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News & Information

Nov 02 2017

Everything you want to know about tinnitus part 3: Diet

We commonly talk about noise exposure and hearing loss in relation to tinnitus. While these are the most significant factors, diet can also play a role in tinnitus. While there is no evidence that our diet directly causes tinnitus, there is some evidence that it can have an effect on its severity.

Certain substances in our diet can constrict blood vessels and increase blood pressure. The inner ear is supplied by tiny blood vessels and is very sensitive to changes in blood flow. Common food and drink that have this effect include caffeine, salt, and alcohol. Again, these substances do not cause tinnitus, but they can aggravate it in some people.

On the other hand, a few people report that small amounts of caffeine and alcohol sometimes lessens the severity of their tinnitus. The best thing to do if you have tinnitus is try cutting these substances out for a little while and see if there is an improvement in the frequency an or severity of your tinnitus.

Smoking is another activity that can impede blood flow. Studies show that there is at least some relation to smoking and tinnitus severity, so it’s best to minimize or stop smoking altogether if possible.

Some people report certain foods aggravate their tinnitus. However, the foods implicated are highly varied and studies are unclear if certain foods affect tinnitus. Again, the best thing to do if you think a specific food is contributing to your tinnitus is to cut it out for a while and see if it leads to a change in your tinnitus.

For more information or to book a tinnitus or hearing evaluation contact Accurate Hearing at one of our locations below:

 

Lower Sackville: 902-252-3004

Cole Harbour: 902-406-4327

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Oct 26 2017

Everything you want to know about tinnitus part 2: Noise

Let’s talk about one of the biggest contributors to tinnitus: noise. Loud noise is one of the greatest threats to our hearing. On top of that, noise induced hearing loss more often than not is accompanied by tinnitus. In fact, tinnitus is often the first warning sign that hearing damage is occurring (ever notice that ringing in your ears after a loud concert or movie?).

Noise exposure can largely be divided into workplace and recreational. Common jobs that put people at more risk of noise exposure include construction, military service, factory work, farming, and airport ground staff. This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but includes some of the most potentially noisy jobs. Common sources of recreational noise include concerts, movies, fireworks, power tools, and some household appliances like blenders.

Most hearing loss and tinnitus due to noise takes some time and chronic exposure to develop. However, there are some situations where noise can damage your hearing right away, often permanently. These include standing too close to fireworks, gun blasts, and explosions without hearing protection.

Of course the sources of noise are wide and varied. This list only includes the most common. As a general rule, if the noise is loud enough that you have difficulty hearing and following the conversation of the people next to you, it’s potentially damaging and could lead to hearing loss and tinnitus.

The most effective way of preventing noise induced hearing loss and tinnitus is to use hearing protection when avoiding noise is not possible. This includes at concerts and when using household power tools, not just at noisy job sites. If hearing protection is used consistently, much of the tinnitus and hearing loss due to noise exposure can be avoided.

For more information or to book a hearing evaluation, please contact Accurate Hearing at one of our two convenient locations:

Lower Sackville: 902-252-3004

Cole Harbour: 902-406-4327

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Oct 19 2017

Everything you want to know about tinnitus part 1: What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the term for the sensation of hearing a sound in your ears when there is no external sound present. All of us will experience it once in awhile, but for some it is constant. The vast majority of chronic tinnitus is a symptom of damage or trauma to the hearing system. Although, short bursts of tinnitus can be a warning signs of damage too if they occure after noise exposure, such as an evening at a loud concert.

Tinnitus comes in many forms, most often described as ringing or buzzing. While these are the most common descriptions, some people report other sounds like hissing, sizzling, or pulsing. Tinnitus affects 1 in 5 people and is the number one disability for military veterans.

There are two main forms of tinnitus:

  1. Subjective, which is the perception of noise in the head that no one else can hear.
  2. Objective, which is noise in the head that others can hear such as clicking in the middle ear.

The causes of tinnitus are varied with the most common ones being noise exposure, aging, head injury, and side effects of medication.

Most often tinnitus is not curable, but can be managed with counselling, lifestyle changes, sound therapy, and hearing aids in many cases. Less often tinnitus can be caused by something as simple as an ear canal full of wax. In such cases removing the wax alleviates the tinnitus.

