In 2016, Oticon Medical introduced its Opn™ hearing aid, which offers Multi-Speaker Access Technology (MSAT) in Oticon’s OpenSound Navigator™ (OSN).
Oticon OpenSound Navigator (OSN)
The Open Sound Navigator (OSN) is a technology that removes excessive background noise in a split second so you can focus on what’s important. It also assists you to locate the exact direction from where the sound is coming.
OSN is a noise reduction algorithm consisting of three modules - Analyze, Balance, and Noise Removal. These three together identifies the direction of the exact speech, sharpens it and then amplifies it.
Multi-Speaker Access Technology (MSAT)
MSAT technology is a BrainHearing™ technology. BrainHearing™ technology is a feature that emulates the way your brain normally processes a sound.
To understand further, imagine a normal hearing person, trying to listen to Julie talking about her vacation, in a busy restaurant. The brain would quickly work in four stages. Firstly, it will orient itself to the noisy place; secondly, it would distinguish Julie's voice from the rest. Thirdly, the brain would focus on the exact words spoken, and finally, it will rebalance the sounds and help distinguish every word clearly.
Speech in Noise (SIN)
If you suffer from hearing loss and even though you use a hearing aid, you may find it frustrating to understand speech in noise (SIN). If you tried to listen to Julie in that busy restaurant, it would probably be difficult to be able to distinguish Julie's speech from others talking in the room. Most hearing aids cannot effectively filter the speech in noise.
The new Oticon hearing aids with BrainHearing™ technology help to mimic exactly what the brain normally does, which means it can extract the speech in noise.
MSAT technology is an extraordinary application used in hearing aids. It selectively reduces disturbing noises while maintaining access to all distinct speech sounds. It does not isolate one voice, instead maintains access to all distinct speakers. It frees the capacity of the brain to store and recall information.
Advantages of OSN and MSAT technology
Listening is where hearing meets the brain. Listening effort is higher in a noisy environment. More cognitive processes need to be engaged in a noisy environment in order to recognize speech. To be able to actually ignore the surrounding noise, and understand the meaning of the words spoken, is not that easy!
Comparison of the ‘giving –up’ recent study observed the listening effort of two groups of people, one with OSN and the other with a non-OSN hearing aid. These two groups were compared with the normal hearing group in the study.
They used a method called pupillometry that measured pupil dilation as a reaction to stress.
The idea was, to see at what point do people ‘give up’ trying to listen. Giving up happens if the task becomes too difficult and the benefit does not outweigh the listening effort required.
Using Open Sound Navigator (OSN) is as good as normal. Normal-hearing listeners were able to focus till -4 dB SNR (signal to noise ratio) after which they started giving up. The OSN group had a very similar experience but the non-OSN group gave up much sooner.
Further research like the SWIR Test (Sentence-Final Word Identification and Recall) and speech recognition showed that the OSN algorithm significantly improves memory for speech heard in noise and better speech understanding in noise.
The processing speed of the new BrainHearing™ technology is 50 times faster than the previous generation of essential hearing aids. It delivers high-resolution sound quality to improve speech understanding.
All these data support the fact that OSN technology is efficient.
2. Useful if you have tinnitus
A study by Jensen in 2018 reported that OSN significantly reduced listening effort for people with tinnitus. Usually, when the pupil dilation test is carried out in people with tinnitus, they display severe stress and fatigue. With OSN, their stress level reduced and they needed less effort to listen.
3. High user satisfaction
Based on feedback to questionnaires distributed to regular OSN users, user satisfaction is high. The ON app that comes with the hearing aid, make it very easy to use. It allows them to expend less effort, have better recall, and better speech understanding in noisy environments.
This technology empowers the user to actively participate in social situations in the same way as their normal-hearing peers.
As already mentioned, the ON App makes the Oticon hearing aids very user-friendly. Besides the OSN, MSAT and BrainHearing™ features, there is another additional feature called HearingFitness™ that optimizes the hearing health behavior. It monitors the duration of wearing the hearing aid and prompts you to reach your goals. It also tracks the noise levels of places you frequently visit.
There are many easy to use features that make it very attractive. It is small in size and comes in a variety of styles that you can choose from. It also has a long battery life and can be connected online, with Bluetooth. These features are useful if you are traveling or if you want to check your user behavior.
