A Review of the Root Causes of Sensorineural Hearing Loss

The countless tiny nerve endings in your inner ear are central to your ability to hear. However, these nerve endings can be damaged, as can other components in your inner ear, resulting in a condition known as sensorineural deafness.

Sensorineural hearing loss typically doesn’t result in complete deafness. In fact, in many cases only certain sounds become hard to hear. An individual affected by sensorineural hearing loss make claim that some sounds are actually too loud while other sounds are instinct and muffled. Background noise often compounds the problem. Speech can be particularly hard to decipher in noisy environments. Men’s voices frequently sound clearer than higher-pitched women’s voices and tracking conversations with several speakers is particularly challenging. Troubles in hearing aren’t the only symptom of sensorineural hearing loss: ringing in the ears and dizziness can also arise.

There is no single cause of sensorineural hearing loss that applies to all individuals. Sensorineural hearing loss may be present at birth for some individuals. Genetic problems can result in many forms of congenital sensorineural deafness, while in other cases infections passed from mother to infant are the root cause.

As a person grows older, sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by a number of different issues. One such trigger is acoustic trauma, or exposure to an excessively loud noise. Similarly, long term exposure to loud noise (often experienced by construction workers and musicians) can cause inner ear damage.

Sensorineural hearing loss can come on suddenly, such as in the case of viral infections. These infections include measles, mumps and meningitis. Fluctuating hearing loss that comes and goes combined with vertigo and tinnitus can be a sign of Meniere’s Disease. In both cases, corticosteroids may be able to provide relief.

Abrupt changes in air pressure and head trauma can cause sensorineural hearing loss, as can other physical issues such as tumors. Other physical reasons for sensorineural hearing loss include the hereditary disorder otosclerosis where a bony growth in the inner ear interferes with hearing.

Without treatment sensorineural hearing loss often reduces quality of life. Fortunately it can be improved or reversed in many cases.

A Look at Modern Telecoil-Enabled Hearing Aids

What’s a telecoil and what does it do? Maybe your current hearing aid has one or perhaps you’ve been looking for a new hearing aid and have seen the term used. This tiny coil of wire may seem simple, but the benefits it can provide to individuals who use it are manifold. This article explains the basics of what a telecoil is and how it operates to improve your hearing ability.

A hearing aid with a telecoil can detect magnetic signals. In contrast to conventional microphones and amplifiers, which amplify all sounds that hit them, a telecoil will only transmit sounds that are generated magnetically. The initial emphasis for this technology was to ease listening during telephone conversations. Since older telephones used magnets in their speakers, telecoil devices could offer a clear transmission of a telephone conversation. Contemporary phone technology has eliminated these magnets, but many telephones will include electronics which allow them to communicate with telecoil devices.

The usage of telecoils began with the telephone, but now they are used in many ways. They are frequently used in conjunction with Assistive Listening Systems in auditoriums, stadiums and movie theaters. These venues will commonly provide headsets or receivers that the hearing impaired can use with their own hearing aids to pick up the signals. Users often report that the clarity of the sound they pick up magnetically surpasses the sound quality transmitted through the air acoustically.

The capabilities of the telecoil inside a hearing aid will vary with the type, age and size of the instrument. Behind-the-ear hearing aids with their larger cases are the most likely to have the telecoil feature included since the additional components require extra space. Older hearing aids can be switched between telecoil and non-telecoil modes using a physical switch on the device. Newer hearing aids are often equipped with program modes, allowing the user to switch on their telecoil by pressing a button on the instrument or on a remote control.

On rare occasions you might encounter some interference when using the telecoil setting on your hearing aid. The interference typically comes from equipment such as CRT monitors or from fluorescent lights in the room. It will sound like buzzing which gets louder as you get closer to the origin of the interference.

The possibility of interference is a minimal price to pay for the many advantages offered by telecoil-equipped devices. Telecoils are ordinarily inexpensive and well worth including in any hearing aid.

Meniere’s Disease Explained

Vertigo (dizziness), tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and intermittent hearing loss are three of the more discernable indications of a condition known as “Meniere’s disease”. Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that causes problems with hearing and balance. While there is no identified cure for this condition, there are steps that you can take to lessen the impact it has on your life.

For many patients with Meniere’s disease, symptoms appear in clusters of episodes. An episode may begin with a feeling of fullness in the ear accompanied by tinnitus and a decrease in hearing. Vertigo is likely to come next, causing you to feel as though the room is spinning around you. This dizziness may also come with nausea, vomiting and balance problems. Episodes vary in length, sometimes ending as quickly as twenty minutes or lasting for hours.

