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Medical Aspects of Hearing Loss

Medical Aspects of Hearing Loss

This portion of our website focuses on the medical aspects of hearing loss.

Psychological and Psychosocial Implications of Hearing Loss

Cochlear Implant Information

Here’s a good introduction to deafness, including types, causes, and treatment.

So how do we hear, anyway?

Ever wonder why hearing aids aren’t covered by medical insurance?Want to know what’s being done about that?

One of the medical aspects that is becoming increasingly important is an increased understanding of the causes of hearing loss.

Another medical area that’s demanding attention lately are potentialhearing loss cures.

One of the diseases most commonly associated with hearing loss isMeniere’s Disease.

People with hearing loss often suffer from a condition called tinnitus.

Audiology is the art of treating hearing loss, frequently through the application of hearing aids.

Recruitment refers to a condition in which sound which is only slightly louder than a very comfortable sound is perceived as painful. It’s a common condition among people with hearing loss.

One of the really positive trends in medical aspects of hearing loss is the movement to provide universal newborn hearing screening. Checking all infants before they leave the hospital helps to ensure early identification and treatment.

October 2002 – Here are some great tips on ear care and injury prevention

August 2003 – If you’re on Medicare, you probably know that you can’t just head over to your local audiologist and expect Medicare to cover it; you need a referral from your doctor first. A recent bill is attempting to change that.

January 2004 – Scientists have produced a new, super thin optical fiber that may soon allow doctors to examine the inner ear!

January 2005 – There’s a new organization called Hearing Health Network (HHN) that’s interested in your hearing health. It’s a collaboration between family doctors and hearing health professionals. Read all about it here!

October 2005 – Not hearing well is a certainly a difficult issue to deal with. It turns out that seniors may have additional communications problems beyond those caused directly by hearing loss.

January 2006 – Do you think a computer-based diagnosis tool would help doctors identify and treat hearing disorders? If so, you’ll be interested in the work being done in Australia.

February 2006 – Do the nurses that serve you have hearing loss?

February 2006 – Ear Candling: A Foolproof Method or Proof of Foolish Methods?

February 2006 – Researchers have discovered that the presence of a particular hormone is related how well people retain their hearing as they age.

February 2006 – Deafness Research UK has recently awarded a prize to a Cambridge University student for her work to develop an objective method to measure frequency regions with little or no hearing response.Here’s the press release.

February 2006 – New technology promises better hearing loss diagnosis

March 2006 – Ear infection vaccine developed

March 2006 – Why is the cochlea shaped the way it is?

March 2006 – If your child suffers frequent ear infections, you might want to consider the home monitoring device mentioned in this press release.

March 2006 – Kids With “Hearing Problems” May Suffer From CAPD

March 2006 – New research by the folks at Wake Forest indicates that an infant’s brain must learn to combine different kinds of sensory information (e.g. sight and hearing).

April 2006 – “Blackberry Thumb” Strikes

May 2006 – Artificial stapes was born in Memphis 50 years ago

May 2006 – Guidelines for Care, Diagnosis of Swimmer’s Ear

May 2006 – Most vertigo cases related to hearing problems

May 2006 – Help for Sore, Irritated, Infected Ears/Ear Canals

July 2006 – Slime-Like Substance Blamed for Chronic Ear Infections

August 2006 – Researchers Investigate Link Between Hearing Loss and Osteoporosis

September 2006 – Vaccine Aims to Wipeout Ear, Sinus Infections

October 2006 – Going deaf and blind happens simultaneously in old age

October 2006 – Arthritis, Diabetes and Heart Disease: Connected to Sensory/Neural Hearing Loss?

March 2007 – How Your Brain Hears

April 2007 – Dangerous Decibels – A Virtual Exhibit

June 2007 – Hearing Loss: A Different Experience for Women and Men

June 2007 – Auditory Nerve Implant Next Big Hearing Loss Breakthrough?

July 2007 – Meningitis Immunization Recommended for All Adolescents

August 2007 – Otoacoustic Emissions: Reducing and Preventing Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

September 2007 – Lasting Neurological Processes Impacted by Mild Hearing Loss

December 2007 – Auditory Hallucinations or Musical Ear Syndrome

January 2008 – Many Kids Get Unnecessary Ear Tubes

January 2008 – Hearing Things: When Sounds Come Unbidden

September 2008 – New Hearing Scale Detects Hearing Loss in Elderly

October 2008 – Topics at international conference of ENT researchers

February 2009 – Heart Disease and Hearing Loss Share Risk Factors

March 2009 – Ear Candling Ineffective and Dangerous

March 2009 – Hearing Loss Not Well Documented in Electronic Medical Records

April 2009 – Have an Ear Infection? Maybe You Should See a Chiropractor!

