Hearing Aids, Prisoners’ Rights, and the Sound of Civil Liberties

Voting rights, freedom of speech, and classroom prayer-these are the controversies that usually come to mind when people think of civil liberty lawsuits. Far, far down the list of things that come to mind, or possibly not on the list at all, is hearing aids. Most people would not believe enough to associate legal action over civil liberties with auditory enhancement devices. In an Ohio prison, however, an inmate is filing suit against the correctional facility, claiming that they have violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, as well as the prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment in the eighth amendment to the United States Constitution.

James Handwork lost his ability to hear three decades ago while serving in the US Army. He served as a paratrooper, and the years of exposure to loud noise from airplane engines deafened one ear completely and left the other badly damaged. Without hearing aids, his auditory perception of the world around him is akin to listening to the world from inside a brass bell or hearing faint echoes inside a concrete tunnel. He has used an inner-ear device to assist him since 1986. The ear damage also affected his balance, so he suffers from bouts of vertigo.

In 2002, Handwork went to prison for homicide. His hearing aids were given to him in 2003 and have not been replaced since then. One of them is completely broken, and the other is almost functionally useless. He has been almost without sound for years.

The average lifespan of conventional audial devices is five to seven years, and Handwork alleges in his lawsuit that he has been almost totally deaf since 2009. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has a policy that they will replace one, but not both, of his hearing aids. Mr. Handwork is represented by a legitimate civil liberties organization that alleges the prison system's policy is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Under the act, all people must have provided equal access to the services, programs, and activities afforded to others just located. As a public entity, the prison is required to abide by this law. Handwork's complaint also alleges that the department's policy of applying a “one size fits all” replacement is a violation of the 8th amendment because it amounts to an arbitrarily cruel and unusual punishment. The case is currently pending in US District Court in northern Ohio.

There is an extra wrinkle that could possibly give this case bolder ramifications: the prison in question is wholly owned by a private company under contract with the state. Ohio is the first state to turn over prison control completely to private enterprises. For civil liberties groups that ardently object to privatized incarceration, this case may be the canary in the coal mine; if relatively small policies like these are allowed to go unchecked, they argument, it will slowly erode constitutional protections.

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Who Is Susceptible to Tinnitus and How to Cope

Tinnitus is a disease that develops when people have permanent hearing loss. Individuals with the disease report hearing a constant noise in their ears. The noises can range from dim, high-pitched sounds to something even louder than that. Some studies show that as much as one in ten adults suffer from it. It is also true that some people are more prone than others, especially those who are surrounded by noise in the workplace. Here is a run-down of those who are most likely to develop this disease, and how to cope with it.

Veterans

Perhaps more than any other segment of the population, combat veterans are highly susceptible to developing hearing problems. The VA website reports that tinnitus is the number one disability among veterans. From the sound of guns and mortars to the noise of helicopter rotors, there's no question that many vets are left with permanent hearing damage. The VA's website offers some tips and advice to vets who are experiencing these problems. Some VA centers also offer programs that vets can sign up for to learn how to cope with this issue.

Factory and Machine Workers

People who work in factories or around heavy machinery are also susceptible to permanent hearing loss. This may also include airport personnel or those who work around aircraft. When people are constantly exposed to loud noises, the small cilia, or hair fibers, became damaged beyond repair. Cilia pick up sound waves and vibrations, which send signals to our brains to help us register sounds. When they become too badly injured, they can not be repaired, and this is what causes the constant ringing. It's like hearing a permanent sound in your ears all the time.

Musicians

Musicians who spend much of their career on tour and on the road will inevitably wind up with hearing damage. It's not just high-pitched noises that affect the ears, but low frequencies as well. Musicians who spend their careers surrounded by stacks of amplifiers will have long-term exposure to high and low-frequency sound waves.

What Can Be Done

While this disease can not be cured, there are ways for people to learn to cope with it. Deep-breathing exercises have a remarkable effect on patients. If those suffering can learn how to slow their breathing, this will help calm their thoughts, and bring their anxiety levels down. Learning to meditate also works.

