Tag: tinnitus

Are over-the-counter hearing solutions a safe and effective alternative to dedicated hearing care from an audiologist? Let’s find out.

The Importance of Dedicated Hearing Care

The real differences between audiology and over-the-counter solutions

Now that more people are becoming aware of how prevalent hearing loss is, technological solutions are multiplying.

The Importance of Dedicated Hearing Care: Last July, U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order allowing hearing aids to be sold over the counter. This measure was aimed at lowering the cost of hearing care and, at a glance, it appears to be a good strategy to ensure everyone is covered. But can OTC products ever compete with the knowledge and expertise of a specialist? Additionally, are home solutions even safe? Because you deserve the best hearing care available, here are six reasons to make an appointment with an audiologist instead:

1. Expertise

Both audiologists and hearing aid specialists are licensed to sell hearing aids, but audiologists possess master’s or doctorate degrees in hearing health. Because individuals develop hearing loss in a variety of ways and have unique communication needs, accurately diagnosing hearing loss and selecting the right hearing aids will ensure successful treatment.

2. Fit

To maximize comfort and functionality, hearing aids must be custom fitted to each individual and programmed to support their listening lifestyle. Only a trained audiologist or hearing aid specialist can do this. Additionally, audiologists can monitor your progress over time and make adjustments when necessary. Wearing hearing technology is not a one-and-done solution; it takes time for the body and mind to adjust, and there might be a period of discomfort that requires professional support.

3. Patient-Provider Relationship

Hearing loss is a complex condition. It has many different causes, including simple age-related decline, disorders like Ménière’s disease, and exposure to ototoxic chemicals. There are also many comorbidities associated with hearing loss. An audiologist can diagnose and treat many of these, forming a long-lasting relationship with you that goes beyond simply fitting you with hearing aids.

4. Tinnitus and Balance Support

Hearing loss often occurs alongside tinnitus, which is a persistent ringing, buzzing, or clicking sound in the ear. While the condition is still being researched and is not yet fully understood, what we know about tinnitus so far falls under the expertise of audiologists. And because the inner ear governs the body’s equilibrium, balance issues are often diagnosed and treated by audiologists. Providing support for these conditions is part of our commitment to our patients’ total hearing health.

5. Safety

Aside from the benefits of achieving a better fit and receiving professional support from an audiologist, there is evidence that programming your own hearing technology or choosing a one-size-fits-all solution can actually be harmful. An audiologist will perform a series of tests to assess your hearing loss and ensure your hearing aids meet your needs without being too loud. Hearing technology that amplifies sound too much can further damage your hearing, and an ill-fitting hearing aid can create uncomfortable wax buildup, which might lead to ear infections.

6. Investment

While purchasing an OTC hearing aid may provide considerable savings on upfront costs, seeking treatment through a licensed audiologist is a better investment. From warranty protection to professional cleanings and advice on upgrades, nothing compares to our guarantee of quality. We also know hearing aids can be expensive, so we always do our best to provide affordable solutions, which may include coupons, specials, and financing options. Once you’ve purchased your hearing aids, your treatment plan is put into effect — we will be with you every step of the way on your journey to better hearing and better health.

Whether you are a longtime user of hearing aids or considering them for the first time, there is no better decision you can make for your hearing health than choosing a local audiology practice to perform a hearing evaluation. It’s the right choice for you to be sure that you’re pursuing the very best solution for your hearing loss. Contact us!

Illustrations of scientists in white coats checking beakers full of fluid

Today’s Hearing Research Offers Hope for the Future

Scientists. They’re just like us: always looking for ways to help people hear and live their best. It starts with uncovering the mysteries of hearing loss, which can require a lot of resources. That’s why we love seeing important research initiatives get the funding needed to move forward.

Check out these three exciting developments:

AUDITORY PROCESSING

Can stress early in life affect children’s ability to make sense of what they hear? A $2.3 million grant awarded by the U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders at the National Institutes of Health will help Northeast Ohio Medical University explore just that. The funding will help power an investigation into the role of early-life stress on auditory processing — especially among children with conductive hearing loss. Per the school’s website, the research in part “will provide a focus for future experiments to determine how best to remediate these perceptual problems in children.”

