Although tinnitus (or ringing / buzzing / whooshing / roaring in the ears) is often an underlying symptom of hearing loss, it can be exacerbated or even triggered by stress. A person’s reaction to tinnitus depends on how the autonomic nervous system responds to the sound itself. While many patients are able to ignore their tinnitus, for others it can cause significant stress, anxiety, and irritability when the brain subconsciously decides that the tinnitus is an “alarm”. Just like your body enters “fight or flight” mode when you encounter a genuine threat, tinnitus can trigger the same physical and emotional reaction. This makes it very difficult to concentrate or relax when you are stressed and have tinnitus.
One of the ways we attempt to combat this stress response is through relaxation exercises. Some patients report a reduction in the intrusiveness of their tinnitus with the use of these methods over time; including progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, mediation, and yoga. In addition, you may try a simple form of sound therapy: add calming sounds or white noise to your calming routines to help aid in relaxation. And of course, limiting the amount of caffeine consumed during the day and getting an adequate amount of sleep at night will also help in the long term.
For more information on tinnitus and tinnitus treatment options, contact our office to set up an individualized consultation to discuss what methods might be best for you!
In addition to hearing aids, cochlear implants, and osseointegrated implants, there are other devices on the market to help those who are hearing impaired. Devices such as amplified phones, lighted door bells, and amplified alarm clocks are just a few of these options.
For anyone with hearing loss, the telephone can be quite a difficult task. Two options that can help ease this stress are 1. Amplified telephones and 2. Captioned Telephones. There are many national companies that provide captioned telephones to patients with hearing loss. Captioned telephones go through a transcription service to write out what is being said on a screen. Patients can then read what the other person is saying. Any audiologist or medical provider can certify a patient’s hearing loss.
*Check out CaptionCall.com for more information.
Devices such as amplified alarm clocks also have features such as a “bed shaker” that sends a small vibration at the alarm time. Patients have also utilized smart watches with a vibration feature for alarms.
*Check out Diglo.com for more assistive technology for patients with hearing loss
If you have been diagnosed with hearing loss, slow down, take a breath, and know there are resources to help you at The Hearing Center at Jacksonville Hearing & Balance Institute. Research as much as you can on the Internet (go to www.JHBI.org and www.BetterHearingJax.com) and give yourself time to make a decision as to what you want your next step to be. Taking responsibility for your own hearing health is important. Give yourself a timeline to make a decision after you have learned more about exactly what is going on with your hearing and what options you have, such as hearing aids and devices.
If you decide to wait to make a purchase – understanding there are various financial ranges of costs – put a date down in your calendar for reconsidering and re-evaluating your next step. Research has proven that the sooner you treat hearing loss, the better it is for you and your quality of life.
For more information on hearing loss, take a free, quick, confidential and online hearing check to determine if you need a comprehensive hearing test by one of our board-certified Audiologists at Jacksonville Hearing & Balance’s The Hearing Center. Visit www.BetterHearing.org, follow BHI on Twitter @better_hearing, or like BHI on Facebook at www.facebook.com/betterhearinginstitute. You can “like” Jacksonville Hearing & Balance Institute’s The Hearing Center, too, on Facebook!
Let us know if we can help you in any way! Call the experts at The Hearing Center at Jacksonville Hearing & Balance Institute today. We are here for you!
Educating yourself on the importance of hearing loss diagnosis and treatment can help you to reach acceptance of that loss and help you obtain peace of mind. One good place to check out is www.BetterHearing.org where you can learn about the causes of hearing loss and what can be done about it. What you will find is that you are not the only person experiencing hearing loss. You are not alone!
It’s difficult to navigate the world of hearing aids. There are many vendors, styles and costs – cheapest may not be the best; the most expensive needs to be vetted to ensure it meets your specific need for diagnosis and needs. New sleek and stylish state-of-the-art hearing aids make it so much easier to manage hearing difficulty without a lot of fuss. Many of the new hearing aids now in the marketplace are virtually invisible – they sit “inside” the ear canal and are out of sight. Investigate the various styles that are available to you offered by The Hearing Center at Jacksonville Hearing & Balance Institute. There are many other “hearing devices” available, too, such as those for your phone, office or home.
Treating hearing loss is a balance. As you are looking for a hearing aid to increase your quality of life, it is important to look at your choices and depend on the guidance of your hearing aid professional. At The Hearing Center at Jacksonville Hearing & Balance Institute, we are here for you. For more information, go to www.BetterHearingJax.com and www.JHBI.org.
New hybrid hearing device helps those who find hearing aids to be ineffective
By Charlie Patton Tue, Aug 19, 2014 @ 4:51 pm
Traditionally there have been two approaches to hearing loss: hearing aids to amplify sound for those who retained some hearing; and cochlear implants to restore some hearing to those who are totally deaf.
A new device, a Cochlear Nucleus Hybrid Implant System, has been approved by the FDA for use in people who have some hearing but have found hearing aids ineffective.
J. Douglas Green Jr., a neurotologist and founder of the Jacksonville Hearing & Balance Institute/The Hearing Center, calls the device “an extraordinary melding of technologies.”
The hybrid includes three elements: an implant that Green puts in place during a 90-minute outpatient procedure; a sound processor that converts high-frequency sounds to electric signals and sends them to the implant; and an acoustic component that functions like a hearing aid, amplifying low-frequency sounds.
