News - Peninsula Hearing Services

Can Hearing Be Restored?


Can Hearing Be Restored With so many medical advances in the 21st century, individuals with hearing loss yearn to know…can hearing be restored?  It is tempting to feel left-behind if you are hearing impaired.  The weight loss industry is rife with a dizzying number of commercials, books and advertisements Read more

Severity of Tinnitus Related to Emotional Sounds


Severity of Tinnitus Related to Emotional Sounds A research study out of the University of Illinois has suggested that the severity of tinnitus related to emotional sounds.  Not only do those with severe tinnitus process emotions differenty in the brain compared to those who report the severe tinnitus but also Read more

Rechargeable Hearing Aids


Rechargeable Hearing Aids Wouldn’t it be great if instead of replacing batteries every week in hearing devices, there were rechargeable hearing aids ?  Well, that is exactly what is available today.While hearing aid technology markets advances and exciting new features and capabilities every year that more often than fall Read more

Hearing Loss a risk factor for Dementia


Hearing Loss a risk factor for Dementia A new report  by the Lancet Commissions on Dementia Prevention, Intervention and Care suggests hearing loss a risk factor for dementia. The good news is the report suggests that managing hearing loss may be one way  to help lower the risk of Read more

Can Hearing Be Restored?

Peninsula Hearing Services Uncategorized

Can Hearing Be Restored

With so many medical advances in the 21st century, individuals with hearing loss yearn to know…can hearing be restored?  It is tempting to feel left-behind if you are hearing impaired.  The weight loss industry is rife with a dizzying number of commercials, books and advertisements touting extraordinary diets and expensive work-out equipment successes. Marketers offer the latest pills, potions and promises for reducing body fat, losing weight and shrinking your body dimensions enough to fit into the clothes you’re wishfully keeping in your closet. But seldom do fad diets and exercise equipment keep the weight off long-term.

 pictureEssential  Oils

So, if one has nerve related  hearing loss, can hearing be restored? Do any of the hearing loss solutions you may have seen advertised provider restoration of hearing? The short answer to this question is “not really.” Unfortunately, many individuals with hearing impairment cling to the hope that some of these so-called remedies will provide immediate relief.

Surgery for hearing loss

While any operation can cause anxiety, some people with hearing loss would be willing to go under the knife if they knew their hearing could be restored to normal.

The most common surgeries performed on the ears are:

  • Insertion of middle ear tubes – Hardly a surgery, this frequently-performed, outpatient procedure is intended for those with other than nerve-related hearing loss.  Middle ear, or pressure equalization (PE) tubes, are used to alleviate pressure buildup behind the eardrum in cases of middle ear infection or fluid that cannot drain through the Eustacian tubes. Children are the most common candidates for PE tubes because their not-yet-developed ear anatomy makes ear infections more prevalent than in adults. However, for the majority of adults whose hearing losses are sensorineural, this surgery is not appropriate and would have no value.
  • Cochlear implants – A cochlear implant is an invasive, significant surgery for adults and, more commonly, children who have no, or very little, residual hearing, typically something they were born with.   It works by insertion of an electrical wire inserted deeply into the skull into the hearing nerve organ called the cochlea.  It sends electrical impulses to the hearing nerves that can be translated by the brain as meaningful sound. If you have significant hearing loss, you may wonder if you can just skip hearing aids and go right to an implant. Cochlear implantation is an invasive and costly surgery that is intended only for those who benefit little or not at all from hearing devices. The reason for this is that the surgery does not “restore” hearing; it only provides some hearing to those previously deaf or with severe hearing loss.  Also, the surgery, if unsuccessful, can leave one deaf. The surgery is really a “last-resort”.
  • Stapedectomy – another surgery than involves hearing loss that does not affect the hearing nerve.  This invasive surgery is also not without risk or successful in outcome and is only performed on those whose tiny bones of the middle ear becoming ineffective at transmitting sound to the inner ear where the hearing nerve  is located.. A stapedectomy is a procedure in which the stapes is replaced with a prosthesis. This surgery is reserved for specific ear-related conditions and is not used for sensorineural hearing loss.

 

Essential oils for hearing loss

Essential oils are wildly popular as natural remedies for everything from anxiety and depression to allergies and the flu virus. There have been some claims about essential oils’ effectiveness for restoring your hearing.

Essential oils cannot cure sensorineural hearing loss, and there is no research to support claims that they can. If you ever consider using any type of oil in your ear, speak to a physician first, preferably an Ear, Nose & Throat specialist.

Drugs to restore hearing

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a magic pill for everything that ails us, including hearing loss? If a pharmaceutical solution to sensorineural hearing loss seems like a great idea to you, you’re in good company. Researchers from all over the world have been searching for ways to make curing hearing loss as easy as a trip to the pharmacy.

There has been exciting “stem-cell” research that has shown it may be possible to stimulate new hearing nerve receptors to grow and replace the damaged receptors. Most of the studies to date have been with other animals and/or laboratory based.   The specific applications that could be used in humans are years, if not decades, away. Each potential remedy would need extensive research with humans before the long process of clinical trials and drug approval could even begin.