But for some, this is not enough. Audio therapy is another form of treatment for tinnitus. For those who suffer, audiologists can help patients find sounds that sooth their pain. Listening to music is a big one, but some may try downloading nature sounds onto their iPods. Others may bring a small fountain into their room to help ease the tension as they fall sleep at night.

Another method is listening to something that is not necessarily soothing but engaging. Audiobooks, for instance, can help not only distract the person from the noise, but also engage their thought processes. Many who suffer from tinnitus find that when the noise is at its worst, it's the only thing they can think about. Listening to podcasts or web-radio programs may also help to focus the patient's thoughts and provide a comforting distraction from the constant noise.

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The Magic of Hearing Aids

Our ears are tools that we use all day every day. If you are experiencing poor hearing quality, the overall quality of your life can quickly diminish. Whether you are training to listen to your boss during an important meeting or feeling like an outsider because you can not keep up in a conversation with your friends, the ability to hear is one that needs to be maintained and appreciated.

Luckily, if you are experiencing any of the problems listed above, there is a reliably easy solution. With hearing aids, you can quickly reclaim those lost or muffled moments in your life.

The science behind hearing aids is not terribly complex. The three components are a microphone, amplifier, and speaker. The microphone captures the noise just as your ears would. It then filters the sound through the amplifier, effectively growing and increasing the sounds. When the amplifier has finished its job, it sends it back out through the speaker to your eardrum. This results in hearing everything as it should be at the proper volume, despite any hearing shortcomings you may experience.

What is especially nice is that hearing aids are no longer bulky external devices that they once were. During their inception in the early 1900's, they were usually large phone-like devices that would need to be held outside of the ear. As the years passed and technology advanced, they have advanced into miniature bean-sized form. They are now delivering clearer audio than they ever have, while remaining discrete and very noticeable.

Currently, there are many different types of hearing aids. The most types are inside the canal and outside the canal. With hearing aids that go inside of the canal, the device is miniature enough to be fully inserted into the ear canal, about 4 mm away from the eardrum. Most can remain inside of the ear for up to 120 days without needing to be replaced. These are customizable to the individual wearer and fit to their ear canal. The benefit of this type is that minimal maintenance is required once a comfortable fit is made. They are not recommended for individuals with severe hearing loss due to their small amplification capabilities.

Outside of the canal devices offer different benefits. Since they are located outside of the canal, they are able to be larger and therefor stronger. These are the recommended type for anyone with extreme hearing loss. While they are somewhat visible, a proper mold can hug the inner ear enough to make them barely noticeable. These devices can easily be removed at any time by the user and usually have volume control directly built into them.

Modern advances allow for capabilities like Bluetooth technology. This allows for the direct pairing of devices to minimizeize interference and boost clarity. Television, landline telephones, cell phones, PDAs, MP3 players, and other wireless devices are all accessible. With so many capable devices on the market, there has never been a better time to make this kind of investment in your hearing!

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4 Signs It’s Time to Schedule a Hearing Test

Pure tone audiometry is used to evaluate and diagnose issues related to hearing loss. Individuals should get this hearing test on a regular basis for early detection and effective treatment. A person may consider this test if they notice several warning signs. Difficulties in understanding people clearly in a conversation is usually the first warning symptom. The inability to hear in places with background noise may cause an individual to subsequently withdraw from social situations. Family members and loved ones may notice the steady increase in the volume on the TV and radio. Finally, tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is a common sign that needs to be addressed at the next scheduled appointment with a qualified audiologist.

A Pattern of Difficulty in Hearing Others

Difficulty in understanding people clearly is usually the first major warning sign. For example, individuals may perceive everyone as either speaking too low or constantly mumbling, so many usually ask family and loved ones to repeat words or “speak up” in conversation. Straining to listen to a conversation on the telephone may also become a common occurrence.

