Posts for: January, 2014
[adapted from the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)]
Today there are many different types and styles of hearing aids available. The one that will work best for you will depend on many factors, including the severity of your hearing loss and the listening situations you find yourself on a daily basis. The best way to determine the best hearing aid for you is to have your hearing tested by a licensed audiologist and discuss the options available to you.
If you have a hearing loss in both of your ears, two hearing aids are generally recommended because two aids provide a more natural signal to the brain. Hearing in both ears also will help you understand speech and locate where the sound is coming from.
You and your audiologist should select a hearing aid that best suits your needs and lifestyle. Price is also a key consideration because hearing aids range from hundreds to several thousand dollars. Similar to other equipment purchases, style and features affect cost. However, don’t use price alone to determine the best hearing aid for you. Just because one hearing aid is more expensive than another does not necessarily mean that it will better suit your needs.
All hearing aids contain the same parts to carry sound from the environment into your ear. However, hearing aids do come in a number of styles, which differ in size and the way they are placed in your ear. Some are small enough to fit inside your ear canal, making them almost invisible. Others fit partially in your ear canal. Generally, the smaller a hearing aid is, the less powerful it is, the shorter its battery life and the more it'll cost.
A hearing aid will not restore your normal hearing. With practice, however, a hearing aid will increase your awareness of sounds and their sources. You will want to wear your hearing aid regularly, so select one that is convenient and easy for you to use. Other features to consider include parts or services covered by the warranty, estimated schedule and costs for maintenance and repair, options and upgrade opportunities, and the hearing aid company’s reputation for quality and customer service.
For more information, check out these links:
- What is the Best Hearing Aid for You? from the Better Hearing Institute
- Hearing Aid Buying Guide from Consumer Reports
- Overview of Hearing Aids from American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
[adapted from The Better Hearing Institute]
The bad news: A study by Henry Ford Hospital shows a direct association between cotton swab use and ruptured eardrum.
The good news: The study also shows that, in most cases, the rupture heals on its own and surgery is only necessary for the most severe cases.
More than half of patients seen in otolaryngology clinics, regardless of their primary complaint, admit to using cotton swabs to clean their ears, and if the cotton swab is pushed too far in the ear canal, it can cause tympanic membrane perforations (TMP), which can lead to facial paralysis and vertigo.
A ruptured eardrum can be treated in one of two ways, depending on the severity of the symptoms. The most common method of treatment is observation of the perforation by an otolaryngologist because often the eardrum will heal on its own within 2 months. More severe cases are treated with surgery.
Instead of cotton swabs, patients should use the following alternatives to clean the inner ear:
- Take cool peroxide, hot tap water and mix equally. Be sure it is body temperature and gently irrigate the ear one or two times per month.
- Take plain vinegar and water and use four or five drops in the ear once a week.
- See a doctor, who can remove ear wax for you.
- Try an over-the-counter treatment such as Debrox.
One of the exciting services we are pleased to bring our patients in 2014 is the addition of ultrasound imaging in our office.
We offer ultrasound exams and ultrasound-guided procedures through an alliance established with Kelly Imaging Group, a diagnostic mobile imaging team. This company was founded with the same values of patient care and quality medicine that we embrace at Spartanburg & Greer ENT.
Ultrasound is the most cost-effective and most specific means of evaluating the thyroid, salivary glands and lymph nodes in the head and neck. The benefits of this new service are drastically reduced exam costs, convenience of location, and timeliness of results.