Part II of ‘Whole New Take On Glue Ear’ by Carl Gammon

Carlsear

As promised at the end of my first article, here is part two of my ‘glue ear’ journey.

I have now had the surgery on my ear (Tuesday 10th May) and have now recovered from the effects of the anaesthesia.

It was an interesting day to be fair… it all started first thing when my brother very kindly took the day off work to drive me the 7 miles to the hospital at 07:30 for an 08:00 appointment.  As you can imagine I arrived in good time and was immediately checked in.

I was asked by a hearing aid wearing receptionist, what I was in for? I replied “For my ear” and showed her my other hearing aid clad ear… “Arrr right thank you.” came the reply…  I didn’t think much of it at first but every time I was wanted, the nurses came right up to me and tapped me on my shoulder to make me aware of the next step.  Never had this happen before – they usually just stand in the corner and speak and hope I hear them (which is hardly ever)

Anyway, I saw the anaesthetist and the surgeon and was given the go ahead to have the procedure.

I was called to go and get changed and I walked to the theatre at 10:05am.

I was then woken up at 12:43pm by one of the nurses who handed me my hearing aid.

I’m not 100% sure what they were doing in my ear all that time. However, I have been told that my eardrum has been removed and a new one put in. It is absolute heaven not to have any pain from it – finally.

Obviously, I won’t know exactly how successful the surgery was until I have the follow up in 3 months’ time… Fingers crossed.

What I can already tell… is the Tinnitus in my right side is now even more annoying! In addition, my voice sort of feels lopsided (if that makes any sense) and I have some issues with dizziness if I stand still… but other than that, I feel fine. 🙂

Thanks for reading. X

Carl Gammon.

Is Notched Sound Therapy a Cure for Tinnitus? by Stu Nunnery

Here is yet another informative piece regarding tinnitus by the lovely Stu Nunnery, originally written for the awesome Hearing Like Me website.

HLM-blog-feature_tinnitus

Those of us with hearing loss and tinnitus may be living at a good time in “hearstory.”

Lately, there has been exciting news about the brain’s ability to adapt (called neuroplasticity) and what that might mean for rehabilitating lost hearing. News is also exploding about the effects of music on the brain, how the brain hears, and the importance of feeding the brain sounds and stimulation – for many good reasons – among them the prevention of dementia and other cognitive disorders.

Now comes news about tinnitus, its connection to brain activity and how understanding and treating that connection might be charting a path to the resolution or cure of the condition.

Research confirms that tinnitus affects the ears, but originates in the brain. Some believe it is mainly triggered by age-related hearing loss and prolonged exposure to excessively loud noise. Other studies target tinnitus as a symptom of abnormal hyperactivity in the brain’s auditory cortex. While there are maskers and more traditional sound therapies for tinnitus. new apps are hitting the market to offer their versions of what is called “notched sound therapy.” One such app that is winning awards and getting a lot of attention is called Tinnitracks  – currently available only in Germany.

Tinnitracks claims to to offer a clinically proven therapy for chronic tinnitus. It’s based on research in the fields of neurophysiology and neuroacoustics performed at the Institute for Biosignal Analysis and Biomagnetism by the medical faculty of the University of Muenster, Germany.

“Tinnitus can be triggered by sudden sensorineural hearing loss or noise-induced hearing loss,” according to the company’s website. “Such hearing loss reduces the ability to hear sounds in the frequency ranges in which damage has occurred, but also causes a reduced flow of information to the brain’s auditory center. This change in input can cause the brain to shift its healthy balance between nerve signals. This then leads to over activity in certain nerve cells, which manifests itself as tinnitus.”

Tinnitracks claims to treat the cause of the problem through filtered audio therapy (music therapy). The co-founder of the company,Sonormed, Joerg Land, says that Tinnitracks is unique in its musical cure.“We are treating Tinnitus directly in the human brain – you don’t have to go to a clinic, you don’t need special hardware or a hearing aid,” “Tinnitracks is just listening to music: it’s convenient, it’s easy to integrate into your daily life.”

