Over the last several decades, the entertainment industry has produced numerous films and television shows that focus on characters who have some degree of hearing loss. One of the most memorable examples is The Miracle Worker (1962), the true story of Annie Sullivan teaching Helen Keller to understand words through signs and motions made with her fingers in Keller’s hands. It’s a powerful, well-written film that’s elevated by strong, Oscar-winning performances from Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke.
Loss of balance is an all-too-common symptom in medical conditions associated with aging. The brain, muscles, bones, nerves and inner ear all work together to maintain the body’s balance. Because vestibular dysfunction makes it difficult for a person to maintain their balance, they are highly susceptible to falling, which makes it extremely important for them to remain active.
The Video Head Impulse Test, or vHIT, is an instrumented technique that is used to help diagnose reduction in vestibular function in one ear versus the other. Using a lightweight, high-speed video goggle to measure left or right eye velocity and record any abnormalities, vHIT gives hearing health professionals the ability to quickly and objectively measure the vestibular ocular reflex (VOR) in response to a patient’s head movements within the normal range of daily motions.
There are no secret remedies that a person can rub into their ears to miraculously treat their hearing loss, nor is there is a “Get Your Hearing Back in 3 Weeks Diet.” No shortcuts like that exist. However, studies have shown that your diet can affect your hearing health.
Ototoxicants are chemicals that have been identified by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) as causing hearing loss and balance issues when inhaled, absorbed through the skin, or ingested. They are found in some pesticides, solvents, medications, and other chemicals found workplaces. And, according to OSHA, their negative effect on a person’s hearing increases when workers are also exposed to elevated noise levels.
Hearing loss in the workplace is a serious consequence of workers being exposed to damaging noise levels. Consider these statistics:
- An air compressor, from 3 feet away, registers 92 decibels, which would cause hearing loss in less than 2 hours.
- A power drill registers 98 decibels, which would cause hearing damage in about a half hour.
- Power saws can reach an excruciating 110 decibels. To a worker within 3 feet of this noise, permanent hearing loss can occur in under 2 minutes.
- Working on the floor of a factory, workers are exposed to upwards of 100 decibels of noise. Hearing loss can set in after only 15 minutes in this environment.
The American Academy of Audiology states that its mission is to “promote quality hearing and balance care by advancing the profession of audiology through leadership, advocacy, education, public awareness, and support of research.” Their Standards of Practice for Audiology were developed to serve this mission. As a refresher, here is a quick summary of those standards.
Time is money.
Those three words sum up why hearing health professionals should utilize hearing aid verification equipment in their practices. By doing so, you will reduce the number of follow-up visits from each patient, increasing cost savings as a result.
When it comes to hearing aid accessories, there are a few “must-have” products, including a supply of batteries, brushes to clean out domes and earpieces, and a small, flexible wire that removes earwax blockage from tubing. Then there are the “nice-to-have” accessories that are readily available for purchase. These products may not be necessary to a hearing aid wearer, but they can make their lives much easier.
How many of us get the gratification of helping someone better treat an ailment we struggle with? For Ryan Mills, Au.D. of e3 Gordon Stowe Dayton, it’s almost an everyday occurrence. For the past three years, Ryan has lived with Meniere’s disease, an inner-ear disorder that causes pressure in the ear, severe dizziness and vertigo, hearing loss, and tinnitus.