When you have tinnitus, you learn to deal with it. You keep the television on to help you tune the constant ringing out. You avoid going dancing because the loudness of the bar makes your tinnitus worse for days after. You check in with specialists frequently to try out new therapies and new strategies. Eventually, your tinnitus simply becomes something you work into your everyday way of life.
Tinnitus has no cure so you feel helpless. But that might be changing. New research published in PLOS Biology seems to provide hope that we may be getting closer to a permanent and effective cure for tinnitus.
Tinnitus normally manifests as a buzzing or ringing in the ear (though, tinnitus might be experienced as other sounds also) that do not have a concrete cause. A problem that affects over 50 million people in the United States alone, it’s incredibly common for people to suffer from tinnitus.
It’s also a symptom, generally speaking, and not a cause unto itself. Simply put, something causes tinnitus – there’s a root problem that brings about tinnitus symptoms. These root causes can be tough to diagnose and that’s one reason why a cure is challenging. Tinnitus symptoms can occur due to a number of reasons.
True, the majority of people attribute tinnitus to loss of hearing of some kind, but even that link is not clear. There is some relationship but there are some people who have tinnitus and don’t have any loss of hearing.
A New Culprit: Inflammation
Dr. Shaowen Bao, who is associate professor of physiology at Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscon has recently released research. Mice that had tinnitus brought about by noise induced hearing loss were experimented on by Dr. Bao. And a new culprit for tinnitus was discovered by her and her team: inflammation.
Inflammation was found around the brain areas used for hearing when scans were performed on these mice. These tests suggest that noise-induced hearing loss is contributing to some unknown damage because inflammation is the body’s reaction to damage.
But this finding of inflammation also brings about the opportunity for a new form of therapy. Because handling inflammation is something we know how to do (in general). When the mice were given drugs that impeded the observed inflammation response, the symptoms of tinnitus disappeared. Or at the very least there were no longer observable symptoms of tinnitus.
So is There a Pill to Treat Tinnitus?
If you take a long enough view, you can probably look at this research and see how, one day, there could definitely be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that–instead of counting on these various coping mechanisms, you can just pop a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus at bay.
That’s certainly the objective, but there are numerous big obstacles in the way:
- To start with, these experiments were conducted on mice. This method isn’t approved yet for humans and it might be quite some time before that happens.
- We still need to establish whether any new approach is safe; it may take a while to identify precise side effects, complications, or challenges related to these particular medications that block inflammation.
- There are many causes for tinnitus; it’s really difficult to know (for now) whether all or even most tinnitus is related to inflammation of some type.
So, a pill for tinnitus might be a long way off. But at least it’s now achievable. If you suffer from tinnitus today, that signifies a significant increase in hope. And other solutions are also being studied. Every new discovery, every new bit of knowledge, brings that cure for tinnitus a little bit nearer.
Ca Anything be Done Now?
If you have a continual ringing or buzzing in your ears today, the potential of a far off pill may provide you with hope – but not necessarily relief. Current treatments may not “cure” your tinnitus but they do give real results.
Some techniques include noise-cancellation devices or cognitive therapies designed to help you dismiss the noises linked to your tinnitus. A cure could be several years away, but that doesn’t mean you have to cope with tinnitus on your own or unaided. Discovering a treatment that works can help you spend more time doing what you love, and less time thinking about that buzzing or ringing in your ears. Get in touch with us for a consultation now.
How often do you think about your nervous system? Most likely not all that regularly. Usually, you wouldn’t have to worry about how your neurons are communicating messages to the nerves of your body. But you tend to take a closer look when something isn’t working right and the nerves start to misfire.
There’s one specific condition, known as Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease, which can affect the nervous system on a relatively large scale, though the symptoms usually manifest mainly in the extremities. And there’s some evidence to suggest that CMT can also cause high-frequency loss of hearing.
Charot-Marie-Tooth Disease, What is it?
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is a set of inherited disorders. The protective sheathing surrounding the nerves malfunction due to a genetic disorder.
There is an issue with the way impulses move between your brain and your nerves. A loss of motor function and sensation can be the outcome.
A mixture of genetic factors usually leads to the appearance of symptoms, so CMT can be found in a few varieties. Symptoms of CMT commonly begin in the feet and work their way up to the arms. And, curiously, among those who have CMT, there is a higher rate of occurrence of high-frequency hearing loss.