How it works

Tinnitracks claims it “filters the tinnitus tones out of the music that the patient listens to. You are prescribed the correct frequency for your tinnitus, and you use the app for 90 minutes a day, over at least 4 months. The auditory cortex in human brain is like a piano,” Land explains. “Every frequency sits next to the other, and we just cut out the tones that are the tones of the patient’s tinnitus to have silence in this area. Over time the neighboring nerve cells will lower the hyperactivity of the tinnitus frequencies, and the perceived loudness of the disturbing sound. Essentially, it takes three steps: select music files from your personal collection, filter tinnitus frequencies then upload a personalized track to an MP3 player to start therapy.”

Tinnitracks further claims that it is most effective for those 18-60 who have a tinnitus frequency no higher than 8,500 Hertz (8,5 kHz) and a hearing loss less than 65 dB HL.  The online app is sold with a year license that runs $584US, but the company expects to launch a new version that will be about $20US a month.

OK, just what is notched sound therapy? Here an excellent link but note that the source, Audio Notch, is one of the notched sound therapy apps currently on the market as well.

Does notched sound therapy work?

Our friends at Hearing Tracker have directed me here to a review on the Hearing Blog.

To repeat the summary: “given the positive evidence at hand, while promising, more research needs to be done on Notched Sound Therapy to determine its efficacy and recommend it as a standard clinical treatment for tinnitus: There is not yet enough evidence to support that such a form of treatment is ready for clinical implication.”

Meanwhile there are other sound treatment options on the market you can try, some more affordable than others.

Tiinnitus Pro 

AudioNotch – makes similar claims to those of Tinnitracks and is available for $8-$20 per month.

The Paxx100 by The Tinnitus Lab 

Whist Tinnitus Relief 

As for Tinnitracks, they have begun a partnership with a private healthcare company and plan to approach the FDA to make Tinnitracks available in the US. Good luck. “Getting into the health system, it’s a nightmare,” said Land. “The market is not made for digital solutions, there are a lot of regulations around data and security,” he explained. ”

I‘m excited by the notched sound therapy approach as well as other sound therapies but considering the dearth of reliable data, the varying prices, and the lack of patient reviews, I remain skeptical about many of the claims. For now. What do you think? Are you using one of these therapies now? Would you be willing to give one of them a try?

by Stu Nunnery.

(Original source)

 

‘Whole New Take On Glue Ear’ by Carl Gammon

Last year on the 10th August, I accidentally got superglue in my right ear, after trying to remove it myself with acetone (nail varnish remover) I went over to my local hospital to explain and for them to remove it. After they finished laughing, the nurse had a look in my ear and told me I would need to go to the main hospital, as she could not get the glue out. So I went there and they couldn’t remove it either, I was going to need surgery.

Back at the main hospital, I was seen and sent up to a ward where an ENT consultant had a good look. He tried to remove it but seeing as this is superglue; it had stuck good and proper. He scheduled an appointment for me to go back on the 13th August for surgery under a general anaesthetic to remove it.

All this time I still had a bit of usable hearing (although it was very muffled) so I signed the consent form and told them to do whatever it takes to get it all out, and went down to the theatre. The wife says I was down there for about 2 hours or so. Anyway, once I was back up on the ward and coherent enough the consultant told me they did not get all the glue out because they didn’t want to damage my ear drum. And that the remaining bit of glue will dislodge itself. Seemed fair enough, or so I thought.

A week later, I had the post op follow up and after my ears being pulled about I was told that they had damaged the eardrum during surgery. They could have removed it all?!

This is where the problems started – Nine ear infections since then!

Oh… They have given me Tinnitus as well which is a high pitch screech in the right ear 24-7. Thanks guys!

