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Hearing Research

Hearing Research If you suffer from hearing loss, you are likely to wonder what  hearing research is being done by medical science.   And how is hearing research being conducted?The hearing organ and complex nerves that allow one to hear are located deep inside the brain.  While imaging techniques such Read more

Hearing Aid Batteries

Hearing Aid Batteries Hearing devices can be life-changing, but they can’t help you if the hearing aid batteries are dead. Hearing device users know when they hear that little beeping noise, they’d better have a spare pack of batteries handy. Hearing aid batteries typically last between 3-7 days, depending on factors like:The type Read more

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

9 Reasons Why You Should Get a Hearing Test

Peninsula Hearing Services Hearing Testing

9 Reasons Why You Should Get a Hearing Test

If you’re like millions of other Americans who experience difficulty hearing, the following article summarizes 9 reasons why you should get a hearing test.


  1. Hearing loss can strain your relationships. It can make it difficult for you to communicate with friends, family or even neighbors and casual acquaintances, which can lead to frustration or misunderstandings. Having a hearing test done can validate if it’s your hearing or the other person speaks softly, mumbles or places unreasonable demands on your hearing.
  2. Some studies show that treating hearing loss early can prevent it from getting worse. If you’ve already experienced some hearing loss, your audiologist can recommend changes you can make in your everyday life to protect your hearing.
  3. Hearing loss could indicate an underlying health condition, such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease. If your hearing test shows that you have hearing loss, you can visit your doctor for diagnostic tests.
  4. Hearing loss can negatively impact job performance. A hearing test makes it possible for you to get help, so you can be successful at work.
  5. One of the most common effects of hearing loss is withdrawal socially, often leading depression.
  6. With recent technological innovations, today’s hearing devices are much more discreet, natural sounding and better performing in noisy environments. If your hearing test indicates that you have hearing loss, keep in mind that advances in hearing devices have made these devices more effective and more comfortable to use.
  7. Recent studies in the medical field of neurology and cognition are more strongly finding that hearing loss raises the risk of dementia. It is unsure why this is so, but it is speculated that hearing loss leads to social isolation, which in turn might contribute to the higher risk of dementia. A hearing test may help protect your cognitive abilities.
  8. Hearing loss makes it difficult to enjoy social situations. Whether you attend community events or meet with friends for lunch, hearing loss can make it hard for you to participate in conversations.
  9. Hearing loss can occur if you take pain relievers. You may have a higher chance of hearing loss if you take acetaminophen, aspirin or other nonprescription pain relievers on a regular basis.

Therefore, if you suspect hearing loss, there are 9 reasons why you should get a hearing test.  As your physician or see an audiologist with how to go about getting a hearing test.

SOURCE: edited from an article “10 Reasons why you should take a hearing test” by the Silverstein Institute (April 5, 2017)

Ringing in the Ears

Peninsula Hearing Services Tinnitus

Ringing in the Ears

There’s a ringing in the ears that no one else can hear – a buzzing, ringing or whooshing sound that won’t go away — and it is driving you crazy. Is it a disease you wonder? Or a symptom of something serious? And – will it ever go away?Most of us have experienced this condition, especially after a night enjoying the music of a favorite band or an afternoon cheering for the home team at the local stadium. If the ringing and buzzing doesn’t go away after a few days however, it’s time for a trip to your hearing healthcare professional.

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus (pronounced ti-NIGHT-us or TIN-i-tus) is the sensation of a ringing in the ears or buzzing in the ears even when there is no external sound present. You might hear the noise sporadically or constantly, and it may be loud or barely noticeable. Sometimes it’s worse — especially when there isn’t any background noise, such as when you are trying to fall asleep in a quiet room.

According to the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), more than 50 million people suffer from some form of tinnitus. While most people consider it a minor annoyance, more than 12 million with severe cases find it disruptive to their personal and professional relationships. Many of these individuals with chronic cases of tinnitus are veterans. In fact, tinnitus is the single largest category for disability claims in the military. Hearing loss is the second.

Tinnitus as a symptom

Most hearing health professionals believe tinnitus is a symptom of another condition or illness, such as:

  • Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL): prolonged exposure to loud noise is the most common reason for up to 90 percent of individuals diagnosed with the condition. Those who have been exposed to a single, loud noise – such as an explosion or gun shot – may experience damage to the nerve receptors in the inner ear and develop NIHL. Those who work in noisy professions, such as construction, music, or landscaping or those with loud hobbies such as hunting, motorcycling, and snowmobiling may also suffer from NIHL.
  • Presbycusis: Hearing loss that develops as part of the natural aging process is known as presbycusis. During this process, parts of the hearing nerve receptors deteriorate and tinnitus may occur.
  • Ototoxic medications: Some medications, such as aspirin, several types of antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, sedatives, anti-depressants and quinine medications can negatively affect your hearing health and cause tinnitus.
  • Meniere’s disease: This disease affects the inner ear, causing progressive deafness and, in some cases, attacks of vertigo and tinnitus.
  • Blockage of the ear such as excess earwax, infections or benign tumors
  • Head, neck or jaw problems such as head injuries or TMJ syndrome
  • Other medical problems including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, anemia and diabetes

In many cases, tinnitus is reduced when the underlying cause of the condition is treated.