HEARING LOSS AND TINNITUS

Certain chemotherapy drugs can be life-saving for patients but potentially harmful to the ears. A $5.7 million U.S. National Cancer Institute grant will help researcher Lois B. Travis, M.D., Sc.D., at the Indiana University School of Medicine continue an ongoing investigation. The study, aimed to “evaluate long-term health outcomes for cancer patients who receive platinum-based chemotherapies,” may help provide some important answers regarding potential links between the cancer treatment and conditions such as hearing loss and tinnitus. It eventually could help experts identify not only those at greater risk of the harmful side effects but also ways to reduce such risks.

HEARING HEALTH & COVID-19

Amid increasing reports of potential links between COVID-19 and hearing loss, the U.K.’s University of Manchester is taking a deeper look. With support from donors, the school’s Manchester Centre for Audiology and Deafness is exploring the disease’s long-term effect on hearing ability among adults. More than 10% of respondents treated for COVID-19 had reported tinnitus or decreased hearing in a previous study by one of the investigators. We look forward to seeing the outcomes of the current research, which might offer additional solutions for protecting and preserving hearing health.


Did you know? Today’s better-hearing solutions are a testament to the tireless research that has helped make them possible. Discover the benefits firsthand by scheduling a hearing evaluation with our highly trained team. We can’t wait to see you!

My Tinnitus Has a Melody – Is That Possible? | Musical Ear Syndrome

My Tinnitus Has a Melody — Is That Possible?

You probably know someone who experiences tinnitus — a ringing, buzzing, pulsing, hissing, or humming with no external source. People often call it “ringing in the ears,” and it affects approximately 15% of the U.S. population, according to the American Tinnitus Association.

But did you know some people experience a form of tinnitus in which they hear actual melodies? It’s called musical ear syndrome (or musical tinnitus).

What Is Musical Ear Syndrome?

Musical ear syndrome (MES) is when someone hears music that has no external source. Some people hear a single instrument playing a simple melody; others hear several instruments playing a complex piece of music; and still others hear a voice singing, with or without accompaniment. The most common melodies, however, are hymns, Christmas carols, and patriotic music.

How is this different than when you can’t seem to get a piece of music out of your head? In the case of MES, the melody sounds like it’s coming from an obvious and specific direction, so it’s not clear that it’s internal. It sounds self-evidently external. That’s why, for many people, it can take a while to recognize what’s really going on.

What Causes Musical Ear Syndrome?

When you hear something, you’re experiencing a combination of sound input, interpretations by your brain, and predictions by your brain. Strong sound input reduces the amount of predicting required by your brain.

When you don’t get enough sound input, however, your brain has to do more predicting to make sense of the sound input it is receiving. The more severe the hearing loss, the more the auditory deprivation, and the greater the need for the brain to fill in the gaps. The most common hypothesis about what causes MES is, in layman’s terms, that the brain gets bored through sensory deprivation and starts to generate sound by itself.

Is Musical Ear Syndrome Common?

The few studies published in journals suggest only about 20% of those with tinnitus experience musical ear syndrome — that means about 3% of the general population. It’s most likely underreported, however, because those experiencing MES worry that if they tell someone, they’ll seem mentally unstable.

In fact, Dr. Neil Bauman, who coined the term musical ear syndrome and has been raising awareness about the condition for many years, has heard from so many people affected by MES that he suspects the number is higher than 10% of the general population!

Though tinnitus is more prevalent in men, MES appears to be more prevalent in women.

Is There a Cure?

MES is even less understood than tinnitus. But like tinnitus, there are some ways you can minimize its effects.

Awareness.

For many people, a great deal of stress and anxiety is alleviated when they can put a name to what they’re experiencing. Knowing others experience it also provides relief — it’s nice to know you’re not alone in your MES.

Stress management.

Stress has been shown to make symptoms worse, so finding ways to minimize your stress might minimize the severity of your MES. For example, deep breathing can relax your body, but it also pulls your attention away from the MES, allowing it to fade into the background. Some patients have also had success with cognitive behavioral therapy.

