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28/Nov/2020

Tinnitus is the clinical term for a ringing noise in the ears. Although it is not limited to ringing and you may hear buzzing, whistling, roaring, whirring or hissing as well. These noises are not external and are caused by a change in the transmission of the signals from the ear to the auditory cortex, a part of the brain where sound is processed. The pitch and level of tinnitus can be high or low and vary over time.

Causes of tinnitus

There are a number of factors that can stimulate tinnitus. Some of them are

Exposure to loud noise

Ear or head injury

Ear infection or other diseases

Side effects of certain medications

Hearing loss

Stress

Types of tinnitus

There are two types of tinnitus – subjective and objective.

Subjective tinnitus is the common type and can only be heard by the person with this condition.

On the other hand, objective tinnitus is rare and can be heard even by the person examining someone with the condition. Objective tinnitus can be caused by physical effects like increased blood flow in the ears or spasm in the muscles of the middle ear making it audible to the one closely examining.

Getting rid of tinnitus

Some of the best remedies to try to get rid of tinnitus are

Limiting the sound

While using ear protection like mufflers and earplugs in noisy environments can help prevent tinnitus from getting worse, listening to soft, distracting sounds like fan or radio static can help make it bearable. Alternatively, you can also opt for sound masking devices that fit in the ear and play white noises, pink noises, soft and other ambient music. 

Cognitive behavioural therapy

Tinnitus can be one of the symptoms of emotional stress. People suffering from anxiety, depression or insomnia can develop the condition commonly. Initially developed for depression and other psychological issues, CBT is proven to help you with tinnitus. It can help you relax and accept the sounds and make them more tolerable. 

Tinnitus retraining therapy

This therapy helps by retaining the auditory system to accept the noises caused by tinnitus as natural and make them less audible. The therapist explains how the auditory system works and uses sound therapy. For this therapy, a device is inserted in the ear that generates environmental sounds and low level noises matching the volume and pitch of the tinnitus in the patient’s ear. The treatment can last up to one or two years depending on the severity of the condition. 

Biofeedback with stress management

Tinnitus and stress go hand in hand. If you’re already undergoing stress and develop tinnitus, the condition may worsen and increase stress levels. On the other hand, increased stress levels can worsen tinnitus as well. Biofeedback can help you relax and control stress levels by changing the way the body responses. Electrodes are attached to the skin that pass information about physiological processes like pulse, muscle tension and temperature into a computer that you can check on a monitor. You are taught how to alter these processes by changing your feelings and thoughts, thereby reducing stress.

While there is no cure for this condition, there are a lot of ways by which you can accept the noises and make them bearable. Practicing mindfulness and learning how to control your thoughts help reduce both tinnitus and stress.


28/Nov/2020

If you have to shout over the noise to be heard by someone within arm’s length, the noise is probably in the dangerous range. Here are the warning signs:

  • You have pain in your ears after leaving a noisy area.
  • You hear ringing or buzzing (tinnitus) in your ears immediately after exposure to noise.
  • You suddenly have difficulty understanding speech after exposure to noise; you can hear people talking but can’t understand them.

We hear sound when delicate hair cells in our inner ear vibrate, creating nerve signals that the brain understands as sound. But just as we can overload an electrical circuit, we also can overload these vibrating hair cells. Loud noise damages these delicate hair cells, resulting in sensorineural hearing loss and often tinnitus (ringing in the ears). The cells that are the first to be damaged or die are those that vibrate most quickly—those that allow us to hear higher-frequency sounds clearly, like the sounds of birds singing and children speaking.

Studies have shown that concert  lovers who wore earplugs were roughly five times less likely to have some temporary hearing loss than those who didn’t wear them. The earplug-users also were less likely to suffer from tinnitus afterwards. Prolonged exposure to lawn mowers, power tools, motorised recreational vehicles, target shooting, sporting events and fireworks can potentially damage hearing. But you can avoid or minimise hearing damage by wearing earplugs or other ear protection. Your local hearing care professionals at ‘ My Audiologist’ can provide custom ear protection that is crafted to fit each unique ear. Custom protection ensures a proper, optimal fitting each time, further reducing the risk of unwanted noise exposure. We  can also provide a hearing test to determine your baseline hearing level and determine if you already have any hearing loss.

Please call ‘ My Audiologist” on 07 3446 5845…..


28/Nov/2020

Single sided deafness can be caused by a number of things, from viral infections or thrombi to brain tumours  and is currently incurable and difficult to treat. Symptoms include difficulty localising sound (direction of sound source) have significant difficulty hearing in noisy situations, especially when the noise is comingssd4from their hearing side.  The noise becomes part of the speech and very difficult to separate. Technology has evolved as we now have sophisticated Contralateral Routing of Signals (CROS) and Bilateral Contralateral Routing of Signals (BICROS) .