If you have tinnitus the first step is to have a full hearing evaluation to help determine the cause. Once this is done a treatment or management regimen can begin.

Over the next several blogs we will delve into the causes and treatment of tinnitus in detail. Until then, if you have questions or are suffering from tinnitus please feel free to contact Accurate Hearing at:

 

Lower Sackville: 902-252-3004

Cole Harbour: 902-406-4327

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Oct 13 2017

Join us at the 2017 Cobequid Walk Run!

Every year the Cobequid Foundation hosts a Walk Run to raise funds and awareness for the Cobequid Community Health Centre. Accurate Hearing is proud to volunteer at the water stop. So come out and join us in supporting a great cause this Sunday, October 15th.

If you would like more information or to donate, or sign up, please visit the Walk Run website: www.cobequidwalkrun.ca

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Sep 28 2017

The future is wireless

Everywhere you look we seem to be going wireless: from phones, to computers, even everyday appliances. Hearing aids are no exception. But, what does this mean and how does it benefit you?

A wireless set of hearing aids can communicate with each other. This means that if one hearing aid adjusts itself because there is a lot of background noise, it will “tell” the other hearing aid what it’s doing so that hearing aid can adjust itself accordingly. Having the hearing aids work together in this way leads to more precise adjustments and better hearing. Another benefit is that a button on one hearing aid can be used to change the volume on both, instead of having to change the volume on each hearing aid independently. With wireless technology a remote control can also be used to adjust the hearing aids simultaneously.

Wireless technology allows your hearing aids to stream sound from other wireless devices like phones, televisions, and computers. For example, if you have a Bluetooth compatible phone, a simple streamer worn around your neck will send calls directly to your hearing aids. With this setup up you can have a hands free conversation, amplified through your hearing aids. Some of the newest models don’t even require the streamer, with the signal transmitted directly from the phone to your hearing aids.

Some wireless hearing aid models can also be connected to your TV or computer via an intermediary device, which then sends the sound directly to your hearing aids, just like wearing a wireless headset. This is a great solution if your friends and family have mentioned that the TV is too loud. They can listen at a level that is comfortable for them, while you can hear the audio amplified through your hearing aids.

With your hearing aids connected to your phone or computer you can essentially stream any audio, from music to your favorite shows or audiobooks. This works well for tinnitus relief as you could stream music, nature, or other sounds to mask your tinnitus.

For more information on wireless options please feel free to contact Accurate Hearing at:

Lower Sackville: 902-252-3004

Cole Harbour: 902-406-4327

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Sep 14 2017

Balance and Dizzness Part 3: Treatment and Management

Treatment of dizziness will depend on the cause and can include exercises, medication, and lifestyle changes. Two of the most common disorders of the inner ear related to dizzines are Meniere’s and Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. Treatment for Meniere’s will often include medication such as Serc for acute episodes of dizziness, and lifetstyle changes such as reduced salt and caffeine intake for longer term management. Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, a condition that causes dizziness with head movement, can be alleviated through specific head and neck exercises prescribed by a professional trained in balance management.

For conditions not related to the inner ear, treating the underlying cause may alleviate the dizziness. For example, medication to prevent migraines or medication to regulate blood pressure. As discussed in our blog on causes of dizziness, disorders related to our eyes and muscles can also cause balance issues. Again, here proper diagnosis is very important so that the underlying cause of the dizziness can be treated.

Sometimes hearing loss can lead to dizziness as well. Some individuals feel dizzy when their hearing is not balanced. Treating the underlying hearing loss can improve balance in this situation.

It should be clear that proper diagnosis is paramount to effective treatment. If you are experiencing balance issues contact your doctor for an assessment. For further questions and information please feel free to contact Accurate Hearing at one of our locations below.

Lower Sackville: 902-252-3004

Cole Harbour: 902-406-4327

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Sep 07 2017

Balance and Dizziness Part 2: Diagnosis

Last time we discussed some of the causes of dizziness. Today we will look at the first steps to take if you are experiencing dizziness and how health professionals go about diagnosing the cause.

First and foremost, if you are experiencing dizziness you should see your doctor. It is helpful to bring a list of symptoms and relevant information. For example, how often does the dizziness occur, how long does it last, how severe is it, when did it start? In addition you should mention any symptoms that may occur with it such as changes in hearing, ringing in your ears, heart palpatations, and headaches to name a few. Mention them even if you’re not sure if they’re relevant as this information can help the professional diagnose the cause.

