A buyer’s guide for assistive listening devices

February 3, 2012 by  
Filed under HEARING

English: Artone bluetooth loopset is a small w...

Listening to the television and radio, using a telephone, or even answering the doorbell are things some people take for granted, but if you are hard of hearing these things are a real struggle. Assistive Listening Devices (ALD) can help. Here, we will look at how to choose the best device for your needs.

Many people who are hard of hearing often wear hearing aids to help listen in their everyday life. But these might not always work very well, especially if you are driving or are in a noisy restaurant. Hearing aids, unfortunately, are not 100% perfect and may you need an additional device such as an Assistive Listening Device to help hear clearly. Using the two together will be a significant improvement.

Benefits of Assistive Listening Devices

Assisted Listening Devices have several benefits for those who are hard of hearing:

  • Lots of devices to choose from. From phone amplifiers to TV listeners, there are devices to improve your everyday life. You can even get baby monitors and smoke alarms.
  • ALDs bring distant sounds to your ears, so it almost appears that someone is talking into both of yours at the same time, making sound that much clearer.
  • ALDs cut out background noise. Microphones are much closer to the speaker’s mouth than other devices, so you only pick up the sounds going into the microphone, not anything else. Meetings, restaurants and parties become much more enjoyable with an ALD.
  • Many ALDs are portable. You can take a personal amplifier wherever you go, even on holiday.


There are some downsides to ALDs which users need to be aware of:

  • Some ALDs can be expensive.
  • Battery powered devices may need frequent battery changes.
  • You may still need to use a hearing aid with them.

Types of ALDs available

There are several kinds of ALDs available to buy. They use several types of technology to help you listen. No technology is completely perfect and you may find some types work better than others. Choose one suited to your needs, budget and accommodation/situation. Technologies available include personal amplifiers, radio systems, induction loop systems and Bluetooth systems.

  • Personal amplifiers are small portable devices which amplify ambient sound e.g. in the cinema, group conversations and watching TV. These amplifiers can be used with an induction loop system for the hard of hearing in public spaces – you don’t even need to use your hearing aid.

If you are in a meeting or personal conversation, you can also clip a lapel microphone to the person you are speaking to, plug it into your personal amplifier, attach a neck loop and listen to the person through the t-coils in your hearing aids. This helps to cut out any background noise. The downside to this is that you are wired together and can’t move around easily.

  • Radio systems use radio waves to send sound to your device. Because they have no wires, you have greater freedom of movement and range. You can sit at the back of a lecture theatre, for example, and listen to the lecturer. You do need to ensure the speaker will wear your transmitter/microphone.

You can also buy TV amplifiers which use radio technology and are ideal if you don’t want to trip over any wires. Doorbells, telephones and alarms are other devices which use this technology.

  • Induction Loop systems use magnetic fields to send sound from the speaker to your ears. These are often the most affordable devices. You need to have a hearing aid which has t-coils to use them.

You can buy neck loops to wear around your neck for personal use and install a room loop to help hear the TV. With these loops, you can hear it anywhere in the room.

  • Bluetooth systems use Bluetooth technology to listen to devices even if they are in your pocket or bag. They are perfect for use with mobile phones and laptops.
  • Whilst not a technology, telephone amplifiers are available to help increase the caller’s voice.

ALDs can improve the quality of life for the hard of hearing. The range of devices available can help listening wherever you are and make everyday tasks accessible once more.

About the author

Samantha Harvey is a personal health writer and has contributed this guide on behalf of Sarabec Hearing Products – the personal listening device specialists.

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Stuttering: what we know then and now

February 8, 2011 by  
Filed under HEARING

The condition called stuttering hasn’t attracted much attention until the release of the film „The King’s Speech“. The film is about King George the VI (played by Colin Firth) of England who suffered from stuttering since childhood. Though strictly speaking stuttering is a speech rather than a hearing problem,  I deem it wise to tackle this topic under this category.

Stuttering, also called stammering or disfluent speech is more common than we think. In the US, an estimated 3 million people suffer from stuttering, worldwide, it’s 60 million. Men are more likely (3 to 4 times) to stutter than women.

