Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Can Hearing Aids Effectively Treat Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is commonly described as "ringing in the ears."  An estimated 10% of Americans struggle with this condition on a daily basis.  While there is no known cure to tinnitus, there are effective ways of treating it.  Hearing aids can help manage the symptoms of tinnitus!  However, they are only one component of a comprehensive approach to helping people cope with this condition.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Helping Loved Ones Cope With Hearing Loss
From our December Newsletter
During the holiday season, we become acutely aware of loved ones who have difficulty hearing. Keep in mind: No one knows they cannot hear unless they are told. They often "mis-hear," often to the glee of friends and family, because the message they perceive is so different from the intended message. During the busy holiday season, this can be readily apparent, because so often, background noise interferes with clear speech perception. How can we help them?
Dr. Richard Carmen, a Clinical Audiologist in Arizona, says, "When we think of helping a loved one with hearing loss, we often think of how important it is to repeat ourselves, speak clearly, speak louder or interpret what others say if they cannot hear the message. But when we do these good deeds for loved ones with a hearing loss, what we don't realize is that we're assisting in their failure to seek help. Many people with a hearing loss never realize how much communication they actually fail to understand or miss completely because you have become their ears. However, it takes only a short time for them to realize that without your help, they're in trouble. It is through this realization that one becomes inspired to take positive action to solve their problem."
Image provided courtesy of Ambro

Monday, December 12, 2011

Treating Hyperacusis
Advances in hearing healthcare make treating hyperacusis possible. Currently, there are two main approaches to treating hyperacusis:
  • Sound Desensitization
  • Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT)

Sound Desensitization
In Sound Desensitization therapy, the patient is guided by an audiologist to listen to static noise at increasing volume levels over time. The goal of this type of therapy is to gradually build a person's tolerance of loud noises.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT)
TRT is a variation of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. As noted above, people commonly experience both tinnitus and hyperacusis. Because of this, audiologists use TRT to treat both conditions. If a tinnitus sufferer also shows signs of hyperacusis, the hyperacusis must be treated first. TRT uses a combination of low level, broad-band noise and counseling to restore a normal level of sensitivity to sound. To read a detailed explanation of TRT, click here.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hyperacusis and Tinnitus
It is estimated that 40% of tinnitus sufferers also suffer from hyperacusis. The reason for this is not completely known. However, it is theorized that the central nervous system does not respond properly to an incoming signal, miscuing the amplifying or dampening actions of the cochlea and middle ear resulting or contributing to the presence of both conditions.
For more information on the correlation between hyperacusis and tinnitus, click here.
Image provided courtesy Ambro