What can restore hearing?

So, back to the question….can hearing be restored?  No, but hearing can be improved.  Restoring your hearing can be as simple as visiting a hearing care professional and being professionally fit with appropriate hearing aids. If you’d like to restore your hearing with a solution that is proven, well-understood and available right now, contact Peninsula Hearing Services at (650) 373-2081

Reference:  Edited from the article Can you restore your lost hearing? by Brande Plotnick, MS, MBA, managing editor, Health Hearing 9/26/2017


Severity of Tinnitus Related to Emotional Sounds

Peninsula Hearing Services Tinnitus, Uncategorized

Severity of Tinnitus Related to Emotional Sounds

A research study out of the University of Illinois has suggested that the severity of tinnitus related to emotional sounds.  Not only do those with severe tinnitus process emotions differenty in the brain compared to those who report the severe tinnitus but also that among those who have tinnitus, there are significant differences in which regions of the brain are used when processing emotions.

 

brain processing

Not a disease in and of itself, tinnitus is usually a symptom of another underlying health condition or the result of trauma such as exposure to loud noise or ototoxic medications. Basically, tinnitus is the perception of sound such as ringing or buzzing in one or both ears when no sound is present. And that perception of sound means that the brain is a key player in the presence and severity of tinnitus.

“We are trying to understand how the brain adapts to having tinnitus for a very long time,” said Fatima Husain, University of Illinois speech and hearing science and neuroscience professor who led the research team.

The research study was especially significant given that, according to the NIDCD, 25 million people in the U.S. have experienced tinnitus symptoms lasting at least five minutes in the past year. There is no “cure” for tinnitus, only treatments and therapies that can reduce the severity of the condition.

Tinnitus and emotional sounds

During the study, the researchers used MRI brain imaging analysis to see changes in blood oxygen levels in the brain. Researchers first looked at the brain activity of those with tinnitus versus those without. When exposed to different types of sounds the results of the fMRIs showed those with tinnitus had greater engagement in different areas of the brain when exposed to emotion-triggering sounds than those without tinnitus.

The second round of fMRI revealed to researchers that those with less severe tinnitus, i.e. those who reported lower tinnitus distress, actually used a different pathway to process emotional information.  It is possible that that the severity of tinnitus related to emotional sounds.

Understanding tinnitus for better therapies

The takeaway for the researchers was that greater activation of an area of the brain known as the frontal lobe helped control emotional responses and reduce tinnitus stress, which could have far-reaching implications on possible interventions or therapies for tinnitus.

An important note – tinnitus is reported in 85% of individuals with hearing loss. Treating your hearing loss can bring back the wonderful sounds of life, improve your relationships and help keep your mind sharp. For some people who have both tinnitus and hearing loss, just wearing hearing aids can also alleviate tinnitus. If you need help with your hearing or tinnitus, contact Peninsula Hearing Services for an appointment.

Reference:  This article was modified from the article “Research shows severity of tinnitus is related to emotional processing” by Lisa Packer, staff writer, HealthHearing.com (November 7, 2017)


Rechargeable Hearing Aids

Peninsula Hearing Services Hearing Aid Batteries

Rechargeable Hearing Aids

Wouldn’t it be great if instead of replacing batteries every week in hearing devices, there were rechargeable hearing aids ?  Well, that is exactly what is available today.

While hearing aid technology markets advances and exciting new features and capabilities every year that more often than fall short of expectations, there has been innovation in one area, and that’s rechargeable hearing aids. If not having to buy disposable batteries frequently and handling those tiny batteries each day sounds appealing, rechargeable hearing aids might be just what you need.

ZPower Rechargeable System

In the last few years, a company named ZPower is a game-changing creator of the ZPower Rechargeable System. This innovative and award-winning system turns compatible hearing aids into rechargeable hearing aids. The system can be ordered at the time of a new hearing aid purchase or, if the hearing aids are compatible, it can be retrofit on existing devices. This system is ideal to those individuals who struggle with the following pitfalls with traditional hearing device batteries:

  • Dexterity issues
  • Vision loss
  • Environmentally conscious and want to reduce the number of disposable batteries that end up in landfills.
  • Inconvenient to repeatedly purchase batteries every several months

Rechargeable hearing aids are convenient, easy to use and environmentally-friendly.

Cost

The downside is that the ZPower rechargeable hearing aid system is not exactly cheap.  The cost of the unit is approximately $200-$300, and the rechargeable battery, which needs to be replaced every year, is approximately $50 per hearing device. Compare this to traditional hearing aid batteries which can be purchased for as little as 25 cents apiece, resulting in an annual cost of $50-$75 for a pair of devices.

Learn More

To learn more about the ZPower system for rechargeable hearing aids, visit their website or contact Peninsula Hearing Services and see if they are right for you.

ZPS-Slider-6

 

Reference:  Edited from an article by Brande Plotnick, MS, MBA, managing editor, Healthy HearingAugust 17, 201


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