It is common for Meniere’s disease episodes to appear in clusters, with individuals enjoying periods of ‘remission’ between groups of episodes. Individual symptoms can vary a great deal in both duration and severity from episode to episode. Vertigo can sometimes signify a more serious condition, so be sure to check in with your doctor if you find yourself experiencing this symptom.

Researchers are still working to determine the cause of Meniere’s disease, but the leading theory is that its symptoms are caused by abnormalities in fluid in the inner ear. Scientists have discovered that the amount and pressure of fluid in the inner ear is critical to your hearing and balance. There are a number of factors that could trigger abnormalities in this inner ear fluid, including head trauma, viral infections, improper drainage and allergies.

Despite the fact that Meniere’s disease has no known cure, it’s symptoms can often be successfully managed. Anti-nausea medications can frequently help patients cope with their vertigo. Physicians may also prescribe drugs that reduce fluid retention as a way to control the disorder. Rehabilitation and hearing aids can help manage vertigo and hearing loss. Sitting or lying down immediately if you begin to notice vertigo can help you avoid falls, while avoiding triggers that make your symptoms worse (such as bright lights or reading) can help lessen the severity of the episode.

Although there are some unpleasant symptoms associated with Meniere’s disease, there are steps that you can take to manage your episodes and reduce the impact they have on your life.

Why Hearing Loop Systems Remain the Gold Standard in Hearing Aid Accessibility

When a hearing aid user tries to tune in to a speaker in a crowded place, the levels of background noise can easily become overwhelming. Large, open areas such as audotoriums, places of worship, movie theaters and concert halls can be especially difficult. The good news is, hearing loops systems provide a solution to this problem, allowing hearing aid users to easily distinguish the sounds they wish to focus on.

Hearing loop systems take advantages of the telecoil feature that is included in most hearing aids. The original purpose of these telecoils was to work with the magnetic fields created by telephone hardware. This allowed the wearer to easily listen to telephone conversations without distraction from background noise. Hearing loop systems use this same concept but on a larger scale, creating magnetic signals that anyone in the area with a telecoil can pick up on.

The first part of a hearing loop system is an audio input, often from a PA system or a dedicated microphone feed. This audio input is routed to a hearing loop amplifier, which then feeds a current along a cable or series of cables that have been installed around the room. Properly installed loops do not have dead zones, which means that anyone with a telecoil who is inside the loop can pick up on the transmitted audio.

Despite the fact that several newer technologies like FM transmission neck loops are being installed in public and private venues, traditional audio loop systems continue to offer several unique benefits. Their convenience alone makes them a popular choice among venues and patrons alike. They also provide a simpler, more discreet listening experience, since they don’t require the user to wear any additional equipment.

Though no hearing technology is perfect, hearing loop systems offer a huge service to many people, giving many listeners a much more enjoyable experience.

Receiver-in-Canal (RIC) Model Hearing Aids: Evaluating the Benefits and Drawbacks

Shopping for hearing aids will expose you to a variety of designs, including receiver-in-canal (RIC). The RIC hearing aid shares many benefits with behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid while possessing some distinctive advantages particular to the receiver in canal. This short article serves as a brief introduction of the primary advantages and disadvantages of the receiver in canal hearing aid.

Many readers will be familiar with behind-the-ear and in-the-ear hearing aids where all the components are housed inside a single case. RIC hearing aids, on the other hand, separate the components into two major sections. A case behind the ear holds the aid’s amplifier and microphone, while a small bud that contains the receiver is used inside the ear canal. The two parts are connected by a thin clear tube.

Separation of the receiver into its own compartment has several advantages. Compared to other hearing aid styles, RIC hearing aid wearers have fewer problems with feedback. They also report fewer problems stemming from occlusion of the ear canal. Listeners also enjoy a more natural sound, making the listening experience much more comfortable. High-pitched tones are amplified particularly well, making receiver in canal hearing aids very suitable for individuals suffering from mild to moderate hearing loss.

The physical configuration of receiver in canal devices also provides a number of advantages. Both the case that fits behind the ear and the receiver in the ear are easy to hide. This small size also makes it very comfortable and easy to fit.

No device is perfect, and RIC aids do have some disadvantages. They are particularly vulnerable to ear moisture on the receiver, potentially making frequent repairs a necessity. Amazingly, the potential for loss is another drawback. Because they are so small and lightweight it can take some time for the user to realize that the hearing aid is missing. Finally, these devices tend to be high in price, making them difficult to obtain for some listeners.

