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Spotlight:  Hearing & Balance in the News

Hearing Aid

October 18, 2021

With the release of the proposed regulations by the FDA, audiologists are looking ahead to a world with OTC hearing aids.  What does this mean for patients with hearing difficulties?  Read more.

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ASHA Wire

Rockville, Maryland

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November 9, 2021

November 9th is Microtia Awareness Day

About 1 in 9,000 children is born with microtia, which occurs when one ear or both  ears do not fully develop during the first trimester of pregnancy.  

Read more.

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Ear Community

Broomfield, Colorado

Zebra Crossing

August 16, 2021

Health Check: 
Why Do We Get Dizzy?

Many people in their lifetime experience a sudden feeling of dizziness, be it head spinning, light-headedness, a floating sensation, or a loss of balance.        Read more.

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The Conversation

Boston, Massachusetts 

 

American Speech-Hearing-Language Association, ASHA Wire  |  Rockville, Maryland

Posted here October 20, 2021

Published October 18, 2021

With the release of the proposed regulations by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), audiologists are looking ahead to a world with OTC hearing aids. (ASHA analysis and comments on the proposed regulations are forthcoming).  The FDA was previously expected to issue the guidance in August 2020, per the 2017 FDA Reauthorization Act, but the release was delayed and is now anticipated in early November. 

At Hearing HealthCare, Inc., in Rockville, Maryland, audiologists have already begun educating patients about the changes. One of them, Kristina Deak, says some patients are curious. “We are already fielding questions about OTC aids, and we will continue to do so,” says Deak. “We tell our patients that such devices could be appropriate for people with near-normal hearing.” However, she says, they will not work well for patients with more severe hearing loss. “Too many of our older patients need too much counseling to justify putting them into $800 ‘aids’ [an anticipated price point for OTCs] when we know that is not what is best for them,” Deak says.  

 

Audiologist Monica Allgauer, owner of Rocket Hearing and Balance in LaPlata, Maryland, agrees that OTCs may be appropriate for certain kinds of patients.  “These products serve a specific need and can do a good job supporting the right kind of hearing loss,” Allgauer says. “It is also a great option for patients who are curious about amplification, but have anxiety about visiting a professional.”  

Despite the uncertainty surrounding OTCs, Allgauer believes audiologists will rise to the occasion.  “All products in the hearing sector—be they amplifiers, hearing aids, assistive listening devices, or cochlear implants—have a place and a purpose,” Allgauer says. “Professionals who are honest with their patients about the strengths and weaknesses of these products have very little to worry about.” 

To read more about this regulatory change, click here.

 

November 9th is Microtia Awareness Day

Ear Community  |  Broomfield, Colorado

Posted here November 9, 2021 (edited for clarity)

Published October 1, 2019

Approximately 630 babies are born with microtia and atresia each year in the United States.  Current statistics show that Latino-Hispanic, Ecuadorian, Asian, and Native American ethnicities are affected more by microtia and atresia than individuals who are of African American descent.  Interestingly, it is more common for microtia or atresia to affect the right side.  It can also cause asymmetry of the face known as "craniofacial microsomia". 

 

Today, there are many options for individuals with microtia or atresia:

  • The “Do Nothing” option should always be embraced with acceptance, confidence, and love for one's self.  

  • Surgical options for a reconstructed outer ear include rib-graft techniques or polyethylene ear frame work options.  There are also other avenues for ear reconstruction that involve soft tissue reconstruction and ear expanders to help improve the shape of an ear.

  • In an effort to restore some hearing ability and reconstructing an ear canal, a procedure called "canalplasty" and/or "atresiaplasty" may be considered. 

  • Prosthetic ears are also a popular option!

  • Typically, affected individuals have some degree of hearing loss.  A hearing aid may be the first recommendation.  If there is complete absence of the ear, a bone conduction hearing device can be worn on a soft band head band or be implanted in the skull.

 

For further information, click here.

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Health Check:  Why Do We Get Dizzy?

The Conversation  |  Boston, Massachusetts 

Posted here August 16, 2021

Published October 31, 2016

It is estimated 30% of the general population have experienced moderate to severe dizziness at least once in their lifetime, and nearly 2% of adults seek medical attention annually for a new symptom of moderate to severe dizziness or vertigo.

The prevalence of symptoms of dizziness is particularly high among older people, with between 10% and 30% thought to suffer. Dizziness can be extremely distressing and physically debilitating and can markedly impair quality of life. In older people, in particular, experiencing dizziness makes the sufferer twice as likely to report disability, worsening of depressive symptoms, reduced participation in social activities, poor health and falls.

People generally find it hard to describe their dizziness symptoms and use vague terms such as floating, spinning, unsteadiness and giddiness. This imprecise symptom description is a major reason why dizziness is complex to assess and treat.

Doctors describe it as a feeling of altered orientation in space and classify it into four main subtypes:

  1. unsteadiness caused by leg weakness and impaired sensation

  2. dizziness from severe anxiety

  3. light-headedness

  4. vertigo

To read more, click here.