Newsletter - June/July 2012

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Tinnitus — How Can I Help?

Like most other chronic conditions, tinnitus impacts all of the people who know the individual who has the condition.Many friends and family members find it very difficult to know what they can do to help.

Many sufferers of chronic tinnitus often have a loss of sleep due to the presence of the unwanted noise. This loss of sleep can also lead to anxiety and depression. The combination of the three will often cause the tinnitus sufferer to be very fatigued, very emotional and/or very short-tempered.

When a fatigued individual needs to choose where to expend the energy they have, they will often choose their place of employment and use their home as a place of rest and inactivity.
So how can family and friends help their loved one? Here are some suggestions made by a tinnitus specialist from Oregon, Dr. Marsha Johnson.

  1. Take time to be an active listener!
    This means listening and hearing what the person is saying. Offer comments that let the sufferer know you heard them but cannot offer solutions.
  2. Seek out competent, professional assistance!
    Find the best tinnitus center in your area and encourage the sufferer to seek assistance there.
  3. Help keep medical records, test results and referrals organized.
    The insomnia and tinnitus can affect memory and thinking. You will help greatly by doing this.
  4. Maintain a "normal" lifestyle for the sufferer.
    Do not let the individual retreat from activities because of the tinnitus or fatigue. Find more relaxing and supportive circles, try counseling, attend support groups.

With caring support from family and friends, the impact of the tinnitus is often reduced for the individual.

Summertime Care For Your Hearing Aids

Now that the weather is starting to become hot and humid, it is important that some extra care is given to your hearing aids. Most of us are aware that the hot weather causes us to perspire more and the humidity in the air can be trapped in the hearing aid and cause corrosion to the hearing aid circuits.
The following suggestions may help you in getting the most out of your hearing aids:

  1. Consider buying a dehumidifier. These devices draw out the moisture that has collected within the hearing aid. You simply place the aids in the dehumidifier overnight and let it do its work. These devices cost from $15.00 to $110.00, depending on the style and if it is electronic or not.
  2. Keep the hearing aid out of the bathroom when bathing or showering. Again, this exposes the aid to unwelcome moisture.
  3. Be sure to open your battery door at night. This allows the hearing aid to "breathe" and allows moisture to escape from the aid.
  4. Use hearing aid sweatbands when exercising or at times when there is a good chance that you will be perspiring excessively. There are several manufacturers of these items. Some are cloth and others are rubber.
  5. Always carry spare batteries with you. If the hearing aids are intermittent, a change of battery may assist in solving the problem.
  6. Check you battery door for signs of corrosion. The same rusty residue found with corrosion of other electronic devices may be seen in the battery door.
  7. Consider visiting your audiologist to have the hearing aids checked and professionally cleaned.

By following these recommendations, your hearing aids should work even in the summer in the Midwest.

The Invisible Aid

Many of you have been receiving promotional flyers about the newer style hearing aids. In the past year, many of the hearing aid companies have been unveiling their version of the "hearing aid that is virtually invisible when worn". Each manufacturer has a difference in their circuitry and how the hearing aid will work for you in different situations. But, there are several things that the consumer needs to know about this particular style.

  • Not all ears can accommodate this small instrument. An ear impression needs to be taken and then measured to see if the ear canal is long, tall and wide enough to have the device fit in it.
  • A "deep-canal" fitting means just that. These instruments fit very far down the ear canal. If you don't like the feel of something in your ear, this is not the style for you.
  • If you cannot carry on a conversation in the presence of noise, it is too loud for your ears and can potentially cause hearing loss.
  • These instruments are usually the most expensive choice for the consumer. Many of the manufacturers offer only their latest circuit in them.
  • A remote control will be needed for the user to make any changes to volume or settings.

The purpose of this article was to educate the consumer of the restrictions we have in fitting this style. Hopefully, these facts will assist you in determining if you are a candidate for this style. It works well when fitted to the appropriate ear.

Did you know?

  1. The whole area of the middle ear is no bigger than an M&M.
  2. The cochlea (inner ear) is about the size of a pencil eraser.
  3. A sonic boom occurs when an object breaks the speed of sound. The sound waves from behind and in front of the object crash into each other and creates the boom.