5. Recommended for first-time users
According to Oticon Medical, this range of hearing aids is the “smallest hearing aid style Oticon has ever produced,” making it very attractive to first-time users.
Clinicians can encourage people using the Opn™ hearing aids to explore listening and social situations they may have avoided or given up on in the past. HearingFitness is another feature that would attract the first time user.
The Oticon technologies and diligent research continue to impress us at Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona, and it's one of our leading hearing aid brands that we recommend, fit, and service. We currently offer a 30-day free trial of Oticon hearing aids and other brands, so if you think these could be a good fit for you or your loved one, we encourage you to contact our office at (480) 831-6159.
The Signia Notch Therapy hearing aid promises significant relief from Tinnitus, in addition to outstanding hearing aid amplification.
For decades, sufferers have been traumatized by the constant ringing noise in the ears and the effect of any therapy can sometimes be short-lived. An effective respite from this condition is welcome news.
Tinnitus is when you hear noises that are not caused by an outside source. There may be a constant or intermittent ringing, buzzing, throbbing sound in one or both ears or in the head. Clearly, this is a very annoying condition. It can occur due to many reasons including exposure to loud noise or an ear infection.
Tinnitus can be broadly grouped into two categories – tonal and non-tonal tinnitus. The former is more common where you experience a constant sound of a well-defined frequency, similar to whistling, ringing or buzzing. The non-tonal has a different pattern, with varied frequencies similar to humming, clicking and rumbling.
Tinnitus takes away the basic joy of listening, to anything that is enjoyable and enriching. Your quality of life can deteriorate and it is therefore important to seek help from a qualified audiologist.
The Signia Notch Therapy aims to solve just that. To quote the company website:
"As a leading manufacturer and innovator of hearing aids, our philosophy revolves around improving the quality of life for people with hearing difficulties, including tinnitus."
Three tinnitus therapies
The use of a hearing aid is one of the best ways to get relief from hearing conditions. For the first time, a hearing aid contains a built-in system called the Notch Therapy that is able to not only reduce the effects of tinnitus, but claim to completely remove it. The technology enables to amplify sounds and improve hearing and provide a range of solutions to alleviate the effects of tinnitus.
This is fantastic news!
To elaborate further, the Signia hearing aid provides three options for you to help with tinnitus. The first two options are based on the principle that a continuous pleasant and relaxing sound would override the rings and the buzz that you experience. Gradually, the brain ‘un-learns’ the tinnitus noise and the replaced gentle sound help you to relax and concentrate. The third option is the new technology where you can use a mobile app to teach your brain to ignore the repetitive ring.
Static noise tinnitus therapy signals – A continuous soft sound in the ear distracts you effectively from the tinnitus buzz, providing the much-needed relief. You are able to relax and enjoy life using this therapy. The hearing aid has a range of five preset signals to form a static noise, and the healthcare professional customizes the signal to your specific needs. This signal produces a sound that merges with the frequency of the tinnitus noise and quickly, you are able to hear, only the softer tune.
Ocean wave tinnitus therapy signals – A slight modification of the previous therapy, the aim of this version is to replicate the tranquil effect of the ocean sound waves to alleviate tinnitus. The experts will help you identify which one of four frequencies is the most soothing and favorable for you. Again, you will be happily distracted away from the annoying buzz in your ears and only hear the soothing ocean waves instead.
Signia Notch Therapy – If you suffer from tonal tinnitus, then the Notch Therapy is for you. This built-in therapy does not use another sound wave like the previous two. Using your hearing aid for a few weeks will potentially treat your tinnitus noticeably, without any external noise and obstruction.
This therapy is very unique. There is no external stimulation involved in this process. The Signia Notch Therapy hearing aid is all that you need, and for your audiologist to spend some time with you on a consultation to determine the exact frequency of your tonal tinnitus. Amplification of the hearing aids is done as normal to your specific hearing test, with the exception of your tinnitus frequency, which is then reduced so that it is integrated harmoniously into the overall background sound.
According to Signia, Notch therapy within their hearing aid models can reduce the effects of tinnitus and may even make it disappear completely. According to a recent study, 65 percent of patients experienced an improvement.