The Cochlear Nerve: A Link Between CMT and Hearing Loss
There has always been an anecdotal link between loss of hearing and CMT (meaning that within the CMT culture everyone has heard other people tell stories about it). And it seemed to mystify people who had CMT – the ear didn’t appear very related to the loss of feeling in the legs, for example.
A scientific study firmly established the connection just recently when a group of researchers examined 79 people with CMT at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
The results were quite decisive. Almost everyone with CMT passed their low and moderate frequency hearing exams with flying colors. But all of the individuals showed loss of hearing when it came to the high-frequency sounds (usually across the moderate levels). Based on this research, it seems probable that CMT can at least be connected to high-frequency loss of hearing.
The Cause of Hearing Loss and How to Treat It
The connection between high-frequency loss of hearing and CMT could, at first, seem perplexing. Like all other parts of your body rely on properly functioning nerves. Your ears are no different.
What the majority of researchers hypothesize occurs is that the cochlear nerve is impacted by the CMT – interfering with your ear’s ability to translate and transmit sounds in a high-frequency range. Anybody with this type of hearing loss will have a hard time hearing certain sounds, including people’s voices. Trying to understand voices in a crowded noisy room is especially hard.
This kind of hearing loss is usually managed with hearing aids. There’s no recognized cure for CMT. Modern hearing aids can provide tremendous help in terms of overcoming the effects of high-frequency hearing loss, selecting only those ranges of sounds to boost. Most modern hearing aids can also do well in loud settings.
There Could be Many Causes For Hearing Loss
Experts still aren’t entirely certain why CMT and loss of hearing seem to co-exist quite so frequently (above and beyond their untested hypothesis). But this kind of hearing loss can be efficiently managed with hearing aids. That’s why lots of individuals who have CMT will take the time to sit down with a hearing specialist and get a fitting for a custom hearing aid.
Hearing loss symptoms can occur for numerous reasons. Frequently, it’s an issue of loud sound causing damage to the ears. Blockages can be yet another cause. It also looks like CMT is another possible cause.
John’s having a hard time at work because he doesn’t always make out conversations. He’s in denial and continues telling himself that everyone is mumbling. He feels that you have to be old to use hearing aids, so he hasn’t scheduled a hearing test and has been steering clear of a hearing test. Unfortunately, he’s been turning up the volume on his earbuds in the meantime and doing considerable damage to his ears. Sadly, his resistance to acknowledging he has hearing loss has prevented him from getting effective treatments.
But what John doesn’t recognize is that his viewpoints are antiquated. Because the stigma around hearing loss is becoming less prevalent. Specifically, with younger people, it’s far less pronounced, even though you may still encounter it to some extent in some circles. (Ironic isn’t it?)
What Are The Problems With Hearing Loss Stigma?
The cultural and social associations with loss of hearing can be, to put it simply, not true and not helpful. Loss of vitality and aging are oftentimes associated with loss of hearing. The concern is that you’ll lose some social status if you disclose you have hearing loss. Some may think that hearing aids make you seem old or not as “cool”.
You could be tempted to consider this stigma as somewhat of an amorphous issue, detached from reality. But there are certain very real implications for individuals who are trying to cope with the stigma of hearing loss. Including these examples:
- Difficulties in your relationships (Your not just tuning people ot, you just can’t hear them very well).
- Obstacles in your occupation (maybe you didn’t hear a significant sentence in a company meeting).
- Putting off management of hearing loss (leading to needless troubled and undesirable results).
- Difficulty finding employment (it’s unfortunate, but some people may buy into the stigmas around hearing loss even if it’s not entirely legal).
There are quite a few more examples but the point is well made.
Fortunately, changes are happening, and it genuinely does seem as if the stigma over hearing loss is on its way out.
The Passing of Hearing Loss Stigma
There are a number of substantial reasons why hearing loss stigma is on the decline. Population demographics are transforming as is our perception of technology.
More Younger Adults Are Suffering From Hearing Loss
Younger adults are dealing with hearing loss more often and that could very well be the biggest reason for the decline in the stigma connected to it.
Most statistical studies put the number of people with loss of hearing in the U.S. about 34 million, which translates into 1 in 10 people. Most likely, loud sounds from many modern sources are the primary reason why this loss of hearing is more widespread than ever before.