Stuttering is “a speech disorder in which sounds, syllables, or words are repeated or prolonged, disrupting the normal flow of speech. These speech disruptions may be accompanied by struggling behaviors, such as rapid eye blinks or tremors of the lips. Stuttering can make it difficult to communicate with other people, which often affects a person’s quality of life.”

Stuttering used to be thought of as a psychological disorder. New research shows that this is not actually the case. There are 3 types of stuttering, namely

Developmental stuttering

Developmental stuttering is the most common form of stuttering and is usually observed in children. This usually happens when speech and language abilities of the child are unable to meet the child’s verbal demands.  This type of stuttering is hereditary. A recent finding by researchers indicate that stuttering has a genetic component and 3 different genes contribute to the condition.

Neurogenic stuttering

This type of stuttering arises after an injury to the brain that affected the speech abilities. A typical example is the speech difficulty of those who suffered from stroke.

Psychogenic stuttering

Psychogenic stuttering is the type of stuttering which is psychological in nature. It “can be caused by emotional trauma or problems with thought or reasoning.” It is the rarest form of stuttering.

So what happened to King George? It was always though that his problem was psychogenic. With the help of a speech therapist, he was available to partially overcome his speech difficulty which enabled him to give public speeches. However, his speech problem was not 100% resolved and each public speech much have been a great effort for him. An act of courage, in fact because speaking before a group actually worsened stuttering.

Under evaluation: vagus nerve stimulation against tinnitus

January 26, 2011 by  
Filed under HEARING

Battling hearing loss is a topic that I sadly neglected in 2010. I aim to correct this by sharing at least 1 post per mo nth this topic.

Let us start 2011 with a short report on tinnitus, a poorly understood condition characterized by a persistent noise in the ear. It usually “comes in the form of a high-pitched tone in one or both ears, but can also sound like a clicking, roaring or whooshing sound.”

Millions of people of suffering from some form of tinnitus. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for tinnitus. Therapies to ease the symptoms include reducing the persistent sound or simply learning to ignore it. However, studies indicate that tinnitus adversely affect quality of life.

“…it is known to be a sign that something is wrong in the auditory system: the ear, the auditory nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain, or the parts of the brain that process sound. Something as simple as a piece of earwax blocking the ear canal can cause tinnitus, but it can also arise from a number of health conditions. For example, when sensory cells in the inner ear are damaged from loud noise, the resulting hearing loss changes some of the signals in the brain to cause tinnitus.”

Conditions associated with tinnitus include “allergies, high or low blood pressure, tumors and problems in the heart, blood vessels, jaw and neck.”

A research study led by Dr. Michael Kilgard at the University of Texas at Dallas and Dr. Navzer Engineer at MicroTransponder, Inc indicates that tinnitus is not only in the auditory system but in the brain itself. The research team tried to find a means to reverse tinnitus by essentially “resetting” the brain’s auditory system. They did this by electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve (VNS) of lab rats using a tone. Through VNS, they could induce release of chemicals responsible for changes in the brain using different tone frequencies. By monitoring the neural responses in the rat’s brain auditory cortex during the test, they could determine that VNS plus tone stimulation restored responses to normal level – an indication of the absence of tinnitus. They were also able to demonstrate that VNS could reverse tinnitus even in noise-exposed animals.

“The key is that, unlike previous treatments, we’re not masking the tinnitus, we’re not hiding the tinnitus. We are retuning the brain from a state where it generates tinnitus to a state that does not generate tinnitus. We are eliminating the source of the tinnitus.”

This technique has a great potential in brining relief to tinnitus patients. Testing the method in humans is being planned.

This is not the first clinical application of the of VNS. The technique is already used in treating depression and epilepsy.

Has your baby been screened for hearing impairment?

