Hearing loss is an increasing concern especially in aging populations, the prevalence of hearing loss increase about two-fold for each decade increase in age after age 40. While the secular trend might decrease individual level risk of developing hearing loss, the prevalence of hearing loss is expected to rise due to the aging population in the US. Another concern about aging process is cognitive decline, which may progress to mild cognitive impairment and eventually dementia. The association between hearing loss and cognitive decline has been studied in various research settings. Despite the variability in study design and protocols, the majority of these studies have found consistent association between age-related hearing loss and cognitive decline, cognitive impairment, and dementia. The association between age-related hearing loss and Alzheimer's disease was found to be nonsignificant, and this finding supports the hypothesis that hearing loss is associated with dementia independent of Alzheimer pathology. There are several hypothesis about the underlying causal mechanism for age-related hearing loss and cognitive decline. One hypothesis is that this association can be explained by common etiology or shared neurobiological pathology with decline in other physiological system. Another possible cognitive mechanism emphasize on individual's cognitive load. As people developing hearing loss in the process of aging, the cognitive load demanded by auditory perception increases, which may lead to change in brain structure and eventually to dementia. One other hypothesis suggests that the association between hearing loss and cognitive decline is mediated through various psychosocial factors, such as decrease in social contact and increase in social isolation. Findings on the association between hearing loss and dementia have significant public health implication, since about 9% of dementia cases can be attributed to hearing loss.
Hearing loss is a partial or total inability to hear. Hearing loss may be present at birth or acquired at any time afterwards. Hearing loss may occur in one or both ears. In children, hearing problems can affect the ability to learn spoken language, and in adults it can create difficulties with social interaction and at work. Hearing loss can be temporary or permanent. Hearing loss related to age usually affects both ears and is due to cochlear hair cell loss. In some people, particularly older people, hearing loss can result in loneliness. Deaf people usually have little to no hearing.
Tinnitus is the perception of sound when no corresponding external sound is present. While often described as a ringing, it may also sound like a clicking, buzzing, hiss, or roaring. The sound may be soft or loud, low or high pitched, and appear to be coming from one or both ears. In some people, the sound may interfere with concentration or increase feelings of anxiety or depression. Tinnitus may be associated with some degree of hearing loss and with decreased understanding in noise.
Some people experience a sound that beats in time with their pulse, known as pulsatile tinnitus or vascular tinnitus. Pulsatile tinnitus is usually objective in nature, resulting from altered blood flow, increased blood turbulence near the ear, such as from atherosclerosis or venous hum, but it can also arise as a subjective phenomenon from an increased awareness of blood flow in the ear. Rarely, pulsatile tinnitus may be a symptom of potentially life-threatening conditions such as carotid artery aneurysm or carotid artery dissection. Pulsatile tinnitus may also indicate vasculitis, or more specifically, giant cell arteritis. Pulsatile tinnitus may also be an indication of idiopathic intracranial hypertension. Pulsatile tinnitus can be a symptom of intracranial vascular abnormalities and should be evaluated for irregular noises of blood flow (bruits).
This is a meditation technique that is used frequently for pain management, and more recently for tinnitus. The idea is that we tend to resist unpleasant sensations (eg hearing tinnitus). If we stop resisting and allow the unpleasant sensation, this alters our awareness to include more sensations. We start to notice that sensations become less dominant once our attention moves away from them and focuses on a different part of the body. All of this can change in a moment, simply by changing our awareness. If we use mindfulness effectively, we can create some space from the tinnitus and in that space, we can decide how we’re going to respond to it. It’s a wonderful way of achieving ‘peace and quiet’.
The mechanism behind ASD is probably a combination of sustained load on the ear and excessive stress. The stress network in the brain (e.g. amygdala, parahippocampus, anterior cingulate cortex, insula, frontal cortex, etc.) can go into 'overdrive' through prolonged stress, causing muscles of the neck, jaws and shoulders to stretch. When exposed to a sound, especially if it occurs suddenly and unexpectedly, the muscles that are used during the pricking of the ears would cramp (Tensor Tympani syndrome).
▶ For most inner ear problems, a sodium-restricted, caffeine-free diet is recommended. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant and its intake makes the symptoms of inner ear disorder (especially headache and dizziness) appear more pronounced. Hence, it is advisable to reduce the intake of caffeine as much as possible till the condition is completely treated. Excess sugar in the diet also triggers dizziness.
Pure tone audiometry, a standardized hearing test over a set of frequencies from 250 Hz to 8000 Hz, may be conducted by a medical doctor, audiologist or audiometrist, with the result plotted separately for each ear on an audiogram. The shape of the plot reveals the degree and nature of hearing loss, distinguishing conductive hearing loss from other kinds of hearing loss. A conductive hearing loss is characterized by a difference of at least 15 decibels between the air conduction threshold and bone conduction threshold at the same frequency. On an audiogram, the "x" represents responses in the left ear at each frequency, while the "o" represents responses in right ear at each frequency.
Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is the perception of sound when there is no external sound present. It is not a condition by itself but instead a symptom of an underlying cause. Many patients describe the sound as a high-pitched ringing, but it may also be a clicking, buzzing, whooshing, roaring, or hissing. The sound can vary in volume and can be either unilateral or bilateral. In most patients, tinnitus occurs gradually. It can significantly impact the quality of life, causing depression, anxiety, and loss of concentration.
As of 2013 hearing loss affects about 1.1 billion people to some degree. It causes disability in about 466 million people (5% of the global population), and moderate to severe disability in 124 million people. Of those with moderate to severe disability 108 million live in low and middle income countries. Of those with hearing loss, it began during childhood for 65 million. Those who use sign language and are members of Deaf culture see themselves as having a difference rather than an disability. Most members of Deaf culture oppose attempts to cure deafness and some within this community view cochlear implants with concern as they have the potential to eliminate their culture. The terms hearing impairment or hearing loss are often viewed negatively as emphasizing what people cannot do, although the terms are still regularly used when referring to deafness in medical contexts.
A perforated (ruptured, punctured) eardrum (tympanic membrane) is a hole or tear in the eardrum. The eardrum separates the ear canal and middle ear. Most ruptured eardrums do not cause pain, however, the condition can be uncomfortable. Bacteria, viral, and fungal infections are the most common causes a ruptured eardrum. Earwax removal attempts, changes in air pressure, and trauma are other causes of a ruptured eardrum.
Tinnitus may be classified in two types: subjective tinnitus and objective tinnitus. Tinnitus is usually subjective, meaning that the sounds the person hears are not detectable by means currently available to physicians and hearing technicians. Subjective tinnitus has also been called "tinnitus aurium", "non-auditory" or "non-vibratory" tinnitus. In rare cases, tinnitus can be heard by someone else using a stethoscope. Even more rarely, in some cases it can be measured as a spontaneous otoacoustic emission (SOAE) in the ear canal. This is classified as objective tinnitus, also called "pseudo-tinnitus" or "vibratory" tinnitus.
Often interventions to prevent noise-induced hearing loss have many components. A 2017 Cochrane review found that stricter legislation might reduce noise levels. Providing workers with information on their noise exposure levels was not shown to decrease exposure to noise. Ear protection, if used correctly, can reduce noise to safer levels, but often, providing them is not sufficient to prevent hearing loss. Engineering noise out and other solutions such as proper maintenance of equipment can lead to noise reduction, but further field studies on resulting noise exposures following such interventions are needed. Other possible solutions include improved enforcement of existing legislation and better implementation of well-designed prevention programmes, which have not yet been proven conclusively to be effective. The conclusion of the Cochrane Review was that further research could modify what is now regarding the effectiveness of the evaluated interventions.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) developed the ISO 1999 standards for the estimation of hearing thresholds and noise-induced hearing impairment. They used data from two noise and hearing study databases, one presented by Burns and Robinson (Hearing and Noise in Industry, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1970) and by Passchier-Vermeer (1968). As race are some of the factors that can affect the expected distribution of pure-tone hearing thresholds several other national or regional datasets exist, from Sweden, Norway, South Korea, the United States and Spain.
Tympanometry, or acoustic immitance testing, is a simple objective test of the ability of the middle ear to transmit sound waves from the outer ear to the middle ear and to the inner ear. This test is usually abnormal with conductive hearing loss. A type B tympanogram reveals a flat response, due to fluid in the middle ear (otitis media), or an eardrum perforation. A type C tympanogram indicates negative middle ear pressure, which is commonly seen in eustachian tube dysfunction. A type As tympanogram indicates a shallow compliance of the middle ear, which is commonly seen in otosclerosis.
Besides research studies seeking to improve hearing, such as the ones listed above, research studies on the deaf have also been carried out in order to understand more about audition. Pijil and Shwarz (2005) conducted their study on the deaf who lost their hearing later in life and, hence, used cochlear implants to hear. They discovered further evidence for rate coding of pitch, a system that codes for information for frequencies by the rate that neurons fire in the auditory system, especially for lower frequencies as they are coded by the frequencies that neurons fire from the basilar membrane in a synchronous manner. Their results showed that the subjects could identify different pitches that were proportional to the frequency stimulated by a single electrode. The lower frequencies were detected when the basilar membrane was stimulated, providing even further evidence for rate coding.
High-pitched ringing. Exposure to a very loud noise or a blow to the ear can cause a high-pitched ringing or buzzing that usually goes away after a few hours. However, if there's hearing loss as well, tinnitus may be permanent. Long-term noise exposure, age-related hearing loss or medications can cause a continuous, high-pitched ringing in both ears. Acoustic neuroma can cause continuous, high-pitched ringing in one ear.