There’s more discussion and knowledge about hearing loss as it becomes more widespread.
We’re More Confident With Technology
Maybe you were concerned that your first pair of hearing aids would make you look old so you resisted using them. But now hearing aids almost completely blend in. No one really even sees them. This is also, in part, because hearing aids are smaller than ever before and in most cases are very subtle.
But hearing aids also typically go unobserved because these days, everyones ears seem to have something in them. Everyone is used to dealing with technology so nobody cares if you’re wearing a helpful piece of it in your ear.
An Overdue Shift in Thinking
Obviously, those two factors are not the only causes for the retreat of hearing loss stigma. Much more is generally understood about loss of hearing and there are even famous people that have told the public about their own hearing loss situations.
There will continue to be less stigma about loss of hearing the more we see it in the world. Now, of course, we want to prevent loss of hearing in every way that we can. The ideal would be to change the trends in youth hearing loss while battling against hearing loss stigma.
But at least as the stigma fades, more people will feel secure scheduling an appointment with their professionals and undergoing regular exams. This will keep people hearing better and improve general hearing health.
People normally don’t like change. Looked at through that prism, hearing aids can be a double-edged sword: they create an exciting new world of sounds for you, but they also signify a considerable transformation of your life. If your someone who likes a very rigid routine, the change can be difficult. New hearing aids can create a few distinct challenges. But knowing how to adapt to these devices can help make sure your new hearing aids will be a change you will welcome.
Here Are Some Quick Suggestion to Adjust to Your New Hearing Aids
Your hearing will be considerably enhanced whether you are moving to your first hearing aids or upgrading to a more powerful design. Dependant on your individual circumstances, that may be a big adjustment. Following these tips might make your transition a little more comfortable.
When You First Get Your Hearing Aids Only Wear Them Intermittently
The more you use your hearing aids, as a basic rule, the healthier your ears will be. But if you’re breaking in your very first pair, wearing your devices for 18 hours a day can be a little uncomfortable. You might try to build up your stamina by beginning with 8 hours and increasing from there.
Listen to Conversations For Practice
When you first start using your hearing aids, your brain will likely need some time to get used to the idea that it can hear sounds again. You could have a hard time making out speech clearly or following conversations during this adjustment time. But if you want to reset the hearing-language-and-interpreting region of your brain, you can try doing exercises like reading along with an audiobook.
Spend The Time to Get a Hearing Aid Fitting
Even before you get your final hearing aid, one of the first things you will do – is go through a fitting process. The fitting procedure helps adjust the device to your individual loss of hearing, differences in the size and shape of your ear canal, and help enhance comfort. You could need to have more than one adjustment. It’s crucial to be serious about these fittings – and to consult us for follow-up appointments. When your hearing aids fit well, your devices will sit more comfortably and sound more natural. We can also help you make adjustments to various hearing environments.
Sometimes adapting to a new hearing aid is a bit difficult because something’s not working properly. If there is too much feedback that can be uncomfortable. It can also be frustrating when the hearing aid keeps cutting out. It can be overwhelming to adapt to hearing aids because of these types of issues, so it’s a good idea to find solutions as soon as you can. Try these tips:
- If you notice a lot of feedback, make sure that your hearing aids are properly sitting in your ears (it might be that your fit is just a bit off) and that there are no obstructions (earwax for instance).
- Consult your hearing expert to be certain that the hearing aids are properly calibrated to your loss of hearing.
- Discuss any buzzing or ringing with your hearing expert. At times, your cell phone can cause interference with your hearing aid. In other situations, it may be that we have to make some adjustments.
- Charge your hearing aids every night or replace the batteries. When the batteries on your hearing aids begin to diminish, they often don’t perform as effectively as they’re intended to.
The Benefits of Adapting to Your New Hearing Aids
Just as it could with new glasses, it may possibly take you a small amount of time to adapt to your new hearing aids. Hopefully, you will have a smoother and quicker transition with these tips. But if you stick with it – if you get yourself into a regimen with your hearing aids and really invest in adjusting to them – you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how it all becomes easy. And once that takes place, you’ll be capable of devoting your attention to the things you’re actually hearing: like your favorite programs or music or the daily interactions you’ve missed. These sounds will remind you that all those adjustments are worth it ultimately. And change is good.
