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'hearing loss' posts

Signs of Hearing Loss for Babies and Children

Early identification and intervention of childhood hearing loss is linked to improved outcomes in communication and learning. Most newborns receive a hearing screening before being discharged from the hospital. However, some children may experience hearing loss sometime after that initial screening. Childhood hearing loss can be caused by a number of factors including family history, health problems at birth, syndromes, persistent middle ear fluid, chronic ear infections, and exposure to loud noise or head trauma. Children with normal hearing typically demonstrate similar listening and vocalization behaviors. If your child does not display these behaviors, it may be a sign of possible hearing loss or other problems.

Does your baby…

 

Birth – 3 months

  • Wake or startle in response to a sudden noise?
  • Seem to be soothed by your voice?

4-6 months

  • Move ...

Acoustic Neuromas & How We Treat Them

Acoustic Neuromas, also known as vestibular schwannoma, is a slow growing  benign tumor on the balance nerve connecting the inner ear to the brain.

This is an uncommon condition, found in roughly 1 in 100,000 people. The most common symptoms include hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in your ear), and vertigo (a feeling of imbalance). Because these symptoms are present with many conditions, it is important to see your doctor if they persist more than a few weeks. Your healthcare provider will make a referral to an ENT surgeon or to a Neurotologist if they feel you need further evaluation. Neurotology is a sub-specialty of  otolaryngology (ears, nose, and throat) specializing in the neurological conditions of the ears and brainstem (also referred to as skull base surgery. if an acoustic neuroma is suspected). The neurotologist may conduct a clinical evaluation, hearing and balance tests and imaging studies, such as MRI, to make the diagnosis. 

Once diagnosed, there are many options to consider:

  • Observation with a repeat MRI scan in 6 months. If the scan shows no growth,  repeat scanning at annual intervals for 3 years is recommended. If the tumor size is stable, the scan will be repeated after 2 years thereafter. If at any interval the tumor grows, the other treatment options should be considered.
  • Radiosurgery is an option which ...

Protect your ears during summer fun and work

Summertime means that we residents of the beautiful Northwest will be outside as much as we possibly can.  There are two potential sources of damage to our ears which are of greater concern during the summer.

First, our ears are subject to sunburn.  Many of the hats we wear do not protect the ears from damaging exposure to sunlight.  Consider wearing a hat with a brim that extends completely around the head, rather than the baseball type hat which many of us wear.  Also, remember to apply sunscreen to the ears.  It is easy to forget them. 

Secondly, summertime means increased exposure to noise from yard maintenance tools or other power tools.  Injurious levels of noise are produced by almost every power saw, power sander, nail gun, weed eater, leaf blower, roto-tiller, power washer, and shop vac.  Ear plugs....

Hearing loss in the workplace

Hearing loss is a term that many associate with an aging population. For some it may trigger memories of large, obvious and obtrusive hearing aids or devices that squealed!  This is not the reality in 2013.  A look at the individuals I see every day as an audiologist reveals a large number of employed professionals who are encountering difficulty in work environments.  From telephone work to conference and lunch meetings, hearing loss is impacting our workforce.

The National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) estimates that nearly 1 in 5 Americans between the ages of 45-64 years of age experience hearing loss.  The prevalence of hearing loss increases with age and with an aging workforce that includes many working well into their 70s, it should be noted that the incidence of hearing loss increases to 1 in 3 for Americans between the ages of 65-74 years of age.  We now have a culture of employment that includes unique viewpoints from four generations working side by side.   Many of us are aware that intergenerational communication styles may vary.  It would behoove us to also consider hearing loss as we think about intergenerational communication in the workplace. 

Individuals who work in a quiet or solitary environment may “get by” with their hearing loss. However, most individuals will encounter much more complex listening environments at work. Imagine if you had hearing loss and were required to listen in the following environments:

  • Working in a cubicle environment where colleagues speak from behind or speak over/through walls.
  • Participating in conference calls and telephone calls in which there are no visual cues to supplement the speaker’s voice.
  • Participating in conference room meetings where distance can create a barrier in the ability to hear individuals around the table.
  • Listening to individuals with ...

Ten Ways To Recognize Hearing Loss

  • Do you have a problem hearing over the telephone?
  • Do you have trouble following the conversation when two or more people are talking at the same time?
  • Do people complain that you turn the TV volume up too high?
  • Do you have to strain to understand conversation?
  • Do you have trouble hearing in a noisy background?
  • Do you find yourself asking people to repeat themselves?
  • Do many people you talk to seem to mumble (or not speak clearly)?
  • Do you misunderstand what others are saying and respond inappropriately?
  • Do you have trouble understanding the speech of women and children?
  • Do people get annoyed because you misunderstand what they say?

If you or a loved one answered yes to three or more of the above questions, you may want to make an appointment with an otolaryngologist (an ear, nose and throat specialist) and/or an audiologist for a hearing evaluation.

Hearing loss can be caused by ...

Hearing Aid Life Expectancy and Power

Our concept of age depends on the object of our attention. For example, the average ant lives to be about 45-60 days. The average fly lives about 15-30 days. The average albatross lives between 42-50 years.

Electronics must be viewed differently however. They cannot eat something and become more energetic. There is the total lifespan of the device coupled with the power required to maintain the function it was designed for. A television is expected to last about 10 years, but will not work if it is not plugged in. The average car battery will only be useful for 5-7 years. A watch battery can vary from 1 to 6 years.

With our daily electronics, we take advantage of all types of batteries. How long can you go before you need to recharge your cell phone? Now imagine you used the phone continuously. How about the electronic tablets? Technology is wonderful, but must be constantly powered. Batteries for these devices last only a matter of hours before we need to find an alternate power source. With the electronics we depend on, it is critical to know how long we can expect to use them. This is even more true when those electronics begin to age. Highly sensitive and detailed instruments are classic examples of those devices for which we need to know the total life of the device and its power consumption.

A hearing aid is an example of such a device.

Hearing aids can use both disposable and rechargeable batteries. The cost effectiveness and convenience will vary greatly. The predicted number of hours for each battery will be hearing aid, and person, specific.

Also: the ear is small. Therefore the hearing aid must be small. The battery must then be even smaller.

As with any battery driven electronic device, hearing aids last much longer than their power source. The average hearing aid lifespan will vary significantly due to the amount of care provided to it. Accidents can and do happen. When it comes to hearing aids, seven years may not appear to be a very long time, but the device is considered ANCIENT by that time. The average person is expected to replace a hearing aid every 3-5 years.

There are several reasons for this:

What to do if you suspect your child has an ear infection

Ear infections are the most common illness in kids. Almost every child will have at least one ear infection by the age of 5. What do you do when your child complains of ear pain?

Ear pain in children is most often caused by a middle ear infection. These infections often follow an upper respiratory illness, like a cold or the flu. Common symptoms include fever, ear pain and irritability, like not sleeping through the night. It is possible for the buildup of pressure from fluid and infection behind the eardrum to cause the eardrum to rupture. In this situation you will most likely see drainage from the ear.

What should you do if you suspect your child has an ear infection?

  • Treat the pain. Ibuprofen (Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) are best.
  • Have a doctor look in your child’s ear to confirm an ear infection.
  • Decide with your doctor...

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