October 25, 2010 by  
Filed under HEARING

Hearing impairment is something that is not easily discernible in adults, much more in babies and little children. Studies have shown that even the slightest hearing impairment can translate to behavioural and learning difficulties in children. Those who suffer from more serious hearing problems can face a lifetime of speech and language deficits, poor academic performance and social and psychological problems. This is because even though the child can hear, he or she is missing some details of what is going on the environment, but cannot understand what is going on. It is thus important that children be screened early in life for hearing problems.

Hearing impairments may be congenital or acquired. Thus, screening for hearing loss should start early, in fact, right after the delivery of the baby. This means that a baby is screened before it leaves the hospital or the maternity clinic.

The two most commonly used hearing screening procedures for babies are (source: American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASLHA):

The initial result of the screening is “pass” or “fail”. Those who pass are considered free from hearing impairment till the next screening. Those who fail require an intensive evaluation by an expert such as an audiologist or an ear specialist. They will be closely monitored for progression of the impairment plus other auditory-related effects.

In the clinical report of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) entitle “Hearing Assessment in Infants and Children: Recommendations Beyond Neonatal Screening”:

“… researchers have developed an algorithm to assist pediatricians determine the course of treatment when a hearing screening indicates hearing loss in children from infants to 18 years of age. Confirmed abnormal hearing test results require ongoing evaluation and intervention by a team of specialists including an audiologist, otolaryngologist, speech-language pathologists and teachers. At least one-third of children with hearing loss will also have a coexisting condition, so they should continue to be monitored for developmental and behavioral disorders and referred for additional evaluation when necessary.”

Your heart and the noise in your workplace

October 7, 2010 by  

We work in a wide range of environments and some workplaces are just much noisier than others. Hearing impairment is a well-known occupational disease. Recent studies, however, show that occupational noise is also linked to other disorders.

Noise and heart

Chronic exposure to occupational noise seems to be bad for the heart. This is according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). A total of 6307 participants were included, and 21.2% of these reported they are chronically exposed to loud noise at the work place. Among the noised-exposed, the majority were men (83.3%), white, smokers, regular alcohol drinkers, have low level of education and higher body mass index.

Chronic exposure to noise increased the prevalence of angina pectoris, heart attack, coronary heart disease, and isolated diastolic hypertension  by two- to three-fold. This increased risk is especially evident in participants who were male, more than 50 years of age, and who smokes.

According to the authors:

“This study suggests that excess noise exposure in the workplace is an important occupational health issue and deserves special attention.”

In fact, occupational noise is more common than you think. According to the World Health Organization, high levels of occupational noise are a problem in all parts of the world. Here are some figures:

The regions in the world where occupational noise is highest are in Asia and the Western Pacific. These include the emerging markets China and India and the industrialized countries of Japan and South Korea

Aside from cardiovascular problems, occupational noise has been linked to other health problems that include hearing impairment, annoyance, sleep disturbances, disturbance of psychosocial well-being and psychiatric disorders.

Examples of noisy workplaces

  • Construction sites, with noise coming from small (e.g. jackhammers) as well as heavy equipment
  • Factories and manufacturing plants, with noise coming from machineries
  • Audio labs and studios, where audio engineers are exposed to the so- called “recreational sound.

Hearing loss in American teens on the rise

October 6, 2010 by  

Hearing problems is on the rise and the increase is most evident among teens. A new research study by scientists at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston revealed that there is a 31% rise in the number of adolescents with some form of hearing loss. The auditory problems are sometimes mild and barely noticeable but they are there.  And previous have shown that among the young, even minor hearing losses can affect communication and social skills, thus educational achievement.

The researchers examined data of over 4500 participants of the NHANES aged 12 to 19 years old and compared data from 1988 to 1984 vs. data from 2005 to 2006.

According to lead author Dr. Josef Shargorodsky:

“About 1 out of 5 adolescents in the United States has at least some evidence of hearing loss. Moreover, about 1 out of 20 has at least mild hearing loss.”

The authors believe that noise is a major factor in this increase in hearing loss.

Indeed, exposure of adolescents to noise has increased in recent years, what with widespread use of portable music devices such as MP3 players and even mobile phones.

