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'Hearing and Skull Base Surgery' posts

Hearing loss and holiday gatherings

Holidays are known for gathering with friends and family to celebrate the season and the passing of another year.  For those with hearing loss, these gatherings can be more stressful than enjoyable. Small groups of people around the room all talking at once about how best to serve the cranberries or the beautiful lights that are decorating homes in the neighborhood can be difficult to hear even with a mild hearing loss.  Working to understand what is being said takes a lot of energy and focus and can result in the feeling of isolation, tiredness and depression.

There are things you can do to help improve your communication during these otherwise festive times.  No matter your hearing abilities, good communication strategies are always helpful when you are talking to others while cooking in a busy kitchen, gathered around the warm fireplace or sitting across the dinner table.  The Better Hearing Institute has some great suggestions to share with your loved ones.

Depending on the severity of your hearing loss, you may benefit from the use of hearing aids or even a cochlear implant.  Many people think that hearing aids are only for the elderly and cochlear implants are only for young children.  This is not the case.  Your hearing loss and speech understanding abilities determines what technology is right for you with no regard to your age.  [Finally!  Something doesn’t care how old I am!!] There are ...

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 ...

What is an audiologist?

An audiologist is a master’s or doctoral level trained professional who evaluates, treats and manages hearing and balance disorders in children and adults. Audiologist work in a variety of settings such as medical centers, private practice clinics, universities, schools, Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) physician clinics, Veteran’s Administration and military settings.

At Swedish, you will find caring and talented audiologists with a wealth of clinical experiences. The audiologists at Swedish have experience with infant through geriatric diagnostic hearing evaluations, auditory evoked potentials, vestibular evaluations, tinnitus management and the selection and fitting of hearing aids. Additionally, audiologists work closely with surgeons to complete the fitting and programming of osseo-integrated devices, cochlear implants and brainstem implants following surgery.

Because most hearing issues are not medically treatable, most individuals with hearing loss work...

Swedish to Host Live Stream of Woman’s First Time Hearing in Five Years, Plus Live Text Chats

CochlearImplantMrsDay.jpgSEATTLE, Oct. 9, 2012 - On Tuesday, Oct. 2, Eleanor Day, 79, underwent a cochlear implant procedure at Swedish/Cherry Hill by Dr. Douglas Backous, medical director of the Center for Hearing and Skull Base Surgery. Her procedure was the world’s first live-instagrammed and live-tweeted cochlear implant (hearing restoration) surgery (click here to see a recap). This Wednesday, Oct. 10, Swedish will live stream Mrs. Day’s cochlear implant activation, in which she will potentially hear her husband’s voice without the help of hearing aids for the first time in five years. The Days have been married for 60 years.

Watch Mrs. Day's cochlear implant activation - live!

Many people joined us last week to see Mrs. Day's cochlear implant surgery live-tweeted and Instagrammed. (You can click here to view a recap and see the pictures from Instagram.)

One of my favorite parts of the event was seeing the many thoughtful tweets & notes were sent in support of Mr. & Mrs. Day:

Some of the most frequently asked questions we received during the event were:

  1. Why are you doing this? (Answer - read this blog post, and watch this video to learn more about the inspiration behind the #SwedishHear web series.)

  2. Are you livestreaming Mrs. Day's cochlear implant activation?

We weren't originally planning to livestream the activation like we've done livestreams before - instead, we planned to host two, text-based live chats so people could type and read questions and engage directly with Dr. Backous, Stacey Watson (Mrs. Day's audiologist), and Karen Utter (President, Hearing Loss Association of Washington State).

Now we're doing both!

If you tune in....

Live-tweeting and Instagram Cochlear Implant/Hearing Restoration Surgery on October 2, 2012

You may have seen a post (Forbes) or two (CNET) in your various newsfeeds recently about the fact the Swedish is live-tweeting and Instagramming a cochlear implant (hearing restoration) surgery tomorrow, on October 2, 2012. (Check it out at www.swedish.org/swedishhear.)

A question we've gotten is why live-tweet or Instagram a surgery? Haven't you done that already? (Yes, we've used Twitter and video before (to educate patients about deep brain stimulation and knee replacement procedures, among others), but not Instagram.)

We're learning from our patients how hard it is to access information if you are deaf or have hearing loss, and, per a study in The Lancet, how this impacts the quality of healthcare. And so we decided to create additional resources to help raise awareness about the option of cochlear implants. (In this Mashable postDr. Backous said only 10% of people who qualify for cochlear implants end up receiving them.)

Here's an example of one of the many stories that inspired this series:

(For closed captioning press the CC button located in the middle of the action bar that appears at the bottom of the video when it is playing. For the best results, watch the video in full screen by pressing the full screen button located in the right hand corner of the action bar.)

People with hearing loss are not able to call on the phone to get more information or ask questions, so we decided to document via text (tweets) and images (Instagram photos) the cochlear implant procedure.

We're also hosting two text-based chats next Wednesday on October 10, 2012 (at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Pacific Time). The chats will enable patients and interested viewers to talk directly via the chat (text based - no audio) to Dr. Backous, audiologists, patients who have had the procedure, and patient advocacy groups. If you have unanswered questions about hearing loss or cochlear implants, we hope you'll join us for the discussion. (You can ...

(Click 'read more' to see a full recap from the live event)

Swedish to Host World’s First Live-Instagrammed, Live-Tweeted Hearing Restoration Surgery as Part of Month-Long Educational Web Series on Hearing Loss

SEATTLE, Sept. 26, 2012 - Swedish Medical Center and Douglas Backous, M.D., medical director of the Center for Hearing and Skull Base Surgery at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute, will host the world’s first live-instagrammed and live-tweeted cochlear implant (hearing restoration) surgery on Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 7 a.m. Pacific Time (PT).

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