So now, I am waiting to have more surgery to see what’s what down there. I have got to have what they call an E.U.A (Examination Under Anaesthetic) because I am considered a high risk of fainting, seeing I fainted at our local hospital ENT clinic and this frightened the entire department. One nurse said in all her 38yrs of nursing, she had never had someone faint by looking in their ears.

My next appointment is on the 17th April for a pre admission assessment, then, provided there are no complications, surgery is booked for the 10th May.

I will update of course.

By Carl Gammon.

To be continued… 🙂

‘Talking about Tinnitus: Coping, learning and finding relief’ by Stu Nunnery

Many of us tend to suffer from Tinnitus almost 24/7 and we found reading about Stu’s experiences rather interesting.

Here is only an excerpt from his article because we would like to encourage you, to visit his original article for the full ‘Stu’ experience.

“Like many of you I experience changes in the volume, tone, pitch, shape, color, and texture to my tinnitus. And as I am returning to mussssssssssssic the nasty noise machine creates yet another annoying roadblock that I have tried to overcome for many years.  I play piano and guitar and I sing along with them, and if I am singing or playing in the key of G, you can be sure that tinny is droning away in Ab or perhaps C# just for grins. I avoided even listening to music for years in part because of this little wrinkle in my tinny tin tin – tonal disruption.

Some good news: I have been participating in aural rehab which has been strengthening my listening and by extension the quality of my hearing. I also returned to voice coaching again to strengthen my sound making apparatus. And what do you suppose has happened? Yes indeedy, I can sometimes outrun – or rather out “noise-make”- my tinnitus with an armada of sound – both heard and made.  If I keep singing and playing of course.

HA! Take that, Tinny!”

Source: http://www.hearinglikeme.com/tinnitus-coping-learning-relief/

Enjoy!

Silence Is Not Oh So Quiet by Daniel McManus

I woke up one fateful Saturday morning the 14th of February to find an unexpected parcel sitting at the bottom of the front door. Rubbing my eyes, I trundled towards it and picked it up. As soon as I recognised the handwriting, I gasped and immediately took it to the living room and placed it in front of me on a low coffee table. Knowing what it is, I looked at it for a moment then took a deep breath and gently ripped it apart. After almost four months of tinnitus hell, I thought, at last! After I’d opened the parcel, I took the transparent object and connected it to the tiny equipment, inserted a small, silver circular battery inside the equipment and put it in my left ear.

Then I switched it on.

Suddenly, I was inundated with various sounds I hadn’t heard since November when I had lost my last hearing aid during a drunken shenanigan at a nightclub: the humming of traffic from the outside, the dialogues on television… The experience was simply indescribable. It was as though I had heard sounds for the first time in my life and it was almost impossible to conceive. Four months of silence was long enough for me to actually forget what certain noises had sounded like. I had even forgotten what my own voice had sounded like so when I heard myself speak for the first time in four months I was taken aback. ‘This is my voice?!’ I thought. I used to hate it! Now it doesn’t sound so bad! Oh, how I’ve missed sounds so much and I wanted to hear everything again, so the first thing I did was open the violin case and lift out the most sentimental item in my life – the only solace whenever I’m down. You seriously have no idea what it feels like to hear something you have a passion for again. I turned to YouTube and CDs to listen to a variety of music for a couple of hours just totally enjoying myself. I felt like the happiest person alive.

Then something hit me. I quickly ran to get my phone from my bedroom and flicked through the video clips. I stopped when I saw my baby niece. I sat down and played the clip I had recorded during my home visit last month. My eyes instantly filled with tears and I had a lump in my throat as I watched the clip and heard her gurgle playfully for the very first time in my life…

So, I guess this is what people mean when they say they cannot live without sounds – the voices of their loved ones and music in particular, the rain patting gently on the windows, the rhythmic thumps of a train as it slowly passes by, the roar of the thunder. For me, I’ve learned that you would have to go through a certain period of time without hearing anything at all to know what it truly is like and to completely understand why some things in life are so precious.