Bring more sound to your environment.

MES is a product of sound deprivation — give your brain plenty to listen to! If you don’t have hearing aids, get some. If you have hearing aids, be sure to wear them as much as possible. Get out in nature and socialize more. Natural sounds and conversations are ideal stimulation for a bored brain.

Adjust your medication.

MES has been reported as a side effect for almost 300 medications, both common and little known. Don’t make any changes on your own, though — consult your doctor if you suspect the MES is a side effect of a current medication.


Musical ear syndrome is real, and it’s more common than you realize. If you or someone you love suspects they have tinnitus — musical or otherwise — contact us today for a consultation!

Good Nutrition Can Help With Tinnitus – Here Are Our 5 Favorite Recipes

Tinnitus isn’t curable, but it’s effects can be managed through treatment. Recent studies suggest that a nutritious diet can be a good place to start.

From sound-based therapies to mindfulness-based exercises, new ways to manage or reduce the sounds associated with tinnitus — a ringing, buzzing, or pulsing that has no external sound source — are being developed every day.

 
Though there’s no cure, treatment options abound. One promising option: nutrition.
 

Recipes With Tinnitus-Friendly Ingredients

A growing body of research is linking not food but nutrition with tinnitus. For example, people with Ménière’s disease-related tinnitus should keep their salt intake from fluctuating to control tinnitus symptoms. Some encouraging studies have shown that folate, B12, and certain antioxidants are linked to improved tinnitus symptoms.
 
In honor of National Nutrition Month, enjoy these recipes bursting with tinnitus-friendly nutrition!

Beef With Broccoli

Whether you serve it over chow mein or skip the noodles for a low-carb option, this hearty and healthy recipe can’t miss. Packed with B12 (flank steak), folate (spinach), and antioxidants (spinach), this is a blast of sweet and savory flavor.
 

Spaghetti With Tomato and Walnut Pesto

If you saw “pesto” in the name and thought, “Basil? No thanks…,” don’t worry — the basil takes a back seat among the delicious, complex flavors in this recipe. The ingredients are rich in antioxidants (cherry tomatoes, walnuts, basil), hearing-healthy omega-3s (anchovies, basil), and folate (cherry tomatoes).
 

Herb Garden Potatoes With Fresh Spinach and Lemon

You finally figured out how to get your windowsill herb garden to thrive. Now what? We’ve got just the thing! With this hearty salad, you can mix and match the herbs to suit your palate, while the main ingredients — tinnitus-friendly potatoes and spinach — provide a heapin’ helpin’ of antioxidants and folate.
 

Sautéed Spinach and Tomatoes

This easy, light, delicious side dish is sure to become a spring and summer staple in your home! The tart sweetness of the cherry tomatoes perfectly complements the earthy punch of the spinach, and both are overflowing with — you guessed it —antioxidants and folate.
 

Wild Blueberry Banana Spinach Power Smoothie

Looking for a great way to start the day off with a nutrition boost but really don’t like greens? Look no further than this recipe! Nestled among the berries, banana, and your choice of milk (the recipe uses almond milk), you won’t even know the spinach is there. And like the pesto dish above, this smoothie is packed with antioxidants, folate, and hearing-healthy omega-3s.

Ringing in the Ears

If you suffer from Tinnitus

Tinnitus or otherwise known as ringing in the ears. Many patients describe ringing, buzzing, humming, crickets and I have also heard, choirs of angels in their ears. Typically hearing loss is associated with tinnitus. Many patients with mild loss will complain of mild ringing in their ears. Those patients with more severe losses often complain of more severe levels of ringing.

So if you are suffering from tinnitus, contact our office for an appointment.

Is Tinnitus Affecting Your Brain’s Emotional Processes?

Anyone afflicted with the annoying ringing and hissing of tinnitus is well aware of the stress, anxiety, and irritability that accompany these phantom noises — but could tinnitus alter an individual’s emotional processing altogether? Research on the subject from the University of Illinois suggests this may be the case.