Continuous use of the aid for a few months will lead to relegating the tinnitus sounds into the background. The constant ring and buzz will gradually fade and the brain ‘learns’ to take no notice of tinnitus.
The Signia hearing aids are widely available in a range of small, discreet styles for every form of hearing loss. There is a model to meet your needs and it is very convenient to use. The technology can be utilized through an app on your mobile phone.
For more details on this amazing technology, see the Signia website here.
If you suffer from tinnitus, please contact us at the Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona and ask for your treatment options including the Signia Notch Therapy Hearing Aid. (480) 831-6159.
Some of us experience discomfort or pain in our ears during flying. It happens mainly during ascent and descent, or if the altitude changes suddenly. It almost feels like the ear is blocked and we cannot hear properly. This phenomenon is commonly called ‘Airplane Ear’.
‘Airplane Ear’ is very common. It is usually quite moderate and fixes itself in many cases. However, it may turn severe and the pain may get worse. The pressure in the ears may resemble that of an underwater diver. Furthermore, you may experience moderate to severe hearing loss, ringing in your ear (tinnitus) or spinning sensation (vertigo). The ears may also bleed in extreme cases.
Why does it happen?
This happens because a rapid change in air pressure stretches the eardrum, suddenly.
We need to understand two aspects here. First, the structure of the ear and second, what happens to the air pressure during ascent and descent.
If we look at the structure of the ear, below, we can see a narrow passage in the inner ear called the Eustachian tube that regulates the air pressure. What we cannot see in the illustration is that this tube is connected to the nasopharynx which is a small opening where the throat and the nasal passage meet. The ear, nose, and throat are therefore connected exactly there. When the surrounding air pressure is normal, mostly on land, the tympanic membrane or the eardrum behaves normally and responds to sound and airwaves accordingly.
Air pressure and how it affects the ear
A rapid change in altitude creates an instant difference in air pressure between inside and outside the ear. When your flight takes off and the plane begins to ascend, the air pressure inside the inner ear quickly becomes greater than the outside air pressure. The eardrum then swells outward. Imagine a cake rising inside the oven while baking. This causes discomfort and you feel that your ear is ‘blocked’.
The opposite happens while landing. The pressure inside the inner ear rapidly becomes less than outside and the eardrum goes inward. Imagine a vacuum pulling in all the air that causes stretching of the eardrum and flattening of the Eustachian tube. This results in extreme discomfort and also pain.
Often, a quick swallowing or yawning action alleviates the symptoms because it allows the Eustachian tube to open up and restore the air pressure to normal levels. We feel that the ear has just ‘popped’.
Sometimes it is not that easy. It becomes more painful during descent if you have any other condition like congestion of the nose or swelling due to infection. The air gets trapped in the area behind the eardrum putting pressure on it giving rise to excruciating pain.
What can you do?
If you have any questions, you're welcome to contact us for more details at the Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona at (480) 831-6159.
If you have realized that lately you're missing some words from conversations, you have to be in a quiet place to be able to clearly listen to the person talking to you, or while listening to music you feel like sound is muffled somehow, then you might be experiencing hearing loss to a certain degree. If you have decided is time to find out whether your hearing is compromised, then you may consider visiting a leading Tempe audiologist at Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona, where you can get some clarity on your hearing performance and start a treatment that will be effective for your lifestyle and budget.
If you're in doubt, consider that usually people that sense a certain degree of hearing loss tend to delay their visit to a qualified doctor for as long as 10 years to get testing done, which is completely counterproductive and puts at risk the overall health of the individual as hearing loss can cause other issues on a person’s everyday life.
Taking a Hearing Test
In order to start your path for a better living and to determine if you are suffering hearing loss you must take a hearing test at an audiologist clinic (like Tinnitus and Hearing Center of Arizona). As your audiologist, we will perform hearing tests that will help determine what type of hearing loss you have and how much hearing ability has been lost .
If you have already visited an audiologist and want a second opinion, you may take an online test that The National hearing test has made available at a small cost, though not as accurate as a clinical hearing test.
Choose the right audiologist
At the Tinnitus and Hearing Center, we are very committed to helping our patients find the best way to treat their hearing problems as we offer a wide variety of hearing aid brands and other assistive pieces of technology that can help you with your current situation. You can rest assured that we have taken care of many patients that have been very satisfied with the service we have provided and how accurate and precise our approach has been.
