearing loss.   Whether age-related or caused by exposure to loud sound, hearing loss can cause tinnitus.  Tinnitus caused by short-term exposure, such as attending a loud concert, usually goes away.
  • Earwax blockage. When too much earwax builds up, it can cause hearing loss or irritation of the eardrum, which can lead to tinnitus.
  • Ear bone changes. Stiffening of the bones in your middle ear may affect your hearing and cause tinnitus. This condition tends to run in families.

Less common causes include:

  • Meniere’s disease, an inner ear disorder
  • Stress and depression are often associated with tinnitus and seem to aggravate it.
  • TMJ disorders are problems with the temperomandibular joint –where your lower jawbone meets your skull.
  • Ear or sinus infections, but once the infection is healed the tinnitus goes away.
  • Head or neck injuries
  • Acoustic neuroma, a noncancerous tumor in your brain

Some medications will trigger tinnitus as a side effect.  Fortunately, it usually disappears when you stop using these drugs.

  • Antibiotics, including chloramphenicol, erythromycin, gentamicin, vancomycin and bleomycin
  • Cancer medications, including mechlorethamine and vincristine
  • Diuretics (water pills)
  • Quinine and Chloroquine, taken for malaria
  • Aspirin in very high doses (12 or more a day)

Get Started With Hearing Aids

It’s so gradual that you may not even realize you have hearing loss.  You begin to strain to hear loved ones and avoid noisy restaurants.  Not only does your hearing deteriorate, but also your lifestyle, relationships, and general psychological well-being. The sooner you begin treatment for hearing loss, the easier it will be to adjust to hearing aids and to retain some hearing ability.

1.  See an audiologist

If you have noticed any symptoms of hearing loss (or your friends or family have noticed) you may be among the one in five Americans 1 suffering with this problem.  Seeing an audiologist is the first step in evaluating your hearing loss and how it may be treated.

Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute audiologists have doctoral degrees and are board certified by the American Board of Audiology. They specialize in fitting hearing aids and work with patients and physicians to create effective hearing solutions.  Our Hearing Center is a state-of-the-art facility dedicated exclusively to serving our hearing aid and cochlear implant patients.

2.  Get educated

Being informed about your hearing health and the many treatment options available is essential.  Web searches, books, and consulting friends and family are an important part of the learning process.  Besides the professional and personal one-on-one assistance of our team members, we also provide a number of resources that can help you determine the best hearing solution for you and your lifestyle.

3.  Take charge of your hearing

Hearing aids come in many styles and have various features.  Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute team members listen to individual needs and lifestyle when determining the right hearing aid for you.  Things to consider include:

  • Type of hearing loss
  • Severity of hearing loss
  • Size and shape of the ear and ear canal
  • Patient preference
  • Patient dexterity
  • Financial investment

Don’t miss out another minute!  Contact us to set up a hearing consultation or come into our new Hearing Center on Thursdays in May for a free hearing screening!

1 According to a study by Johns Hopkins researchers, published in Nov. 14, 2011 Archives of Internal Medicine

Hears to Thursdays!

JHBI Opens State-of-the-Art Hearing Center

Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute has just announced the opening of a brand new, state-of-the-art Hearing Center. The 1,180 square foot Hearing Center is located right across the hall from our existing offices in the Center One building on Centurion Parkway North just off Gate Parkway.

The Hearing Center will be dedicated exclusively to serving our hearing aid and cochlear implant patients. The center features three new exam rooms, a new testing room and a waiting area with the loop system.

Join us for “Better Hearing Thursdays!” in May (May 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st) between 9am-noon for a free hearing screening, video-otoscope session, gift bag and tour of the new Hearing Center with an audiologist! Let us know you are coming; reserve your Thursday!*

*Offer only valid through the month of May.

May is Better Hearing Month

May is Better Hearing Month

In an effort to raise public awareness for the growing number of Americans suffering from hearing loss, May has been designated Better Hearing Month.

On average, most Americans consider hearing loss a condition that is simply associated with aging, and don’t know how to recognize the condition or who is qualified to diagnose and treat it. “Hearing loss can be caused by all kinds of things:  loud noises, ear infections or disease,  certain medications, and just normal aging,” explains Dr. J. Douglas Green, Jr.. founder  of Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute.   “It can affect patients of all ages—children, teens, adults, and the elderly.”

The first step in treatment of a hearing problem is a hearing evaluation by an audiologist. An audiologist is a highly educated and clinically experienced health-care professional who specializes in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating people with hearing loss and balance disorders. JHBI’s audiologists have areas of expertise that include, but are not limited to:

  • Performing hearing evaluations
  • Prescribing and fitting hearing aids
  • Conducting cochlear implant programming and counseling
  • Providing hearing rehabilitation training such as:
    • Auditory training
    • Speech reading
    • Listening skills improvement
    • Assistive listening device fitting and dispensing

You may need to see an audiologist if you have trouble hearing conversation in noisy environments, are unable to hear people talk without looking at them, or have constant ringing or pain in your ears.   Although most hearing loss is permanent, an audiologist can determine the best treatment, which may include hearing aids, assistive listening devices, and hearing rehabilitation.