Since many instances of dizziness and balance issues are related to the inner ear, a hearing test is very important. From the results your doctor may be able to determine the cause such as in the case of Meniere’s. In addition your doctor may refer you to a balance specialist for further testing. There they will perform an evaluation which may include head and neck exercises to help determine the cause. Depending on the result these exercises may be used for treatment as well.

In rare cases you will be sent for a scan to determine if there are structural abnormalities or growths on the hearing and balance nerve or in the brain that may be contributing to your balance issues.

Once the cause is known a treatment regimen can begin. Next time we will look at the options available for balance management.

For more information please contact Accurate Hearing at:

Lower Sacville: 902-252-3004

Cole Harbour: 902-406-4327

 

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Aug 31 2017

Balance and Dizziness Part 1: Causes

Many of us will experience dizziness at one time or another. In this blog we will go over some of the most common causes of dizziness and balance issues.

Dizziness related to the inner ear is certainly one of the biggest causes of balance issues. This is because the vestibular system, the bodies balance organ, is located in the inner ear. This system works in conjunction with our visual system and muscles and joints to give us our sense of balance. So, any pathology that affects the inner ear can potentially affect our balance.

One such pathology is Menier’s Disease, which causes dizziness, tinnitus, and hearing loss, usually affecting one ear. This condition results from buildup of fluid in the semicircular canals of the vestibular system and is thought to be brought on by both genetic and environmental factors such as a virus. Menier’s is just one of several conditions that can affect the middle ear. In short anything that disrupts the function of the middle ear can result in balance problems.

In addition to our ears, our balance relies on our vision and feedback from our muscles and joints. So, conditions that affect these systems can also lead to dizziness. Other causes can include tumors, migraines, and degenerative brain and muscle diseases.

Sometimes the cause of dizziness can be as simple as a nasty cold or lack of sleep.

As we can see the causes of dizziness are varied. If you are experiencing dizziness, the first step is to see your doctor. In our next blog we will discuss where to seek help and how health care professionals diagnose the specific cause of your dizziness.

For more information please contact Accurate Hearing:

Sackville: 902-252-3004

Cole Harbour: 902-406-4327

 

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Aug 24 2017

What should musicians look for in a hearing aid?

First, why would musicians and music lovers need to consider special features for music? Well, the answer is that most hearing aids are optimized for speech.

Music and speech present hearing aids with different problems to solve. Speech tends to change rapidly and is often accompanied by background noise such as when sitting in a restaurant or at a family gathering. In this situation the hearing aid wants to maximize speech while minimizing other sounds that might interfere. This is often done via noise reduction algorithms and compression, which reduce much of the unwanted background noise. However, these same features can distort music.

Another common feature is the feedback manager, which prevents whistling sounds from the hearing aid. When feedback occurs the hearing aid generates the same tone, but opposite in phase, which cancels out any annoying whistling. However, sometimes this feature can mistake certain musical tones for feedback and try to cancel them out, leading to distortion.

Many hearing aids have a dedicated music program which reduce or shut down some of these features. This allows more of the signal to preserved, which is very important for hearing all the complex sounds associated with music. Depending on the model, the music program can be accessed manualy or automatically when the hearing aid detects music.

So if you are a musician or simply a lover of music, you want to be sure to look for a hearing aid with a dedicated music program.

Ask the professionals at Accurate Hearing what device is right for you.

 

Sackville: 902-252-3004

Cole Harbour: 902-406-4327

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Aug 11 2017

Noise may have greater impact on musicians than we thought

We have known for some time that excessive noise leads to hearing loss. However, a recent study published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine has shown that the risk to musicians is extremely high . In fact, professional musicians were found to have 4 times the risk of developing hearing loss compared to the general population. That’s no small number.

Noise exposure can lead to permanent hearing loss and tinnitus. So what can be done? It is recommended that professional musicians wear hearing protection at all times. It doesn’t matter what type of music is being played either. If it’s too loud it will cause hearing damage. So, whether you are in a rock band, choir, orchestra, or just playing around in the garage, get out that hearing protection and use it!

 

For more information please feel free to contact Accurate Hearing at:

Lower Sackville: 902-252-3004

Cole Harbour: 902-406-4327

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