We will have you try at least two different hearing aids (or as many you need to find the most comfortable one) in order to find the one that fits your needs perfectly. We'll also take time to fit it and find the right configuration for you as we need to make sure after you decide on one specific hearing aid to cover all your needs, that is why these have a testing period before you complete your purchase. We will set the different configurations and you will inform us which one is the best for you.
In order to find the best fitting hearing aid for you, know that the hearing aid can only do so much and realistic expectations have to be made.
For more information or to schedule an appointment contact us at (480) 831-6159 or visit our website at https://www.tinnitusaz.com/.
A start-up in Ireland has developed a totally fresh concept for treating tinnitus, and it's one that employs a fascinating technology.
Now, it hasn't come to market yet, so we can't get too excited. But know that we at Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona are watching this development closely.
Most people know tinnitus as 'ringing in the ears.' Some sufferers hear a high-pitched droning noise, whereas others might describe it as more of a buzz, hiss, or whoosh. 'Tinnitus' is the formal medical terminology, but whatever you call it, it's certainly something that can wreak havoc on a person's life. They might have trouble sleeping, working, socializing, or even focusing on basic activities.
At the time of writing, no medical solution is known. On the other hand, Neuromod Devices, an Irish tech start-up, is rolling out a brand-new product that has the potential to provide breakthroughs in tinnitus treatment.
The name of the product is Mutebutton. Ross O'Neill is a neuroscientist who oversaw the development after spending six years at the Hamilton Institute at NUI Maynooth looking into a number of neuromodulation technologies prior to starting up a business in 2010.
In a little more than four short years, Neuromod Devices has plowed through the many regulatory, medical, and logistical challenges necessary. Their product is already available to those in the Irish Market.
O'Neill says that Mutebutton is a totally fresh way to treat tinnitus. Other various technologies are able to offer sufferers relief, but only when the specific devices are used. Alternatively, Mutebutton is able to generate genuine improvement in the condition of a patient.
Tinnitus happens both as a chronic condition and a temporary one. It can get induced due to underlying disease, although many times it's simply a matter of hearing loss that happens with age.
People of any age can suffer tinnitus, but adults over the age of 50 have double the odds of having it. Everyone has hair cells in their inner ears which turn physical sound waves into the neural impulses the brain uses to 'listen'. These hair cells get damaged over the passage of time.
In Ireland alone, roughly 45,000 individuals suffer from this affliction, according to the Irish Tinnitus Association.
The UK also has a similar association, projecting that 1 in 10 Brits of adult age are impacted. The association of the United States has a higher estimate of 15 percent of their population, meaning more than 20 million citizens suffer the condition to the level of being debilitated.
Tinnitus isn't just a matter of noise, either. Frequently-seen auxiliary symptoms include loss of sleep, anxiety, and even depression.
O'Neill goes on to say that he's spent almost a decade developing the treatment, and the goal was always to find something minimally invasive out of consideration to the patients. He was hopeful of avoiding implantation through surgery.
Every year across Europe and the United States, 12 million patients consult their physicians about clinically significant levels or conditions of tinnitus. Also, between aging populations and growing volumes of exposure to sounds, it's turning into a worldwide phenomenon that's anticipated to grow in the near future.
One way that tinnitus can be treated is by diverting the attention of the brain away from the sound or noise of the condition. Having said that, quite a few of the current masking devices utilized for this are unisensory and unfortunately not that effective.
Mutebutton is different, because it's a multi-sensory treatment which mixes soothing sounds along with mild stimulation of particular tongue nerves.
The mix of these two employs multi-sensory integration, which is one of the human brain's natural phenomena, so that it can learn how to better discern real sounds from fake ones.
Mutebutton has a small control unit, a tiny tongue pad, and a headphone set. Users should spend half an hour a day with it for at least 10 weeks in order to see results.
The Hermitage Clinic in Dublin carried on clinical studies in partnership with NUI Maynooth. This research demonstrated that the Mutebutton device can lower the volume of tinnitus by nearly half.
