Hearing Aids

High-Tech Solutions for Hearing Loss

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Finding Balance While Enduring Vertigo

Vertigo can be a debilitating disorder that has the ability to control your life. This disease affects the inner ear, which plays a large role in our ability to balance. When was the last time you had to really focus before getting up out of a chair or even just trying to walk around your home? Those with vertigo know that these simple tasks can become daunting. It can be even more frightening to the elderly who could be at a higher risk of injury if they were to fall.

What causes vertigo?

• Meniere’s disease
• Head injury
• Ear surgery
• Extended bed rest
• Inflammation of the vestibular nerve or of the inner ear
• Reduced blood flow to parts of the brain

Are there any symptoms?

• It is common to experience dizziness when you have vertigo. The dizziness can range from mild to being so severe that a person may not be able to stand due to fear of falling.
• Nausea is another common complaint… but is usually just the result of the intense dizziness.
• Ringing in the ears that might even turn into temporary hearing loss.
• Difficulty seeing straight or clearly.

But there is good news…

In most cases, vertigo is a treatable condition. With the proper medicine, most people who suffer from the disorder can resume a normal life without enduring any of these symptoms. Although, in a few severe cases, treatment may not fully cure the problem. Still, any medical attention will produce small improvements. Thus, if you think you may have vertigo, you should reach out to your doctor immediately.

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Do You Have Ear Wax Build Up?

Do you suffer from frequent ear blockages due to ear wax build up? This can be a very pesky issue that leaves many worried! Not only is your hearing affected, but this buildup may cause other stress over health and even hygiene.

“Why do I have excess wax? I eat well, exercise, and am a perfectly healthy person!”

Although, ear wax build up is not always directly related to general health and hygiene. Some people simply just produce more ear wax than others. There is no magic pill that can cure you of this condition. Thus, when you clean your ears, you need to be very careful not to push the wax any further into the ear canal. Which is why Q-Tips are not meant for ear canals and should never be used for this.

Here are some tips so you can become wax free:

• If the ear wax is too hard (enough to cause pain), you can try to soften the wax with a simple over the counter purchase. Try some mineral oil, baby oil, or for the most daring hydrogen peroxide. These can be used in small amounts (eyedropper) to help soften and break up the excess ear wax. Use a cotton swab to gently wipe the outer part of the ear.

• If the buildup is too serious to soften, ear irrigation is the best technique to attempt. You can often buy an ear irrigation kit at a local pharmacy. The process is simple. Make sure you are standing with your head centered (no leaning). Pull your ear gently upward to open it. Use your irrigation kit: take a syringe full of lukewarm water and push a stream into your ear. Lean your waterlogged head over to let the liquid drain.

• Sometimes home remedies will not solve the issue. Go to your local audiologist and ask to have your ears cleaned. If you are worried about tackling this task on your own, simply make an appointment at your local hearing care center. This is the quickest solution to true ear care.

But remember this above all else…

NEVER PUSH ANYTHING INTO YOU EAR CANAL! This includes those harmless cotton swabs that are stereotypically viewed as your ear’s best friend. These foreign objects may alleviate the problem, but they will more likely cause damage to your ear canal. They can also push the wax further in your ear causing unneeded damage to your ear drum.

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Can you test for tinnitus?

How do I know if what I am hearing is real or phantom?

If you or someone you love has been experiencing ringing in the ears of other sounds that no one else can hear, it might be tinnitus. The first step for answers is to make an appointment for a hearing assessment*. After discussing your medical history with a hearing care professional, your provider will check for obstructions in the ear canal and clear out any built-up earwax.

If the tinnitus is reported as being unilateral (only in one ear) you may need to speak with a physician. An Ear, Nose and Throat specialist may order an X-ray, CT scan or MRI scan to rule out larger issues. If no obstructions are present in the ear canal and no other potential causes are discovered, an audiologist or other hearing care provider will consider other causes, including hearing loss.

Professional hearing assessments

Your hearing care provider may conduct a pure tone audiogram, especially if your tinnitus is unilateral or accompanied by loss of hearing. A pure tone audiogram plays different frequencies at varying volumes. Even if you haven’t noticed reduced hearing, an audiogram may show areas of weakness that you may not have noticed before. In addition to an audiogram, your audiologist may consider performing speech audiometry, which looks at how well a patient can hear and repeat certain words.

Sound matching and other methods

Since generally tinnitus’ perceived sound cannot be heard by another person, audiologists use sound matching to determine what the patient experiences. Sound matching consists of playing a series of audio clips to identify which sound is closest to the internally perceived sound.

A hearing care provider may use minimum masking levels to determine if a patient is experiencing tinnitus. This also determines how loud a sounds seem. The audiologist or hearing care professional plays audio clips at increasing volume levels until the patient registers that the external noise entirely conceals the phantom sounds.

How is tinnitus impacting you?

You may be asked to fill out a self-assessment form or questionnaire. This will establish how your symptoms are impacting your life and emotional well-being.

Tinnitus is not an illness. If you are experiencing buzzing, ringing or other sounds you cannot identify, and want to discuss options for relief, contact our professionals so we can discuss your challenges – and provide solutions. Make an appointment for a free hearing assessment* today.

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Is Your Hearing Loss Linked to Diabetes?

Hearing loss affects approximately 34.5 million Americans, and approximately 30 million people have diabetes. These statistics make them two of the most prevalent health concerns in America. Beyond these numbers, the overlap of these populations is growing. Research continues on the potential connection between hearing loss and diabetes.

In her 2008 study from the Annals of Internal Medicine, Kathleen Bainbridge, Ph.D., an epidemiologist at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, drew a number of conclusions from national survey data. She concluded that hearing loss is more than twice as common in diabetes patients than in the general population. In addition, 21% exhibited both hearing loss and diabetes, compared to 9% of those surveyed who had some form of hearing impairment but no diabetes. Finally, of the 86 million Americans with prediabetes, rates of hearing loss are 30% higher than adults with normal blood glucose levels. Perhaps, this final group is the most alarming number.

More research?

Current studies show evidence to support a noticeable overlap between the illnesses. Beyond primarily impacting older populations, medical practitioners have several theories as to how the two might be related. The current body of research linking hearing loss and diabetes is still fairly limited. So, we need more research to connect the two health concerns definitively.

What links the conditions?

Diabetes patients have sustained elevated blood glucose levels. This results in damage to many of the fine blood vessels that supply the inner ear. A network of vasculature supplies the cochlea. When patients fail to manage their illness or it goes uncontrolled for too long, it negatively impacts the the inner ear tissue and nerves. This leads to impaired hearing.

Take the Appropriate Course of Action for your hearing loss

Talk to your primary care physician or an endocrinologist to address your diabetes. Our professionals at SmartChoice Hearing Centers can counsel you on your hearing loss. You may need to visit a specialist for a full hearing assessment*. If so, we can work with you decide which treatments suit your needs best. For more information on hearing loss and links to other illnesses, make an appointment or make for a free hearing assessment*.

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