December 2015 ‘Ears To You’ Newsletter

Ears to You Newsletter

December, 2015 Volume 10, Issue 4
Editor- Trish Kaminski
(574) 243-7766

Notes from the Editor
As we approach the end of the year it always seems to make you sit back and reflect over the past year. This has been a bittersweet year for us. We have had some pretty incredible patients pass away and we have welcomed some pretty incredible new patients to our practice. We are looking forward to a brand new year – full of warm, fuzzy wishes to each and every one of you that this new year brings much happiness your way! Spring will be here before we know it.
We Need Your Help!
I know that this will be late notice to a lot of you and I really do apologize. We have decided to start a ‘pay-it-forward’ program here and just didn’t get it all together soon enough to give everyone enough fore-notice. We are collecting Christmas gifts for the children residing at the YWCA Women’s Shelter for battered women. We are asking that you donate item(s) such as pajamas, hats/scarves/gloves, toys, dolls, costume jewelry, blankets, playing cards, board games, hygiene/hair brushes, or anything that you can think of that would be safe and appropriate. We ask that all items be new. Let’s join together to brighten their lives for Christmas! We will be collecting items at our office until December 23rd and we will deliver them on Christmas Eve. Please have the items for the children here by December 17th. I know it’s very short notice but let’s see what we can do! We would like to make this an annual tradition only next year add in the elderly shut-ins of St. Joseph County.
HIDDEN HEARING LOSS
Football fans of the Seattle Seahawks and the Kansas City Chiefs routinely compete at home games to set the Guinness World Record for the noisiest stadium. On October 1, 201, the Chiefs hit the latest peak: 142.2 decibels (dB). That level is like the painful, blistering roar of a jet engine at 100 feet – a typical example that hearing experts give for a noise that is more than loud enough to cause hearing damage. After the game, the fans were ecstatic. They reveled in the experience, noting the ringing in their ears or the feeling that their eardrums were about to explode. What was happening inside their ears was far from wonderful, however.
A hearing test, if administered before and immediately after the game, might have shown a marked deterioration. The earliest sound that a fan could have heard before kickoff – say, whispered words – might no longer be detectable by half-time. The thresholds for hearing might have risen by as much as 20 to 30 dB to the final whistle. As the ringing in fans’ ears subsided over the course of a few days, the output of the hearing test, an audiogram, might well return to baseline, as the ability to hear faint sounds returned.
Scientists long thought that once thresholds returned to normal, the ear must have done so as well.
It has been proven that this theory is wrong. Exposures that lead to only a temporary rise in thresholds can, nonetheless, cause immediate and irreversible damage to fibers in the auditory nerve, which conveys sound information to the brain. Such damage may not affect the detections of tones, as shown on the audiogram, but it can hamper the ability to process more complex signals. This newly recognized condition is called hidden hearing loss because a normal audiogram can hide the nerve damage and the hearing impairment associated with it.
Hearing Health, Spring, 2014

A thoughtful gift…..
For those of you with hearing instruments or have family or friends with hearing instruments… a Dry & Store is the absolute perfect gift to assist in keeping those hearing instruments working at their best. We have them in stock!

HELPFUL TIP
To get about 10 – 15 extra hours of life out of your batteries – let the new battery sit for at least two minutes with the sticker off before putting it in the hearing aid

People Who ‘Sound’ Tall… Probably Are
Voices can reveal a lot about speakers age, gender and now – it seems – height as well. A new study found that listeners can accurately determine the relative heights of speakers just by listening to them talk. The key clue may be contained in a particular type of sound produced in the lower airways of the lugs, known as a subglottal resonance.
John Morton, a psychologist at Washington University in St. Louis, presented the study at the 166th meeting of the Acoustical Society of American on December 3, 2013 in San Francisco.
“The best way to think about subglottal resonances is to imagine blowing into a glass bottle partially full with liquid: the less liquid in the bottle, the lower the sound,” Morton explained. The frequency of the subglottal resonance differs depending on the height of the person generating it, with resonances becoming progressively lower at height increases.
Morton and his colleagues hypothesized that listeners can hear this difference, and tested this theory through two sets of experiments. In the first, 25 pairs of same-sex “talkers” of different heights were recorded as they read identical sentences. Later, researchers played the recording to 24 listeners who guessed which of the two speakers was taller. In the second experiments, listeners heard five same-gender talkers read and then ranked them tallest to shortest.
Participants were able to accurately discriminate the taller speaker more than 62 percent of the time, which is significantly more often than they would by chance alone. “both males and females were equally able to discriminate and rank the heights of talkers of both genders.
The ASHA Leader, February, 2014

HELPFUL TIP
Use the sticker from the new batteries as markers on your calendar. This will help you keep track of just how long a battery lasts you.
Don’t forget to keep wearing those earplugs while using those snow blowers!
Retired NFL Players May Be at Greater Risk for Hearing Loss and Tinnitus
Retired NFL players may be at risk for permanent hearing loss and tinnitus according to John Leonetti, MD, a professor in the departments of Otolaryngology and Neurological Surgery and program director of Cranial Base Surgery at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, IL.
Many NFL players suffer one or more concussions during their careers. Dr. Leonetti notes that such blunt head trauma has been associated with hearing loss and tinnitus. He says there are two possible mechanisms by which blunt head trauma, such as a blow to the head, could damage hearing or cause tinnitus. 1} A blow to the head can cause the brain to wiggle like Jell-O, thereby damaging the nerves that connect the brain to the inner ear. 2} A blow to the head also can create a shock wave that damages the cochlea.
There is anecdotal evidence that athletes who play football and other contact sports may be as risk for hearing damage.
Leonetti recently spoke to retired players alongside representatives from EarQ, a hearing healthcare group, at a meeting of the Chicago chapter of the NFL Players Association. When Leonetti asked how many players had experienced concussions during their career, they all raised their hands. When Leonetti asked how many have experienced hearing loss, approximately 25% raised their hands. When he asked how many have tinnitus, approximately 50% raised their hands.
“To date, there is no proof that NFL players are suffering hearing loss and tinnitus at a rate higher than that of other men their age,” Leonetti said, “But based on what we already know about blunt head trauma, as well as anecdotal
reports from retired athletes, we believe there are compelling reasons to conduct a scientifically rigorous study to quantify the risk of hearing loss and tinnitus among retired NFL players.”
Hearing Health, Fall 2014
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HELPFUL TIP
To minimize the risk of misplacing and/or losing your hearing instruments – make sure that whenever you take them out to always put them in the same safe spot – always out of reach of pets and small children.

Because We Care
Every day we experience sound in our environment such as the sound of a television, a radio, household appliances, electronic devices, and traffic. Normally we hear these sounds at safe levels that do not affect our hearing. However, when we are exposed to harmful noises – sounds that are too loud or loud sounds that last a long time – sensitive structures in our inner ear can be damaged. These sensitive structures, called hair cells, are small sensory cells in the inner ear that convert sound energy into electrical signals that travel to the brain. Once damaged, these hair cells cannot grow back.
Please protect your hearing whenever possible. If you need any advice or suggestions, please call us!