This is probably exacerbated in adulthood by increased risk for cardiovascular disease and unhealthy lifestyle.

In another study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, risk factors for hearing loss in American adults have been identified as environmental and lifestyle factors as well as concomitant diseases.

Environmental factors are mainly exposure to noise which results in high-frequency hearing loss.

What is interesting is the fact that the lifestyle factor smoking also results in hearing loss, both at high and low frequencies. In addition, hypertension and diabetes, too, can lead to high- and low-frequency hearing loss. The authors believe that the link between cardiovascular risk factors and hearing loss is due to damage to the cochlea as a consequence of microvascular insufficiency. Cochlea is the snail-shaped structure in the inner ear where sound waves are converted into nerve impulses. Damage to the cochlea results in impairment of transmission of those nerve impulses.  The presence of cardiovascular risk factors in addition to exposure to high levels of noise can exacerbate problems of hearing loss.

Bone-anchored hearing aid for single-sided deafness

February 16, 2010 by  
Filed under HEARING

Hearing impairment is something that is difficult to handle by anybody, much more by children. Single-sided deafness, also known as profound unilateral sensorineural hearing loss, is a hearing impairment affecting only one ear. Although the patient thinks he or she can hear, he or she is basically impaired and is missing some details of what s going on the environment.

In children, the incidence of single-side deafness is between 0.1 and 3%. This impairment is often associated with learning difficulties, poor school performance, behavioural problems, and inability to deal with noisy conditions.

Traditional treatment for single-sided deafness is the use of external hearing aids which help impaired children hear and perform better in school. However, they can also be a source of annoyance and embarrassment outside the school environment and can interfere with a child’s physical activities.

Researchers at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock have been testing a new hearing aid, a surgically implanted device that is anchored to the skull bone. Bone-anchored hearing aids are implanted behind the ear and transmit sound into the ear using conductive technology.

In the study, 23 children aged 6 to 19 have received one of two types of implant. Surgical implantation was performed in two stages six months apart. The recipients were closely followed up for effectiveness and complications.

The results showed improved hearing, performance, and compliance after surgical implantation.

Some complications were reported, including skin reactions and loss of fixtures and were more common among the older patients (teens) and than the younger ones.

According to the researchers

“In conclusion, the treatment of children and teenagers with profound unilateral sensorineural hearing loss has been frustrating owing to the known disability associated with this condition and to a lack of acceptance and benefit of traditional amplification techniques. These findings are helpful in counseling children 5 years and older and their families regarding treatment options for single-sided deafness.”

Bone-anchored hearing aids (BAHAs) are becoming more and more popular. Last year, a bone-anchored hearing aid was introduced which even allowed direct plug in of an MP3 player or a mobile! Currently, the main barrier to widespread use of BAHAs is the price which goes up to several thousands. However, the implants can supposedly last for 15 years.

In conclusion, the use of bone-anchored hearing devices has a great potential as a long-lasting hearing aid for children with hearing impairment. Instead of feeling embarrassed about having such an aid, some kids might find it even “cool” to have such a high-tech gadget.

Talking about tinnitus

January 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, HEARING

Only people who have suffered from this disorder can describe what it really “sounds” like. Descriptions range from soft hissing, to an annoying buzzing, to a downright loud roar of pneumatic drill. The worst thing is that your doctor doesn’t hear what you hear and you start questioning your sanity. Are you simply imagining things?

No, you are not. It is called tinnitus. According to the US National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)

Tinnitus is a symptom associated with many forms of hearing loss. It can also be a symptom of other health problems… Some cases are so severe that it interferes with a person’s daily activities. People with severe cases of tinnitus may find it difficult to hear, work, or even sleep.

Tinnitus approximately affects 25 million people in the US alone.  It can occur in one (unilateral) or both ears (bilateral).

What causes tinnitus?

  • Hearing loss. Research studies have found a strong association between different kinds of hearing loss and tinnitus.
  • Loud noise. Long-term exposure to loud noise can cause noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus. This has been observed in young people who routinely listen to loud music.
  • Medications. Tinnitus is a common side effect of certain medications. The NIDCD estimates that more than 200 medicines can cause tinnitus.
  • Other health problems. Allergies, brain tumours, cardiovascular problems as well as problems of the jaws, and neck can cause tinnitus.

