Hearing Aids for the Treatment of Tinnitus

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.

Click here to read the original story.

Siemens now offers waterproof hearing aid

Living in Florida can get pretty humid, especially in the summer months.  Hearing aid users are frequently worried about sweat, rain, and moisture accumulation in their new hearing aid.  Well, now there is a solution!  Siemens has introduced its first waterproof and dustproof hearing aid:  The Aquaris.  The device is capable of working as deep as three feet under water and can be connected to their Minitek Bluetooth system.  This allows the user to listen to bluetooth-streamed music while swimming, showering, or exercising.  JHBI is a provider of Siemens instruments.  Give us a call to learn more about this new and exciting product.


Taking care of your hearing healthcare investment

Taking care of your hearing healthcare investment

One of the most valuable purchases that you may make this year is a pair of new hearing aids. Hearing aids will allow you to reconnect with loved ones and participate in daily activities that you once enjoyed but may be shying away from.

Digital hearing aids are precision instruments, and are sensitive to dust, dirt, moisture, cerumen, hairspray, and other daily influences. Fortunately, there are a few simple care and maintenance steps that when followed regularly can keep your hearing aid sounding and performing optimally. Here are a number of helpful suggestions that you can do at home.

Handle with care

  • When removing your hearing aid from its packaging, stand over soft ground so that if it falls, it falls onto a soft surface and not a hard floor.
  • Try to never expose your hearing aid to high heat such as leaving it in your car.
  • When cleaning your hearing aid, don’t use alcohol or chemical solvents. We suggest the use of baby wipes or Audiowipes instead.
  • Apply hair care and styling products before you insert your hearing aid. Hair gels and hairspray can clog the components and can sometimes affect the exterior plastic, too.

Protect it from moisture

  • The digital circuitry in your hearing aid is particularly sensitive to moisture.
  • Take your hearing aid out before swimming or showering (unless it is a waterproof hearing aid).
  • Remove the hearing aid before going to sleep, and store it in a clean, dry place.
  • Before you insert your hearing aid, clean and dry your ears as best as possible.
  • One of the most common causes of hearing aids having to be returned for service is the buildup of moisture; an inexpensive hearing aid dehumidifier can prevent this, and thus prolong its life.
  • To use a hearing aid dehumidifier, which removes any accumulation of moisture, remove the batteries from the unit before storing the hearing aid in the dehumidifier overnight.

Remove excessive ear wax from your hearing aid

  • Becoming clogged with ear wax is the second most common reason that hearing aids require service.
  • Upon removing your hearing aid, wipe away ear wax using a soft cloth.
  • Clean any ear wax from the receiver and microphone areas of the device, using a cleaning brush.
  • Change the wax filters frequently (if equipped).

Hearing Loss Twice as Common in People with Diabetes

The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is urging people with diabetes to get their hearing tested, and is offering a free, quick, and confidential online hearing check at www.hearingcheck.org so anyone can determine if they need a comprehensive hearing test by a hearing healthcare professional.

Read more about this story by clicking HERE.

A Holiday Video Card

Everyone at Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute is so very thankful this Holiday Season.  This video highlights many wonderful things that happened in 2012.

Watch the video HERE.


Implants by Dr. J Douglas Green help 2 young men from Nigeria


Audiologist Jacqueline   Olson’s No. 1 rule — no crying in her office — got broken a lot Thursday   afternoon. That’s what happens when you change a life, the way she and her   colleagues were changing the life of 26-year-old Samuel Ochenehi.

Ochenehi was in his first year of medical school seven years ago   in his native Nigeria when, following hospitalization for typhoid fever, he   went deaf. He finished medical school but learned to his dismay that his   hearing loss was going to prevent him from being admitted to a residency   program.

Then he met Doug Green, a   Jacksonville neurotologist, who is founder and president of the Jacksonville   Hearing and Balance Institute. Green, who   also founded Hearing Help for Africa, regularly does medical missionary work   at Evangel Hospital in Jos, Nigeria, where Ochenehi lives.

Green considered both Ochenehi and 19-year-old Emmanuel Odido,   who lost his hearing at two as a result of meningitis, good candidates for   cochlear implants. Both had sustained damage to the cilia, hairlike cells   inside the ear that receive sound, which the cochlea translates into   electrical signals. The implant takes over that function.

But because of sectarian violence in Nigeria and a lack of   adequate medical facilities there, Green decided   the best approach was to bring the two young men to Jacksonville.

“I kept having to postpone the trip because bombs kept   going off, ” Green said. “It   was easier to bring them here.”

In October, Ochenehi and Odido flew to Jacksonville and moved   into an apartment Green rented for   them. Green did surgery on Odido Oct. 16 and on Ochenehi on Oct. 23,   implanting in each a device beneath the skin. A second piece fits over the   ear, with a magnet that attaches to the implanted device linking them.   Normally, the procedure costs about $50,000. But Green waived   his surgical fees, and MED-EL Corp. donated the cochlear implants.