Those who suspect this issue should closely consider the demographics that they have the most trouble understanding. As women and children tend to have more high-pitched voices, people may not be able to hear these groups.

Difficulty Hearing in Crowded Areas

Some people notice that words are always getting drowned out by background noise whenever they find themselves conversing with someone in a crowded area such as a restaurant, party, or even a busy street. Individuals who notice a problem with pinpointing even the general location of certain sounds and voices in a crowded room should also consider a hearing test.

The accessibility to socialize in even a moderately crowded area due to hearing loss can be more than frustrating; it can also prove to be debilitating. Since listening is one half of social interactions, people may withdraw from conversation to avoid further embarrassment. This interference with an active social life may cause isolation and emotional distress, so it's imperative to consider a hearing test if this warning sign is noticed.

An Increase in Volume on TV and Radio

Individuals may feel that their radio and TV are always set at a volume that is way too low for their enjoyment or comfort, but the volume setting on the television may not be the actual problem. A common warning sign includes having to constantly crank up the volume on their television and radio; meanwhile, loved ones may complain that both devices are always too loud. This warning sign can also serve as a common cause. While young adults enjoy blasting music on their speakers and headphones, many experts warn against too much loud noise and the long-term damage it can have on a person's ears drums.

Tinnitus (Ringing in the Ears)

Tinnitus is usually described as ringing or buzzing in the ears, but the sound has also been described as a click, hiss, or roar. Tinnitus is generally caused by prolonged exposure to loud noises, so preventive measures, such as earplugs at work and keeping devices at a moderate volume, are often advised.

Tinnitus is not considered a disease on its own, but rather a symptom of a much larger issue, such as an ear infection or complication stemming from a previous head injury.

According to one 2013 Brazilian study that included more than 500 participants who suffered from hearing loss, 43 percent had also said to have experienced tinnitus.

If an individual notices tinnitus occurs more frequently, they should discuss this with an audiologist.

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When Earwax Removal Requires a Professional

Earwax removal is a normal part of personal hygiene, and most of us will never have a problem with it. Medically termed, “cerumen,” earwax is essentially made up of keratin, fatty acids, and cholesterol. The human body-as well as many mammals-naturally produces this substance. Glands secret it inside of the outer ear. Though it can be annoying at times, even gross, it has a critical role in the health of our ears.

The main purpose of earwax is to protect the sensitive parts of our inner ears. Things like dust, bacteria, water and even insects are kept out to prevent our ear canal from being compromised. Microorganisms thrive in dark, moist places, and if it were not for this oily wax, these organizations would be able to colonize and cause some major problems. Under normal conditions, the process of production and secretion is very natural and often goes unnoticed.

There are many home remedies and methods of achieving earwax removal. The most common one is the cotton swab. These are effective tools for regular wax buildup and are generally safe without there is excessive accumulation. However, a small ball of wax can be pushed further into the ear canal with a cotton swab and cause a blockage that can accumulate into a big problem. Whenever the ear canal is blocked, the natural process of air and moisture is interrupted and can lead to infections and even temporary partial hearing loss.

Although home remedies can often fill small wax buildup, it is important to know when earwax removal should be left to the professionals. There are a few ways to know when it is time to see an audiologist. Anytime the wax becomes excessive, especially over a consistent period, or it turns a dark, reddish brown, the solution might be better left to the pros. In the case of a true problem, home remedies like bobby pins or irrigation solutions may cause permanent damage. Those who wear hearing aids or use headphones often are at a higher risk of a blockage since these devices tend to push the earwax further into the ear canal and inhibit air flow.

An audiologist has the know-how and the tools to solve your ear problems. During your appointment, you can expect to see an instrument called an otoscope, or ear scope. This device has a small flashlight with a magnifying lens attached that allows the audiologist to get a good look at what is going on in your ear. The otoscope can detect whether or not there is a blockage due to excessive earwax or if an infection is present. If there is a buildup, the audiologist can safely remove the wax with specially designed tools.