A recent research by researchers at the Henry Ford Hospital reports the development of a non-invasive imaging technique can actually diagnose tinnitus.

The perceived sounds originate from certain areas of the brain and there used to be no way of pinpointing the specific location of tinnitus in the brain. However, the new imaging technique called magnetoencephalography (MEG), can more or less pinpoint the site of perception of tinnitus in the brain. Once the area is identified, doctors can target the area with electrical or chemical therapies to lessen symptoms.

According to study co-author Dr. Susan M. Bowyer, bioscientific senior researcher, Department of Neurology at Henry Ford Hospital.

“Since MEG can detect brain activity occurring at each instant in time, we are able to detect brain activity involved in the network or flow of information across the brain over a 10-minute time interval. Using MEG, we can actually see the areas in the brain that are generating the patient’s tinnitus, which allows us to target it and treat it.”

Other imaging techniques such as PET and fMRI have been used to try to unravel the puzzle of tinnitus. However, they only provided a general location of the tinnitus but wasn’t specific enough for targeted therapies.

MEG, by comparison, measures the very small magnetic fields generated by intracellular electrical currents in the neurons of the brain. It is used in presurgical mapping of the brain before epilepsy treatment or surgery to remove brain tumours. Only about 20 hospitals and clinics n the U.S. are equipped with a MEG scanner

According to Dr. Michael Seidman, director of the Otolaryngology Research Laboratory and co-director of the Tinnitus Center at Henry Ford

“With PET and fMRI, most of the auditory cortex of the brain lights up with activity during imaging. MEG, however, is a much more sophisticated machine and it can identify a specific tone or topic point, so only a small area in the brain lights up. It’s like having the lights on in only the city of Detroit, compared to having the lights on in the entire state of Michigan.

For the study, Dr. Seidman and his colleagues collected MEG results from 17 patients with tinnitus and 10 patients without tinnitus. MEG data were collected for 10 minutes, and then digitally filtered. Study participants wore ear plugs to eliminate outside sounds, and kept their eyes open and fixated on one point on the ceiling in the room during testing.

Using a MEG scan, the researchers detected multiple small active areas in the brain of patients without tinnitus. However, none of these areas were found to be really coherent during the 10-minute MEG scan.

In contrast, patients with unilateral tinnitus showed the greatest amount of brain activity in the auditory cortex on the opposite site of the brain from their perceived tinnitus. For those with bilateral tinnitus, MEG imaging showed activity in both hemispheres of the brain, with greater activity appearing in the opposite side of the brain where the perception of tinnitus is strongest. The imaging technique has the great potential for more specific targeting that will help in alleviating the symptoms.

Current treatments for tinnitus are

Cochlear implants and language development in children

December 10, 2009 by  
Filed under HEARING

childs_earA cochlear implant is a device that is surgically implanted in the inner ear in order to allow children with hearing impairment to perceive sounds. It does not restore hearing as such; it only helps in restoring auditory perception. In other words, what people with cochlear implants perceive and what we hear may not be completely the same.

A study by researchers at the University of Montreal looked at the benefits of cochlear implants and how they affect the long-term language skill development of recipient children. According to researcher Louise Duchesne, professor at the Université de Montréal‘s School of Speech Therapy and Audiology

“We don’t really know what hearing impaired children really hear with the implants. The only testimony we have comes from adults who describe the speech of the children as comparable to Donald Duck. The implant doesn’t provide the finesse of natural hearing, and even adults who once had perfect hearing, must once again learn to decode sounds and speech.”

The research study looked at hearing-impaired children who received cochlear implants before the age of two and have had the implant for two to six years. Language performance was assessed using tests that measure “vocabulary comprehension, expressed vocabulary, the understanding of concepts and sentences with subtleties like passive form and nouns in plural form.