Silence but not really silence because the water is gently rippling and the breeze is whispering in your ears

Silence but not really silence because the water is gently rippling and the breeze is whispering in our ears

As I have been deaf since birth perpetual silence is something that is naturally all too easy for me to conceive. However, having been exposed to the very first sounds at a very young age meant I immediately became dependent upon them as I grew up. The fact is that the past four months have been the longest I’ve ever gone through without hearing anything at all. At first, I was naturally indifferent but as days turned into months I started to miss things I enjoy hearing more and more. I also had to broaden my visual awareness and peripheral vision to compensate for the lack of hearing and it wasn’t easy. There has been a few incidents where I was almost hit by cars because my eyes just simply got tired of constantly watching. You have to bear in mind that as a deaf person, I use my eyes all the time to communicate: reading sign language, lip-reading, which is an exhausting activity and can put a strain on your eyesight, looking out for strangers’ body language in situations where I would not hear public announcements (on the Tube for example) in case of unexpected changes, and so on. At the end of every single day, my eyes just wanted to sleep.

Further to this, I inevitably developed a life-draining condition – tinnitus: those annoying, incessant sounds of ringing, whistling and buzzing inside your head that drive you insane because they just never stop. Apparently, your brain is so used to hearing natural sounds that when you stop hearing them your brain, starved of sounds, starts to replace the absence of real sounds with ‘noises’ fed off by the tinnitus. So the perpetual silence is constantly blighted by those unpleasant ‘noises’.

So, you can imagine my utter joy upon the revelation that the four months of tinnitus hell was about to end when I finally put in my hearing aid, and I let out a long breath of relief.

After almost half a day of indulging myself in music, I stopped to take a break and sat down again. I smiled as I read my mother’s letter that came with the parcel because of her wise, motherly advice: “Now, look after it, son!”

And no doubt I intend to.

By Daniel McManus.

Silence Is Golden by Sara Jae

Silence is golden

Having the choice to be able to hear or not… is selective hearing (or is it deafness?) at it’s best.

Deaf people have the advantage of being able to turn off their hearing aids whenever and for however long they wish.

I do love music and hearing certain voices/everyday sounds but when there too much of something, ie chaos all around, it is a very good solution to just be able to simply, switch off. In all senses. Rather liberating as it is a luxury to be able to turn the aids off and just step back… And watch the chaos unfolding from a very safe distance, in silence. Silence is golden.

I remember pretending to switch them off whilst being told off and they (i.e. parents, teachers) would get exasperated because they thought I had switched them off and they did not want to be wasting their time telling me off when I “couldn’t hear”… when in reality I could still hear them. Oops. I’m not one to be messed with ;-)  Deaf people have done this many times and we will always use our deafness for any kind of advantage – or ability to annoy people.

There are hearing people who would love to escape the cacophony of life. Whereas there will be those who sadly take it for granted and as usual there is always a balance, there are those who are extremely grateful that they can still hear.

On a more serious note, For some, turning off our hearing aids does not bring about silence due to tinnitus. Some have to live from this condition 24/7… suffering from a constant, be it buzzing… sirens… humming…. various annoying noises of the brain’s choice. I notice my tinnitus gets better during certain states of being. This tinnitus of mine is very much like the radio, a most nonsensical irritating noise. A friend’s tinnitus is more like the whining, high pitched, screeching, howling feedback you would get at a concert or festival. They dare not take their hearing aid off because of it. So, their silence, that blissful, wondrous silence we deaf people are gifted with when it’s needed, has long since disappeared. A mere refugee, a victim of the tinnitus invasion. Some like their tinnitus as it saves them from having to use their MP3, radios, etc – somewhat worrying if they prefer to listen to the voices in their heads instead ;-)

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Now read part 2; “Somewhere Over The Rainbow…