Published on the 07 February

It would appear that I have something in common with Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Boy George and television presenter Susanna Reid – and it definitely isn’t my musical talent or dancing ability – it’s tinnitus.

This condition, which 10 per cent of the population suffers with, is little understood and very rarely spoken about.

Tinnitus Awareness Week, which was held last week, was launched by the BTA (British Tinnitus Association) to bring the condition out of the shadows and into open discussions.

According to the BTA, tinnitus is defined as a noise in the head or ears which has no external source, known cause, or current cure.

It can occur literally overnight, be brought on through illness, as a side effect to some medicines or from extended exposure from industrial noise.

But the reality is nobody really knows.

I went along to a public event held at King’s Mill Hospital, organised by the audiology department as part of the awareness week.

The trust’s clinical lead for tinnitus, Michelle Booth, presented facts and figures, imparted her knowledge and experience of the condition and spoke with sympathy to the group of more than 50 people who attended.

“Tinnitus is not a disease; it is a symptom,” said Michelle. “We could have filled this room twice over today which gives us some indication of how many people have it.”

Michelle explained the Latin origin of the name-to ring-but added that actually tinnitus is not simply a ringing in the ear.

“I could tell you 50 different descriptions of the noises that people hear which is due to tinnitus and there are probably many more,” said Michelle, who has worked in audiology for more than 20 years and is lucky not to have the ‘symptom’.

It is believed that tinnitus is due to damage to the hair-cells within the inner ear which leads to an upset or alteration in the tiny electrical signals that pass up the auditory nerve to the brain.

This new pattern of electrical signals may be recognised by the brain as a sound. The sound itself is as individual as the person suffering with it, but common descriptions include: a whistle, a whine, a high-pitch ringing or even a buzzing.

Even though the number of people who have it is high, the majority is not bothered by it and only a small proportion seek medical help and advice.

“It is these people that we see in the clinic,” added Michelle. “It can have an impact on people’s lives if they are struggling to sleep because of it or are having problems concentrating and it starts to affect how they do their job.

“It can become a vicious circle as once sufferers are aware of the noise they then listen for it and the more they hear it.

“Tinnitus can make people anxious and depressed.”

The audience nodded in agreement and the effects Michelle is talking about are obviously common amongst the gathered group.

But they, and indeed myself, were there to find a solution to the annoying, unwanted, uninvited noise in our heads in which there seems no escape.

However there isn’t a magic pill, hi-tech invention or state-of-the-art solution. The only answer comes in the form of management and counselling.

“Through our clinic we can give patients support for as long they need it,” added Michelle who works with specialist audiologist, Cheryl Gamlin.

“We can suggest stress management techniques as well as demonstrate sound enrichment devices which divert attention from the tinnitus by introducing other calming sounds.”

Another way sufferers can access help is through the recently formed Tinnitus Support Group (TSG) at the hospital.

The group has been set up through Michelle and Cheryl but is patient led.

“It is the chance for patients to get together and share their common experiences,” said Cheryl. “It’s difficult for non-sufferers to understand.

“Partners of patients can also come a long as a way of finding out more in order to offer greater support.”

David and Susan Sparkes of Annesley have both attended the TSG after David got tinnitus following a serious illness.

“I had pancreatitis and although the anti-biotics I was given saved my life, they left me with tinnitus,” said the 69 year-old, who wears hearing aids to boost high frequency sound which also helps reduce the tinnitus. “It is worse at night when it is quiet and if I wake up in the night I struggle to get back to sleep.”

Susan has also attended the group. She added: “I want to understand more so I can help. I know when it is troubling him as he gets snappy and he is less tolerant of certain noises but he doesn’t complain.”

Retired police officer, Julia Hodson, is a member of the support group, a board member of the BTA and tinnitus sufferer.

“Two years ago I just woke up one morning with it,” said Julia, of Ravenshead. “I didn’t know anything about tinnitus so researched it and as a result became a board member for the BTA.”

This is a charity that offers support and is committed to help fund research.

“Both the BTA and the hospital group give you reassurance that you are not alone or going bonkers,” added Julia, 58, who has learned to live with it but has been forced to make changes.