You might have certain misconceptions about sensorineural hearing loss. Alright, maybe not everything is false. But there is at least one thing worth clearing up. Ordinarily, we think that sensorineural hearing loss develops over time while conductive hearing loss occurs suddenly. Actually, sudden sensorineural hearing loss often goes undiagnosed.
When You Develop sensorineural Hearing Loss, is it Generally Slow Moving?
The difference between conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss may seem difficult to understand. So, here’s a quick breakdown of what we’re talking about:
- Sensorineural hearing loss: This form of hearing loss is normally caused by damage to the nerves or stereocilia in the inner ear. When you think of hearing loss caused by intense noises, you’re thinking of sensorineural hearing loss. In the majority of instances, sensorineural hearing loss is effectively irreversible, though there are treatments that can keep your hearing loss from degenerating further.
- Conductive hearing loss: When the outer ear becomes blocked it can cause this form of hearing loss. This could be due to earwax, swelling caused by allergies or lots of other things. Conductive hearing loss is normally treatable (and managing the underlying problem will generally bring about the restoration of your hearing).
It’s normal for sensorineural hearing loss to happen slowly over time while conductive hearing loss happens fairly suddenly. But that isn’t always the case. Although sudden sensorineural hearing loss is very uncommon, it does exist. And SSNHL can be particularly damaging when it isn’t treated properly because everyone thinks it’s a strange case of conductive hearing loss.
Why is SSNHL Misdiagnosed?
To understand why SSNHL is misdiagnosed somewhat often, it might be practical to look at a hypothetical interaction. Let’s say that Steven, a busy project manager in his early forties, woke up one morning and couldn’t hear out of his right ear. The traffic outside seemed a bit quieter. So, too, did his barking dog and a crying baby. So he did the smart thing and scheduled a hearing test. Needless to say, Steven was in a rush. He had to catch up on some work after getting over a cold. Perhaps, while at his appointment, he forgot to mention his recent ailment. And it’s possible he even inadvertently omitted some other important information (he was, after all, already thinking about getting back to work). And so Steven was prescribed with some antibiotics and was told to return if the symptoms persisted by the time the pills were gone. It’s rare that sensorineural hearing loss comes on suddenly (something like 6 in 5000 according to the National Institutes of Health). So, Steven would normally be just fine. But there could be significant repercussions if Steven’s SSNHL was misdiagnosed.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss: The First 72 Decisive Hours
SSNH can be caused by a variety of ailments and situations. Including some of these:
- Some medications.
- A neurological condition.
- Traumatic brain injury or head trauma of some kind.
- Problems with blood circulation.
This list could keep going for, well, quite a while. Whatever concerns you need to be watching for can be better understood by your hearing expert. But the point is that lots of of these underlying causes can be managed. There’s a chance that you can lessen your long term hearing damage if you treat these hidden causes before the stereocilia or nerves become permanently damaged.
The Hum Test
If you’re having a bout of sudden hearing loss, like Steven, there’s a short test you can do to get a rough understanding of where the issue is coming from. And it’s fairly easy: just start humming. Simply hum a few measures of your favorite song. What do you hear? Your humming should sound the same in both ears if your hearing loss is conductive. (The majority of what you’re hearing when you hum, after all, is coming from inside your own head.) It’s worth mentioning to your audiologist if the humming is louder in one ear because it might be sensorineural hearing loss. Inevitably, it’s possible that sudden sensorineural hearing loss may be misdiagnosed as conductive hearing loss. So when you go in for your hearing exam, it’s a smart idea to discuss the possibility because there may be serious consequences.
The numbers don’t lie: at some time in your life, you’re probably going to need a hearing aid. A report from NIDCD estimates that around a quarter of all people between the ages of 60 and 75 have some form of loss of hearing, and that number jumps up to 50% for people 75 and older. The best method to deal with age-related loss of hearing is to wear a hearing aid, but how do you know which type is the right one for you? Hearing aids at one time had issues such as susceptibility to water damage and excessive background noise but modern hearing aids have resolved these sorts of problems. But there’s still a lot you should know when choosing a hearing aid to be sure it fits your lifestyle.
Pay Attention to Directionality
Directionality is one important feature you should look for, which is the ability for your hearing aid to focus on the specific noise near you (such as a discussion) while reducing background sound to a minimum. Many hearing aids have different directionality packages, which either focus on the noise directly in front of you, the speech that’s coming from different speakers, or a mix of those two.