Even though they have their flaws, receiver in canal hearing aids are a great choice for a large percentage of the hearing impaired population. Your hearing specialist would be happy to answer all your questions about different hearing aid styles and help you choose the best design.

Discover How Multiple Listening Programs Help Make the Most of Modern Digital Hearing Aids

Listening to a person speaking in a quiet room is extremely different from attempting to hear a conversation in a busy restaurant. The majority of digital hearing aids can adjust to distinct conditions like these by using a variety of “listening programs”. The ability to use different listening programs makes it easy to hear better in many different situations.

When you first receive your hearing aid, your hearing professional will program your device with an external computer. This process allows a number of individual processing characteristics to be fine-tuned into a number of distinct listening programs. These programs can be accessed manually when you start wearing your device, or they may automatically change to match your current listening situation.

You may be surprised at the variety of listening programs your hearing aid is able to run. Some programs work to reduce background noise, eliminate feedback or shift higher-frequency sounds into a more comfortable range, while others are designed to make speech patterns easier to identify. Your hearing professional can work with you to help determine which programs are most appropriate for your individual situation.

The way you activate one of these listening programs can vary from hearing aid to hearing aid. Your hearing aid may include a small external device (similar to a remote control) that allows you to change programs and access additional features. You may be able to switch from program to program via a small switch, or your device may determine the best program for the situation without requiring your input.

Hearing aids with multiple listening programs can be especially useful for young children. These programs allow parents to quickly change their child’s listening settings to find the most comfortable choice. This can help audiologists determine what settings will lead to the best hearing experience for the child.

The multiple listening programs feature in hearing aids can play a significant role in allowing the hearer to enjoy a more natural listening experience.

Finding the Best Ear Plugs

To preserve your ability to hear, begin with the fundamentals – ear plugs. When these small devices are inserted into your ear canal, disruptive or dangerous sounds are blocked out. Shopping for ear plugs can be confusing, as there are a large variety of styles available, but with patience and a little bit of know-how you can find the plug for you.

The first thing to think about when shopping for ear plugs is the amount of noise reduction you need. Take a look at the noise reduction rating (NRR) on the box to find out how much sound it cancels out: better quality plugs have a rating between 21 and 33. Figure out where and when you will use your ear plugs. Ear plugs with a lower NRR are sufficient for blocking out traffic noise or your roommate’s TV while studying. However, if your profession requires you to spend time around loud equipment or music, a higher rating is more appropriate.

Next, take some time to consider the composition of the plugs you are considering. Foam ear plugs are made from a type of memory foam that is inserted into the ear canal. Foam ear plugs compress as they are pressed into the ear and expand slightly when released to plug the ear canal. Silicone ear plugs differ from foam in that they are molded over the outside of the ear canal. Both foam and silicone ear plugs need to be replaced periodically.

Finally, consider the situation that you need the ear plugs for. While foam and silicone ear plugs are great for casual use, certain professions and situations warrant investing in specialized ear plugs. Musicians often wear custom-made, non-disposable earplugs to help protect their hearing while they are performing. Musician plugs are custom fitted and designed to allow the artist to hear themselves while blocking out harmful noise around them.

A totally different use of ear plugs is to block out a partner’s snoring while sleeping. You can find ear plugs that are specifically designed to block out snoring without keeping you from hearing your fire alarm and alarm clock. Try out these plugs with your head tilted to the side. This helps you figure out if they will be comfortable to wear while you are lying down.

If you take the time to really think about what you need your earplugs for, you should not have any problems finding a pair that suits you.

“Practical” Versus “Pretty”? Discovering the Real Pluses and Minuses of In-The-Ear (ITE) Type Hearing Aids

When shopping for a hearing aid a loved one or for yourself you’ll encounter a range of designs and shapes, and one of the most common is In-the-Ear (ITE). These tiny devices are made to fit in the lower portion of the outer ear, making them a comfortable choice for listeners with mild to moderate hearing problems. What follow is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of the in-the-ear hearing aid style.

An in-the-ear hearing aid is a small device that is custom-made to fit your ear shape. If you choose to use this type of device, your hearing professional will use a mold to make sure it fits your ear perfectly. This tailor-fit is to ensure that the aid produces high quality sound and to eliminate feedback, but it offers the additional advantage of being very comfortable. All the components needed for this type of hearing aid are stored in a single case, eliminating the need for wires and tubes. Overall they are easy to use being very lightweight and comfortable.

