Category Archives: Hearing Loss

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Can some medications cause hearing loss?

We often take our senses for granted and don’t realize how important they are to every aspect of our lives until they’re at risk. Having keen hearing allows us to connect fully with our family and friends, practice our hobbies, and stay safe in any environment. There’s been a lot of buzz about hearing loss, so you probably already know some of the common risks to hearing health. Loud noises at work, pounding concerts, busy city streets, and excessive headphone use at the gym or on your commute to work all can damage your hearing. Hearing even slowly wears down with normal aging.

New research shows that there’s another risk factor to consider. Certain medications have been linked to hearing loss, and those innocent looking pills you use to manage pain might actually have some serious side effects. Each year, 500,000 people are at risk of damaging their hearing from prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

Do all drugs affect hearing?

Only some drugs have been linked to hearing loss, but the list is longer than you’d think. Antibiotics like neomycin and kanamycin, often used to treat bacterial infections, can contribute to hearing loss. Some anti-inflammatory drugs can cause serious damage. Even anticonvulsant medications like valproic acid have ties to hearing loss, and have been linked to tinnitus, that buzzing or ringing in your ears that affects your ability to sleep or concentrate during the day. Drugs used to treat cancer, as well as some high blood pressure medications also increase your risk of hearing loss.

The biggest surprise though is from drugs you’d think would be harmless, common over-the-counter painkillers. Taking aspirin in large quantities increases your chances of developing hearing loss. Acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, has been linked to permanent hearing damage, and even ibuprofen, like Motrin or Advil, can contribute to hearing loss. This is cause for great concern since painkillers don’t require a prescription, and can be taken by anyone. With no doctor monitoring drug consumption, risk of side effects such as hearing loss increases with every pill you take. Those who take over-the-counter painkillers should beware! Even taking painkillers two or three times per week for a year will greatly increase your risk of hearing loss.

Do these drugs cause hearing loss?

Hearing loss has a lot of causes, from loud workplaces, noisy leisure activities, too many hours listening to your favorite music with headphones, and the normal process of aging at work in your ears. We can’t say that these medications are the exclusive cause of hearing loss, but it is true that taking certain medications increase your chances of developing hearing loss, and hearing specialists and doctors are looking more carefully at the side-effects of the medications they are prescribing.

Using medications to treat pain, infections, high blood pressure, and other illnesses is important, but there can be some serious side-effects. Medications affect hearing by restricting blood flow to the ears, damaging the hair cells that translate sound waves into electric waves that can be understood by the brain. Other medications can inhibit the neural pathway between the ears and the brain, so even if your ears are hearing normally, the electric waves will never reach your brain, and you’ll experience hearing loss.

Preventing Hearing Loss

If you want to protect your hearing, know the risks to hearing health. Loud noises are the most common cause of hearing loss, so always wear hearing protection if you’re in a noisy environment where your hearing is at risk. Take a close look at what medicines are in your home, are carefully monitor what medicines you and your family are using. Ask your doctor about possible side-effects, and see if any could jeopardize your hearing.

Additionally, if you schedule a hearing test, we can identify your baseline hearing abilities before you start any medications. That way, if your hearing abilities change, we can help you gauge if your medications play a role in it.

Are you suffering from hearing loss? If you’re taking a drug that will affect your hearing, talk to your primary care physician. Ask your doctor about possible side effects for any new medications you’re taking, including the risk to hearing health. Only take medication as recommended by your doctor, and don’t over-use pain killers.

If you think you might have hearing loss, call us to book a hearing test. One in five people struggle with hearing loss, and many don’t seek treatment right away. Don’t let hearing loss stand in the way of a happy life, visit us at Advanced Hearing to discuss treatment options, and find the hearing aid that will best suit your needs.


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Could Your Lifestyle Cause Hearing Loss? Find out!

A study by Johns Hopkins Medicine in the United States shows that by the year 2060, the number of people over the age of 20 who have hearing loss will nearly double. There are several reasons for this; however, it can be greatly attributed to our modern lifestyles.