“There are places I try and avoid like noisy pubs but it is the silence I miss most.

“I really valued silence and knowing I will never have it again is hard to accept.”

For more information contact BTA: 0114 250 9933 or visit www.tinnitus.org.uk.

BTA freephone helpline: 0800 018 0527.

King’s Mill audiology department: 01623 622515 ext.3574/3036

[email protected]

Article source: http://www.chad.co.uk/news/health/coldplay-star-chris-martin-reveals-he-suffers-with-tinnitus-during-tinnitus-awareness-week-as-king-s-mill-hospital-launches-event-to-highlight-condition-supported-by-bta-1-7092420

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Making Sense of Medicine: Tinnitus is a symptom, not its own disease

Posted: Friday, February 6, 2015 3:00 am

Making Sense of Medicine: Tinnitus is a symptom, not its own disease

Making Sense of Medicine Bob Keller

The Daily News of Newburyport

This noise in my ears is driving me to distraction! It seems never to end. It’s loud and soft, in one or both ears, and it changes from ringing to clicking to hissing or buzzing, and even to roaring. It’s especially annoying because nobody can hear it except me, even the doctor. Sometimes it’s so bad I can’t focus on my work, and sleep is very unsatisfactory. What is going on?!

This symptom is generally called tinnitus, and every year about 25 million of us have an episode lasting at least three months. This is not a disease in itself, but a symptom suggesting that something is amiss with your hearing (auditory) system.

What is going on?

No one really knows the mechanism behind the experience of tinnitus, although there are some thoughts. In my September column on vertigo, I described your auditory system in some detail. Here, let me summarize the major transformations that happen when you perceive sound.

First, sound waves enter the part of your ear we can see and bump against the eardrum at a variety of frequencies. The rather-complex middle ear uses an ingenious arrangement of small bones and membranes to amplify the sound. Finally, a part of the inner ear called the cochlea contains many nerve endings that transform their vibratory response to the sound waves into electrical nerve impulses. These impulses are transmitted by the auditory nerve and interpreted by your brain to be sound.

It was long thought that the inner ear contained simply passive elements that resonate to the vibrations caused by sound waves. However, relatively recent research has shown that in the cochlea is an active biological amplifier. This amplifier is known to be able to generate sounds that can be perceived with a very sensitive microphone placed at the eardrum. It is now common practice to test newborns for congenital deafness by presenting at the infant’s eardrum a tone or click, and monitoring the response from the cochlear amplifier.

It’s known also that the amplifier can spontaneously generate what are called cochlear microphonics, especially in patients with certain pathologies, and that this is one source of tinnitus. Many cases of tinnitus arise from other unknown causes.

What causes tinnitus?

There are a wide variety of conditions that can lead to tinnitus, but it is primarily long exposure to loud sounds. As many as 90 percent of tinnitus sufferers have some hearing loss induced by prolonged noise. The problem is that the noise permanently damages the cells of the cochlea.

Of course, one might expect this whether you play or listen to loud rock music, but many other professions are in similar jeopardy: pilots, workers using jackhammers and landscapers, for examples. In fact, anyone using chain saws, guns or other loud devices may be affected. Even a single sudden extremely loud noise can bring on tinnitus.

Naturally, the best prevention of tinnitus is to avoid loud noises, especially if they are prolonged. This may include wearing earplugs.

As to other causes, one must consider hundreds of prescription and nonprescription drugs. Principally indicated in this group are aspirin, antibiotics, sedatives and antidepressants. You may experience tinnitus as a result of an ear infection or a buildup of ear wax.

Age is a factor in that the cochlea and other parts of the ear may deteriorate with age. And diseases of the middle and inner ear are possible causes.

Many medical conditions like high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease, as well as anemia, allergies, thyroid and diabetes, are related to tinnitus. It’s true, as well, that temporomandibular joint disorder and injuries to the head and neck may cause tinnitus.

All of these are made worse by drinking alcohol or caffeine, and by being stressed and fatigued.

How can one treat tinnitus?

First, if tinnitus persists, please see your doctor. Tinnitus is a symptom of something, and your doctor is probably the best prepared to help you figure out what that is. If tinnitus is the result of a treatable condition, then your doctor can help with that.

