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A Review of the Causes and Treatments for Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Much of your ability to hear is controlled by tiny nerve endings in your inner ear. When these nerve endings (or other parts of the inner ear) are harmed, the result is sensorineural hearing loss.

Typically, sensorineural deafness does not result in a complete inability to hear. Instead, it lowers the individual’s ability to hear certain sounds. You might notice that some types of sounds are much less distinct, while others are too loud for comfort. Noisy conditions can make it difficult for you to pick out speech patterns. Following conversations can become difficult, especially if two or more people are speaking, while men’s voices may sound sharper than women’s. Additional symptoms of sensorineural hearing loss are feelings of dizziness or tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

There is no single cause of sensorineural hearing loss that applies to all individuals. In some cases the individual has this problem from birth. The disorder could have an underlying genetic cause. It can also arise from certain infections which can be passed from mother to child.

The reasons for sensorineural deafness later in life are much more diverse. Acoustic trauma, exposure to an excessively loud noise, can cause this issue. Consistent exposure to lower level noise, such as working with noisy equipment or listening to loud music, can also result in inner ear damage.

Many people don’t realize that a virus can lead to sudden, sensorineural hearing loss. Viruses such as measles, mumps and meningitis can all lead to this issue. Equally problematic is Meniere’s Disease, which can lead to fluctuating hearing loss as well as tinnitus and vertigo. In both cases, corticosteroids may be able to provide relief.

Sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by tumors, as well as sudden changes in air pressure and head trauma. A hereditary disorder known as otosclerosis can cause a bony growth to form around an important bone in the middle ear, leading to sensorineural hearing loss.

There is no doubt that sensorineural hearing loss can drastically decrease your quality of life, but there are ways to deal with it.

You Have to Ask – Advice for Getting a Hearing Loop Put in at A Church or Theater

Most public places and businesses have made their buildings wheelchair accessible, a highly visible challenge, but may not be aware of the less visible challenges confronted by individuals who have hearing loss. That is where hearing loops come in. Places with hearing loops provide much clearer speech and sound directly to the telecoils inside hearing aids or cochlear implants. Putting in a hearing loop is a fairly low cost improvement which can bring in new customers and visitors for the venue. If you’re having a difficult time hearing the speakers at church, the dialogue at the local theatre, or anywhere you visit on a regular basis, it is possible to have a hearing loop put in with a little effort.

Churches and places of worship. While many mosques, synagogues and churches already have some type of hearing aid device, it might be outdated and inconvenient or the place you attend might not have any assistance at all. If this is the situation, let the leadership team know of the benefits of this type of system, such as using a telecoil to hear the speakers clearly through your own hearing aid.. Introduce the idea in a newsletter or bulletin by explaining how a hearing loop works and how easy it is to install.

Theatres and gathering places. Assembly areas are required by the Americans for Disabilities Act guidelines to be fitted with hearing amplification systems to accommodate patrons. Contact the general manager of the venue and ask for a meeting. Be prepared to explain the costs involved as well as the benefits to the patrons and to the venue. For example, these places will see an increase in attendance because people with hearing challenges will be able to participate.

Tips to make your case. No matter how you choose to bring up the matter, create understanding by sharing facts, promoting awareness for the need and garnering understanding. Define hearing loop, its function and costs. Explain the necessity and convenience of hearing loops for you and others. Explain to them the benefits of their increased business. Even if they don’t engage in the idea the first time, be available as a resource for additional information and inquire if you can check in with them every couple of months to continue the conversation.

Genetic Hearing Loss: An Overview

Undoubtedly injury and illness can cause hearing loss, but could genetics also contribute? The answer to this question is “Yes.” When you look at the data, genetic factors are actually the main category of hearing losses. Additionally, hearing loss is considered the most common birth defect in the developed world.

A primer on genetics. Genes are basically pieces of code that make up our DNA and tell our bodies what to do and how to look. Researchers have identified over 100 genes that can negatively affect hearing. If one or even more of these genes is changed or missing the effect is often hearing loss. Parental genes are passed to children, so any irregular gene sequences which produce hearing loss are handed down.

Genetic hearing loss variations. Genetic hearing losses can stem from flaws in the inner ear, outer ear or both areas. The hearing loss can be sensorineural, conductive or mixed. Note that, hereditary hearing loss can present itself at birth or later in life. One of the most common conditions to affect hearing is Usher syndrome, a condition that is thought to afflict over 50% of deaf-blind individuals according to the National Institutes of Health. Waardenburg syndrome is another common disorder that affects hearing in the inner ear but also causes pale skin, a streak of white hair, and light or multi-colored eyes.

Will children inevitably inherit hearing loss? While it’s true that parents with hearing loss genes may pass them on to their kids, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the children will have a hearing problem. Most genes related to hearing loss are recessive, which means that even though an individual has an irregular gene, that gene won’t always cause a problem so long as a normal copy is inherited from the other parent. Because there are hundreds of distinct genes linked to hearing loss, even if both parents are hearing impaired, their kids may not be since the parent’s hearing loss could have different root causes. For parents concerned about a family history of hearing loss, genetic testing and counseling is available.