Researchers have been studying brain plasticity in response to Single sided deafness.  Brain plasticity is the ability of the brain to modify its own structure and function in response to changes, such as disease,  within the body or external factors.  It is at the base of normal brain function:  it helps us to learn and change our behaviour  as children, and as adults can help us to overcome brain injuries, use prosthetic limbs and of course, as well as many other things – including hearing devices.

Researchers found that the spread of cortical activation was symmetrical across the hemispheres of the brain in normal-hearing subjects, while in those with the single sided deafness the spread of neuron activation was extended in one hemisphere and reduced in the other.  This discovery demonstrates plasticity in both hemispheres of the brain in SSD sufferers, and is an important step toward the possible development of biomarkers that will assist in the guidance of treatment choices. Ultimately, it may even be possible to use this plasticity to develop therapies to cure the condition: by using brain stimulation as a process to restore a normal interhemispheric relationship.  Additionally, it may be that scientists may be able to restore normal auditory processing, returning SSD sufferers to a life less affected by their hearing and communication handicap.

Would you like to read the complete journal…. Please view ‘My Audiologist’ twitter page….. Alternatively you could call us on 07 3446 5845


28/Nov/2020

Meniere’s disease is a condition that affects the inner ear. There are 4 typical symptoms associated with Meniere’s disease:

  • spontaneous, recurrent episodes of vertigo (coming and going attacks of dizziness or giddiness);
  • hearing loss;
  • tinnitus (a constant noise in one ear, often described as a buzzing or humming sound); and
  • a sensation of fullness or pressure in the ear.

Meniere’s disease usually affects one ear, but can affect both. People aged 40 to 60 years are most likely to develop Meniere’s disease, but it can affect people of all ages.

The disease is thought to be due to an increase in the pressure of the fluid (called endolymph) contained in the membranous labyrinth, a part of the inner ear.

Medications that reduce fluid (diuretics) may help reduce the pressure of fluid in the inner ear and help control the frequency and severity of symptoms. Medicines that improve circulation to the ear, such as betahistine (brand names Seniere, Serc), may help control symptoms in some people. A hearing aid may help with hearing loss.

Eating a salt-reduced diet can help reduce fluid retention and help decrease the volume and pressure of fluid in your inner ear, and is generally recommended. This may help reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms.

Avoiding caffeine may help reduce tinnitus, and avoiding nicotine can also help improve symptoms.

Learning techniques to manage stress and anxiety and joining a support group may also help people with Meniere’s disease. Minears organisation, Whirled Foundation are few such support groups….Need more information or a friendly chat free feel to call ‘ My Audiologist” on  07 3446 5845


28/Nov/2020

NIHL can be caused by a one-time exposure to an intense “impulse” sound, such as an explosion, or by continuous exposure to loud sounds over an extended period of time, such as noise generated in a woodworking shop.Recreational activities that can put you at risk for NIHL include target shooting and hunting, snowmobile riding, listening to MP3 players at high volume through earbuds or headphones, playing in a band, and attending loud concerts. Harmful noises at home may come from sources including lawnmowers, leaf blowers, and woodworking tools.

Sound is measured in units called decibels. Sounds of less than 75 decibels, even after long exposure, are unlikely to cause hearing loss. However, long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. The louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time it takes for NIHL to happen.

Here are the average decibel ratings of some familiar sounds:

    • The humming of a refrigerator
      45 decibels
    • Normal conversation
      60 decibels
    • Noise from heavy city traffic
      85 decibels
    • Motorcyles
      95 decibels
    • An MP3 player at maximum volume
      105 decibels
    • Sirens
      120 decibels
    • Firecrackers and firearms
      150 decibels

Your distance from the source of the sound and the length of time you are exposed to the sound are also important factors in protecting your hearing. A good rule of thumb is to avoid noises that are too loud, too close, or last too long.

If you are exposed to noise recreational or work related get your hearing measured…… But make sure you have at lease 24 hours of no exposure to noise before getting your hearing assessed.  Please call ‘ My Audiologist” on 07 3446 5845 for a  comprehensive hearing assessment….  And yes we do Workcover claims and assessment…. We are GEPI trained and certified…. Yes we do Aviation Medical Hearing test


28/Nov/2020

Exposure to some chemicals can result in hearing loss. These chemicals are known as Ototoxic substances. Hearing loss is more likely to occur if a worker is exposed to both noise and ototoxic substances than if exposure is just to noise or ototoxic substances alone. There are three major classes of ototoxic substances: solvents, heavy metals and asphyxiants. Work activities that commonly combine noise and ototoxic substances include:

• painting

• printing

• boat building

• construction

• furniture making

• fuelling vehicles and aircraft

• manufacturing, particularly of metal, leather and petroleum products

• degreasing

• fire-fighting

• weapons firing

Some medications have also been identified as ototoxic substances. These include some anticancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-thrombotic, anti-malarial, anti-rheumatic and antibiotic drugs. Quinine and salicylic acids (such as aspirin) are also considered to be ototoxic substances. Some of these can be absorbed through the skin and are considered particularly hazardous.  Control measures such as substitution, isolation and local ventilation should be implemented to eliminate or reduce chemical exposures. Personal protective equipment should be used to prevent skin and respiratory absorption when other controls are insufficient.

