Acoustic Neuroma

A patient came to our office with complaints of uneven hearing, balance difficulty and tinnitus in the poorer hearing ear. This condition did not happen overnight, but had worsened over time. The woman was fearful she would lose hearing in the other ear and not regain her balance functions. Audiologists are trained in the recognition of “red flags”, or telltale …

“Current” thoughts on the hearing system – inner ear to the brain

Beyond the middle ear; “current” thoughts about hearing system. This includes the inner ear, the nervous system and the brain. Part two in a series of blogs about the physiology of hearing. In our previous blog entry we discussed the transmission of sound energy from vibrations of air molecules to mechanical vibrations carrying the properties of sound in the middle …

There’s more to hearing than meets the eye!

It is commonly accepted that we hear the world with our ears. Early man must have noticed that when the ear canals are blocked, hearing decreases. Everyone can observe the outer ear and a canal that travels into the head, but what is really happening when we hear a sound, say, a person talking, music playing or a warning alert? …

Elements of diagnosis: word testing

The importance of word testing. There is a conventional battery of tests, with a few variations, that give an audiologist diagnostic information about a patient’s ear health and hearing capabilities. Otoscopy allows the examiner to visualize the outer ear, including the external ear canal all the way to the tympanic membrane (eardrum) for malformations, blockages or signs of trauma or …

Information on tinnitus

Tinnitus is defined as “phantom noise perception” – a real perception of sound that did not originate outside your body. Tinnitus was regarded by the ancient Egyptians as private messages directly from the gods! The ancient Greeks recognized tinnitus, but did not have such a positive attitude toward it. They thought you could “chase it away” with sound. Tinnitus is perceived by …

Beware of hearing aid claims!

Advertisements for hearing aids are found in many places, from print ads in the popular press to internet marketing to television ads. Many of the marketing pieces on hearing aids are completely legitimate and truthful. They guide patients ethically towards a particular practice. Always regard hearing aid claims with care. Several marketing pieces seen lately, however, have been using information that makes …

Why see an audiologist?

 Why are audiologists necessary? A new patient recently informed us that another hearing center told her that an audiologist was not necessary for examining her ears and fitting hearing aids. The person she spoke to on the phone also said their hearing testing was always free. This patient eventually came to our office, where we took care of her and …

Diagnosing disorders of dizziness and imbalance

How do we assess dizziness? How is it that audiology/hearing based practices would find themselves assessing and often treating disorders of dizziness and imbalance? Few people are aware that the ear is primarily an organ of balance. Its main function, even before hearing our world, is to keep our heads safe atop our bodies and our eyes focused on the …

Otoacoustic emissions testing

When an audiologist tests a patient’s hearing, there is an important reality that must be addressed. Conventional audiometry is based on threshold estimation: the tester is seeking the subject’s limits of detection of weak signals, typically tones, in order to determine the intensity at which the subject begins to hear sounds. It is necessarily a behavioral test. Since hearing is …

Can phase cancellation reduce or eliminate tinnitus?

Several patients who are tech-savvy and/or very current on audio have noticed the recent popularity of noise-cancelling headphones. These are very popular, not only for travellers, but anyone who seeks to hear music or recorded books or movies with less intrusive background noise. A patient recently asked if this concept could be used to modify or reduce tinnitus, the phantom noise …