Most of us will never experience any disruption in the process of earwax, but it is critical to have any potential problems checked. Our hearing is precious, and we only have two ears. Taking good care of them makes good sense, and you can have peace of mind knowing that there are professionals out there who can assure that your ears stay healthy.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Hearing Services

Going to see an audiologist can be a stressful experience. You do not know what to expect and probably have many different questions running around in your head. Read these frequently asked questions about hearing services to prepare for your visit.

Am I a Candidate for Auditory Aids?

One of the biggest questions everyone has the first time they go to a hearing services specialist is if they need aids. The best way to know if this is even a consideration is to ask yourself if you are experiencing difficulty communicating with the world around you. This includes not being able to understand or missing pieces of conversations. Having had an accident or near miss because you could not hear the warning sounds around you is another indicator.

In the event that your accessibility to participate in everyday life has caused you to withdraw, it is time for you to seek help.

My Doctor Says I Need a Device. Which Type Should I Wear?

There are four primary styles of hearing devices. These include behind-the-ear, in-the-ear, in-the-canal, and completely-in-the-canal. The type that you should choose will be based upon your unique needs. Do not choose one solely based on the way it looks.

For example, if you have dexterity issues, an in-the-device device may not be your best choice. If you have draining problems, you want something that provides ventilation. Finally, if your canals are too narrow, or the shape of your outer ear is deformed, you may be restricted in the type of device you can choose.

In addition to physical factors, the type of loss you experience will also dictate the type of equipment you are able to use. For example, if you have severe loss, you may be better suited for a behind-the-ear system as it creates less feedback than other options.

Do I Have to Buy Two Auditory Devices?

Buying the recommended equipment from a hearing services specialist can be expensive. Those who are on a budget may wonder if it is necessary to purchase one for each ear. While you may be able to get away with one, binaural listening systems are better.

One reason is that they work better in noise. If both ears with the same amplification receive the amplified sound, the brain is able to cross-correlation and process the signals better than if only one side is processed.

Another reason is that binaural signals improve localization ability. The way the human brain processes sound is based on the difference in loudness between the two sides, the difference in pitch on each side, and the time in which it takes to get to both sides.

Signal versus noise level level from the optimized position improves with dual aids. Sound waves lose intensity as they travel across your head. If you wear only one system, say on the left, and the person who is speaking to you is on the right, the sharpness of consonants and vowels may deteriorate before they reach the device. In the event that you are in a crowded, noisy room, speech may deteriorate, making it even more difficult to process.

In the event you choose to have only one hearing device, you could have made your unaided ear worse. In reality, you do not hear with your ears, you do so with your brain. These devices work to retrain your brain to process the signals transmitted by the aids. If you have one side unaided, it could make it more difficult for your brain to “hear” on that side.

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Hearing Aids Do Help: Understanding How They Work and the Technology Available

For some people, not being able to understand conversations that are going on around them can be troublesome. Not only do you miss important information, but also misunderstanding what is being said can adversely affect your relationships. There are solutions to your problems.

Before you can be tested to see if you need hearing aids, you must first get past the hurdles that keep you from going for testing in the first place. Many hold out thinking that only older people wear these devices. They may think that being at the peak of their careers means that they are not negatively affected by their accessibility to clearly understand what is going on around them. You could be one of those people that are okay with the loss. Your aversion could also stem from not understanding how these devices work.

How Hearing Aids Work

It can be confusing to understand the intricacies of how these small systems work. They are highly sophisticated and come in many different forms. That is because there are many different types of audiological problems. However, no matter how complex the device, they all share five basic components that work together to amplify sound.

Hearing aids all have a microphone built in. This picks up sounds through an area. The sound is then transmitted to a processing chip. This chip analyzes what the microphone has received. Once the noise is processed, it is sent to the amplifier. The amplifier magnifies the sound and transmits it to a loudspeaker. The speaker then broadcasts the sound into the inner ear. The inner ear turns the sound into electrical impulses, which are then picked up by the brain and processed.