If there is no obvious cause for the tinnitus, then there are many recommendations for living with it. These include hearing aids, sound generators, neural stimulation or even a cochlear implant to bypass damaged parts of the ear.

In my practice, using the gentle techniques of the myokinesthetic system, I have had some success in relieving tinnitus using the same treatment I use for migraine headaches. What this does is help your nervous system reorganize to minimize the effects of whatever is causing tinnitus. Interestingly, this is similar to the goals of current research in this area.

And the future?

Current research seems not to have produced much in the way of practical solutions to tinnitus, but there are some promising developments.

Some is focused on electrical or magnetic stimulation of the auditory parts of the brain. This approach is similar to existing devices that reduce the tremor in Parkinson’s disease and reduce anxieties in an obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Other approaches include deep brain stimulation and resetting the organization of that part of the brain that responds to specific frequencies of sound.

For now, however, you are best prepared to prevent tinnitus by avoiding those activities and causes that may result in tinnitus.

¢¢¢

Bob Keller is a certified pain relief practitioner and medical massage therapist in Newburyport. He can be reached at 978-465-5111 or [email protected]


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Friday, February 6, 2015 3:00 am.

Article source: http://www.newburyportnews.com/news/lifestyles/making-sense-of-medicine-tinnitus-is-a-symptom-not-its/article_aae4f5e0-9c39-5991-903e-a714487ec438.html

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Salus University Professor Assumes Presidency of NAP

Satya Verma

Satya B. Verma, OD, Salus University.

Pennsylvania-based Salus University, which offers degree programs in audiology, announced that associate professor and assistant director of the Externship Program at Salus University Pennsylvania College of Optometry has started his two-year term as president of the National Academies of Practice (NAP). According to the Salus announcement, Dr Verma is only the second optometrist to become the president of NAP, which represents 14 health care professions, including audiology, dentistry, medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, optometry, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, podiatric medicine, psychology, social work, speech-language pathology and veterinary medicine.

“I hope that during my term as president, we can reach out to the parent organizations of these professions and develop and improve on inter-professional collaboration,” said Dr Verma. “Together we can improve the quality and delivery of better health care in the US.”

Salus reports that prior to his election as NAP president, Dr Verma, a nationally known expert on geriatric optometry, served as chair of the optometry academy within NAP.  He also serves on the board of the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, among others, and is Salus University’s student-faculty liaison to the American Academy of Optometry. He is also chair of the Educational Policy and Curriculum Committee and Committee on Academic Promotions at Salus University. 

Source: Salus University

Article source: http://www.hearingreview.com/2015/02/salus-university-professor-assumes-presidency-nap/

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Sheffield tinnitus sufferers sought for pioneering drug study

People in Sheffield with tinnitus have the chance to try a new drug designed to reduce symptoms of the ear condition.

A clinical study into new drug AUT00063 is being run by a Sheffield surgeon and patients are being sought to try the new pill, which has already been tested on healthy volunteers to show it is safe.

It is hoped the drug can reduce the symptoms of the common condition, which causes continuous buzzing, ringing or humming sounds for sufferers.

Professor Jaydip Ray, consultant ear, nose and throat surgeon at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, who is co-ordinating the study, said: “This is a very exciting development in our quest to find a medical cure for this distressing condition. I am delighted Sheffield is playing a leading role in the fight against this painful and frustrating condition.”

During the trial patients will receive the AUT00063 drug for a period of four weeks. The trial will mainly focus on people whose tinnitus may be associated with hearing loss due to noise exposure or ageing.

David Stockdale, chief executive of the Sheffield-based British Tinnitus Association, the UK charity dedicated to tinnitus sufferers, said: “We are delighted to support this trial moving into its next phase and will be monitoring progress closely.”

For more information about the study call 0114 2713339 or email [email protected]

Article source: http://www.sheffieldtelegraph.co.uk/news/health/sheffield-tinnitus-sufferers-sought-for-pioneering-drug-study-1-7084635

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Sheffield tinnitus sufferers sought for pioneering drug study

People in Sheffield with tinnitus have the chance to try a new drug designed to reduce symptoms of the ear condition.