The results showed that the benefits of the cochlear implants vary from child to child. The results showed that

  • Four out of fourteen study participants  had excellent language test results with ”level of comprehension of words, concepts and sentences was even higher than the average of children without hearing problems.”
  • Ten children performed poorly, with language difficulties.
  • Three children had major problems in all aspects of language.

The differences observed were not associated with gender, the brand of implant, medical background, impairment severity, and education. It is noted that children with cochlear implants regardless how the severe the hearing problems were before the implant, have the same “morphosyntactic problems”, which a difficulty in hearing certain words, especially pronouns and articles which we tend to say rather quickly.

Thus, the study concludes that cochlear implants do not give the same results depending on individual child and do not guarantee linguistic success in all those who receive them. Prof. Duchesne recommends that parents and therapist shouldn’t fully rely on cochlear implants in the development of language skills in children with hearing impairment. Parents should redo speech therapy exercises at home to help children process the information. Regular assessment should be performed to determine the child’s progress.

Cochlear implants have been a subject of controversy. We will be tackling the pros and cons of cochlear implants in a later post.

Your MP3 player and hearing loss

September 29, 2009 by  
Filed under HEARING

headsetI remember once seeing this sticker on a loud speaker in a snack bar: “If it’s too loud, then you’re too old.”

Am I too old? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe I can simply discern what is loud from the norm. Many people nowadays can’t tell anymore because their ears may be damaged.  In fact, 90% of men aged 60 or older have some form of hearing problems.

“Hearing loss is so prevalent that it has become the norm”

according to Dr. Roland Eavey who together with his team at Vanderbilt University conducted the 2002 MTV.com survey That study revealed that adolescents and young people consciously exposed themselves for loud music as a form of entertainment. At that time, the main exposure is from attending concnerts and going to discos or clubs. Nowadays it is the MP3 player.

The results of the 2nd MTV.com survey conducted in 2007 is out and the prognosis does not look good. Here are some figures to ponder upon:

  • About 2,500 people participated in the survey and of these, almost 50% of these experienced symptoms such as tinnitus after exposure to loud music.
  • 32% of respondents think hearing loss is a big problem (vs. 8% in the 1st survey)
  • 75% of respondents owned an MP3 player.
  • 24% of respondent used their music player for more than 15 hours a week.
  • Almost 50% use 75 to 100% of the volume capacity of their player.
  • 89% turn up their player’s sound if external sounds such as traffic noise compete with the music loudness.

musicWhat about awareness?

Awareness of the risks of loud music has improved since the last survey but is still low.

Interestingly, the survey respondents believe that the most informative source of information about prevention of hearing loss is the media whereas health care professionals are the least likely source of information.

 However, those who are fond of loud music, young or old, would turn down the sound or use ear protection if told by a health care professionals of the risks. In other words, health care providers have a big capacity to alter behaviour that can prevent hearing loss.

According to Eavey

“Since our last study we have learned that enough people still are not yet aware, but that more are becoming aware, especially through the help of the media…We have learned that the audience does use public health behaviours like sunscreen, designated drivers and seatbelts and that the health care community is the least likely source of informing patients about hearing loss, so we have an excellent opportunity to start educating patients.”

He is urging his fellow health care providers to help spread the word and the key messages are:

  • Hearing loss due to loud music is preventable.
  • Hearing loss is usually permanent and irreversible.
  • Even hearing aids might not be able to help.

Considering the potential role of the media in hearing loss prevention, I think it is commendable that MTV.com is supporting such studies. Now that’s what I call corporate social respnosibility.

Photo credit: stock.xchng

Hear the World!

August 10, 2009 by  
Filed under HEARING

earRod Stewart, Franka Potente, Diane Kruger and most recently Laura Pausini, these are just some of the many celebrities who are ambassadors of the “Hear the World“, featured in an exhibition of photography at the Saatchi Gallery in London last month. No less known is the photographer himself, no other than the Canadian musician Bryan Adams. Yes, Bryan, aside from being a hitmaker, is a talented photographer as well and is the official photo man of the Hear the World Initiative. His subject? His colleagues, from Placido Domingo to Amy Winehouse, from Annie Lennox to Mick Jagger, all posing with a hand cupping the ear, highlighting the importance of the hearing organ.

