Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Tinnitus
Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute will be hosting an informational seminar about the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of tinnitus. Dr. J. Douglas Green and Janelle Kelley Au.D., CCC-A will be speaking. You will also get the chance to hear from individuals who live with tinnitus on a daily basis and the steps they have taken to manage their tinnitus.
Where: Southeast Regional Library, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd, Room A
When: Saturday, February 3, 2018
Time: 10:30am – 12:30pm
Seating is limited! Please RSVP by contacting Judy Martin by telephone at (904) 778-2265 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to meeting all those in attendance.
What Kind of Hearing Loss Do You Have?
As described in our last blog post, the human ear can be divided into three general parts: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. Hearing loss can occur in any, or multiple, parts of the pathway from the ear to the brain. Depending on where the hearing loss is occurring, hearing loss can be classified into three different types: conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss.
Note that in order to determine the type and degree of hearing loss, an audiologist would perform a hearing test and graph the results on an audiogram. In addition, different types of hearing loss require different types of intervention. Make sure to discuss all of your options with a medical provider.
- Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound cannot be transmitted from the outer ear, to the ear drum, and into the middle ear space (where the smallest bones in the human body, the ossicles, are located). This type of hearing loss can often be corrected medically or surgically. Common causes of a conductive hearing loss may include:
- Middle ear infection (otitis media)
- Earwax (cerumen) impaction
- Fluid or pressure in the middle ear from colds or allergies
- Poor Eustachian tube function
- Perforation in the eardrum
- Head trauma
- Swimmer’s ear (otitis externa)
- Sensorineural hearing loss happens when there is damage to the inner ear (the cochlea) or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain. This is the most common type of permanent hearing loss. And even when speech is loud enough to hear, it may still be unclear or sound muffled. Common causes of a sensorineural hearing loss can include:
- Exposure to loud noise
- Genetics (hearing loss that runs in the family)
- Drugs that are toxic to hearing
- Mixed hearing loss occurs when a conductive hearing loss happens in combination with a sensorineural hearing loss. In other words, there may be damage in the outer or middle ear as well as damage in the inner ear or auditory nerve. Common causes of a mixed hearing loss can include any combination of the other issues listed above.
Why Test My Hearing If I Have Vertigo?
As our name suggests, Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute helps patients with hearing and balance/dizziness issues. But how are hearing loss and dizziness related? If you have scheduled an appointment because of your dizziness, why would you need to have your hearing evaluated?
The answer to the above questions lies within the anatomy of our inner ear. The hearing and balance organs are both housed in the inner ear. The cochlea is necessary for hearing and the semicircular canals are part of our balance system.
There are multiple disorders that can cause disruptions in our hearing and balance. The type and configuration of hearing loss can help our providers better diagnose your dizziness. Meniere’s disease is one example of a disorder that is defined by the dizziness you are experiencing and the type of hearing loss that you may have. A patient with Meniere’s disease can experience dizziness for 30 minutes to multiple hours and have fluctuations in their hearing accompanied by a roaring tinnitus. Semi-circular Canal Dehiscence is another disorder that can be accompanied with hearing loss. A patient with SCCD may have a slight conductive component present on the audiogram even though they may not perceive a hearing deficit.
Jacksonville Hearing and Balance provides a comprehensive evaluation to help diagnose and treat your hearing loss and/or dizziness. For questions or to schedule an evaluation, you can reach us at (904)351-1904.
Hear for the Holidays
As the holidays draw near you may find yourself concerned with your ability to hear family and friends at holiday parties and gatherings. Many people often report that they can hear the conversation around them but can’t understand what people are saying or they state that people often mumble. This may be especially true in a crowded restaurant or room.
If this situation sounds familiar you may have a hearing loss in one or both ears. A type of hearing loss often seen in older adults is known as ‘presbycusis’. Presbycusis describes a pattern of hearing loss that manifests in the high pitch range. This means low pitched sounds (men’s voices etc) are easy to hear but high pitched sounds (women and childrens’ voices, birds, etc) are much more difficult to hear.