Can You Use it With Your Phone?
It’s become obvious, we’re addicted to our phone as a nation. You most likely have some kind of cell phone, either a smartphone or an older style cell phone. And for those few who don’t actually own a cell phone, you most likely still have a land-line. So, when you’re testing different hearing aids, you will want to see how they connect to your phone. How does it sound? Are you able to discern voices clearly? Does it feel comfortable? Are there any Bluetooth connectivity options available? When shopping for new hearing aids, you need to consider all of these.
What is The Likelihood You Would Actually Wear it?
As noted above, hearing aid development has advanced tremendously over the past few years. One of those advances has been the size and shape of hearing aids, which are a lot smaller nowadays. However, there are always going to be some trade-offs. A smaller hearing aid might not be as powerful as a bigger one, so it mostly depends on your hearing professional’s recommendation and what you need to accomplish with your hearing aid. The little models won’t have the features of the larger models and they could get clogged with earwax but they fit inside your ears almost invisibly. On the other side of it, a behind the ear hearing aid is larger and may be more obvious, but often have more directionality functions and have more options for sound amplification.
What Kind of Background Sound Will You be Exposed to?
Wind interference has been an extreme issue for hearing aid users ever since they were developed. Being outside during a windy day with a traditional hearing aid used to mean that you couldn’t pick up anything but the wind, which is could drive anyone crazy. If you’re an outdoors kind of person or you live in a windy area, you’ll need to get a hearing aid that suppresses wind noise so you can carry on conversations at a normal volume and avoid the headaches that are associated with hearing aid wind noises. Inform yourself about the many hearing aid choices available to you. Give us a call.
Sometimes it’s easy to discern dangers to your hearing: the roaring jet engine next to your ears or the bellowing machines on the factory floor. When the hazards are logical and intuitive, it’s easy to get people on board with pragmatic solutions (which commonly include using earmuffs or earplugs). But what if your ears could be harmed by an organic compound? Just because something is organic doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy for you. How can something that’s organic be equally as bad for your hearing as loud noise?
An Organic Substance You Wouldn’t Want to Eat
To be clear, we’re not talking about organic things like produce or other food products. According to recent (and some not-so-recent) research published by European scholars, there’s a good possibility that a group of chemicals known as organic solvents can damage your hearing even if exposure is brief and minimal. To be clear, the kind of organic label you see on fruit in the grocery store is totally different. As a matter of fact, the word “organic” is employed by marketers to make consumers presume a product is good for them. The term organic, when related to food indicates that the growers didn’t utilize particular chemicals. When we talk about organic solvents, the word organic is related to chemistry. In the field of chemistry, the word organic refers to any chemicals and compounds that contain bonds between carbon atoms. Carbon atoms can generate all varieties of unique molecules and, therefore, a large number of different useful chemicals. But that doesn’t mean they’re not potentially dangerous. Each year, millions of workers are exposed to the dangers of hearing loss by working with organic solvents.
Organic Solvents, Where do You Find Them?
Some of the following products have organic solvents:
- Degreasing elements
- Cleaning products
- Glues and adhesives
- Paints and varnishes
You get the point. So, this is the question, will your hearing be harmed by painting or even cleaning?
Risks Associated With Organic Solvents
According to the most recent research available, the dangers related to organic solvents generally increase the more you’re subjected to them. This means that you’ll probably be okay while you clean your bathroom. The biggest risk is experienced by people with the most prolonged contact, in other words, factory workers who produce or make use of organic solvents on a commercial scale. Ototoxicity (toxicity to the auditory system), has been demonstrated to be connected to exposure to organic compounds. This has been demonstrated both in lab experiments involving animals and in experiential surveys with real people. Hearing loss in the mid frequency range can be impacted when the tiny hair cells of the ear are injured by solvents. The problem is that a lot of businesses are don’t know about the ototoxicity of these solvents. These dangers are even less recognized by workers. So there are insufficient standardized protocols to safeguard the hearing of those workers. All workers who deal with solvents could have hearing tests regularly and that would be really helpful. These hearing tests would detect the very earliest indications of hearing loss, and workers could react appropriately.