The process sounds like it would take hours to complete. In reality, that complex relay system works in a matter of seconds.

Available Technology

While all devices have some of the same basic components, there are several different ways for the sound to make it to the inner ear. Some of these systems have a small wire that is placed directly in the ear. Others use a tube connected to an earmold, which feeds into the ear. Some are small enough to fit right in the canal with no additional wires.

While the size and style may differ, there are only two ways for the sound to be processed. It can be either analog or digital.

In analog apparatuses, the sound is processed as an electric signal received by the microphone, and then the sound is copied. However, with these gadgets the copy is limited, and some deterioration occurs.

In digital equipment, the signal is converted into binary digits. This is processed in a similar manner to the analog options. However, because the digital signal is simplified to 0s and 1s, it can be repeated endlessly with no deterioration in the signal.

While it may seem that digital hearing aids are the obvious choice, for some, they simply do not work as well. Your audiologist can help you determine which option meets your needs and your budget.

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Personal Hygiene – Ways To Taking Good Care Of Your Ears

Remember the time when your mum penstered you about washing your hands before meals thoroughly.

Well, she did that for a reason.

Personal hygiene is extremely essential for a good mind, body and soul. These basic habits that are taught to us as tiny humans shape us as to who and how we turn out as adults. Let's look at one of the essential part of the body that often gets ignored. Your ears.

Not many people realize this, but caring for your ears is also a part of personal hygiene. Your ear consists of three parts the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. Your outer ear needs to be looked after and not the other two parts as they are internal. The visible part of your outer ear is known as pinna and that is the entrance to the ear canal that leads to the ear drum.

Ear wax and its importance

Ear wax is present in all of us and its main job is to be a protective barrier between the inner, middle ear and external sounds. Wax gets consumed periodically in the outer ear. This happens for many reasons. Some of us have an anatomical narrowing of the ear that stops the wax from coming out naturally. Prolonged usage of hearing aids, head phones or ear phones may interfere with the excretion of wax. Some people may have more wax accumulation than others. Wax build-up can cause some serious concerns which may affect a person's ability to hear. He or she may have difficulty in hearing that can get extremely uncomfortable in due course. It also causes vertigo (dizziness) and in extreme cases it may also result in ringing of the ears, also known as tinnitus.

Many ENT's these days do not recommend the use of any equipment along with trying to clean or remove wax from the inside ear. One needs to clean the pinna with soap and water, however, any attempt to go deeper than this can cause mild discomfort. Using cotton buds which were once recommended by the previous generations is now considered a dangerous practice and can cause irreparable damage to the inner ear nervously along with pushing the wax deeper which may lead to infections and blockages.

Be it home, work or school you need to take care of your ears. In case you like listening to music, avoid high volume levels when using stereos and home theater systems. Do not forget to put on your ear plugs at nightclubs, rock concerts, motor sporting events and even when you go for a swim.

It is good practice to include examination and cleaning of your ears in your daily cleansing routine. You need to get your ears checked regularly by your general practitioner and if need be go see an ENT who can give you a clear diagnosis about the condition of your ears. Personal hygiene is an essential component of healthy living and if you have neglected it so far it's never too late to start now.

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When to Seen an Audiologist: Hearing Loss Symptoms in Kids

The risk of hearing loss is highest in older adults. However, more and more young people are beginning to lose their hearing almost as steadily as adults. The key to minimizing the risk of hearing loss and reducing its significant impact is early intervention. By visiting an audiologist and taking steps to identify any causes of the problem as soon as the loss is identical, measures can be taken to reduce the chance of permanent disadvantage. The following are some signs that could signify that a child is experiencing a problem:

Being Less Involved in Family Life

Children who are having a difficult time with hearing can become easily frustrated. Because of this, they may retreat away from everyday family life because they are not able to partake in the conversation as easily. If this lack of involvement becomes noticeable, it could signify a problem. The inability to participate fully in table conversations or family activities can be quite upsetting for a child who can not understand what is being said to them.