Speech is comprised of many different sounds and they all need to be heard well in order to understand conversation clearly. Low pitched speech sounds, such as vowels, bring the volume or the “power” to speech. High pitched sounds, such as consonants, provide the clarity to speech. In the case of presbycusis, an individual can hear the low pitched vowels but are unable to distinguish the high pitch consonants which results in being able to hear that someone is talking but not being able to understand what they are saying. In addition, listening in a noisy environment such as a party or crowded restaurant can be difficult, stressful and exhausting. The volume of the background noise often “washes over” the soft high pitched consonants making them even more difficult to hear. Also, when a hearing loss is present the brain has a harder time teasing out a speech signal from the unwanted background noise.
If you find yourself struggling to hear loves ones this holiday season call 904-399-0350 to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive hearing evaluation with an audiologist. You will be able to learn more about your hearing and the steps you can take to communicate more easily with friends and family.
WJCT Speaker Series
Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute (JHBI) is excited to partner with WJCT to host a speaker series this Friday, November 3rd, on hearing loss, cognition, and navigating the complicated world of hearing aids.
The event starts at 10:30am with an hour of free hearing screenings provided by two members of JHBI’s audiology staff. Hearing screenings are provided on a first come, first served basis so arrive early if you’re interested! Registration is open from 11:30am-12:00pm. The main speaking event, including a presentation and a question and answer session, will run from noon until 1:00pm. Complimentary lunch is provided.
Dr. Douglas Green Jr., the founder of JHBI and the practice’s neurotologist, will be speaking on the connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline. Dr. Kristen Edenfield, a clinical audiologist that has been with JHBI for over three years, will be discussing hearing aids as a treatment for hearing loss and how to navigate the world of amplification.
If you are interested in attending, please RSVP by November 1st at 5pm by calling 904-358-6322 or visiting wjct.org/jhbi.
The Phonak Belong Platform: An Overview
Last week Phonak launched their ‘Made for All’ direct connect hearing aid, the Audeo B-Direct. Using a new proprietary 2.4 GHz radio chip these devices allow users to stream phone calls directly to any cell phone with Bluetooth without an intermediary device. Current technology from other hearing aid manufacturers allows only users of an Apple phone the ability to stream phone calls. The Made for All technology will allow Android, iOS or other Bluetooth cell phone users access to hands-free phone use. By utilizing built-in microphones as a voice pick-up feature, the Audeo B-Direct is able to function like a wireless Bluetooth headset. Once a phone call is received by the user, they are able to answer calls with a push of a button on the hearing aid. At this time, streaming of the phone call is only heard on the user’s preferred side, not to both devices. Patients will also have the ability to balance environment noise when background noise is present by either using the volume control on their phone or directly on their hearing aids. Using a streaming protocol called AirstreamTM Technology, the new TV Connecter from Phonak offers a “plug and play” solution that turns Audeo B-Direct hearing aids into wireless TV headphones. This device allows users to stream content from their TV without having to wear a body-worn streamer and is capable of streaming to multiple hearing aid wearers at the same time.
Virto B Biometric Calibration:
Another recent launch from Phonak is the use of Biometric Calibration in Virto B custom hearing aids. Using 3-D modeling software 1,600 biometric data points are identified from an earmold impression and are used to calculate calibration settings that are unique to each user. This technology allows individual ear anatomy and its effects on the acoustics of the incoming sound to be accounted for which provides a 2dB improvement in directionality. Another available option is the Virto B- Titanium invisible in the ear (IIC) option, which is made from medical grade titanium. Titanium is stronger and thinner than acrylic, allowing for significantly reduced device size.
Audeo B-R and Bolero-PR Rechargeable Options:
Phonak continues to offer a built-in rechargeable device option (Audeo B-R and Bolero B-PR). With a single charge, the device is powered for up to 24 hours. Smart charging options are also available, which allow on the go users to charge from anywhere, without having to worry about running out of power.
If you or someone you love is noticing hearing difficulties and would like to discuss hearing aid options, contact The Hearing Center at JHBI at (904) 399-0350 ext 246 to schedule an appointment to speak with an Audiologist about your options!
Please Join Us!
