A young patient suffers from hearing loss in both ears following a traumatic head injury sustained in a skateboarding accident. What is the diagnosis? Sudden hearing loss after trauma can be caused by several problems—one is simple: blood in the ear canals. Lacerations around the ear and scalp cause blood to run into the ear canal and coagulate, blocking sound and leading to conductive hearing loss. Another cause is a temporal bone fracture, which may lead to a leakage of cerebrospinal fluid in the ear canal or a destruction of the cochlea and nerves of hearing. Most often sudden hearing loss is not described as a hearing loss but a feeling of fullness or pressure. Many times this leads to a misdiagnosis of the cause of the hearing loss and the assumption of middle ear fluid or infection. This is often treated with antibiotics which are ineffective for cochlear damage. Sudden hearing loss needs to be evaluated and treated aggressively during the first two weeks of the onset of symptoms and immediately if following a traumatic injury.
Concussion, also referred to as a mild traumatic brain injury, is one of the most common neurological conditions. Concussions disrupt brain function, which results in a multitude of symptoms including dizziness, poor balance and instability. After comprehensive evaluation to accurately diagnose vestibular issues rehabilitation is many times the recommended outcome. Researchers found that vestibular rehabilitation both reduced dizziness and improved balance after a concussion. Therapists administered various exercises such as gaze stabilization and walking balance challenges. The outcomes were positive regardless of age. These techniques are still being studied but the results so far are positive.
A new study of nearly 14,000 individuals has linked sleep apnea to both high and low frequency hearing loss. In this study researchers found that sleep apnea was associated with a 31% increase in high frequency hearing impairment and a 90% increase in low frequency hearing loss. This association is still being studied but the reason for the link may be caused by the negative effects of sleep apnea on the vascular supply to the cochlea, however noise damage due to the snoring, a common result of sleep apnea could not be ruled out as a contributing factor for the high frequency hearing loss.
Michael Howard, a 32-year-old electrical engineer suffers from Usher’s Syndrome—a genetic condition characterized by hearing loss from birth and gradual loss of vision in adulthood. Michael has worn hearing aides from a young age but recently he has been able to upgrade from a bulky device worn around his neck to wireless hearing aides directly connected to his Apple Watch. Now he can adjust a multitude of settings discreetly and conveniently just by opening the free ReSound Smart App on his watch or his IPhone. Michael can personalize his hearing experience—adjusting his hearing aides to his environment, wind, background noise, volume, etc. As a result he finds himself saying “what?” less often.
Apple Watch and iPhone Facilitate Hearing for Peninsula Engineer With Usher Syndrome
Audiologists are allied health professionals with the specific training and skills needed to specialize in evaluating and treating people with hearing loss. Audiologists work in many setting but what unites them is their education and training. Their graduate degrees, professional certification and state licensure make audiologists the most qualified professionals to perform a wide array of tests to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing, tinnitus and balance issues as well as referring patients for medical treatment.
What Is An Audiologist? Pamphlet from the American Academy of Audiology
Misophonia is a sound sensitivity syndrome characterized by an abnormal preoccupation with or aversion to certain types of sounds. In those suffering from misophonia, these sounds create reactions of anger, disgust, anxiety or even fear. Although the cause, as well as the treatment of misophonia is debated, this paper aims to describe three patients whose misophonia could be the result of different underlying primary psychiatric disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and schizotypal personality disorder. Further studies into the relationship between misophonia and psychiatric disorders are needed. Patients who suffer from misophonia may want to be assessed for other conditions. To learn more, click here
Studies show that hearing loss is connected to a greater risk of depression in adults. Treating hearing loss properly can reduce these feelings of depression and increase quality of life. People with hearing loss who use hearing aids and seek regular treatment get more pleasure from daily life. With the recent advances in technology hearing aids offer solutions to everyday problems, enrich quality of life, and make wearers more efficient. Hearing aids are better than ever before motivating more and more people to receive a full hearing test from a hearing professional. Click to learn more about the latest hearing aid technology as well as more ways that treating hearing loss can improve your life.
Misophonia is an abnormally strong reaction to certain sounds. Generally these sounds, “trigger sounds”, are soft sounds and/or sounds related to another person or animal. Reactions to these sounds occur immediately and automatically. There is no formal diagnostic definition of misophonia, however, there are many commonly reported symptoms that may help refine the diagnosis. A common age of onset for those suffering from misophonia is early adolescence or early teens. Most patients remember the first reaction to a trigger sound was created by a family member or close friend, but almost always created by someone else rather than himself or herself. Therefore the context or the environment in which the sound is created determines if the sound produces a reaction—not the sound itself. The majority of trigger sounds are oral or eating related. People with misophonia—when confronted with a trigger sound—experience negative thoughts and physical reactions. The patient cannot control the reaction. Misophonia often affects quality of life. There is currently no cure for misophonia but there is treatment that includes validation of the diagnosis as well as management of trigger sounds and referrals to appropriate professionals.
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Hearing loss is often perceived as an unfortunate but common and therefore insignificant part of the aging process. This is not true. Age related hearing loss has a multitude of effects and the health and functioning of older adults beyond the inconvenience of a quieter world. For example, recent studies at Johns Hopkins Hospital indicate that those with age related hearing loss are more likely to suffer from poor cognitive functioning and dementia compared to individuals with normal hearing. This may be a result of the increased stress on the brain as well as the social isolation that comes with hearing loss. Currently most hearing loss is simply addressed, rather than treated, with medical devices. There is an overwhelming impression that a hearing aid is the only thing needed to treat hearing loss, a result of the bias associated with age related hearing loss. Like any other physical impairment, age related hearing loss requires much more than a quick fix or a simple solution. Currently the best hearing health care is focused on clinic based Audiologic evaluation as well as follow-up appointments. #101
To learn more, click on this link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3518399/
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy is a method of treatment based on a neurophysicological model of tinnitus and decreased sound tolerance. The neurophysicological model of tinnitus is based on the connections between tinnitus and the brain. Tinnitus is not just a condition of the auditory system—various systems of the brain are also involved in processing tinnitus related sounds. Tinnitus-induced problems are the result of conditioned reflexes in the brain. By suppressing these brain responses it is possible to remove the negative impact of tinnitus and decreased sound tolerance on a patient’s life. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy, or TRT, is applicable for all types of tinnitus as well as decreased sound tolerance. TRT does not require frequent clinic visits and there are no side effects. Special training of audiologists or other health care professionals working in TRT is required for effective treatment. Consult your audiologist for proper treatment of tinnitus and decreased sound tolerance. #100
Jastreboff, PhD, ScD, Pawel J., and Margaret M. Jastreboff, PhD. "Tinnitus Retraining Therapy: An Update Pawel J. Jastreboff Margaret M. Jastreboff." AudiologyOnline. N.p., 23 Oct. 2000. Web. 04 Apr. 2016.
Tinnitus is a hearing condition characterized by a ringing noise originating in the patient’s ear. Adults over the age of 65 and those with age related hearing loss are most likely to suffer from tinnitus, although the condition also develops in those who have been exposed to loud noises for extended periods of time. These are the most common causes, however tinnitus can also be a symptom of a variety of health conditions including stress, depression, and injuries to the head and neck. Those suffering from tinnitus are urged to consult an audiologist for evaluation, management and treatment.
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