Monday, January 30, 2012

The Onset and Causes of Tinnitus
Only 10% of tinnitus sufferers have normal hearing. It is therefore thought that the onset of tinnitus indicates some type of accompanying hearing loss or auditory malady. It is difficult for most tinnitus sufferers to identify a specific event that led to its onset. Of those who can, most attribute the onset to loud noise exposure such as fireworks, speaker volume, or gunfire.
The causes of tinnitus are numerous and include:
  • Hearing loss
  • Loud noise exposure
  • High blood pressure
  • Head and neck tumors
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Excessive ear wax
  • Ear infection
  • Medicines such as:
    • Antibiotics like chloramphenicol, erythromycin, gentamicin, vancomycin, and bleomycin
    • Cancer medications like mechlorethamine and vincristine
    • Unusually high doses of aspirin
    • Diuretics
Visit the Mayo Clinic's website for a detailed description of tinnitus and its causes.
Photo provided courtesy of Ambro.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Two Keys To Buying the Right Hearing Aid For You

Currently, hundreds of hearing aid models, features, and devices are available for purchase.  How do you know which type of hearing aid is right for you?  Here are two keys to buying the right hearing aid.

Know the 3 levels of Hearing Aid Technology
  • Level One hearing aids are the least expensive hearing instruments. They have two to six channels and fixed directional microphones.
  • Level Two hearing aids are slightly more expensive than Level One hearing aids. They have eight to twelve channels and adaptive directional microphones.
  • Level Three hearing aids are more expensive than Level Two hearing aids. They have eighteen to twenty channels and multi-channel, adaptive directional microphones.
Work with a clinical audiologist to determine specific hearing aid features that will compensate for your particular type of hearing loss

Some features include:
  • Hands-free connection to phones

  • You teach the hearing aids how to listen

  • No-whistle technology

  • Hold the phone in one ear...hear the caller in both ears

  • Tinnitus treatment program built into the hearing aid

  • Rechargeable batteries that last for up to 500 days

  • Automatic adjustment to up to 7 different acoustic environments
  • Monday, January 16, 2012

    Hope for a Tinnitus Cure?

    Tinnitus is commonly described as "ringing in the ears."  There are two types of tinnitus- Objective and Subjective.  Objective tinnitus refers to tinnitus that is audible to other people.  Subjective tinnitus refers to tinnitus that can only be heard by the patient suffering this condition.

    While there is currently no known cure for tinnitus, researchers are continually investigating new treatment methods and potential cures for this condition. A recent beta trial at the Cleveland Clinic showed a 90% success rate in eliminating tinnitus. Currently, the VA is conducting 17 promising clinical trials.

    Dr. Michael Kilgard, an associate professor at the Dallas extension of the University of Texas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, is presently researching whether a type of nerve stimulation (VNS) can retrain the brain to ignore the nerve signals that simulate ringing in the ears. The researchers in earlier tests found that a particular type of nerve stimulation, when paired with the presentation of alternative tones, appeared to reverse the effects of tinnitus.

    Read more about the ongoing research

    Monday, January 9, 2012

    "Tinnitus: An Uninvited Guest"- Community Lecture!

    On Thursday, January 12, Dr. Jan Dungan will be leading a conversation entitled: "Tinnitus:  An Uninvited Guest."  This presentation will feature answers to questions like:
    • Why do I hear ringing in my ears? 
    • What is the cause of tinnitus?
    • How do I make it go away?
    10:00, Chota Recreational Center, Tellico Village.  Everyone is welcome!

    Dr. Jan Dungan is a clinical audiologist at Appalachian Audiology in Village Square.  Certified by the American Speech and Hearing Association, Dr. Dungan is a fellow with the American Academy of Audiology. She served as the Director of Speech and Hearing Services for the East Tennessee Regional Public Health Department. She joined the clinical faculty at the University of Tennessee Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology in 1991 and served as a Clinical Supervisor in Pediatric Audiology until she was promoted to Audiology Clinic Director. Dr. Dungan retired from UT in June, 2005 and began Appalachian Audiology in 2008. With more than 35 years of experience as a clinical audiologist, Dr. Dungan continues to provide comprehensive diagnostic and rehabilitation services to infants, children, and adults throughout Tellico Village, Lenoir City, and Knoxville.
    For more information, visit our website!

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    Is It Time to Have My Hearing Tested?

    How often should you have your hearing evaluated? 
    • Adults previously undiagnosed with hearing loss should have their hearing screened every five years. 
    • Adults who have been diagnosed with hearing loss should have their hearing tested every one to two years.
    • Adults with diagnosed hearing loss who wear hearing aids should have their hearing tested every two years and their hearing aids adjusted to reflect any changes in their hearing.
    If you have never been diagnosed with a hearing loss, how do you know if you need your hearing evaluated?

    • Do you often say “I can hear you, but I can't understand what you're saying”?
    • Is it hard to hear conversations in crowded places like restaurants?
    • Do you find children's or women's voices hard to hear?
    • Do you need the TV volume louder than others?
    • Does your family get frustrated repeating themselves?
    If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, it's time to have your hearing evaluated!
    As we begin a new year, make finding real solutions to your hearing healthcare a priority!  Visit our website for more information.