The exhibition is part of the Hear the World initiative, a project of the not-for-profit organization Hear the World Foundation, supported by the Swiss-based hearing aid manufacturer Phonak. It covers a wide range of activities – “from the education about the topic of hearing and hearing loss to the respective prevention measures such as offering hearing protection at events with high noise levels.”

The ambassadors contribute in anyway they can, through their art, be it in the form of music, acting or pictures to promote the importance of our sense of hearing and prevention of hearing loss.

The Bryan Adams photographs were exhibited in a Zurich exhibition last year. They are available for purchase ( www.hear-the-world.com/exhibition) and proceeds from the sale of the pictures will benefit the Hear the World Foundation. The goals of the Hear the World initiative are:

According to Dr. Valentin Chapero, CEO of Phonak and President of the Foundation Board of Hear the World.

“Hearing is quality of life, and people should be more aware of this. If we succeed in raising this awareness through Hear the World, my goal is achieved.”

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month

May 6, 2009 by  
Filed under HEARING

better-hearing-and-speechOur sense of hearing is one of the most important of our senses and hearing impairment can have a detrimental effect on our way of life. Here some figures to ponder upon:

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that in 2005, 278 million people worldwide have moderate to severe hearing impairment in both ears.
  • 80% of hearing-impaired people live in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC).
  • 50% of cases of hearing impairment is avoidable through prevention, early diagnosis, and management.
  • In the US alone, more than 5 million children have a language, speech or hearing disorder.
  • In LMIC, less than 1 in 40 people who need a hearing aid can afford one.

Hearing and speech problems most often go together. These disorders may be due to birth and genetic defects, illnesses or injuries. The earlier hearing disorders occur in a child’s life, the higher are their impact in the child’s development, especially language and speech development as well as gross motoric skills and balance. Later on, it can affect the child’s social and learning skills. Like in most disorders, the key to successful resolution is early detection and intervention. Since 1927, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has observed the Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM) every May. The month is focused on raising awareness of speech and hearing disorders, especially among parents. Many parents are not adept in identifying such kind of disorders in their children, much more knowing what to do once they observe a problem. BHSM “provide parents with information about communication disorders to help ensure that they do not seriously affect their children’s ability to learn, socialize with others, and be successful in school.”

According to ASHA, some signs of speech and language disorders in children are:

As mother of twin boys who were born premature and brought up bilingually, I am always on alert whether my children’s language skills are developing normally on not.

The most common signs of hearing disorders in children are (source ASHA):

Normally, the pediatrician or the family doctor should check children right from infancy for hearing problems. It is also recommended that starting the age of 5 or at the latest, right before school entry, children should undergo a general physical exam which should include eye tests but also hearing and speech screenings.

The professionals who can help:

  • An Ears, Nose & Throat (ENT) specialist (also called otolaryngologist) is specialized in disorders of these organs. However, only a small fraction of his or her work has something to do with the ears of hearing.
  • An otologists (sometimes called neurotologists) is usually an ENT who has taken additional training or studies to specialized mainly with the ear and hearing disorders.
  • An audiologist is non-medical professional who is specialized in the non-medical management of hearing and balance disorders. He or she is not a doctor but can conduct hearing screenings and perform rehabilitation therapies and refer patients to a medical specialist
  • A speech-language pathologist can conduct evaluations and diagnosis of speech and language disorders as well as conduct therapies and rehabilitation problems.

Quick Relief from Ear Pain – Home Remedies for Earache

January 20, 2008 by  
Filed under HEARING

By Peter Rodrick

If you are looking for earache remedies then you are at the right place because in next 15-20 minutes I will tell you how to get relief from earache with some simple but useful earache home remedies

But if the condition is severe then contact your doctor immediately. Do not waste time on internet. Remember always health is wealth

What is Earache?