Where: Maggiano’s Little Italy in St. Johns Town Center
When: Wednesday, July 12
Time: 6:00 pm-7:00 pm
Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute invites you to an important hearing educational seminar followed by hors d’oeuvres and drinks. We will discuss the causes and consequences of hearing loss, the relationship between hearing loss and cognitive decline, brain cognition health tips, and how to arrive at a hearing health care solution. The providers at Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute will offer advice and practical tools for individuals and families impacted by hearing loss.
Join us for:
- More information about the relationship between hearing, cognition and your overall health and well being.
- The latest information on hearing loss treatment to clear up any confusion about hearing aids. If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of hearing loss, then don’t miss this special opportunity!
RSVP required by Friday, July 7th ~ Limited Seating
Becoming More Successful With Your CI
One of the most important steps in the cochlear implant process is rehabilitation. Research studies demonstrate that patients adjust more quickly and achieve greater overall success when they actively participate in a rehabilitation program. Rehabilitation with a cochlear implant can be done at home with computer based programs and listening exercises with family members or in a more formal setting with an auditory verbal therapist.
After a cochlear implant is activated it is important to complete listening exercises to help teach the brain how to listen with a cochlear implant. Immediately following activation, speech often sounds strange and unclear; this is because sound is being delivered to the brain through electrical stimulation (versus acoustic stimulation). The brain must adjust to this new way of receiving sound input. This process of “brain acclimatization” can be greatly impacted by the amount of effort put into the rehabilitation stage. Imagine never completing physical therapy after a knee or hip replacement; it would be very difficulty to walk effectively and progress may be much slower. Fortunately there are many resources available for patients to help them with their “listening therapy’. Each cochlear implant company offers an abundance of support and activities intended to help the brain acclimate to listening with a cochlear implant.
Cochlear’s Communication Corner offers specially designed activities for every age group from young children to older adults. Each group offers activities that range in difficulty to allow you to tailor you rehabilitation process to your specific needs. They also offer a Music program to help you enjoy the sounds of music again. In addition Cochlear has a telephone program called “Telephone with Confidence”. This program allows you to practice listening on the telephone through guided activities.
Follow this link: http://www.cochlear.com/wps/wcm/connect/us/communication-corner
The Listening Room:
Advanced Bionics’ The Listening Room provides numerous listening activities for people of all ages. Activates vary in difficulty and are labeled as beginner, intermediate or advanced to allow you to work through hearing skills at your own pace. The activities can be completed with a listening partner or done independently. Lessons are designed to improve speech understanding as well as increase music appreciation.
Follow this link: https://thelisteningroom.com/
BRIDGE to Better Communication:
MED EL’s BRIDGE program contains listening exercises for various age groups. The activities for adults focus on sentence recognition. The recorded activities can be done independently and allow the listener to vary how the sentences are presented to mimic more ‘real world’ scenarios. There are also activities that can be completed with a partner. Suggestions are given on how to increase the difficulty of the task to ensure the listener continues to make progress once a particular skill is mastered.
Follow this link: http://www.medel.com/us/soundscape/#prettyPhoto
Do I need a hearing aid?
This is a question that the audiologists and physicians hear every day at The Hearing Center and JHBI. Let’s take a look at what matters (and what doesn’t!) when it comes to making that decision.
The first step to deciding whether or not it’s time to try hearing aids will depend on your hearing loss. Hearing aids can be programmed to fit all different degrees and configurations of hearing loss, from mild to profound. However, you have to keep in mind that what your hearing loss looks like will greatly affect your outcome with amplification. For example, patients that have very little usable hearing left may be better suited to a cochlear implant. Patients with middle ear problems may want to try a bone-anchored hearing device. So how do you know what’s right for you? That’s an easy one to answer- you just have to ask an audiologist. Come in for a hearing aid consult. If hearing aids aren’t the correct choice for you, we promise to guide you to whatever is.