Loss of Memory

Another symptom that is noticed in children is a loss of memory. The child may begin forgetting things on a regular basis, such as errands that they were supposed to run or a chore they were supposedly to complete. While this can seem as simple as a slip of the mind, it can actually be a much bigger problem. Instead of forgetting to do what was asked of them, it is completely possible that they never heard the instructions in the first place.

Removing Themselves From Social Events

Much like adults who lose their hearing, kids also remove themselves from social situations and activities with friends. Due to the mounting frustration of not being able to understand anyone, they can feel uncomfortable and out of place. They may find that they are asking people to repeat themselves until it becomes frustrating and annoying for the person being asked. This can result in a complete lack of desire to attend social events.

Decrease in Grades

In addition to these other symptoms, a kid who has a sudden drop in his or her grades may also be dealing with the inability to listen to what is being said. They can become unable to concentrate on their schoolwork due to being frustrated and irritable. They can also become inattentive since they can not understand what is going on when the teacher is speaking. Since they do not understand the lessons, their grades will extremely fall. If this becomes noticeable, it is imperative to get an audiologist to get a proper diagnosis.

As these signs become apparent, it is crucial to have the child tested by an audiologist as soon as possible so that further losses are not experienced. Hearing problems can be the result of a variety of causes, including ear injuries, listening to music too loud, or even ear infections. A hearing device may be needed, but it will be worth it for the comfort and confidence of the child.

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Products, Providers, and More: A Guide to Finding the Best Hearing Aid Supplies

You might be wondering if your hearing needs a little assistance. Here is some information on determining whether you need hearing aid supplies and which kinds of companies to look to if you do.

So You Think You Might Need Hearing Aid Supplies

You might be wondering if your ears are functioning properly. Maybe you do not notice that the telephone or doorbell is ringing. Perhaps you have difficulty understanding conversations and find yourself saying “What?” a lot, especially when talking to a group of people, a young child, or someone with a speech impediment. If you've been noticing this more and more, it's probably time to consult a professional to see if there is a problem and what that problem might be.

An ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT), an audiologist, or even a trained specialist at a hearing aid supplies dispensary can give you a test.

Some potential problems include conductive hearing loss-which affects the middle or outer ear and blocks sounds from reaching the inner ear-and sensorineural loss, where the nerves in the inner ear itself have been impaired. The latter is the most frequently occurring problem and often occurs naturally with age. You may also be suffering from mixed hearing loss, which is not too common but happens when both issues are affecting the person at once.

Once the issue has been diagnosed, you can find the proper hearing aid supplies to restore functionality and improve your quality of life.

Types of Products

Some devices are worn inside the ear (ITE) and are usually tailor-made for the individual customer. Some are worn on top of or behind the ear (BTE) and feature tubing that snakes down inside.

Within these basic categories, there are many variations in style, size, capacity, and other features. Your doctor or a supply company can help you find the option that works best for you.

Finding the Best Provider

There are many things to look for when choosing a provider for your hearing aid supplies. Look for a company that is reputable and staffed by friendly, knowledgeable professionals. You need people who can provide the best advice for choosing and using your device-and who can provide maintenance, repairs, and / or replacements if anything goes wrong. Experienced suppliers can provide cleaning and adjustments as needed to the product you choose. Customer testimonials and business ratings are a good way to see what others have to say. Your audiologist may also be able to offer recommendations.

Top-quality companies will offer a wide range of brands and styles to meet various customer needs. Be on the lookout for other types of products that might be suited to your specific medical concern and lifestyle as well. Many companies offer things like water plugs and high-volume plugs to protect swimmers, musicians, and others. Some also offer protection specific to gun blasts that is essential for people like police officers and hunters.

If you have concerns, get tested and do some research to find the supplier that is right for you.