May 2009 – Type, Degree, and Configuration of Hearing Loss

Sept 2009 – The Biological Mechanisms of Hyperacusis

Sept 2009 – Selective Sound Sensitivity Syndrome

Feb 2010 – Living with Single-Sided Deafness

April 2010 – BHI Encourages Medical Professionals to Include Hearing Health in Exams

July 2010 – Are Wind Turbines Detrimental to your Health?

October 2010 – BHI Illuminates Link Between ADHD and Hearing Loss

October 2010 – Recent Advances in Hearing Health Care and Research

December 2010 – American Adults Hear Better Than They Did 40 Years Ago

February 2011 – Tinnitus Treatment Can Help With Hyperacusis

May 2011 – Ruptured Eardrum May Not Require Surgery

June 2011 – Deaf People’s Retinas Contribute to Superior Vision

Sept 2011 – Mild Hearing Loss Linked to Brain Atrophy in Older Adults

September 2011 – Diagnosing Hearing Loss at a Fraction of the Time and Cost

October 2011 – Misophonia Receives Media Attention, Needs More Specialists

November 2011 – Exploring the maze of the cognition-audition connection

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House Bill Seeks to Provide Direct Audiology Access

Editor: If you’re on Medicare, you probably know that you can’t just head over to your local audiologist and expect Medicare to cover it; you need a referral from your doctor first.

That may soon change. Representative Jim Ryun (R-KS) and Representative Lois Capps (D-CA) just introduced legislation that would allow Medicare recipients to seek audiology services without a physician referral. Federal employees are already able to seek direct audiological care, and Medicaid is considering a similar measure.

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Fiber Optic Breakthrough for Hearing Health Care?

January 2004

I get lots of emails from people asking all sorts of questions about hearing loss. Often my answer is that we really know surprisingly little about it. We often don’t know the cause of a particular person’s hearing loss. We certainly don’t know why two people subjected to the same loud noise or the same medications can have drastically different responses – one suffering severe or profound hearing loss and the other seemingly unaffected.

One of the reasons that we know so little about the hearing of a particular individual is that we can’t examine a person’s inner ear while he’s alive; existing tools are just too large.

That may change soon! Scientists at Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre have succeeded in creating a tiny endoscope consisting of a single optical fiber that is just half a millimeter wide. The fiber is small enough to allow exploration of previously inaccessible parts of the body, including the inner ear. But don’t rush down to your ENT and demand an examination just yet – the optical image available using the new endoscope is still pretty crude. But the researchers who developed it are working on an improved version with much better optical qualities. It may soon be possible to see what’s going on in YOUR inner ear.

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Nurses with Hearing Loss

February 2006

Exact numbers of nurses with hearing loss remains elusive. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — Public Health Services (2004) estimates that 28 million people, in the United States , are deaf or hard of hearing. One can only speculate that the number of nurses with some degree of hearing loss mirror the general population. Coupled with this fact, is the reality that nurses are getting older and hearing loss is one of the issues many older people face. Additionally, each year more and more nursing students with hearing loss are being admitted to nursing education programs (Maheady, 2003). But there is good news for nurses with hearing loss. The following resources can help many nurses with hearing loss to continue to practice.   Full Story

 

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Homing in on hearing problems

 

February 2006

Mimosa Acoustics has received FDA approval to market a device that can identify hearing problems related to the middle ear. But ironically, one of its greatest benefits may be ruling out severe hearing problems in newborn babies. Champaign-based Mimosa got word from the Food and Drug Administration on Feb. 10 that its wideband Middle Ear Power Analyzer had been approved for commercial use.