If you work with Ototoxic substances with or without exposure to noise please do get your hearing checked… Call ‘My Audiologist’ on  07 3446 5845 for a  comprehensive audiological assessment.


28/Nov/2020

Studies have shown that a healthy cardiovascular system—a person’s heart, arteries, and veins—has a positive effect on hearing. Conversely, inadequate blood flow and trauma to the blood vessels of the inner ear can contribute to hearing loss. The inner ear is so sensitive to blood flow that it is possible that abnormalities in the cardiovascular system could be noted here earlier than in other less sensitive parts of the body.” researchers found that audiogram pattern correlates strongly with cerebrovascular and peripheral arterial disease and may represent a screening test for those at risk. Researchers even concluded that patients with low-frequency hearing loss should be regarded as at risk for cardiovascular events, and appropriate referrals should be considered.Research shows that hearing loss is frequently associated with other physical, mental, and emotional health conditions, and that people who address their hearing loss often experience better quality of life. Eight out of 10 hearing aid users, in fact, say they’re satisfied with the changes that have occurred in their lives specifically due to their hearing aids—from how they feel about themselves to the positive changes they see in their relationships, social interactions, and work lives.
When people with even mild hearing loss use hearing aids, they often improve their job performance; enhance their communication skills; increase their earnings potential; improve their professional and interpersonal relationships; stave off depression; gain an enhanced sense of control over their lives; and better their quality of life.

Do you have  a family history or predisposition towards heart diseases. Please get your hearing checked… Call ‘My Audiologist’ on 07 3446 5845


28/Nov/2020

Diabetes being the fastest growing chronic disease in the world with more than 1.5 million diabetics in Australia and more than 2 million Australian adults with pre-diabetes – a condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not enough for a diagnosis of diabetes.

A recent study found that hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes as it is in those who don’t have the disease. Right now we don’t know how diabetes is related to hearing loss. It’s possible that the high blood glucose levels associated with diabetes cause damage to the small blood vessels in the inner ear, similar to the way in which diabetes can damage the eyes and the kidneys. But more research needs to be done to discover why people with diabetes have a higher rate of hearing loss.Since it can happen slowly, the symptoms of hearing loss can often be hard to notice. In fact, family members and friends sometimes notice the hearing loss before the person experiencing it.

Signs of Hearing Loss

  • Frequently asking others to repeat themselves.
  • Trouble following conversations that involve more than two people.
  • Thinking that others are mumbling.
  • Problems hearing in noisy places such as busy restaurants.
  • Trouble hearing the voices of women and small children.
  • Turning up the TV or radio volume too loud for others who are nearby.

If you are a diabetic or pre diabetic , or you’re concerned about your hearing call for a hearing evaluation on 07 34465845


28/Nov/2020

There are many risk factors associated with dementia, but one of the most recently discovered correlations is a condition that few would consider as even related to the disease. Research has identified hearing loss as a potential indicator of the development of dementia. Compared with individuals with normal hearing, people with hearing loss are more likely to develop dementia. The findings are found in a study published in 2011 made by Frank Lin, otolaryngologist and epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the US. He and his team followed 639 patients for 18 years. None of the subjects had cognitive impairments at the beginning of the study, although some did have a certain degree of hearing loss. During the 18 years of follow up, 58 cases of dementia were diagnosed amongst the 639 patients. The researchers found that for older adults with hearing loss, brain tissue loss happens faster than it does for those with normal hearing. We “hear” with our brain, not with our ears. When we have a hearing loss, the connections in the brain that respond to sound become reorganised.

Fortunately, for many people, hearing aids can provide the sound stimulation needed for the brain to restore the normal organisation of connections to its “sound centre” so it can more readily react to the sounds that it had been missing and cognitively process them.

Researchers says un-addressed hearing loss not only affects the listener’s ability to “hear” the sound accurately, but it also affects higher-level cognitive function. Specifically, it interferes with the listener’s ability to accurately process the auditory information and make sense of it.

In one study, Wingfield and his co-investigators found that older adults with mild-to-moderate hearing loss performed poorer on cognitive tests than those of the same age who had good hearing. The sharpness of an individual’s hearing has cascading consequences for various aspects of cognitive function. Even if you have just a mild hearing loss that is not being treated, cognitive load increases significantly.One has to put in so much effort just to perceive and understand what is being said that you divert resources away from storing what you have heard into your memory. As people move through middle age and their later years, researchers suggest, it is reasonable for to get  hearing tested annually. If there is a hearing loss, it is best to take it seriously and treat it.

You want to know more about this call ‘My Audiologist’ on 07 3446 5845……


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