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Cochlear Implants – A “Sound” of Hope to Millions

What is a cochlear implant?

A cochlear implant is an electronic medical device which replaces the function of the damaged inner ear (cochlea). Cochlear implants bypass the damaged hair cells of the cochlea to provide sound signals to the brain.

The implant consists of an external portion that sits behind the ear and a second portion that is surgically placed under the skin.

An implant consists of:

  • A microphone, which picks up sound from the environment.
  • A speech processor, which selects and arranges sounds picked up by the microphone.
  • A transmitter and receiver / stimulator, which receive signals from the speech processor and convert them into electric impulses.
  • An electrode array, which is a group of electrodes that collects the impulses from the stimulator and sends them to different regions of the auditory nerve.

Who can get a cochlear implant?

Both children and adults who are deaf or severely hard-of-hearing can be candidates for implants. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), more than 324,200 people worldwide have received implants till date.

You need an implant if you:

  • Have moderate to substantial hearing loss in both ears
  • Receive little or no benefit from hearing aids
  • Score 50% or less on sentence recognition tests done by hearing professionals in the ear to be implanted
  • Score 60% or less on sentence recognition tests done by hearing professionals in the non-implanted ear or in both ears with hearing aids.

Cochlear Implant Procedure

The surgical procedure for cochlear implants starts with a careful evaluation by ENT surgeon, anesthetist, audiologist and physician. A little incision in made at the back of the ear and then the surgeon implants the receiver. The receiver is then connected to electrodes that are surgically inserted inside the cochlea. The surgery usually takes 1-2 hours to complete.

Benefits of Cochlear Implants

  • You develop more confidence in different social situations
  • You speak at normal hearing level
  • You communicate better
  • You start enjoying the world of new sounds

Thinking of getting a cochlear implant? Here's what you need to know …

The United Nations Development Index ranked Nigeria 152 out of 187 countries in healthcare delivery in 2014, which is a result of existing lacunae in the infrastructure and health facilities including low doctor population ratio and absence of internationally recognized certificates in the country.

Around 1.27 million people visit India for medical treatment from countries such as the US, UK, and Canada in addition to visitors from neighboring countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. Not so long ago in 2012, about 40% of visas to India from Nigeria were for different medical treatments.

Why medical tourism?

  1. Cost effective world class medical facilities with hospitals and specialized health centers with no waiting time.
  2. Exceptionally advanced quality of healthcare, accredited medical facilities, skilled doctors and para-medical professionals.
  3. Availability of affordable accommodation options.
  4. Well-connected means of transportation.
  5. Availability of alternative treatment options such as ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy.

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Tinnitus: Understanding the Causes and Treatments

Tinnitus is defined as hearing a noise when no sound is present. While it often manifests and is frequently described as a “ringing in the ears,” it can also be perceived as a click or a hiss. It's a common symptom experienced by 1 in 5 people in the United States. It is important to note that it is not a condition itself, but a symptom that can be caused by a number of underlying conditions.

By far, the most common cause is noise-induced hearing loss. Prolonged and / or persistent exposure to loud noises damages the cochlea. The cochlea is a spiral-shaped cavity in the inner ear that is lined with nerve-ends to respond to vibrations. Over time, the cochlea becomes harmed in such a way that it reacts to non-existing external vibration stimuli. People who frequent loud concerts or work in music venues, or people who work with heavy machinery like carpenters and road workers, are commonly afflicted. The best way to prevent damage is to wear earplugs or earmuffs.

In other cases, the ringing sensation is caused by the natural loss of hearing due to aging, Meniere's disease, head injuries, or even something as simple as wax build-up putting pressure on the inner ear. In rare instances, the ringing sensation can be caused by high blood pressure, which leads to what's known as pulsatile tinnitus. In that case, the ringing manifests not as a constant hum but beats in time with an individual pulse.