ITE devices are especially capable of picking up high-frequency sounds. This enhanced ability to collect and focus high-frequency sounds is a result of their location inside rather than behind the outer ear. ITE devices are also recessed far enough into the ear that headsets and telephones can usually be used normally. The in-the-ear device is very small. Their small size has advantages and disadvantages to consider.

The devices are easy to camouflage in the ear, making them a good choice for wearers who are self-conscious about their need for a hearing aid. But, the small size also limits the size of the battery and optional features that can be included inside the case. People with poor motor control or eyesight problems may have difficulty replacing the battery or operating the controls.

As with all the hearing aid styles available, in-the-ear hearing aid has both advantages and disadvantages. For help choosing the best hearing aid style for your hearing loss and lifestyle give us a call.

Hearing Health Charities and Foundations: An Introduction

It really is confusing to choose among the throngs of charitable organizations out there today. You should consider where your money is going, how it is being used, and if the organization is trustworthy. Look for a large, well-known hearing health charity organization that is right for you, and join knowing you are helping a good cause.

Hearing Health Foundation – Since the 1950s, Hearing Health Foundation has been committed to serving people with hearing loss. The organization has two main areas of focus. One is research into new treatments and cures for hearing loss. The other is hearing loss prevention through public education. One of the current endeavors of the foundation is providing research meant to cure tinnitus (constant ringing in the ears). The Hearing Health Foundation makes it easy for supporters to get involved. The foundation accepts one-time gifts and monthly donations, as well as other financial contributions. If you prefer to be involved in a more hands-on way, you can share with them your personal experience with hearing loss or tinnitus, participate in fundraisers, or offer to name one of their research grants. Learn more or join today on their official website at www.hearinghealthfoundation.org.

Starkey Hearing Foundation – Starkey Hearing Foundation reaches an international audience with its 3 main services programs named Hear Now, Listen Carefully, and Hearing Aid Recycling. Hear Now provides financial assistance to U.S. residents in need of hearing aids. The Listen Carefully Program is provides education to youth in schools about the dangers of loud music and headphone use. Their Hearing Aid Recycling program offers a place for you to donate your old hearing aids as gifts to those who can’t otherwise afford them. To get contact details for each organization or to give a monetary gift, visit www.starkeyhearingfoundation.org.

Hearing Loss Association of America – Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) prides itself as being the largest national organization for helping people with hearing loss across the U.S. The Association works to provide access, support, and assistance to those with hearing loss and their families. HLAA does work on a local, state and national level and part of its mission is to influence legislation that impacts the hearing impaired. You can begin by signing up for their newsletter, becoming a member of the organization, or registering for one of their bi-annual fundraiser walks called Walk4Hearing. Donations are also accepted online at www.hearingloss.org.

Digital Noise Reduction Technology – Understanding How It Works and Precisely What It Can Offer You

From a crowded restaurant to a busy sidewalk, you can encounter overwhelming amounts of noise almost anywhere. For the hearing aid users, the problem of background noise can be immense. It’s a big challenge to differentiate one sound from the background noise. Digital noise reduction technology embedded inside hearing aids is one approach to combating this problem. It allows the wearer to block unwanted noise and focus on specific sounds.

Hearing aids that utilize digital noise reduction technology are able to pick up on the unique differences between speech and noise. If a person is talking to you in a quiet room, the device knows that the signals it is picking up are speech signals. However, when conversing in a noisy environment, your digital noise reduction equipped hearing aid can tell that there is unwanted sound present. The hearing aid makes the necessary adjustments on its own using built-in software and reduces the volume associated with the noisy channels.

Don’t expect that all background noise will be eliminated. No hearing aid can do that. However, the digital noise reduction feature does help improve communications quite a lot in noisy areas. The general consensus among hearing aid wearers with this technology is that speech sounds better and background noise is less overpowering.

Digital noise reduction technology works best when the background noise it is combating is fairly constant. This means that steady sounds such as an air conditioner or engine running are more effectively blocked than dynamic music or a nearby conversation.

To give your digital noise reduction capable hearing aid the best chance at succeeding, use common sense measures in conjunction with technology. For example, if you find yourself in a noisy part of a restaurant, ask to be seated somewhere that isn’t quite as hectic.

While no hearing aid technology can give you perfect hearing, digital noise reduction can take much of the annoyance out of dealing with noisy situations.

Social Widgets powered by AB-WebLog.com.