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Ear infection vaccine developed

 

March 2006

A vaccine which could help prevent ear infections in young children has been developed by Czech scientists. Also known as acute otitis media, the infections can be very painful and – very rarely – cause long term damage. The vaccine was effective against two bacteria – the streptococcus pneumoniae and haemophilus influenzae, the Lancet reported. But a UK ear expert said there concerns about vaccinating children against what was generally a mild infection. Full Story

 

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Kids With “Hearing Problems” May Suffer From CAPD

 

March 2006

 

Specialist Dr. Larry Medwetsky said that more people are becoming aware of the possibility that a problem with the child’s behavior may be CAPD rather than ADHD. Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) is often misunderstood because it can be confused with certain learning disabilities like ADHD. Kids with CAPD have normal hearing, but they can’t process information they hear in the same way as others do, because their ears and brain don’t fully coordinate. Think of it as a short from the ear to the brain. Full Story

 

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Artificial stapes was born in Memphis 50 years ago

 

May 2006

 

Shea has since performed the same ear surgery on more than 25,000 patients, while millions worldwide have also had their hearing restored with his invention, an artificial stapes bone. Shea is 81 today, and still performing the same procedure.  In the mid-1950s surgeons were experimenting with a variety of materials to produce implants, but they all triggered an immune response and were rejected by the body. Full Story

 

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Most vertigo cases related to hearing problems

May 2006

Editor: If you know much about the anatomy of the inner ear, you know that physical structures that are crucial to hearing and balance are located right next to each other. So you may not be surprised to learn that hearing and balance disorders often appear together. Here’s a report on this phenomenon from Hear-It (http://www.press.hear-it.org/)

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Three out of four cases of vertigo are related to hearing disorders.

It is estimated that 2 percent of the general population suffer from vertigo. Among those, 75 percent also suffer from hearing problems. This was the conclusion reached at the “Scientific Congress on Vertigo, Cholesteatoma and Otitis”, held by Gaes and the Spanish Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Neck and Head Pathology.

People suffering from vertigo experience a sensation of movement that does not exist, and/or other frequently related symptoms such as hearing loss, buzzing in the ears, headaches, dizziness, vomiting and loss of balance.

Common among the elderly

The prevalence of vertigo is highest, as high as 30 percent, among old people. Among young adults, the prevalence is 2 percent, according to Dr. Gonzalo Corvera, specialist surgeon in otorhinnolaryngology and founder of the Mexican Society of Otology and Otoneurology.

A number of factors cause vertigo, among them disorders of the vestibular where the organ of equilibrium is located, infections in the middle and inner ear, trauma to the head, viruses, drugs and a lack of blood flow. “Due to the proximity of the vestibular to the cochlea in the inner ear, it is quite usual that hearing is affected,” added Dr. Corvera.

Check the hearing

Vertigo cases represent 5 percent of all visits to general practitioners, according to Dr. Nicolás Pérez, of the Clinic University of Navarra. It is, therefore, recommended for vertigo sufferers to have their hearing tested, as 3 out of four cases of vertigo are related to hearing disorders.

 

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Slime-Like Substance Blamed for Chronic Ear Infections

 

Bacterial biofilm resistant to antibiotics, study finds

 

July 2006

 

If your young child has an ear infection that won’t go away, he may be struggling with a slime-like substance in the middle ear that experts call bacterial “biofilm.” This biofilm makes it harder for antibiotics to do their jobs, leading to long-lasting ailments. Bacteria appear to be hiding in this usually protective slimy film in kids with chronic middle ear infections, a new study found. The discovery isn’t going to lead to any new treatments right away, but they may eventually help doctors get a better handle on one of the plagues of childhood. Ear infections, in fact, are the most common illnesses that bring children to doctors.  Full Story

 

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Researchers Investigate Link Between Hearing Loss and Osteoporosis

 

August 2006

 

Saint Louis University researchers are studying how osteoporosis, hearing loss, and dizziness may be related. The study hopes to enroll 300 to 400 women, who are affected by osteoporosis more often than men. Anthony Mikulec, chief of otologic and neurotologic surgery and assistant professor in the department of otolaryngology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, has published research showing that patients with otosclerosis are more likely to have osteoporosis. In January, Mikulec and Kent Wehmeier, associate professor in the division of endocrinology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, began to study the relationship between bone loss and specific kinds of hearing loss and dizziness in post-menopausal women.  Full Story

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Vaccine Aims to Wipeout Ear, Sinus Infections

U.S. researchers said Tuesday that they are starting trials of a new vaccine aimed at wiping out childhood ear and sinus infections and many cases of bronchitis in adults. Unlike virtually all other vaccines on the market, this one will not be aimed at saving lives, but at preventing nuisance illnesses, the researchers said. “We are now in an era where we look to vaccines that make life better,” said Dr. Michael Pichichero, a professor of microbiology, immunology, pediatrics, and medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, who is leading the trial.  Full Story

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Arthritis, Diabetes and Heart Disease: Connected to Sensory/Neural Hearing Loss?