Take advantage of our Free Hearing Screenings on Thursdays in May!  For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us.

 

Hearing Loop Makes Headlines

In a world filled with new technology, hearing loops bring old technology back to life. The Washington Post reported that this “old technology could have the most profound impact in the decade to come on millions of people with hearing loss.” (The Washington Post) Telecoils were first put in hearing aids in the 1940s, and hearing loops were used in the 1960s and 1970s.

However, two challenges arise from the returning use of this old technology. First, a user’s hearing device must be equipped with a telecoil in order for the person to benefit from the hearing loop. Telecoils are common but not universal. Second, public areas have to be “looped,” but in the United States, very few are.

In Jacksonville, Fla., the only places currently looped (of which we are aware) are our waiting rooms at Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute and one check-out lane at Whole Foods Market in Mandarin.

The Hearing Loss Association of America and the American Academy of Audiology are encouraging performance venues to install temporary loop systems to let people try them out.

Diabetes and Hearing Health

To raise awareness about the link between hearing loss and diabetes, the Better Hearing Institute in conjunction with Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute is urging people with diabetes to get their hearing checked.

Take the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Risk Test to find out if you are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.  The Better Hearing Institute’s Across America Hearing Check Challenge can help determine if you need a comprehensive hearing test.   Hearing loss is almost twice as common in adults with diabetes compared to those who do not have the disease, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, but hearing screenings are often not part of the regular regimen of care for people with diabetes.

If you think you might be at risk for developing diabetes and want to get your hearing checked, call our office at 904-399-0350 to schedule a hearing test.

CenterOne Featured in Florida DOCTOR

Florida DOCTOR has featured Dr. Doug Green and CenterOne Surgery Center and its mission of providing high quality, cost effective outpatient surgery to the community.  “CenterOne Surgery Center started with a group of doctors who really cared about providing the best quality of care and service,” says Dr. Green, one of its founding physicians and founder of Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute.  “We all had the same vision.”

Surgical specialties available at CenterOne include orthopedics, pain management, pediatric/adult ENT, neurosurgery, podiatry, otology/neurotology, urology, plastic surgery, hand surgery, general surgery and more.  CenterOne has been awarded the certificate of accreditation from the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC).  It is contracted with all major insurance carriers and is fully licensed by the state of Florida and certified by Medicare. Read the entire Florida DOCTOR article.

Spring Along to Better Hearing!

Our spring newsletter is almost here! If you would like to receive it, scroll to the bottom of this page to subscribe to our email list! You can also sign up on our Facebook page.

Getting “In the Loop”

Many patients have been pleased to learn about the addition of a hearing loop to our waiting rooms. We have received positive feedback from patients who are delighted to find that they can take advantage of this technology.

Hearing loops are devices that transmit sound from microphones, loudspeakers or even TVs directly to portable receivers (such as hearing aids, cochlear implants or headsets). The loops rely on tiny technology in the portable receiver called a telecoil, which acts like an antenna relaying sounds directly into the ear. The advantage of this system is due to an improved signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio. Because the signal of interest (e.g., TV, microphone) is delivered directly to the hearing aid, interference from background noise is significantly reduced. Improving hearing in the presence of background noise is one of the biggest challenges in the rehabilitation of hearing impaired patients. Telecoil systems are one way to effectively improve hearing in this environment in a cost-effective, easy to use manner.

At this time, we are only aware of one other hearing loop installed in Jacksonville- at a check-out register at Whole Foods in Mandarin.

Here are some FAQs from the Hearing Loss Association of America:

1. Why are hearing loops needed? Don’t hearing aids enable hearing?

Today’s digital hearing aids effectively enhance hearing in conversational settings. Yet for many people with hearing loss the sound becomes unclear when auditorium or TV loudspeakers are at a distance, when the context is noisy, or when room acoustics reverberate sound. A hearing loop magnetically transfers the microphone or TV sound signal to hearing aids and cochlear implants with a tiny, inexpensive “telecoil” receiver. This transforms the instruments into in-the-ear loudspeakers that deliver sound customized for one’s own hearing loss. View a demonstration here.

2. How many hearing aids have a telecoil for receiving hearing loop input?

Hearing Review (April, 2008) reported almost two-thirds of hearing aids sold now include a telecoil, up from 37 percent in 2001.  In its 2009 reviews of hearing aid models, the Hearing Review Products showed that most hearing aids—including all 35 in-the-ear models—now come with telecoils, as do newer cochlear implants.

3. Can hearing loops serve those without telecoils or without hearing aids?

Yes, all forms of assistive listening, including hearing loops, come with portable receivers and headsets (though most of these type units go unused).

4. What does a hearing loop cost?

Costs range from $100 to $300 for self-installed home TV room loops up to several thousand dollars for professional installation in an average-sized auditorium or worship space. Most churches can install a hearing loop for little or no more than the cost of one pair of high end hearing aids, though a large facility with embedded metal will be more expensive.

This is the emblem displayed at locations which have a hearing loop installed: