Category Archives: Ear

Help For Chronic Ear Infections In Infants

ear infection infantEar infections, a fairly common occurrence in infants, are caused when there is an inflammation of the middle ear which is the cavity behind the ear drum.  When an ear infection does not heal in time or if the infection continues to reoccur (recurring), it is said to have become chronic. Chronic ear infections are called chronic otitis media.

What causes Chronic Ear Infections

The middle ear produces secretions which usually drain out through the eustachian tube to the throat. The eustachian tube is also critical for maintaining airflow through the ear and equalizing air pressure, which is essential for balance. When the fluids don’t drain properly, the bacteria present in the fluid gives rise to an infection.

Children are more likely to suffer from ear infections because the tubes are smaller and at a similar horizontal level hampering drainage, most often when the tubes are swollen or blocked with mucus from other illnesses like the flu. The ear infections typically occur with regularity in children under the age of 3 years.

Treatment of Chronic Ear Infections In Children

Doctors today usually have a wait-and-watch approach towards ear infections in infants with symptomatic relief since the infection often clears up on its own. When this condition continues, specific treatment for the infection needs to be undertaken.

For treating chronic infections, the doctor may prescribe a course of antibiotics.  When the infection fails to responds to the antibiotics, fluid builds up in the middle ear remains for longer time or hearing loss begins , a minor surgical procedure  (Myringotomy)is advised.

Myringotomy the surgery is especially recommended for infants since having persistent fluid in the ear might impact their hearing and speech development.

Under this surgery, a small ventilation tube or grommet, made of metal, plastic or Teflon, is placed in the eardrum to help drain the fluid. The tube releases pressure and acts as a vent until the eustachian tube returns to normal functioning.

Myringotomy is simple, low risk and takes less than half an hour. The surgeon makes a small incision in the eardrum, drains the liquid and then places tiny tube connecting the middle ear and the outer ear. The surgery is usually done in both ears and is called bilateral myringotomy.

The surgery significantly reduces the pain, the severity of symptoms experienced, and over time reduces the infection and its reoccurrence. Any loss in hearing is often restored. The tubes, which are invisible, stay for six to nine months and usually fall out by themselves.  At times, the infection reappears in which case the procedure would need to be repeated.

If left untreated for long, chronic ear infection may, in addition to causing hearing loss, also affect other areas of the ear such as the small bones in the middle ear or the eardrum itself. Surgical procedures are also needed in these cases to repair them.

Music is Increasing Risk of Hearing Loss in Teenagers

Every time you hear loud music you are increasing the risk of damaging your hearing. Repeated exposure to loud music can permanently damage the inner ear and can cause permanent hearing loss.

music hearing loss

Image attributes –https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Elo_27041978_04_800.jpg#/media/File:Elo_27041978_04_800.jpg

 According to a February 2015 news release, the World Health Organization has reported that about 1.1 billion teenagers have been found to be at risk of developing hearing problems. The primary reason attributed to this alarming statistic is the frequent use of Ipod, MP3 players and smart phones, and also the high exposure to noise pollution at public entertainment facilities like discos or nightclubs.  Musicians are also at increased risk of hearing loss.

WHO’s report has particularly singled out the 12-35 years age-group from middle-class and affluent families who routinely listen to loud music are developing hearing loss.

By definition, any individual exposed to over 85 db of noise for more than 8 hours at a stretch is a high-risk individual for hearing loss.

The risk of damage to hearing from music depends on:
  • Loudness of the music
  • Closeness to the source of music/ speakers
  • Duration of exposure to loud musi
  • Family history of hearing loss
  • Individual susceptibility to noise
The adverse effect of noise on the teenager’s ears

 Typically during New Year parties or other similar festivities, sound levels are very high before people realize, they may experience a sudden numbing sensation in the ears followed by a deafening silence! This experience differs from person to person, but teenage party-goers frequently complain about hearing problems after attending a rock concert or a whole-night party. Many of these teenagers who complain about temporary hearing loss from time to time may develop serious problems later in their lives, as indicated in Noise induces hearing loss.

Teenagers from low-income groups working at mines, construction sites, oil drills are at same risk of developing hearing loss because of the nature of their occupational environments.

How to know noise is harmful:
  • If you have to shout to be heard
  • You have pain in the ears be cod noise
  • If there is ringing in the ears
  • If ears feel muffed or reduced hearing
What are some practical solutions to reduced music related damage?

Protect your ear from the new year’s noise suggests some practical ways to avoid hearing problems.