A clinical study into new drug AUT00063 is being run by a Sheffield surgeon and patients are being sought to try the new pill, which has already been tested on healthy volunteers to show it is safe.

It is hoped the drug can reduce the symptoms of the common condition, which causes continuous buzzing, ringing or humming sounds for sufferers.

Professor Jaydip Ray, consultant ear, nose and throat surgeon at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, who is co-ordinating the study, said: “This is a very exciting development in our quest to find a medical cure for this distressing condition. I am delighted Sheffield is playing a leading role in the fight against this painful and frustrating condition.”

During the trial patients will receive the AUT00063 drug for a period of four weeks. The trial will mainly focus on people whose tinnitus may be associated with hearing loss due to noise exposure or ageing.

David Stockdale, chief executive of the Sheffield-based British Tinnitus Association, the UK charity dedicated to tinnitus sufferers, said: “We are delighted to support this trial moving into its next phase and will be monitoring progress closely.”

For more information about the study call 0114 2713339 or email [email protected]

Article source: http://www.sheffieldtelegraph.co.uk/news/health/sheffield-tinnitus-sufferers-sought-for-pioneering-drug-study-1-7084635

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Lions Clubs recycle eyeglasses, hearing aids – Times

Lions Clubs recycle eyeglasses, hearing aids

Lions Clubs recycle eyeglasses, hearing aids

Courtesy photoMike Sowder, left, Bedford Noon Lions Club Sight Chairman, and Jim Fisher, Bedford Lions Club Sight Chairman, with a load of boxes full of eyeglasses and hearing aids going to the Indiana Lions State Office Building in Indianapolis for distribution. Also shown are the two types of collection boxes.



Posted: Saturday, January 31, 2015 2:00 am

Lions Clubs recycle eyeglasses, hearing aids


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BEDFORD — Across our country eyeglass and hearing aid wearers have millions of old unwanted eyeglasses and hearing aids stashed throughout homes in drawers. Donating these old specs and aids to a local Lions Club can become a special way of recycling and also improve the quality of life for a needy person. 

Used eyeglasses are repaired and distributed at no cost by the Lions Club Collection Center to help people in need in developing countries and Lions Club Loaner Program repairs hearing aids which are given to needy people in Indiana.

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    Saturday, January 31, 2015 2:00 am.

    Article source: http://www.tmnews.com/news/local/lions-clubs-recycle-eyeglasses-hearing-aids/article_cff37820-83ed-5b3f-b846-f3b386be9a6c.html

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    The Smithsonian: Oral Retainer Delivers Sound Signals to Your Tongue

    John Williams

    John D. Williams, PhD, associate professor of mechanical engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo, holds the oral retainer device he is developing.

    Researchers from Colorado State University (CSU) have developed an oral retainer prototype that delivers sound signals to your tongue, which your brain can learn to interpret as a sort of “braille.” According to a January 16, 2015 Smithsonian magazine article by Erin Blakemore that ran in the online edition, deaf people may soon be hearing through their tongues, thanks to the removable mouth device that is being developed by a team of engineers and neuroscientists at CSU.

    According to the report, a goal of the research team was to develop an affordable and removable hearing device for deaf patients as an alternative to a cochlear implant, an expensive hearing device that includes an electrode component which must be implanted in the inner ear via invasive surgery. The prototype for the oral retainer includes an external earpiece that uses Bluetooth to send sounds as electrical impulses to a mouth-worn “smart retainer” that is packed with electrodes.

    The prototype for the oral retainer is the result of a study led by John Williams, PhD, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at CSU. Dr Williams was interested in finding ways to bypass the inner ear and identify other sensory substitutes for hearing. Braille is an example of a sensory substitute whereby a blind person uses his fingertips to transmit tactile information to the brain. Dr Williams theorized that the tongue, like the fingertips, is sensitive to tactile stimulation, and might be a good sensory source for delivering sound signals to the brain.

    For more about the oral retainer being developed as a hearing device by Dr Williams and colleagues, read the story on the Smithsonian website.

    Source: Smithsonian.com, Colorado State University

    Photo credits: Colorado State University

    Article source: http://www.hearingreview.com/2015/01/oral-retainer-delivers-sound-signals-tongue/

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