You Can’t Simply Quit Your Job
Most suggestions for safeguarding your hearing from these specific organic compounds include managing your exposure as well as routine hearing screenings. But first, you have to be aware of the risks before you can follow that advice. When the hazards are in plain sight, it’s not that hard. It’s obvious that you should take precautions to protect against the noise of the factory floor and any other loud sounds. But it’s not so straight forward to convince employers to take safety measures when there is an invisible hazard. Luckily, continuing research is assisting both employers and employees take a safer approach. Some of the best advice would be to use a mask and work in a well ventilated spot. Getting your ears examined by a hearing expert is also a smart idea.
Medications that harm your ears are remarkably common. From tinnitus medications that stop the ringing in the ears to drugs that could cause loss of hearing, find out which of them has an effect on your hearing.
Medications Can Impact Your Ears
The US accounts for almost half of the $500 billion dollar pharmaceutical industry. Do you regularly use over-the-counter medication? Or maybe your doctor has prescribed you with some kind of medication. All medications have risks, and even though risks and side effects may be listed in the paperwork, no one ever thinks they’ll be affected. So it’s important to point out that some medications increase the chance of hearing loss. A few medications can, on the plus side, help your hearing, like tinnitus treatment. But which ones will be a problem for your ears? But if you get prescribed with a medication that is recognized to result in hearing loss, what do you do? Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly on medications.
1. Your Ears Can be Harmed by Over-The-Counter Pain Relievers
The fact that such an ordinary thing could cause hearing loss. How often loss of hearing happened in people who were using many different pain relievers was analyzed by researchers. This connection is backed by several studies of both women and men. A collaborative study among Harvard, Brigham Young and Women’s Hospital uncovered something shocking. Over-the-counter painkillers, if used on a regular basis, will harm hearing. Regular use is described as 2 or more times per week. You commonly see this regularity in people with chronic pain. Using too much aspirin at once could cause temporary loss of hearing, which may become permanent over time. NSAID drugs that contain ibuprofen, acetaminophen and naproxen seem to be the most common. But you may be shocked to find the one with the strongest link. The culprit was acetaminophen. For men under 50 hearing loss danger nearly doubled if they were managing chronic pain with this medication. To be clear, prescription drugs are just as bad. Loss of hearing may be caused by the following:
The precise cause of the hearing loss is not clear. These drugs may reduce blood flow to your sensitive inner ear, which over time would kill nerves that detect sound. That’s why hearing loss may be the results of prolonged use of these medications.
2. Some Antibiotics Are Ototoxic
Most antibiotics are most likely reasonably safe when taken as directed and you’re not allergic. But certain types of antibiotic might increase the risk of hearing loss: Aminoglycoside. Studies are in the early phases so we haven’t seen reliable data on human studies as of yet. But there have been some individuals who seem to have developed loss of hearing after using them. It’s convincing enough to see the results of the animal testing. There may be something to be concerned about according to the medical community. Each time mice are fed these antibiotics, they ultimately lose their hearing. Aminoglycoside antibiotics are frequently used to treat:
- Bacterial meningitis
- Certain other respiratory diseases
- Cystic fibrosis
- Tuberculosis (TB)
More prolonged conditions are managed over a longer time period with these. Pneumonia and children’s ear infection were, until not long ago, typically treated with Neomycin. Concerns over side effects in the past decade have led doctors to prescribe alternatives. More data is necessary to figure out why some antibiotics could contribute to loss of hearing. It seems that long term damage could be caused when these medications create swelling of the inner ear.
3. How Your Ears Are Impacted by Quinine
If you’ve ever had a gin and tonic, then you’ve had quinine. Quinine is the key ingredient that creates the bitterness in tonic and is sometimes used to treat people with restless leg syndrome or malaria. While research that investigates the correlation between quinine use and hearing loss aren’t that well-known. Reversible loss of hearing has been observed in some malaria patients.
4. Your Hearing May be Harmed by Chemo Drugs
You know that there will be side effects when you go through chemo. Attempting to destroy cancer cells, doctors are loading the body with toxins. These toxins can’t often tell the difference between normal cells and cancer. These drugs are being examined:
- Carboplatin commonly known as Paraplatin
- Cisplatin commonly known as Platinol
- Bleomycin commonly known as Blenoxane
Regrettably, chemo-induced loss of hearing is a crucial trade off when fighting cancer. You may need to speak to your hearing care expert about tracking your hearing while you’re dealing with cancer treatments. Or you may want to find out if there are any suggestions we can make that may help in your individual situation.