  1. Turn down the volume of personal music systems
  2. Take regular breaks from loud music or go to less noisy areas from loudest areas in club or
  3. Stand away from the sound source or music speakers
  4. Use noise cancelling head phones
  5. Wear ear plugs. This solution is recommended for young, professional musicians too.
  6. Custom-fit musician earplugs can be used.

The deafening volumes of music played at nightclubs, discos, and parties are simply exposing the young adults to life-threatening sound pollution, which will sooner or later, become an uncontrollable malady of teenage lifestyle all over the world.

 

If any teenager experiences noise-induced irritability, ear block, buzzing, or ringing in the ear, he should immediately consult an ENT Specialist and Hearing test by audiologist is to be done.

 

Is There a Cure for Tinnitus? How hearing aid help in tinnitus treatment?

Tinnitus

There’s no medication or proven cure for tinnitus at present, however, a number of treatments have been shown to significantly reduce the symptoms.

Digital Hearing aid may substantially help a person who is suffering from tinnitus along with hearing loss.  Hearing aid may be used alone or in combination with other measures to control tinnitus.  Siemens micon, phonak Audio Q, Starkey Xino Tinnitus, Widex Xen and unitron Moxi kiss are few digital hearing aids which comes along with tinnitus maskers.

Hearing Loss and Tinnitus:

Tinnitus is a ringing, buzzing, clicking or hissing sound when there is no such external sound present. Although some people with normal hearing may also experience ringing in ear but most commonly it is associated with hearing loss.

There is common assumption in many people that because of continues sound in the ear they cannot hear. People also believe that nothing can be done for tinnitus. Consequently a considerable number of people do not seek help for hearing loss also. 

Tinnitus Treatment

Tinnitus is managed by treating the underlying cause   or by altering reactions to it, (Tinnitus retraining Therapy-a holistic approach which tries to make the patient accustomed to a noise in such a way that he /she learns to ignore it).

There are other therapy options like music therapy, yoga and CBT .

Digital Hearing Aids for Tinnitus treatment-

Hearing aids can help people with hearing loss and in many cases it also reduces tinnitus symptoms.

Patients not showing relief with hearing aids alone are fitted with combination of a hearing aid and a tinnitus masker.

Patients who do not have hearing loss can be benefited with Tinnitus maskers. These devices are similar to hearing aids but it does not amplify sound and  provides continuous low level sound to the ear.

Studies prove that hearing aid properly fitted by qualified hearing professional results in better relief from tinnitus

A survey of 230 hearing care professionals suggests that six out of 10 patients (60%) experience minor to major relief of tinnitus when wearing hearing aids, and a total of one in five (22%) receive major relief. Less than 2% of patients experience a worsening of their tinnitus when wearing hearing aids, while 39% receive no benefit.

Kochkin S, Tyler R. Tinnitus treatment and the effectiveness of hearing aids: hearing care professional perceptions. Hearing Review. 2008;15(13):14-18. – read See more here .

How hearing aids may help in tinnitus?

Following factors can explain relief in tinnitus symptoms when a hearing aid is used-

Reduced Stress:

A person with hearing loss is struggling to hear, which makes communication stressful for him and stress in turn increases tinnitus symptom. Digital Hearing aid makes communication easy and subsequent reduced stress level is helpful in better coping with tinnitus.

Sound Therapy:

Tinnitus is more noticeable and disturbing when environment is quiet. Hearing aid amplifies background sound thus increasing information available to brain. Which in turn makes tinnitus sound less audible (Masking tinnitus). Open fit hearing aid or RIC are found better in controlling tinnitus as it does not cause blocking effect in the ear.

Combination of hearing aid with tinnitus masker provides low level masking sound in addition to amplification. Low level sound helps in getting accustomed to tinnitus sound.

Studies suggest sufficient evidence for use of hearing aid fitting as an option for the tinnitus treatment. Once hearing loss is addressed by using hearing aids people become more aware of sound around them and less aware of their tinnitus.

In short use of hearing aid along with proper counseling do help tinnitus sufferer in living better quality of life.

If tinnitus is bothering you meet an ENT specialist and get your hearing test done by audiologist to know cause of your tinnitus and take second step of digital hearing aid trial if test report shows hearing loss.

Audicco Tinnitus & Hyperacusis program Vashi,  Navi Mumbai offers ENT and audiological practices to evaluate, diagnose and treat tinnitus so that it no longer interferes with daily activities.

Ask for appointment at 9322229159 or info@audicco.com