Most people with hearing loss know that they have trouble hearing. In fact, that is usually what drove them to get a hearing test in the first place. However, even with severe hearing loss, some people will deny any hearing difficulties. Hearing aids are a process that involve both commitment and work on the part of the new user, so that person has to be invested in a positive outcome. In other words, it is important that you feel like you have something to gain from wearing a hearing aid. If you are convinced that you are not having any difficulty hearing, it will be hard to justify using hearing aids. Keep in mind, though, that sometimes it is actually the people you are talking to that take the brunt of a hearing loss. Are they frequently repeating or speaking up so that you can be apart of the conversation? Look to those closest to you for honest opinions about how they are affected by your hearing difficulties. If they are expressing frustration, that might be a reason to consider trying hearing aids.
Hearing aids are for people with hearing loss, no matter their age. It does not matter at all how old you are- If you have a hearing problem, it is time to consider a hearing aid. Please do not wait until you reach a certain age to start considering a hearing aid.
It’s okay to be worried about what a hearing aid will look like. We are all human, and we want to present our most confident self to the world. For some people, it’s scary to think about what a hearing aid will look like. The good news is that we have come a long way from the large devices that used to be the industry standard. Most styles are nearly invisible these days. Depending on your ear canal size and hearing loss, your audiologist can guide you into the most discrete style possible.
For many people, the price of hearing aids can be very intimidating. At JHBI, we offer different levels of hearing aids at varying prices to meet the needs of everyone that comes through our door. We also have some financing options that may help. We encourage you to come in and see what we have to offer and talk about what your budget allows. Even if a hearing aid isn’t an option for you currently, we may be able to find some ways to help you hear better that are within reach.
For more information on hearing aids, click on the following link: https://www.betterhearingjax.com/hearing-technology/our-hearing-aids/
Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSNHL)
A rapid decline in hearing that occurs all at once or over the course of several hours and should be treated as a medical emergency.
SSNHL most often occurs in one ear and may be accompanied by a feeling of fullness and ringing (tinnitus) in the affected ear as well as a room-spinning sensation (vertigo). Some individuals report hearing a loud “pop”. The hearing loss may be noticed first thing in the morning upon waking or when holding a telephone up to the affected ear. Other indications of a SSNHL include difficulty with understanding conversation in noisy environments and/or difficulty hearing sounds directed at the affected ear. In some cases voices may sound “fuzzy” or distorted.
It is estimated that the incidence of SSNHL is 20 cases per 100,000 persons a year. Both men and women are affected equally. SSNHL can occur across the lifespan however, there is a higher incidence for individuals in their 40s and 50s.
There are many possible causes of SSNHL however, cause is only identified in about 15 % of cases. Many times the reason remains unknown. Some causes of SSNHL include, viral infections, autoimmune disease, ototoxic (toxic to the inner ear) medications, trauma and compromise of blood circulation to the inner ear.
Treatment for SSNHL should be sought immediately. There is a high chance of recovery of hearing with prompt treatment. Unfortunately, many things can delay a person from seeking treatment. Symptoms of SSNHL are often thought to be related to allergies, a sinus infection or wax build up which can also result in a feeling of fullness in the ear and muffled hearing. In most cases the aforementioned will not be accompanied by tinnitus or vertigo and will likely affect both ears (unlike the typical presentation of SSNHL).
If a SSNHL is suspected it is very important to have an evaluation performed as soon as possible by a medical professional who specializes in disorders of the ear such as an otologist or otolaryngologist. Case history information, physical examination and results from a hearing evaluation completed by an audiologist will help confirm a SSNHL. Often times an MRI and blood work will be ordered to help determine the cause of the SSNHL. Treatment most commonly includes a course of corticosteroids given either in pill form and/or as an injection into the middle ear space.
In 30 to 60% of SSNHL cases spontaneous recovery of some or all of the hearing may occur within fourteen days of onset. In many cases however, the hearing does not recover on its own. The chance of partial to total recovery of hearing is high if treatment is received within ten days after onset, with the highest chance of recovery being when treatment is received within 72 hours of onset. In cases where treatment is delayed more than two to four weeks after onset, the chance of recovery is low and often times the hearing loss is irreversible.
If you experience a sudden change in hearing in one ear, which may or may not be accompanied by fullness, tinnitus and vertigo, please seek medical care immediately.