Using MRI scans to show which areas of the brain respond to various auditory stimuli, researchers found that when compared with normal-hearing people, those with tinnitus showed less activity in the amygdala — a region of the brain associated with emotional processing — but more activity in two other regions associated with emotion.

The findings suggested to researchers that the amygdala in those who suffer from tinnitus had become less active because the brain had adjusted to the tinnitus. In other words, the amygdala couldn’t be active all the time due to the annoying sound, and perhaps other areas of the brain became more active to make up for that reduced activity. This may have translated to an altered emotional state because of the difference in how the brain was processing emotions.

For many, tinnitus relief can be found through a treatment called masking. The technique involves using white noise (either natural or artificial) to cover the sounds of the tinnitus, allowing you to focus more on the sounds of the world around you.

Please call our office at 918.333.9992 to schedule a free clean and check, and we’ll show you how a new hearing system might help you find the relief you seek with a technology demonstration. Put your tinnitus to rest — call to schedule your appointment today!

Sincerely,

Dr. Stephanie R. Moore
Audiologist

Ringing in Your Ears?

Man with ringing in ears

What causes my ears to ring?

About 50 million people in the United States and 1 of every 5 people in the world suffer from tinnitus (tin-night-us or tin-i-tus), a bothersome and sometimes debilitating condition that affects the auditory system.

Many things can cause tinnitus including wax buildup, certain medications, head or neck trauma, tumors on the auditory nerve, jaw problems, and other medical conditions. However, the most common cause of tinnitus is exposure to loud noise. For this reason, hearing loss and tinnitus often go hand-in-hand, and together they can result in a significant decrease in enjoyment of everyday life.

Protection against tinnitus.

If you don’t currently suffer from tinnitus, you can protect yourself by wearing hearing protection around loud noise, and by asking your doctor if any of your medications have a negative effect on your hearing. If you do suffer from tinnitus, there are a number of things that can be done to help you cope with, and in many cases reduce the tinnitus that you are experiencing.

Treating tinnitus.

Your first step in dealing with tinnitus is to schedule an evaluation with an AudigyCertified audiologist. During your appointment we will go through a 4-step process that will help us identify the cause of your tinnitus, and we will educate you about the therapeutic process necessary to help you gain relief from your tinnitus symptoms.

About the Author

Deborah Price Au.D.
Dr. Deborah Price

Dr. Deborah Price is one of the leading audiologists in the nation. She founded Hearing Professional Center in 1983 serving the diagnostic and rehabilitative needs of over 40,000 individuals. Dr. Price served as Chair of the Audiology Foundation of America from 2007 until it closed its door, donating all the assets to the Arizona School of Health Sciences for the establishment of the AFA Institute.

New FDA-Approved Tinnitus Treatment Available

The Serenade Tinnitus Treatment System is now available at Advanced Hearing Care!

New customized sound therapy approach with novel treatment sounds

SAN JOSE, California, March 26, 2012. SoundCure Inc., a new tinnitus solution provider, today announced the launch of the Serenade Tinnitus Treatment System at the upcoming American Academy of Audiology Meeting in Boston, March 28 – April 1, 2012. This marks the formal commercial release of a novel advancement in sound therapy based on the development of S-Tones®, customized treatment sounds developed independently by leading hearing researchers at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).

Tinnitus, or “ringing in the ears”, affects approximately 10% of U.S. adults and an estimated 260 million people globally. It can be extremely debilitating, leading to depression, irritability, and difficulty sleeping or concentrating. It is most often related to hearing loss, especially that caused by noise damage.

Serenade is a handheld device that is programmed in the audiologist’s office for each individual patient according to his specific condition. Through the device’s earphones, the patient listens to therapeutic sounds which are designed to address the underlying neurological cause of tinnitus. Four different treatment sounds are available, anchored by advanced, proprietary S-Tones. Long-term relief can be achieved when used in an on-going sound therapy program.