Tinnitus as a disease

In other cases, tinnitus is so chronic and debilitating it can cause other health problems including stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression and even thoughts of suicide. While it isn’t curable, it can be managed, even in these extreme situations.

Dr. James Henry, a research scientist at the National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research at the VA Medical Center in Portland, Ore. has developed five progressive treatment protocols to help veterans with chronic cases of tinnitus manage their condition. In a 2013 post published by Psychology Today, Dr. Henry describes his five-step Progressive Tinnitus Management Program. While levels one and two deal with getting patients to hearing healthcare providers and treating any detected hearing loss, level three focuses on showing patients how to use sound, relaxation exercises and diversion activities to manage their tinnitus. Dr. Henry said 95 percent of those attending the level three workshops succeed in managing their tinnitus.

Currently, the best treatment for chronic tinnitus in which there is no underlying medical cause and there is hearing loss is hearing aids (MarkeTrak VIII: The Prevalence of Tinnitus n the United States and the Self-reported Efficacy of Various Treatments-Sergei Kochkin, et al, 2011, Hearing Review).

Seek treatment

Whether you suspect the ringing in the ears is a symptom of a larger issue or something isolated, it needs to be evaluated by a hearing care professional to determine if there is something causing it and how to best treat it. The first step is to seek treatment from an ear, nose and throat (ENT) physician or hearing healthcare professional who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of tinnitus. In the meantime, avoid substances such as alcohol, smoking and drinking caffeinated beverages, which can exacerbate your condition. Get plenty of rest and relaxation. Finally, it’s also important to maintain a positive outlook and find a support group with people who understand what you are dealing with.

SOURCE: edited from an article by Debbie Clason, staff writer Health (June 1, 2017 )

Why Doesn’t Medicare Cover Hearing Aids

Peninsula Hearing Services Health Insurance for Hearing Aids, Hearing Aid Insurance

Why Doesn’t Medicare Cover Hearing Aids

Many of those seeking hearing aids in my office ask why doesn’t Medicare cover hearing aids.  They are frustrated because for those who have Medicare, they have paid into a healthcare system that routinely provides at least some coverage for many medical procedures and services.  While it is understandable that hearing aids, which are not inexpensive (costs range from approximately $1900 to upwards of $3800 depending on the office, area and manufacturer) may not be fully covered, it is a reasonable question to ask why Medicare doesn’t cover ANYTHING for them.

Other Covered Hearing Services

I am unaware of any publicly stated reason regarding why Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids.  However, a recent article titled “Why does Medicare cover cochlear implants but not hearing aid?” by hearing industry expert Dr. Fan-Gang PhD published in the September 2016 edition of The Hearing Journal offers 3 reasons as to why they might not covered:

  1. To be covered by Medicare, a device must provide a health benefit and “be determined to be reasonable and necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of an illness or injury or to improve the functioning of a malformed body member. Cochlear implants, which are a surgically implanted hearing device for those with severe hearing loss has been shown through scientific and clinical evidence to improve hearing and is a covered benefit by Medicare.  Zeng states that “apparently, Medicare has determined that the published evidence on the health benefits of hearing aids is inadequate, and that, accordingly, hearing aids do not merit any coverage.
  1. Regulatory differences contribute to coverage disparities. Almost all pharmaceuticals and medically invasive Class-III medical devices have to be “proven” both safe and effective through comprehensive and expensive clinical trials required to obtain FDA approval.  Hearing aids are regulated as lesser invasive medical devices and are exempted from rigorous controlled clinical trials to demonstrate health benefits.  His opinion is that “achieving Medicare coverage will depend on the willingness and ability of hearing aid manufacturers to quantify the health benefits of hearing aids, which would be directly compared to other covered medical devices”.
  1. Medicare regulatory members are primarily composed of physicians who decide on what to cover as well as how much to cover. Hearing aid fitting does not require any surgery and hearing aids are dispensed by non-physicians (audiologists and hearing aid dispensers), seldom engaging physicians.  In Dr. Zeng’s opinion, this lack of inter-relationship between the two professions has led to the present coverage disparity between cochlear implants and hearing aids.

To learn more about why doesn’t Medicare cover hearing aids, read Dr. Zen’s article or contact your local congress person.