5. Loop Diuretics and Hearing Loss
While attempting to regulate fluids in your body you might try taking diuretics. As with any attempt to manage something using medication, you can take it too far in one direction, dehydrating the body. This can cause salt vs water ratios to get too high in the body, causing inflammation. Even though it’s normally temporary, this can cause hearing loss. But hearing loss could become permanent if you let this imbalance continue. Taking loop diuretics with ototoxic drugs (the drugs listed in this article) may make the long-term damage much worse. If you’re using the most well-known loop diuretic, Lasix, your doctor can advise you concerning which medications can have side effects if combined with it.
What to Do If You’re Taking Drugs That Could Cause Loss of Hearing
Never discontinue using a medication that was prescribed by a doctor without talking to your doctor first. Before you speak with your doctor, you should take inventory of all your medications. You can ask your doctor if there is an alternative to any drugs that cause hearing loss. You can also reduce your dependence on medications with some lifestyle changes. In certain situations, slight changes to your diet and exercise program can put you on a healthier path. These changes might also be able to lessen pain and water retention while reinforcing your immune system. You should schedule an appointment to have your hearing screened as soon as you can especially if you are taking any ototoxic drugs. Hearing loss can advance very slowly, which makes it less noticeable at first. But don’t be mistaken: you may not realize the ways it can affect your happiness and health, and recognizing it early gives you more possibilities for treatment.
So, it’s not very often that you wear your hearing aids? Most of the time you leave them in the drawer unless you are, for instance, going to the theater or to a party. Is it really necessary to wear them more often than that?
The concern is that when you don’t wear your hearing aids on a regular basis, you’re developing some troubling disadvantages for yourself over the long term. Your hearing may get drastically worse. Cognitive decline and social isolation could be the result. Your general health could be compromised. So, if you aren’t wearing your hearing aids, you should certainly pay attention to this.
Why Aren’t Your Hearing Aids in Your Ears?
You probably have a good reason for keeping your hearing aids in a somewhere in a drawer. You might have decided to keep those reasons to yourself. Maybe, when your family asks, you even say something generic and elusive, such as, “I just don’t like them”.
Stilted dialogue to the side, we know that’s not the complete story, right? If you go a little deeper, you’ll probably find that there’s a specific grievance at the heart of your irregular hearing aid use. Specific issues are positive because they create the possibility to find an equally specific solution.
Some of the most common grievances consist of the following;
“My Hearing Aids Feel Uncomfortable”
One of the most typically mentioned reasons that individuals discontinue using their hearing aids normally is discomfort. Maybe the hearing aid won’t stop falling out of your ear. Or maybe your over-the-ear model chafes in just the wrong spot, causing tenderness and pain.
Hearing aids aren’t supposed to be uncomfortable, so something is most definitely wrong if they are creating any kind of irritation. And it’s understandable that you wouldn’t want to use a piece of technology that creates pain, frustration or soreness.
Possible solution: If you’re uncomfortable with your hearing aids, a follow-up fitting appointment is something you should think about. A few slight tweaks could be all your hearing aid requires. Some models can even be entirely customized to the shape and size of your ears. The more comfortable your hearing aid fits, the more likely you are to leave the device in place for long periods of time.
I’m Experiencing Poor Quality Sound From my Hearing Aids
Perhaps you don’t use your hearing aids regularly because you find the sound to be fuzzy or tinny. If that’s the case, it’s not shocking that you’ve opted to store your hearing aids in a drawer somewhere and save them for “special occasions”.”
This tinny or fuzzy sound can happen because hearing aids are performing complex auditory processes at all times, amplifying some sounds while filtering out others. So the sound quality might seem hard to rely on if your settings aren’t properly adjusted.
Solution: There are two potential solutions to this difficulty: calibration and upkeep. It could be that your hearing aids are damaged in some way or another and have to be repaired. But it might be possible that they just need a simple calibration (generally this is something your audiologist can take care of for you).
Voices Are Muffled With my Hearing Aids
You need to hear voices with clarity. When you first got hearing aids that was the whole reason! You didn’t want to miss out on a single word. So it could be a little bit discouraging if all the voices you hear with you’re hearing aid are muffled or hard to understand.