The American Tinnitus Association provided a grant to UCI to develop the technology. Sound therapy as a tinnitus treatment is well-established and effective. S-Tones are low frequency, amplitude modulated tones that are frequency pitch-matched to a patient’s unique tinnitus, representing a significant clinical breakthrough compared to previous approaches. According to Dr. Fan-Gang Zeng, one of the technology inventors, these modulated tones “keep the brain’s interest” thus “inhibiting and reducing the perceived tinnitus sound and bringing relief”. In addition, S-Tones are intended to be “listened to at a volume that is lower than the patient’s tinnitus, reducing the sound burden”, according to Dr. Zeng.

SoundCure CEO Bill Perry states, “This approach was developed by a team with a deep scientific understanding of the neurophysiology of tinnitus and how the brain processes sound. It is an important solution to provide relief to patients and represents a real advance in tinnitus care.”

About SoundCure, Inc.

Established in 2009 to commercialize the technology developed for years at the University of California, Irvine, SoundCure, Inc. is a privately held medical device company whose mission is to revolutionize the treatment of tinnitus and provide relief to the millions of people suffering its effects. SoundCure is an Allied Minds company.

Serenade Tinnitus Treatment System at Advanced Hearing Care!

Advanced Hearing Care is proud to be the first provider in Oklahoma to offer the Serenade Tinnitus Treatment System! This groundbreaking technology has recently received FDA approval for the treatment of ringing in the ears.  Studies are beginning to show that Serenade can offer immediate relief from the annoyance of tinnitus symptoms.  For more information on the Serenade system, contact our office to schedule a consultation appointment!

BHI Raises Awareness of Hearing Aids as Potential Therapy to Help Quiet “Ringing in the Ears”

Ringing in the Ears
Tinnitus is the perception of a sound that has no external source.

Washington, DC, May 3, 2012—The Better Hearing Institute is joining the American Tinnitus Association (ATA) in recognizing National Tinnitus Awareness Week (TAW), May 13 to 19, 2012, and is raising awareness of hearing aids as a potential therapy to help quiet chronic “ringing in the ears.” According to a BHI study published in Hearing Review, 43.5 percent of people with tinnitus were helped at least mildly with hearing aids. And 3 out of 10 were helped moderately-to-substantially. For those whose audiologists used best practices in fitting hearing aids, the figure jumped to 50 percent. There currently is no known cure for tinnitus.

Often referred to as “ringing in the ears,” tinnitus is the perception of a sound that has no external source. Tinnitus sufferers commonly describe the noise as a ringing, humming, buzzing, and/or cricket-like. Tinnitus can be constant or intermittent. And it can be heard in one ear, both ears, or in the head. For many who suffer from it, tinnitus can be a source of endless torment and a continual drain on quality-of-life.

Nearly thirty million Americans—almost twice as many as previously believed—suffer from persistent, chronic tinnitus, according to the BHI study. That’s about ten percent of the U.S. population. And for people ages 65 to 84, that number jumps to almost 27 percent. Tinnitus is now the number one service-connected disability of returning military personnel from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The good news is there are effective therapies available to help people cope,” said Sergei Kochkin, PhD, BHI’s Executive Director. “In particular, we found that a variety of sound  therapies and/or hearing aids in conjunction with counseling can help. But we need to raise awareness that effective therapies are available, including the use of hearing aids.”

Exposure to extreme noise is the leading cause of tinnitus, and people with tinnitus almost always have accompanying hearing loss. In fact, the study found that respondents with more severe hearing loss were more likely to have tinnitus. Yet, more than a third (39%) of people with hearing loss do not seek help specifically because they have tinnitus.

“Persistent, chronic tinnitus is a highly intrusive, increasingly common condition that can interfere with a person’s cognition, ability to interact with family and friends, and basic life functions,” said Jennifer Born, Director of Public Affairs at the American Tinnitus Association (ATA). “Much progress is still needed in understanding tinnitus and finding a cure—which is why Tinnitus Awareness Week is such an important effort.”

As baby boomers age, people listen to portable music players at high volumes, and more soldiers return from combat, the incidence of both hearing loss and tinnitus is expected to grow.