During the time they’ve spent in Jacksonville, Ochenehi and   Odido have grown close to many of the people who work at the institute.

“They’re incredibly gracious people, ” Green said.   “It’s really fun for me and for my office to be a part of this.”

“It’s been so awesome to see him blossom, ” Olson said   of Ochenehi.

Thursday, Olson did tests to check how well Ochenehi was hearing   and then made adjustments, creating four different hearing programs Ochenehi   can switch to using a remote control. Ochenehi had been having trouble   hearing male voices clearly but the adjustments seemed to solve that problem.   Following the adjustments, Olson did a second round of tests.

“You’re in the normal range, ” she told Ochenehi,

“Wow, ” he responded.

Knowing what was coming next, Olson reminded Ochenehi about her   “no crying” rule. Then she gave him the stethoscope Doug and   Kelley Green had bought for him, a stethoscope that can be connected   directly to the external earpiece.

As he put on the earpiece, Olson began crying. As he listened to   the heartbeat of Allison Jeffries, the institute’s front office manager who   has been den mother to Ochenehi and Odido during their visit, Jeffries   started crying. As he listened to his own heartbeat, Ochenehi started crying,   laying his head on his hands on Olson’s desk.

He looked up briefly, reproaching Olson: “You shouldn’t   have made me cry.”

Then, placing his hands together as if in prayer, he closed his   eyes and cried some more.

With damp tissues littering the desk — audiology extern Lindsay   Oldham, assisting Olson, was also in tears — Jeffries lightened the mood by   promising Ochenehi his favovite American meal, Bono’s babyback ribs and   French fries.

“French fries, that’s my favorite, ” Ochenehi said   with a grin.

Jeffries placed a call to Nigeria, where it was early evening.   Ochenehi’s father answered and she handed Ochenehi the phone. For the first   time in seven years, he heard his father’s voice.

“You’re hearing me, ” Ochenehi said. “I’m hearing   you, too.”

That led to more tears and more damp tissues. Ochenehi told his   father he’d be flying home soon, leaving Jacksonville on Thanksgiving Day so   he can resume his medical education.

Odido will stay longer in Jacksonville while he works with a   speech therapist. He lost his hearing as a young child and so is having   difficulty with speech, having communicated all his life with sign language.

Leaving will be hard, Ochenehi said.

“It’s becoming difficult to say goodbye, ” he said.   “They taught me what it means to care for people. I think this has been   one of the best periods of my life. I don’t want to wake up from this   dream.”

But he’s decided he has a mission to perform in Nigeria and he’s   chosen a medical specialty he wants to pursue in order to fulfill that   mission.

“I’ve decided to go for ENT [ears, nose and throat], ”   he said. “This has been a life-changing experience for me. … I hope   one day I’ll be able to put a smile on a child’s face like they did for   me.”

Charlie Patton: (904) 359-4413

Front Page News for Jacksonville Hearing and Balance!

    Dr. J. Douglas Green and Samuel Ochenehi

Charlie Patton, writer for The Florida Times Union, wrote a front page article about the Cochlear Implant surgery that was recently performed by Dr. J. Douglas Green.  This amazing story was published on November 19th and is titled “Sound procedure brings pure joy”.  Read the Full Story here.

Deaf Teen Hears Underwater for the First Time!

What is it like to not hear splashing of water when swimming or not be able to participate fully in Marco Polo with your friends at a pool party?  Imagine hearing only silence.  For Rachel, a 12 year old bilateral cochlear implant recipient and JHBI patient, situations such as these could not be experienced or fully enjoyed.

Rachel lost her hearing completely at age 5 years and quickly received a cochlear implant to each ear. Since her surgeries, Rachel uses her cochlear implant external sound processors to hear again. She has excelled in school and has even learned to play the violin.  Rachel’s original sound processors were water resistant but not waterproof, and she could not use them while swimming or bathing and could not hear to communicate in these situations.

In March 2012, Rachel’s cochlear implant manufacturer, Advanced Bionics, released the first completely waterproof sound processor, the Neptune.  When Rachel and her family learned of this new processor option, she immediately “had to have it”.  After the Neptune was fit to her right ear, she immediately raced home and went swimming in her back yard.

Share with Rachel and her parents as she uses her new external cochlear implant Neptuneprocessor to enjoy swimming and hearing underwater for the first time.


The Bionic Ear Association is sponsoring an event in our area on December 8, 2012. Click here if you’re interested in trying or learning more about the Neptune processor while enjoying a guided boat tour of the St. Johns River!

Rock Concerts and Hearing Loss

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.

Read the Full Story Here


Get your hearing tested before the holidays begin.


Our new television commercial begins airing tomorrow.