Because it is a symptom of a number of possible conditions, there is no “cure” for tinnitus. Addressing the undering cause may help, but, in the case of noise or age-induced hearing loss, there is little that can be done. For the vast majority of people afflicted, tinnitus is merely a mild annoyance that can even go unnoticed most of the time. If the ringing is perceived at a very low volume, the noise of everyday life will likely drown it out. In that case, the symptom will be most pronounced when trying to sleep. If it is low enough, ambient sound can help push out the ring sound without depriving the afflicted of sleep.

In some or “catastrophic” cases, the ringing can be so severe as to go beyond mere annoyance and interference with an individual's social and professional life. In those cases, doctors can apply a number of methods to help alleviate the ringing sound. Cognitive behavioral therapy can be employed as a psychological technique. While this will not cure tinnitus, it helps people ignore the symptoms so they can get on with their lives. Other methods that can be employed in extreme cases include hearing aids and other sound generation techniques that are designed to overlap and cancel out the specific frequencies experienced. In most cases, those who suffer from the ring eventually become accredited to it and, after time, simply ignore it.

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Musical Tinnitus and Me

Musical hallucinations are rare. I’ve been in the hearing aid business since 1986 and to my recollection I’d never heard of it or had a patient that had it. So when I began suffering from musical hallucinations myself two years ago I had to look it up to find out what it was.

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Popular Hearing Aid Types Available in Online Medical Supply Stores

Many hospitals, doctors and individuals are purchasing their medical equipment from online medical supply stores. In this article, we will discuss some of the most popular hearing aid devices available in those online stores.

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Ear Wax Removal 101

The body naturally produces wax, which is also called cerumen. This thick substance contains dead skin cells, hair, and secretions from two different glands in the canal. Although it can seem unpleasantly and unsightly, this bodily function is natural and normal. It's important to manage ear wax removal correctly, or you could create unsuccessful blockage issues.

A List of Don'ts

While it is natural to want to stay clean, there are several things people should not do with regards to this sensitive organ. Cotton swabs are extensively marked for cleaning ears. In many cases, however, your body keeps itself clean. The process of inserting a cotton swab into the canal can actually do more harm than good. This process may push cerumen back down into the canal instead of allowing it to work itself out naturally. Once this pattern begins, the body may even respond by producing more wax. Over time, the cerumen can become severely compacted, which can partially or completely obstruct the canal.

Additionally, people should never attempt to use any sharp instruments for ear wax removal. Items such as paper clips, hairpins, and toothpicks can result in serious injury, sometimes even causing a punctured drum.

A number of over-the-counter remedies are also available for ear wax removal. These remedies include candling and flushing. The candling process involves lighting a hollow candle and using the heat from the candle to create suction, which should pull out any cerumen. A number of problems can occur from candling, including potential burns and dripping candle wax. Flushing involves the use of water to dislodge a blockage. A danger associated with flushing is moisture becoming stuck behind the blockage, which could cause inflammation.

Effective Measures

Hydrogen peroxide is an effective method for dislodging blockages. One way to resolve unsatisfactory buildup is to simply place a drop or two of hydrogen peroxide into the ears before taking a shower. During the course of the shower, the warm water should help loosen and wash away stubborn blockages. Some people like to place a drop of mineral oil into the ears daily. This can help combat dry skin, which can exacerbate blockages.

Getting Professional Assistance

Sometimes despite home efforts, ear wax removal proves difficult. You will know you are having a serious problem if you experience gradual hearing loss, ringing, pain, and a feeling of fullness. When this occurs, see a physician for assistance.

A clinician can irrigate the canal to clean it out. Typically, this process simply involves warm water or saline. Another procedure involves manual removal using suction. The doctor will magnify the area with a microscope and then use a small instrument to pull out the blockage. This can be an excellent option for anyone with a narrow canal or who has had a perforated drum.

Although there is no way to slow or stop the body's production of cerumen, it is possible to avoid painful problems with correct cleaning techniques. Seeing a physician when issues arise could reduce the risk of permanent damage.

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