People suffering with tinnitus can find the latest information on their condition and methods for coping with it in an authoritative eGuide, “Your Guide to Tinnitus.” This 14-page guide covers definitions, causes, the impact of tinnitus, treatments, practical tips for managing tinnitus, and good self-help references.

“We are very pleased to join ATA this year in promoting Tinnitus Awareness Week and hope that our efforts bring us closer to finding a cure,” Kochkin said.

More About Tinnitus
Four in ten people experience their tinnitus more than 80 percent of the time; slightly more than one in four describe their tinnitus as loud; and about one in five describe their tinnitus as disabling or nearly disabling, the BHI study found.

People with tinnitus report that it most often affects their ability to hear (39%), concentrate (26%), and sleep (20%). Yet for many, tinnitus is even more pervasive. Twelve percent of respondents—or 3.6 million people when extrapolated to the general population—say their tinnitus affects leisure activities, social life, personal relationships, and emotional or mental health. Seven percent of respondents—or an estimated 2.1 million people nationwide—indicate that tinnitus affects their ability to work.

How Hearing Aids Help
In addition to improving hearing and communication, hearing aids amplify background sound, so the loudness or prominence of the tinnitus is reduced. Simply taking the focus off the tinnitus means relief for many people. Hearing aids also reduce the stress associated with intensive listening by improving communication, which in turn help relieve tinnitus symptoms.

About Tinnitus Awareness Week
Each year, a week is set aside during Better Hearing Month to focus specifically on increasing public awareness about tinnitus and most importantly the need for increased funding for tinnitus research. This year, ATA is “going for gold” in its efforts to raise awareness and encourage people across the United States and around the world to help educate people about “ringing in the ears.” The premiere TAW 2012 event is the Tour de Tinnitus, a new bike ride fundraiser for the organization that was started last year by long time ATA member Mark Church. His efforts last year spawned great interest and the ride has grown to incorporate five new teams that will participate in four separate rides to raise money to support tinnitus research.

ATA has developed a TAW 2012 section on their website at ATA.org/TAW2012. From requesting proclamations from locally and nationally elected officials, to contacting your local media outlets, sharing tinnitus-related crosswords and posters, ATA has all the information you’ll need to get started in raising some serious tinnitus-awareness!

About BHI
Founded in 1973, BHI conducts research and engages in hearing health education with the goal of helping people with hearing loss benefit from proper treatment. For more information on hearing loss, visit www.betterhearing.org. To take the BHI Quick Hearing Check, visit www.hearingcheck.org. To participate in the discussion forum, visit www.betterhearing.org, click on “Discussion Forum,” and go to “Welcome!” to register.

Constant Ringing in Your Ears? – From the Hearing Care Blog

By: Bettie Borton, Au.D., FAAA
Doctor of Audiology
Doctors Hearing Clinic
7025 Halcyon Park, Suite A
Montgomery, AL 36117
(334) 396-1635
“Like” Doctors Hearing Clinic | Facebook
www.doctorshearingclinic.com

If it seems like your ears ring constantly, it’s probably not crickets, your imagination or the economy . . . and you’re not alone. You may have tinnitus, an inner ear ailment that affects between 25 million to 50 million Americans — with about 12 million people experiencing such severe symptoms it affects their daily lives. The good news is treatment, including hearing aids, can offer relief to some from the persistent ringing, buzzing or humming associated with tinnitus, according to the Better Hearing Institute.

Tinnitus can be intermittent or constant. Causes range from ear infections and exposure to extremely loud noises, to underlying health problems like allergies or heart and blood pressure problems. Often, sufferers are unable to pinpoint the cause of their tinnitus. “Tinnitus can have a direct impact on a person’s emotional well being,” says Dr. Sergei Kochkin, BHI’s executive director. “Not only can their hearing be affected but also their ability to sleep or concentrate.”