An Overview of Multiple Listening Programs for Digital Hearing Aids

Hearing a conversation in a busy restaurant and listening to someone speaking in a hushed room are two completely different situations. In order to keep up with changes in your listening environment, the majority of digital hearing aids include a variety of listening programs. These listening programs give your hearing aid the flexibility to help you hear at your best in a wide range of situations.

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

There are many different types of listening programs that can be accessed through your hearing aid. 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. These are just a few of the possibilities–your hearing care professional will work with you to choose which ones are most appropriate based on the condition of your own hearing and the situations you encounter most often.

Depending on your device, you may access these programs several different ways. Your hearing aid may include a small external device (similar to a remote control) that allows you to change programs and access additional features. Other hearing aids are equipped with a small manual switch, and some may actually choose the most appropriate program for you automatically.

Young children with hearing issues may be good candidates for hearing aids with multiple listening programs. Parents can more easily switch between programs to find the most comfortable settings for the child. This can help audiologists determine what settings will lead to the best hearing experience for the child.

The additional flexibility and convenience that come with multiple listening programs helps hearing aid wearers achieve a more comfortable listening experience.

Patient’s to Meniere’s Disease: Signs, Symptoms and Treatments

Three of the most identifiable signs and symptoms of Meniere’s disease are tinnitus, vertigo, and fluctuating hearing loss. Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that causes problems with balance and hearing. While there is no known cure for this condition, there are actions that you can take to help reduce the impact it has on your daily life.

For many patients with Meniere’s disease, symptoms appear in clusters of episodes. Individual episodes often share a common starting point, with a feeling of fullness in the ear that progresses to tinnitus and a small degree of hearing loss. After these symptoms begin to appear, patients often begin to experience vertigo, a sort of dizziness that’s often described as feeling as though the room is spinning. This vertigo may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and balance impairment. 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. The frequency and severity of each symptom can vary from episode to episode. Since these symptoms are not unique to Meniere’s disease, it’s very important to check with your physician to rule out other potentially serious health problems.

Medical researchers and clinicians are not certain what causes Meniere’s disease, but some experts believe that it may have to do with abnormal volume or composition of inner ear fluid. Fluids in the inner ear must be at a certain volume and pressure in order to function properly. Allergies, head trauma, improper drainage, and viral infections may act as triggers for these fluid abnormalities.

While there is no known way to cure Meniere’s disease, you do have options when it comes to managing its symptoms. If you experience nausea during episodes of vertigo, your doctor may prescribe medications to help you feel more comfortable. Prescription medications that help reduce fluid retention can also help control the disease. Hearing aids offer a proven solution for episodes of hearing loss, while rehabilitation has been shown to improve balance during episodes of vertigo. The effects of vertigo may also be lessened by sitting or lying down as soon as possible after an episode starts and by avoiding triggers that seem to make vertigo symptoms worse.

Meniere’s disease does carry some uncomfortable symptoms, but with the help of your doctor it does not need to significantly disrupt your life.

What You Should Know Regarding RIC Model Hearing Aids

When you start looking for hearing aids you will quickly encounter many different designs to choose from including the receiver-in-canal (RIC). The RIC hearing aid shares numerous features with behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid while possessing some distinct advantages particular to the receiver in canal. Read on to explore the benefits and drawbacks of RIC devices.

Two standard types of hearing aid (behind-the-ear and in-the-ear) are designed to keep the device component all in one case (behind the ear and in the ear respectively). 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. A small tube connects the receiver to the case.

Separating the receiver from the rest of the device has a number of 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. RIC hearing aids are favored by people with mild to moderate hearing losses because they amplify high-pitched sounds very well.

The physical configuration of receiver in canal devices also provides a number of advantages. Separating the two components allows the device to remain very small, making it unobtrusive and 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.

Receiver-in-ear hearing aids do have their flaws, but their numerous advantages make them a worthwhile choice for many listeners. Consult your hearing specialist to learn more about receiver in canal and other styles of hearing aids.

Why Hearing Loop Systems Remain the Standard in Hearing Aid Accessibility

Hearing aids are incredibly good at enhancing a person’s ability to hear, but when used in a crowded atmosphere they can quickly bombard the wearer with unnecessary noise. Concert halls, auditoriums, places of worship and theaters are particularly tricky for the hearing impaired. Fortunately hearing loop systems permit people wearing hearing aids to easily focus on the sounds they want to hear – sermons, presentations, music and movie dailogue – without any unwanted distractions.

Hearing loop systems work together with the telecoil feature found in many hearing aids. Originally, the telecoil feature was used primarily to pick up on magnetic signals created by telephones. People who had a telecoil could enjoy a clear phone conversation without having to worry about 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.