The cochlear implant component restores the ability of people to hear high-pitched sound.
The hybrid “gives patients a more natural sound quality,” Green said. “People really like that. There is more clarity to the sounds.”
Green will offer free seminars about the implants: a dinner presentation from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday and a lunch presentation from noon-1:30 p.m. Wednesday at Hotel Indigo, 9840 Tapestry Park Circle.
While seminars are free, seating is limited and a reservation is required. Go to HearingHealthSeminar.com or call (877) 432-7844.
Tinnitus, or ringing (also commonly described as buzzing/chirping sounds) in the ears, can be a very debilitating problem. Unfortunately, tinnitus treatments are often complex and costly. One of the best, most cost-effective tinnitus treatments involves the use of hearing aids. In many cases, hearing aids are a “kill two birds with one stone” approach, and are helpful in both the correction of hearing loss and the reduction of tinnitus.
Below is a summary of a retrospective review of 70 patients with hearing loss and chronic tinnitus, courtesy of the American Academy of Audiology. The authors found that hearing aids can be a very effective treatment for tinnitus, and we agree. In fact, some of our most successful hearing aid patients initially began using hearing aids as a tool to help their tinnitus, only to later discover the added advantage of better hearing.
Hearing Aids as Tinnitus Therapy
McNeill et al (2012) report that “hearing aids have become common therapeutic tools in the audiological management of tinnitus.” They note that hearing aids are used in tandem with counseling and hearing aids serve as an important part of treatments, such as Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (Jastreboff and Jastreboff, 2000).
McNeill and colleagues performed a retrospective study of 70 patients (48 males, 22 female, mean age 55 years). Each patient had hearing loss and a primary or secondary complaint of “bothersome chronic tinnitus.” Of note, while wearing hearing aids (Oticon, Phonak or Widex) 26 patients reported their tinnitus was totally masked, 28 reported partial masking (i.e., 77 percent, or 54 of 70 reported partial or total masking) and 16 reported no masking. Tinnitus pitch masking revealed (on average) a perceived pitch of 6900 Hz. Of note, for the group that did not achieve masking (n=16, see above)they reported a mean tinnitus pitch perceived at 8000 Hz (the average perceived tinnitus pitch for the partial masking group was 7,600 Hz and for the total masking group was 5,400 Hz). The authors note the patients who had the most tinnitus relief via their hearing aid fittings had tinnitus matching results within the frequency range of the hearing aids.
McNeill et al report that their results indicate hearing aid fittings may be useful in the management of tinnitus because hearing aids reduce the audibility of tinnitus and hearing aids improve the patient’s reaction to tinnitus. The authors recommend hearing aid fittings to treat tinnitus in patients with hearing loss. Further, they note the best results are obtained when the patient has good low-frequency hearing, a strong reaction to their tinnitus and when the tinnitus pitch is perceived to be (i.e., matched) within the fitting range of the hearing aid.
A small study by the House Research Institute revealed that 72% of teens reported reduced hearing after attending a three-hour show. This type of hearing loss typically disappears within 48 hours, but if it occurs repeatedly, permanent hearing loss can develop, the study authors noted.
Katie Inman, a 15 year old student at Florida School for the Deaf and Blind and patient at Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute (JHBI), recently experienced the ride of a lifetime when she was able to assist with flying a Piper PA-28 plane. This opportunity was arranged by the non-profit group Operation PROP (People Reaching Outrageous Potential). Since then, Katie has not stopped talking about her adventure. What makes this so special is that Katie has been legally blind since birth, and lost her hearing seven years ago. Her speech became unintelligible and she struggled to communicate. She needed to rely on sign language that she “read” by feeling the finger movements within the palm of her hand. She desired to hear again and wanted a cochlear implant.
Her role model has been her mother, Tracie Inman, who is also blind and who received bilateral cochlear implants at JHBI. Tracie wanted her daughter to have this advanced technology to give her back the gift of sound. Dr. Green successfully implanted her left ear in February of this year and she rapidly adapted to hearing again. She is now enjoying sound and is able to talk on the phone to her friends and family. Katie immediately requested a second cochlear implant and was implanted in June , two days after her flight in the clouds. As with her first implant, Katie has excelled and is now using her hearing skills to navigate, reducing her dependence on her walking cane. Katie reports that she “loves to hear” and has become a “chatterbox”. Her father summed up Katie’s future with the family motto, “Only the sky’s the limit”.
Today’s workforce features a changing demographic of aging employees. Between 2006 and 2016, the number of workers in the mature age group is expected to grow by 80 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many people are staying in the workforce longer due to tough economic times, in turn requiring hearing healthcare professionals to help keep those people as successful and productive as possible.
So what does this mean for the general public? It means people need to take charge of their health, including their hearing, so they can age productively and continue being successful at their jobs. Boomers should get their hearing checked routinely, and address any hearing loss as soon as possible.
According to the Better Hearing Institute, more than 34 million Americans suffer from hearing loss (about 11 percent of the U.S. population), and 60 percent of them are below retirement age. The vast majority of people with hearing loss can most likely benefit from hearing aids. Employers must also recognize the changing demographics of the workforce and make efforts to help maintain their valued employees, by encouraging healthy hearing habits.
If you have any questions regarding hearing loss, please contact our office at 904-399-0350.