Tinnitus Treatment, Ringing in the Ears CausesKochkin and Dr. Richard Tyler, professor and editor of The Consumer Handbook on Tinnitus (Auricle Ink, 2008), published a survey of 230 hearing health professionals in the United States and Canada. Their survey found that six out of 10 patients reported some tinnitus relief when using hearing aids and two out of 10 reported major relief. The symptoms of tinnitus “influence basic life functions such as socialization and relaxation,” the duo wrote. “In severe cases it can interfere with the individual’s ability to perform adequately on the job, or contribute to psychological disorders such as depression, suicide ideation, posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety and anger.”

Although tinnitus is actually common and can cause major life disruptions, the number of sufferers who seek treatment for tinnitus is relatively small. One reason may be that they mistakenly believe their condition is untreatable. Unfortunately, many doctors are also unaware of the latest treatment options, and as a result patients may think they simply have to learn to live with the noise.

“No one should ever ignore persistent tinnitus,” Kochkin says. “Not only is every individual entitled to a chance to regain his or her quality of life, but in rare cases tinnitus also can be a symptom of a more serious health issue that could demand medical intervention. What’s more, nearly everyone with tinnitus has hearing loss as well.”

In a recent large-scale survey of the American hearing impaired population, 39 percent (more than 9 million adult Americans) indicated they had not sought help for their hearing loss specifically because they also had tinnitus. “Research shows that untreated hearing loss has its own negative social, psychological, cognitive and health effects on the individual suffering from it,” Kochkin adds. “So those with both untreated tinnitus and untreated hearing loss suffers an even more diminished quality of life than individuals with just tinnitus or just hearing loss alone.”

While hearing aids are not a cure for tinnitus, they may be able to help tinnitus patients by:

  1. Improving communication and reducing stress, which makes it easier to cope with the condition.
  2. Amplifying background sounds, which can make tinnitus seem less prominent.

A new type of hearing aid, called the open fit hearing aid, may be particularly useful in alleviating tinnitus. The open fit hearing aid can reduce the effects of the tinnitus ringing sensation while still allowing sounds from the outside to pass into the ear. If you think you have tinnitus have your hearing evaluated by an audiologist and to explore the use of hearing aids to alleviate tinnitus. The American Academy of Otolaryngology (AAO-HNS) and the American Tinnitus Association recommends these additional tips for minimizing the effects of tinnitus on your health:

  1. Avoid exposure to loud sounds and noises.
  2. Get your blood pressure checked. If it is high, get your doctor’s help to control it.
  3. Decrease your intake of salt. Salt impairs blood circulation.
  4. Avoid stimulants such as coffee, tea, cola, and tobacco.
  5. Exercise daily to improve your circulation.
  6. Get adequate rest and avoid fatigue.
  7. Eliminate or reduce some stress in different parts of your life; stress often makes tinnitus worse.
  8. Experiment by eliminating other possible sources of tinnitus aggravation, e.g. artificial sweeteners, sugar, alcohol, prescription or over-the-counter medications. (Do not stop taking medications without consulting with your health care professional about the possible ototoxic impact of your medications.)

Dr. Bettie B. Borton is a licensed audiologist in Alabama, and was the first audiologist in Montgomery to hold certification by the American Board of Audiology, and is the only audiologist with such certification in private practice in this area. Dr. Borton holds a BS degree with CED Certification in Education of the Deaf from the University of Texas, a Masters degree in audiology from the Louisiana State University Medical Center, and a Doctor of Audiology degree from the the University of Florida. She has served as a Visiting Professor, teaching associate and Supervising Clinical Audiologist at Auburn University, as well as a Supervising Clinical Audiologist at Auburn Montgomery. Dr. Borton was a charter member of the Alabama Academy of Audiology (ALAA), and served as President of this organization. She has also served on the Board of Governors for the American Board of Audiology (ABA), and is the former National Chair of the ABA. Dr. Borton is currently the CEO and Director of Doctors Hearing Clinic, a full service private practice in Audiology. In April of 2010 Dr. Borton was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Audiology, and will serve a three year term in that capacity. She is the first (and to date, only) audiologist from Alabama to have been elected to the Academy Board. Dr. Borton was honored as a 2010 recipient of the prestigious Oticon “Focus on People” award, which annually recognizes 12 individuals across the nation for their dedication to helping those with hearing impairment.