A hearing loop system begins with an audio input, either from a dedicated microphone feed (such as in an auditorium or place of worship) or a PA system. This audio signal is fed into a hearing loop amplifier, which drives a current through a cable (or series of cables) looped 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.

There are newer forms of technology (such as FM transmission neck loops) that have established themselves in many venues, but audio loops are still common and offer a number of advantages. The fact that hearing loop systems are reliable, relatively easy to set up and work with the telecoils already installed in many of today’s hearing aids makes them popular with facility managers as well as with guests. They also provide a simpler, more discreet listening experience, since they don’t require the user to wear any additional equipment.

While hearing loop systems require some initial investment in terms of equipment and set-up, they are a proven way for venue owners and managers to offer a high-quality listening experience to as many visitors as possible.

Questions to Consider Before Buying Ear Plugs

Using ear plugs is among the simplest things you can do to protect your ears from harmful noise levels. These small devices are inserted into the ear to block out disruptive or damaging sounds. There are many types of ear plugs on the market, making shopping confusing for some people, but with a little knowledge you can find the right pair for your situation.

First of all, figure out how much noise reduction you need from your ear plugs. 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. Second, consider where and when you’ll use the ear plugs most often. Ear plugs with a lower NRR are sufficient for blocking out traffic noise or your roommate’s TV while studying. In contrast, you will need ear plugs with a higher NRR rating if your profession consistently puts you near loud equipment or music.

Third, evaluate the different materials that ear plugs are made from. The most basic material is foam. The foam is compressed during insertion then expands to plug the canal. Alternatively, silicone plugs are molded over the outside of the ear canal, allowing you to create a plug that fits your ear perfectly. Both silicone and foam plugs are intended to be disposed of after several uses.

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. For example, musicians often have custom ear plugs molded for them because they spend so much time around loud music both practicing and performing. Musician plugs are custom fitted and designed to allow the artist to hear themselves while blocking out harmful noise around them.

Many people shop for earplugs to wear while sleeping to block out the sound of their partner’s snoring. You can find ear plugs that are specifically designed to block out snoring without keeping you from hearing your fire alarm and alarm clock. When comparing ear plugs for sleeping, be sure to test them out with your head tilted sideways. This helps you figure out if they will be comfortable to wear while you are lying down.

Although there are many choices of ear plugs, a little advanced planning will help you narrow in on the ideal pair.

What Are In The Ear Model Hearing Aids and How Do ITEs Compare with Other Models?

When shopping for a hearing aid for yourself or a loved one you’ll encounter a variety of styles and shapes, and one of the more common is In-the-Ear (ITE). These hearing aids are a great choice for people with mild to moderate hearing loss as they are small, comfortable, and fit securely in the lower portion of the outer ear. Read on to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of ITE hearing aids.

In-the-ear hearing aids are specially designed to fit each wearer’s ear. The custom fit is achieved by first creating an ear mold which becomes the template for the device’s shape. The result is an exceptionally comfortable hearing aid with high sound quality and low feedback. All of the hearing aid components fit inside the case. That means that the ITE hearing aid has no external tubes or wires. As a result, in-the-ear devices are light and extremely comfortable.

The ITE hearing aid style has certain distinct advantages. It tends to be excellent at handling high-frequency sounds (which is the range where many people have the most significant hearing loss). This enhanced ability to collect and focus high-frequency sounds is a result of their location inside rather than behind the outer ear. Additionally, because this type of hearing aid is recessed in the ear, many people are able to use telephones and headsets 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. However, this small size also causes a short battery life and keeps them from having all the features found in some other devices. Handling the device and changing the battery inside requires good finger dexterity and eyesight.

While some users may not find in-the-ear hearing aids ideal, for many others they are the ideal device. For help choosing the best hearing aid style for your hearing loss and lifestyle give us a call.

Organizations Devoted to Promoting Healthy Hearing

You would like to help people struggling with hearing loss, but the range of charitable organizations is overwhelming. Selecting which charities to support financial is based on several factors including the cause itself, the reputation of the organization and the intended use of the funds. 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 – Collette Baker Ramsey, a woman who suffered from hearing loss herself, created Hearing Health Foundation in the 1950s. This organization fosters research to treat and cure hearing loss and promotes the prevention of hearing conditions through public education. Currently, the foundation is researching a cure for tinnitus, which is ringing in your ears that often signals a loss of hearing. 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.

Hearing Loss Association of America – With 14 state organizations, Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) leads the way in the U.S. as the largest national organization for sufferers of hearing loss. HLAA provides education, resources, and support to people with hearing loss and to 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. Visit the HLAA website at www.hearingloss.org to become a member or for information about upcoming charity walks in your area.

Starkey Hearing Foundation – Starkey Hearing Foundation is a national and international organization that offers three programs for hearing needs: Hear Now, Listen Carefully, and Hearing Aid Recycling. 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. The Hear Now program focuses on providing hearing aids to those who cannot afford them on their own. To get contact details for each organization or to give a monetary gift, visit www.starkeyhearingfoundation.org.