Many activities we do and places we go present potential harm to our hearing. A lot of it has to do with high decibels. It only takes sound of 85 decibels (dB) or higher to cause permanent hearing damage such as noise-induced hearing loss or tinnitus (ringing in the ears). That’s about as loud as the average lawn mower. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to maintain good hearing health and still do the things you love!

Here are some of the things we do that can lead to hearing loss:

Earbuds

Do you turn the volume up when you’re listening to your music? Even though this might help you power through your workout or deal with your commute to work, it’s not the best idea long term. It’s detrimental to your hearing health and is one of the worst things you can do to your ears.

Turn the volume down a little and give your ears a break every now and then! A good rule of thumb is to keep your device under 60% of its capacity for volume.

Concerts

Going to concerts is always a great activity, but many venues are far too noisy. The average rock concert can reach between 110 and 140 dB! Exposing yourself to this can lead to noise-induced hearing loss, sometimes after just one concert. Have you ever experienced ringing in your ears after going to a concert? That’s known as tinnitus, and it is a sign that you have done permanent damage to your hearing.

Next time you go to a concert, bring a pair of earplugs. If the whole family is in tow, invest in some special earmuffs made just for kids! If you can, try to find a seat that isn’t next to a speaker or crazy crowd.

Movie Theaters

Watching a movie like Spiderman in the theater is exciting, but incredibly loud. Some movies reach almost 100 dBs. Despite the efforts of hearing health advocates, right now, most movie theaters around the world don’t have any regulations for speaker volume.

Of course, we don’t want you to miss out on a release of the next Star Wars film, so wear some ear protection. You could also watch it at home in a few weeks where you save money and can pause to fill up your popcorn too!

Restaurants and Bars

Some restaurants and bars can be a bit noisy and crowded. The average conversation sits at about 50-65 dB. When multiple conversations are going on at once and the restaurant is playing background music, the atmosphere can get far too noisy! Sports bars are also notorious for their abundance of televisions and noisy crowds.

Next time you’re out and you feel the environment is too loud, simply ask your waiter or bartender to turn down the volume of the TV’s or music! Your hearing health is important, and your waiter should take very good care of you.

At the end of the day, our modern lifestyles can hinder our hearing health, but you never have to miss out on great life experiences. The best thing you can do is be smart and protected. If you don’t already have hearing protection, invest in some. Your ears will thank you!

To make sure you are hearing at your very best, schedule an appointment with your hearing healthcare provider today!


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Identifying hearing loss in others

Your friend or family member may not be aware they are having a problem hearing.

Since hearing loss is invisible and often occurs gradually, it can go unnoticed for years before treatment begins. Those who experience symptoms and remain silent might feel ashamed or believe the condition will go away on its own.

Unfortunately, hearing loss is usually irreversible and should only be treated with the help of a hearing care professional. While it can be difficult to initiate a conversation about a loved one’s hearing, recognising the symptoms can help you feel more confident in the validity of your concerns.

Symptoms of hearing loss

Though hearing loss has several causes, its symptoms are basically the same. Ask yourself these common questions to help determine whether your loved one’s hearing has degenerated:

  • Does the volume of their audio devices seem too loud from a normal distance?
  • Do they often miss phone calls or visitors because they can’t hear the doorbell or telephone ringing?
  • Do they seem to be struggling to follow conversations in crowded or noisy settings?
  • Are they frequently complaining about others mumbling, talking too fast, or otherwise not speaking clearly?
  • Do you have to caution them about not speaking too loudly in everyday situations?
  • Does your loved one often ask you to repeat yourself in conversation?
  • Has their hearing ability been questioned by other friends, coworkers, or family members?
  • Have they stopped accepting invitations to go out socially?
  • Do they seem to miss loud noises that startle you and others?

It might be time to see a hearing care professional

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it is likely that your friend or family member has some degree of hearing loss and needs a hearing test.

Contact us today. A consultation with an Advanced Hearing Professional Audiologist could change your life.