This usually happens when you first use your hearing aids because your ears and brain aren’t necessarily used to communicating all that well anymore (it’s like they had a disagreement or something).
Solution: Practice. Your brain is going to have to get used to hearing language again, so putting yourself in situations where you can hear people conversing regularly will be helpful. Try reading along to an audiobook or reading along with the closed captioning while watching tv. Another way to get some positive practice is by simply having conversations with people around you.
The point is that no matter what your justification for not using your hearing aids maybe, there is an answer somewhere. And it is essential, both for the health of your hearing and for your cognitive well-being, that you wear your hearing aids routinely.
So if you’re not using your hearing aids? After identifying the issue, find a solution, so you can get active in your life again. If you suspect your hearing aids need adjustment, contact your hearing care professional now.
Do you ever hear sounds that appear to come out of nowhere, such as buzzing, thumping, or crackling? It’s possible, if you wear hearing aids, they might need a fitting or need adjustment. But it might also be possible that, if you don’t have hearing aids, the sounds may be coming from your ears. There’s no need to panic. Even though we mostly think of our ears in terms of what they look like on the outside, there’s much more than what you see. Here are some of the more common noises you might hear inside your ears, and what they may indicate is going on. You should talk with an audiologist if any of these are lowering your quality of life or are irritating and persistent, though most are brief and harmless.
Crackling or Popping
When the pressure in your ears changes, whether from altitude, going underwater or just yawning, you could hear crackling or popping noises. These sounds are caused by a small part of your ear called the eustachian tube. When the mucus-lined passageway opens to allow air and fluid to pass, these crackling sounds are produced. At times this automatic process is disturbed by inflammation brought about by an ear infection or a cold or allergies that gum the ears up. Surgery is sometimes needed in extreme situations when the blockage isn’t helped by antibiotics or decongestants. If you’re suffering from lasting ear pain or pressure, you should probably consult an audiologist.
Buzzing or Ringing is it Tinnitus?
Once more, if you have hearing aids, you may hear these kinds of sounds if they aren’t fitting properly in your ears, the volume is too high, or you have low batteries. If you aren’t wearing hearing aids, earwax may be the issue. Itchiness or even ear infections make sense when it comes to earwax, and it’s not unusual that it could make hearing challenging, but how could it create these sounds? If wax is touching your eardrum, it can restrict the eardrum’s ability to work properly, that’s what produces the buzzing or ringing. Thankfully, it’s easily solved: You can get the excess wax professionally removed. (This is not a DIY activity!) Excessive, prolonged ringing or buzzing is called tinnitus. There are several types of tinnitus including when it’s caused by earwax. Tinnitus is a symptom of some sort of health issue and is not itself a disorder or disease. Besides the buildup of wax, tinnitus can also be connected to depression and anxiety. Diagnosing and dealing with the fundamental health issue can help relieve tinnitus; talk to an audiologist to learn more.
This one’s not so prevalent, and if you can hear it, you’re the one causing the sound to happen! Do you know that rumbling you can sometimes hear when you take a really big yawn? There are tiny muscles in the ear that contract in order to minimize the internal volume of certain natural actions such as your own voice or chewing or yawning, It’s the contraction of these muscles in reaction to these natural noises that we hear as rumbling. We’re not suggesting you chew too noisily, it’s just that those noises are so close to your ears that without these muscles, the noise level would be damaging. (But talking and chewing not to mention yawning are not something we can stop doing, it’s lucky we have these little muscles.) These muscles can be controlled by some people, although it’s quite rare, they’re called tensor tympani, and they can produce that rumble at will.
Pulsing or Thumping
If you occasionally feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat inside your ears, you’re most likely right. Some of the body’s biggest veins are extremely close to your ears, and if you have an elevated heart rate, whether from that big job interview or a hard workout, your ears will detect the sound of your pulse. This is called pulsatile tinnitus, and unlike other types of tinnitus, it’s one that not just you hear, if you go to see a hearing expert, they will be able to hear it as well. If you’re dealing with pulsatile tinnitus but your pulse is not racing, you need to consult a professional because that’s not normal. Like other kinds of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus isn’t a disease, it’s a symptom; there are likely health problems if it persists. Because your heart rate should go back to normal and you should stop hearing it after your workout when your heart rate goes back to normal.