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Hearing Dictionary

Your Guide to Better Hearing

Hearing Aids in the Presence of Background Noise

Virtually all patients wearing hearing aids complain about background noise at one time or another. There is no way to completely eliminate background noise.

What is Digital Technology?

The term digital is used so often today it can be confusing. When the term 'digital' is used while referring to hearing aids, it generally means the hearing aid is 100% digital. In other words, the hearing aid is indeed a "complete computer".

Taking an Impression of the Ear

All custom hearing aids and earmolds are made from a "cast" of the ear. The cast is referred to as an ear impression. The audiologist makes the impression in the office. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

Hearing Aid Batteries

All batteries are toxic and dangerous if swallowed. Keep all batteries and hearing aids away from children and pets. If anyone swallows a battery, it is a medical emergency and the individual should seek a physician immediately.

How do I know if I have hearing loss?

Hearing loss occurs to most people as they age. Hearing loss can be due to the aging process, exposure to loud noise, certain medications, infections, head or ear trauma, congenital (birth or prenatal) or hereditary factors, diseases, and many other causes.

Middle Ear Implants

Middle ear implants are surgically implanted devices. The FDA has approved specific middle ear implants and is still reviewing others. The middle ear implant is a useful hearing instrument and is quite different from traditional hearing aids.

Realistic Expectations for the Hearing Aid User

Hearing aids work very well when fit and adjusted properly. They are designed to make words and the conversations easier to understand in all situations, without making sounds seem too loud.

Three Levels of Hearing Aid Technology

There are essentially three levels of hearing aid technology. We refer to these as analog, digitally programmable, and digital.

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is an abnormal perception of a sound which is reported by patients. The sound is unrelated to an external source of stimulation. Tinnitus is a very common disorder and is often referred to as "ringing in the ears", though some people hear hissing, roaring, whistling, chirping, or clicking.

What Causes Tinnitus?

Tinnitus may originate from various lesions and from different sites. The auditory system involves highly complicated inner ear structures, many afferent and efferent nerve pathways, and a great amount of nuclei that form a complex network. 

Tinnitus Relief and Management

Generally, most patients will not need any medical assistance for their tinnitus. For patients who are greatly bothered by tinnitus, they may use some masking techniques such as listening to a fan or radio.

Type and Degree of Hearing Loss

Results of the audiometric evaluation are plotted on a chart called an audiogram. Loudness is plotted from top to bottom. Frequency, from low to high, is plotted from left to right. Your hearing assessment results will be evaluated based on this scale.

Types of Hearing Loss

There are many styles of hearing aids. The degree of the hearing loss, power and options desired, manual dexterity abilities, cost, and cosmetic concerns are some of the factors that will determine the style the patient will use.

Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs)

You may have certain communication needs that cannot be solved by the use of hearing aids alone. These situations may involve the use of the telephone, radio, television, and the inability to hear the door chime, telephone bell, and alarm clock. There are many ALDs available today, from sophisticated systems used in theaters and auditoriums, to small personal systems.

Candidates for ALDs

All patients with varying degrees of hearing loss - even those with normal hearing - can benefit from assistive listening devices.

Cochlear Implants

Generally speaking, cochlear implants are for patients with severe to profound, sensorineural hearing loss. There are approximately 500,000 patients in the USA with this level of hearing loss.

What is an Otologist or Neurotologist?

Otologists or neurotologists are physicians who, in addition to their ENT requirements, continue their specialized training for an additional year or more in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the ear.

Different Types of Ear Physician Specialties

Otolaryngologists (also called earn-nose-and-throat, or ENT, doctors) are physicians who have advanced training in disorders of the ear, nose, throat, head, and neck.

What is an Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)?

Auditory processing (also called central auditory processing) refers to the means by which we make sense of what we hear. Auditory processing disorders refer to the abnormal interaction of hearing, neural transmission, and the brain's ability to make sense of sound.

Pre-Instructions for Sedated ABR Testing

ABR testing evaluates hearing levels without the active participation of your child. It is necessary for your child to be asleep during this test.

A Discussion of Acoustic Neuroma

Acoustic tumors are fibrous growths originating from the balance nerve and are not malignant. They do not spread to other parts of the brain, other than by direct extension.

Hearing Problems in Children

Five thousand children are born profoundly deaf each year in the US alone. Another 10 to 15 percent of newborns have a partial hearing handicap.

A Discussion of Facial Nerve Problems

Spasms, weakness, or paralysis of the face is a symptom of some disorder involving the facial nerve. It is not a disease in itself. 

A Discussion of Eustachian Tube Problems

The ear is comprised of three portions: an outer ear (external), a middle ear, and an inner ear. Each part performs an important function in the process of hearing.

A Discussion of Dizziness

Dizziness is a symptom, not a disease. It may be defined as a sensation of unsteadiness, imbalance, or disorientation in relation to an individual's surroundings.

A Discussion of Chronic Ear Infections

Chronic ear infections are the result of an ear infection that has left a residual injury to the ear. This type of infection has been established as the cause of your ear problem.

Who will I see about my Ear and Hearing Problem?

An audiologist is a person who has a masters or doctoral degree in audiology. Additionally, the audiologist must be licensed or registered by their state (in 47 states) to practice audiology.

The American Tinnitus Association: A Resource for Enhancing Tinnitus Patient Services

There is something you can do about tinnitus! The American Tinnitus Association assists healthcare providers in serving patients who have, or are learning to cope with, tinnitus. 

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