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Hearing Loss – the Different Types

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Did you know there is more than one type of hearing loss?  Changes to different parts of the hearing system will result in one of three types of hearing loss:  sensorineural, conductive, or mixed.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) results from changes in the inner ear (cochlea) and/or the auditory nerve.  More often than not, these changes cause permanent hearing loss that is not treatable with medicine or surgery.  Some of the known causes of SNHL include the following: age, noise exposure, genetics, malformations of the inner ear, benign tumor, illnesses, medications known to be toxic to the ear, and injury/trauma.  Hearing aids are a common solution used to assist with this type of hearing loss.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss (CHL) results from changes in the outer ear and/or middle ear.  With a CHL, sound is not able to travel (be conducted) efficiently down the ear canal, through the eardrum, and along the ossicles (middle ear bones).  Some of the more common causes of CHL include the following: fluid in the middle ear, ear infection in either the outer and/or middle ear space, allergies, a hole in the eardrum, ear wax (cerumen) blockage, benign tumor, a foreign object in the ear canal, and the absence or malformation of the outer and/or middle ear.  This type of hearing loss is often corrected with medical management or surgery.  In some cases, hearing aids may be recommended.

Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed hearing loss (MHL) results from the presence of both a SNHL and CHL at the same time.  For example, a person with noise-induced SNHL may get a head cold that causes fluid in

the middle ear.  During the time the fluid is present, a CHL is occurring in addition to the already present SNHL.  Sometimes MHL can improve with medical management, while other times, it is permanent. 

How is Hearing Loss Diagnosed?

Hearing loss is diagnosed with a battery of tests that determines how soft you can hear and how well sound travels through the auditory system.  The test battery may include, but is not limited to audiometry, tympanometry, acoustic reflex thresholds, speech-in-noise testing, and otoacoustic emissions.  Typically, the audiologist completes the testing in a sound booth or sound treated room.  Some tests require you to sit quietly while others require your participation.  The audiologist will be able to determine if you have hearing loss and if so, the type and degree of hearing loss on the day of your evaluation.

Role of Audiologists

Audiologists identify and diagnose the type and degree of hearing loss as well as provide treatment options which may include hearing instruments.  They also work closely with physicians as an important part of the management team.

Do you think you or a family member may have hearing loss?  Click on the “Contact Us” link at the top of this page to locate and set up an appointment with an Advanced Hearing Audiologist in your area.


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Sudden onset hearing loss

A ‘sudden onset hearing loss’ is described as a rapid loss of hearing. This can happen to a person all at once or over a period of up to 3 days. For most people, this also only occurs in one ear. A sudden loss of hearing should be considered a medical emergency!

How can I know?

Most people know immediately when their hearing suddenly goes away! It is often accompanied by the presence of tinnitus (ringing in the ears), or dizziness, or both. Some clients have also described a loud popping sound right before losing their hearing. Others have described noticing it when they first wake up in the morning, or when they tried using the deafened ear to make a phone call.

What should I do?

If you suspect a sudden onset hearing loss, you should call an audiology clinic immediately and request a hearing assessment that same day! Most Audiologists understand the urgency of a sudden loss and will make room to see you at the end of the day or between patients.

The next step and treatment

Based on the test results, the Audiologist will be able to confirm if this is in fact a sudden onset hearing loss, or if the loss of hearing is caused by something else.  If it looks like sudden onset hearing loss, the audiologist will refer you to see a doctor immediately, to get treated within the same day. There is a small window of opportunity to get treated, therefore it is crucial not to wait!

Typically, physicians will treat this with steroids, and hope that the hearing comes back. That said, the treatment will be chosen by your physician, not us.

Once treated, we strongly recommend you come back for another test, so we can reassess your hearing and see if the treatment worked. Regardless of the outcome, we will be able to provide you with some answers and make a recommendation as to whether further medical referral is required, or if there is a rehabilitative solution available to you.

Be careful!

It’s easy to mistake a sudden drop in hearing for an ear infection or changes in pressure in the ear. Both of these can give a similar sensation to sudden hearing loss. If you notice any changes in your hearing, we urge you to not take any chances. Just call us to get a hearing test done so you can be sure.

 

Let the Audiologists at Advanced Hearing, assess your hearing to determine whether you are experiencing a sudden onset hearing loss or some other form of hearing impairment. Give us a call, today!


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