October 2006

Arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease are chronic medical conditions affecting millions of people in the U.S. There is on-going evidence that each is connected to sensory/neural hearing loss, which also affects millions of Americans.  Audiologists should be aware of these connections when taking patient histories and conducting interviews. This article will look at the latest evidence relating arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease to hearing loss.  Full Story

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Dangerous Decibels – A Virtual Exhibit

April 2007

Here’s a very cool site that uses interesting games and demos to teach us about hearing and hearing loss. It includes simulations of what various common sounds are like for a person with hearing loss, and LOTS of other stuff. The purpose of the site is to answer three important questions:

  1. What are the sources of dangerous sounds?
  2. What are the effects of listening to dangerous sounds?
  3. How do I protect myself from dangerous sounds?

The Virtual Exhibit is based on the Dangerous Decibels exhibit at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland, Oregon. Full Story

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Hearing Loss: A Different Experience for Women and Men

June 2007

There are disparities in high-frequency and low-frequency hearing patterns between men and women. . . . Aging women have better high-frequency hearing than men. But women in their sixties through their nineties lose low-frequency hearing at a faster rate than men, according to researchers from the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. When it comes to communicating, “speech consonants are high frequency, so high-frequency loss causes difficulty in understanding words,” said George Gates, M.D., a professor of otolaryngology and head and neck surgery at the University of Washington. Over the course of a lifetime, “men seem to get more noise exposure than women and thus have more high frequency loss,” Gates said. Full Story

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Meningitis Immunization Recommended for All Adolescents

July 2007

The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) applauds and strongly supports new recommendations made yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to expand the meningococcal disease immunization recommendations to encompass a broad range of adolescents. The ACIP now recommends meningococcal vaccination for all adolescents 11-18 years of age. The vote to expand the CDC’s previous meningococcal immunization recommendations took place during the June 27 meeting of the ACIP in Atlanta, Ga. The decision was based upon the disease epidemiology data showing an increased risk for disease among adolescents and young adults 11-18 years of age and increased availability of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine. Meningococcal disease is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in US toddlers, adolescents and young adults.  Full Story

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Otoacoustic Emissions: Reducing and Preventing Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

August 2007

Hearing conservationists need effective schemes to determine whether their hearing-conservation programs (HCPs) are successful, determine whether new interventions are helpful, and establish which personnel in their care have an increased risk for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Currently, these goals cannot be achieved because the measure of success is also the measure of failure-by the time a hearing loss is recorded, personnel have already been damaged and the HCP has failed. Tests are needed that enable audiologists to catch hearing loss before it becomes clinically significant and-better still-stop a hearing loss from ever occurring. An otoacoustic emission (OAE) test may be the solution.  Full Story

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Lasting Neurological Processes Impacted by Mild Hearing Loss

September 2007

Mild-to-moderate forms of hearing loss can have a lasting impact on the auditory cortex, according to findings by researchers at New York University’s Center for Neural Science. The study, which is the first to show central effects of mild hearing loss, appeared in the August 31, 2007 edition of the Journal of Neuroscience. The study was authored by NYU scientists Han Xu, Vibhakar Kotak, and Dan Sanes, working in NYU’s Center for Neural Science. Previously, researchers had been unable to conclusively determine the neurological impact of mild forms of hearing loss, which occurs when the pathway by which sound reaches the cochlea is disrupted-such as is experienced with middle ear infections during childhood. The NYU study sought to address this question in an animal model by measuring the impact of conductive hearing loss without injury to the cochlea.  Full Story

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Auditory Hallucinations or Musical Ear Syndrome

December 2007

Auditory hallucinations are defined as the perception of an auditory event such as voices or music in the absence of an external stimulus. Such hallucinations, especially the hearing of distinct, commanding voices, are often connected with psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia; however, musical hallucinations are usually non-psychiatric in nature and linked to conditions such as hearing loss, brain lesions, diseases such as epilepsy, injuries, drugs, and alcohol withdrawal. Once considered rare, auditory hallucinations, especially the perception of phantom music, are so common among persons with hearing loss that Neil G. Bauman, PhD, recommends the more neutral term “musical ear syndrome” or MES to refer to the condition.2 In his speaking engagements, up to 30 percent of his audiences will publicly admit to having heard “strange phantom voices, ethereal music or other spooky sounds that no one else hears.  Full Story