Earache is very common problem for both children and adults. An earache is pain caused by an infection of the ear. The medical term for an ear infection is otitis

Bacteria, viruses, and fungi can all cause ear infections. The buildup of pressure in the eustachian tube is one of the major causes of earache. Tonsillitis and sinus infections also result in earache, especially among children

Home Remedies for Earache

1. One of the well liked home remedy for earache is to grind a few Holy basil leaves and extract some juice. Put 2 drops inside the ear.

2. Boil some cloves of Garlic in water. Crush them and add a pinch of salt. Enfold this poultice in a flannel and place on the aching ear.

3. Pour some garlic juice in the aching ear. Its antibiotic characteristics help to reduce the pain.

4. If your earache has rises in elevation then just chew gum. This will contract the muscles and open the eustachian tube.

5. Another fine home remedy for earache is to put few drops of hydrogen peroxide in the aching ear.

6. Put two drops of holy basil leaves juice in the painful ear.

7. Take out the juice of the tender leaves of a mango and make it a little warm. Put four drops in both ear as this helps in the treatment of earaches. One of the fine home remedies for earache.

8. Put some seeds of the fenugreek in any kind of oil; mustard and linseed oils are the finest. Then warm this to some extent. After that, cool and then filter the oil and put it in each ear. About four to five drops of the oil in each ear will helps in eliminating the pain completely.

9. Add half a clove of garlic in a teaspoonful of sesame oil and heat it on a flame till it becomes a little hot. Put four drops of the oil in the one ear and stay on this side for ten minutes. Then turn over and put the oil in the second ear also. Stay on this side too for ten minutes.

10. Mix drops each of garlic oil, grapefruit seed extract, and eucalyptus essential oil. Put in ears with a dropper several times daily.

For more valuable information visit natural and home remedies for earache at Herbal home remedies and natural treatments

Article Source: EzineArticles.com/?expert=Peter_Rodrick

What Causes Ringing Ears?

January 14, 2008 by  
Filed under HEARING

By John Currie

Often we are not even aware of the dangers in today’s noisy world and we don’t even know what causes ringing ears? Did you know that loud music playing on your Ipod can be causing damage to the inner ear if the volume is too loud, even if you frequently attend nightclubs or noisy pubs the constant noise could be causing your tinnitus. Exposure to noise is responsible for up to 85% of ringing in the ears cases that we have dealt with since 1999.

It is a vicious cycle because tinnitus causes stress and anxiety and is also worsened by stress and anxiety. Worrying over the tinnitus can cause it to become worse. Lack of sleep due to ringing in the ears leads to fatigue which makes the ringing worse. These are just some of the mental and emotional side effects of tinnitus and ringing in the ears.

To sum it up, any condition that involves hearing problems is likely to exhibit a symptom of ringing in the ears. Any difficulty in hearing will lead to ringing in the ears because of the absence of sound waves being recognized by the brain. This momentary obliteration of sound waves can cause an erratic action on the part of the brain since it has gotten used to interpreting the sound it receives on a regular basis.

Simple steps to stop your ears ringing:

First learn all you can about this terrible ailment and then get natural tinnitus treatment remedies to eliminate your symptoms.

Without the regular sound waves that it has to interpret, the brain will try so hard and in the process it short circuits itself, which is then the abnormal sound or so called ringing in the ears that a person with tinnitus can hear. This explains why the ringing noise in the ears is something that can be heard only by the person having it because it is something that happens internally. There are no external factors which causes it hence a person having tinnitus must not expect that other people can hear the noise they are hearing.

When combined with the frustration and depression that comes with not being able to live how you want, tinnitus takes a huge emotional toll on even the strongest person.

Many are so haunted by the sounds of ringing ears that it affects every aspect of their daily lives leading them to seclusion, paranoia, insomnia, depression and for many, even suicidal thoughts or attempts.

If you need to know more about what causes ringing ears and what your best treatment options make sure download this FREE 130pg tinnitus self help guide check it out is is a great read.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com/?expert=John_Currie

Greetings and Salutations!

October 19, 2007 by  
Filed under HEARING

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.