Management is unclear. Various electronic filtering and limiting devices have been developed to try and prevent the problem. Many call centres now are very aware of the problem and have active occupational health teams who remove operatives from call handling duties after an acoustic incident, at least until the immediate symptoms have settled. For patients with persistent symptoms the techniques used for tinnitus and hyperacusis may be applied. Sound therapy for acoustic shock patients can be useful but may be difficult to provide as many people with acoustic shock do not tolerate having sound generators in their ears. Westcott gives useful advice on how to administer sound therapy using techniques such as having headphones loosely around the neck rather than over the ears.2 Sleep management and relaxation strategies may be useful. For those with significant anxiety depression symptoms of PTSD a psychological opinion may be beneficial.
^ Jump up to: a b c Han BI, Lee HW, Kim TY, Lim JS, Shin KS (March 2009). "Tinnitus: characteristics, causes, mechanisms, and treatments". Journal of Clinical Neurology. 5 (1): 11–19. doi:10.3988/jcn.2009.5.1.11. PMC 2686891. PMID 19513328. About 75% of new cases are related to emotional stress as the trigger factor rather than to precipitants involving cochlear lesions.
Most people find that their tinnitus does seem to settle down after this initial period, even without doing anything in particular. You might hear this being referred to as habituation. It’s a bit like walking into a room with a noisy fan or air conditioner. Initially, it seems really loud and then after a while, you stop noticing it as much. Tinnitus can often be much the same – initially, it’s more noticeable but you gradually notice it less than you did. The first time you realise it’s in the background is a great moment – it confirms that there are times when it’s less noticeable, which means you should be able to keep doing the things that you enjoy doing.
Hearing loss is generally measured by playing generated or recorded sounds, and determining whether the person can hear them. Hearing sensitivity varies according to the frequency of sounds. To take this into account, hearing sensitivity can be measured for a range of frequencies and plotted on an audiogram. Other method for quantifying hearing loss is a hearing test using a mobile application or hearing aid application, which includes a hearing test. Hearing diagnosis using mobile application is similar to the audiometry procedure. Audiogram, obtained using mobile application, can be used to adjust hearing aid application. Another method for quantifying hearing loss is a speech-in-noise test. which gives an indication of how well one can understand speech in a noisy environment. Otoacoustic emissions test is an objective hearing test that may be administered to toddlers and children too young to cooperate in a conventional hearing test. Auditory brainstem response testing is an electrophysiological test used to test for hearing deficits caused by pathology within the ear, the cochlear nerve and also within the brainstem.
^ Casale, Manuele; Costantino, Andrea; Rinaldi, Vittorio; Forte, Antonio; Grimaldi, Marta; Sabatino, Lorenzo; Oliveto, Giuseppe; Aloise, Fabio; Pontari, Domenico (2018-11-11). "Mobile applications in otolaryngology for patients: An update". Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology. 3 (6): 434–438. doi:10.1002/lio2.201. ISSN 2378-8038. PMC 6302723. PMID 30599026.
The use of sound therapy by either hearing aids or tinnitus maskers helps the brain ignore the specific tinnitus frequency. Although these methods are poorly supported by evidence, there are no negative effects. There are several approaches for tinnitus sound therapy. The first is sound modification to compensate for the individual's hearing loss. The second is a signal spectrum notching to eliminate energy close to the tinnitus frequency. There is some tentative evidence supporting tinnitus retraining therapy, which is aimed at reducing tinnitus-related neuronal activity. There are preliminary data on an alternative tinnitus treatment using mobile applications, including various methods: masking, sound therapy, relaxing exercises and other. These applications can work as a separate device or as a hearing aid control system.
The sound perceived may range from a quiet background noise to one that even is heard over loud external sounds. The specific type of tinnitus called pulsatile tinnitus is characterized by hearing the sounds of one's own pulse or muscle contractions, which is typically a result of sounds that have been created by the movement of muscles near to one's ear, or the sounds are related to blood flow in the neck or face.
White noise machines. These devices, which produce simulated environmental sounds such as falling rain or ocean waves, are often an effective treatment for tinnitus. You may want to try a white noise machine with pillow speakers to help you sleep. Fans, humidifiers, dehumidifiers and air conditioners in the bedroom also may help cover the internal noise at night.
When there does not seem to be a connection with a disorder of the inner ear or auditory nerve, the tinnitus is called nonotic (i.e. not otic). In some 30% of tinnitus cases, the tinnitus is influenced by the somatosensory system, for instance, people can increase or decrease their tinnitus by moving their face, head, or neck. This type is called somatic or craniocervical tinnitus, since it is only head or neck movements that have an effect.