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Hearing Things: When Sounds Come Unbidden

January 2008

We are all, to some extent, human jukeboxes, able to program for pleasure and for reference. And while music sometimes sticks around longer than we would like – like a hit tune or an advertising jingle – for the most part we control what’s inside our heads. This story, however, describes what can happen when a person loses control. For some people, the music comes unbidden, sticks around, makes too much noise and won’t go away.  Cheryl C., (not her real name) is a patient of the well-known author and neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks. Her story appears in his new book Musicophilia. About five years ago, Cheryl was in bed reading when all of a sudden she heard a tremendous clamor. As Sacks tells it, “There were sirens, there were voices, there were bells, there was screaming, there was clanging.”  She jumped up, rushed to the window to see what could be creating such noise. But when she looked she saw nothing. “I suddenly realized that these horrendous noises were in my head,” she says.  Full Story

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New Hearing Scale Detects Hearing Loss in Elderly

September 2008

A clinically effective hearing scale to detect hearing loss in elderly people is described in a study report in the September/October issue of the Annals of Family Medicine. “Despite the high prevalence of hearing impairment and the effectiveness of rehabilitation measures, family physicians do not normally make systematic use of hearing impairment screening tests or structured interviews for all older patients,” write Jesús López-Torres Hidalgo, MD, from the University of Castilla-La Mancha in Albacete, Spain, and colleagues. “We wanted to design and validate the Hearing-Dependent Daily Activities (HDDA) Scale as a means of identifying the impact of hearing loss in older persons by measuring capacity to carry out hearing-dependent activities.” . . . “The HDDA scale constitutes a clinically useful instrument for identifying the impact of hearing loss on daily life in the elderly, a condition frequently overlooked during routine medical check-ups,” the study authors write. “This tool has acceptable psychometric properties and high internal consistency.”  Full Story

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Heart Disease and Hearing Loss Share Risk Factors

February 2009

At first glance, the heart and the cochlea seem to have little in common. One supplies a constant supply of freshly oxygenated blood to all the tissues and organs within the body while the other codes pressure fluctuations into information interpreted by the brain as sound. Since each organ is placed at risk when the blood supply is interrupted or decreased, risk factors for heart disease and hearing loss are often shared.

Such common risk factors include but are not limited to the following:

  • Smoking;
  • High blood cholesterol;
  • High blood pressure;
  • Diabetes;
  • Obesity.

Full Story

 

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Ear Candling Ineffective and Dangerous

March 2009

Researchers agree that ear candling is a dangerous and ineffective procedure for removing cerumen from the outer ear. Its efficacy and safety have been questioned for more than a decade. For example, back in l996, researchers at the Spokane Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic reported no removal of cerumen from the ear canals of candled volunteers.1 Additionally, a survey of 122 otolaryngologists identified 21 ear injuries resulting from ear candle use. The researchers concluded, “Ear candles have no benefit in the management of cerumen and may result in serious injury.” Ear candling is condemned by the Food and Drug Administration, which prohibits the sale or import of ear candles with medical claims. Despite the documented dangers of ear candling, the sale of ear candles and the purported benefits of the process can be found on dozens of Web sites. In fact, one popular search engine came up with 246,000 citations for the benefits of ear candling, while the same search engine came up with only 13,300 citations for the dangers.  Full Story

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Type, Degree, and Configuration of Hearing Loss

May 2009

Here’s a great primer on hearing loss. It includes informative and understandable discussions of the hearing loss type, degree, and configuration.  Full Story

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The Biological Mechanisms of Hyperacusis

Sept 2009

Hyperacusis, or recruitment, is characterized by an abnormally strong reaction or reduced tolerance to ordinary environmental sound. Hyperacusis can reduce the quality of life. Patients with severe hyperacusis avoid going to parties, restaurants, and even meetings, since the environment is just “too loud” for them. Some people with this condition will leave their homes only if wearing ear plugs. The prevalence of hyperacusis in the general population is about 9%-15% (Herraiz et al., 2006). Hyperacusis can occur along with a variety of disorders including acoustic trauma, stapedectomy, Williams syndrome in children, migraine attacks, facial paralysis, and tinnitus. The mechanism underlying hyperacusis is unclear and as yet there is no treatment.  Full Story

