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 …

Otitis media in adults: Title: Managing “fluid in your ears”

Most people are aware that middle ear infections are very common in young children. Many pediatrician visits result in treatment for otitis media, which often presents as “glue ear”. This may be accompanied by pain, fever and reduced hearing. Children are known to be more prone to this condition due to their more horizontal Eustachian tubes and propensity for harvesting infections. …

Practicing “aural hygiene”

Those of us who work in the hearing care field have taken on the responsibility of providing the best possible care of our patient’s ears, hearing and/or balance, through training, education, listening and applying the best available information and technology to the specific problems our patients present with.  Ultimately, however, your ears are your responsibility.  You will always get the most …

Diagnostic evaluations vs. “free testing”

There has been some confusion lately about terminology regarding the testing of hearing. There are often retail-model hearing aid centers. Many are corporate chains with headquarters outside the state, offering “free testing” to hearing aid candidates. Be advised that these tests are strictly screenings to determine candidacy for amplification. Typically hearing levels to tones are tested, often without word-recognition testing. “Customers” …

Tympanometry

Many people complain from time to time about having “plugged ears”. This sensation typically refers to the ear canal or ear drum area. This sensation may be chronic, may come and go, or may be a new sensation. To an audiologist or otolaryngolotist, plugged ears can mean potentially several conditions, some as benign as earwax (cerumen) and some serious enough …

The dangerous practice of ear candling

There is a practice whose popularity waxes and wanes, yet, the ineffectiveness and potential danger persists. Said to be a Hopi Indian tradition, ear candling has adherents in the holistic medical field and is said to remove wax, debris and other “impurities” from the ear canals. Hopi representatives deny any origin of this practice in their culture, although this is …

Pulsing in your ears.

Most people who complain of tinnitus have steady noises, often sounding like ringing, hissing, buzzing or humming that may wax and wane but drone on when heard. This is typical neurologic tinnitus often caused by inner ear damage or nerve dysfunction or hyperactivity. Have you ever heard a pulsing in your ears? This if commonly heard in only one ear, but it …

Always see a professional

The hearing healthcare spectrum has a wide variety of options, regarding providers. There are practices employing doctors of audiology and licensed hearing instrument specialists with experience, compassion, training and autonomy. This allows them to deliver the most appropriate services and/or products without pressures or influence that may not serve best interests of the PATIENT. There are also, unfortunately, hearing centers operating under a “retail model”. …