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Selective Sound Sensitivity Syndrome

September 2009

Eleven years ago, a distraught father drove his 16-year-old daughter down from Canada to my tinnitus and hyperacusis clinic in Oregon for help. The girl complained of an extreme reaction to everyday sounds, such as the eating or breathing noises of other people; she had dropped out of high school and refused to sit at the family dining table. She had suffered the sudden onset of these symptoms at age 13, and the number of “triggers” was increasing and creating a seriously limited lifestyle. Her reactions to annoying sounds were immediate and severe: emotional outbursts, rage, a sense of a strong need to flee the scene, and uncontrollable anger. This was upsetting to a previously happy family life–thus the drive down to Oregon. All physical evaluations had revealed perfect health, including perfect hearing. There was no history of psychological or emotional pathology and, according to her home-schooling tutor, the girl was making straight As. She did not have any reduction in her loudness discomfort levels (LDLs) in the booth; as a matter of fact, the auditory system was working perfectly, as far as I could tell. There was no tinnitus or hyperacusis.   Full Story

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Living with Single-Sided Deafness

February 2010

It was the early 1940s and I was in elementary school when I developed the measles. I ran a very high temperature, but the doctors could not get my temperature to come down. I was supposed to swallow aspirin, but I could not do it. I remember being sick over and over trying to swallow that aspirin. All I could do was survive. My temperature stayed up for seven or eight days. When I finally began feeling better, I noticed I could not hear as well out of my left ear.   Full Story

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Link found between hearing loss and kidney disease

October 2010

An Australian study involving adults 50 years and older suggests that those with moderate kidney disease should have their hearing tested. The report on the research, published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, found that 54% of the adults with moderate kidney disease had some degree of hearing loss, while 30% had severe hearing loss. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), only 18% of adults aged 45 to 64 in the general population suffer from hearing loss. Previous studies have linked both conditions in some rare syndromes, but this study suggests hearing loss can be linked to any older adult with kidney disease. The results do not suggest a cause-and-effect relationship between the two conditions, and it was noted that some of the medications used to treat kidney disease can affect hearing.  Full Story

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Recent Advances in Hearing Health Care and Research

October 2010

I recently had the honor of speaking to many of you at the recent AARP National Event & Expo, Orlando @50+. The topic I discussed is one that may be all-too familiar; age-related hearing loss, or presbycusis. We know the statistics – 18 percent of American adults 45-64 years old, 30 percent of adults 65-74 years old, and 47 percent of adults 75 years old or older have a hearing impairment. But what many of us don’t know is what we can do to treat this hearing loss and there are options. Hearing aids, cochlear implants, and assistive listening devices can all help us hear better. So can making sure that you are face-to-face with the person with whom you are having a conversation! I was pleased to share in my presentation some interesting research developments that are in the pipeline, specifically hair cell regeneration. While not yet a reality, with adequate research funding we hope that in the next decade we’ll be able to offer a therapy that can actually regenerate hair cells. If you missed my presentation– or want to catch it again click here.  Full Story

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Misophonia Receives Media Attention, Needs More Specialists

October 2011

The New York Times and NBC’s TODAY Show recently ran features on “misophonia,” a condition in which people are unable to tolerate certain sounds. The Tinnitus Practitioners Association (TPA) applauds media efforts to bring attention to this little-understood disorder but feels the recent reports stopped short of offering full information about possible treatments. Marsha Johnson, AuD, a Portland, OR-based doctor of audiology specializing in sound sensitivity disorders, was featured in both segments. Dr. Johnson is a TPA board member and also sits on the board of the American Tinnitus Association. The TODAY Show piece opened with Dr. Johnson but then turned to a network medical contributor who did not offer much hope for the condition.  Full Story

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Exploring the maze of the cognition-audition connection

November 2011

While there has been a recent uptick in the quantity and quality of professional articles on the interaction of cognition, listening, audition, and amplification, many more questions than answers remain. Because this area of study is particularly important as hearing healthcare professionals incorporate this knowledge into aural rehabilitation, counseling, and hearing aid fitting protocols to better address the needs of patients, new approaches to understanding are needed. I’ve asked two experts in this area, Brent Edwards, PhD, Vice President of Research and Director of the Starkey Hearing Research Center, and Kathy Pichora-Fuller, PhD, Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto, Canada, to take a look at the current status of research and consider where all of these data might be leading us.   Full Story

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