The development involved the collaboration of numerous experts. One of them was Caroline Hamilton, a tinnitus specialist and clinical audiologist. Stephen Hughes is a design engineer who also helped and also an MIT colleague of O'Neill back when he was employed there in the research department. Finally, Brendan Conlon, a senior ENT surgeon from St James's and Tallaght Hospitals helped out with contributions as well.
O'Neill claims that it's simple to make prototypes, but the real difficulty is scaling things up for high levels of manufacturing. He's happy that Mutebutton is being made in his hometown of Dublin, Ireland.
In every market, the company is using both B2B and B2C vectors. Given how very creative this device is, the public needs to learn about it, but so too do the medical community and possible distribution networks.
The company has a current emphasis on getting Mutebutton off of the ground, but that's not to say that Neuromod is a one-hit wonder.
Tinnitus is only one of many chronic conditions that creative neurostimulation technologies might be able to help out with.
Mutebutton is certainly a stable technology platform, and it might be used for quickly developing and evaluating a variety of different neuromodulatory interventions. It's a core technology that is likely to be the foundation for many new products that can provide valuable market openings due to clinical needs that aren't currently being met at a global level.
O'Neill won't get into specifics, other than to say the same technology might work in circumstances of neuro circuits 'misbehaving'. These can include situations of illusory perceptions, tremors, and spasms.
Mutebutton's development enjoyed financial support by Enterprise Ireland, the Higher Education Authority, and Science Foundation Ireland. Several million in both seed and angel capital also helped, and the company is now enjoying a positive revenue stream.
Again, this product is still in the research and development phase, but we're watching this company carefully. Feel free to contact us for updates and to discuss all your tinnitus treatment options at (480) 831-6159.
Our patient, Lt. Colonel Ralph "Slick" Aguirre, USAF (Retired) started his career in aviation flying Huey helicopters in Vietnam at the age of eighteen. He went on to fly F-15 fighter jets in the US Air Force. From there he transitioned into a civilian career in aviation flying for Southwest Airlines. The years he spent in aviation started to seriously affect his ears. The situation reached the point where he grounded himself from flying any longer, for fear it was no longer possible without causing further damage to his ears. Slick arrived at our clinic looking for any possible help. We're happy to report that we have Slick flying again and he couldn't be happier. Slick graciously offered Dr. Rohe the opportunity of a lifetime to fly in this plane as a way of saying thanks for treating his tinnitus and keeping him up in the air. He recently told Dr. Rohe that all the time he spent flying was the equivalent of three full years in the air. That is quite an accomplishment.
The plane pictured below is a Pilatu PC-7, a turboprop with 750hp. If you are a pilot or a frequent flier that suffers from tinnitus, know that with the right guidance, you can absolutely keep flying! Thank you Slick.
Loss of hearing is not a life sentence. There are solutions to remedy the problem. One of them is the use of a hearing aid. These days, they are quite small but very effective, and help you to keep it discreet if you want.
On the other hand, use of a hearing aid is not something that needs to be hidden. We don't hide the fact that we wear glasses to improve our eyesight, do we? It's just a tool, just like a hearing aid.
Statistics show that in older people who are likely to experience hearing loss also, consequently, suffer from depression. Their quality of life diminishes because the person begins to lose confidence in all social situations.
To be able to hear clearly with the help of hearing aids will improve your life in the following ways:
Happiness and improved relationships
A lack of hearing means that your relationships suffer.
For instance, people may lose their patience with you, or get annoyed with you probably because the volume levels on TV or radio is too high.
Slowly you find yourself resigning into isolation and it affects your mental well being. With a hearing aid, you regain the sense of happiness along with your hearing. The communication is restored and you are able to avoid misunderstandings thereby improving your relationships.
Better social life
You will be motivated to participate in group activities when you start using a hearing aid. When hearing becomes too hard, you stop listening, stop engaging in conversations, and often refuse to leave home. Having a quality pair of hearing aids reverses that.
Improve your quality of life
With the loss of hearing, there is a loss of the quality of life as well. Hearing aids allow you to hear better in social settings and you can actively participate in a conversation. That, in turn, reduces depression. There will be an improvement in self-confidence, self-image, self-esteem, independence, and communication.
If compared with someone who is not using a hearing aid, the overall health of the hearing aid user will be better than the non-user. Users are more likely than non-users, to engage in activities involving other people. Hearing aids improve most aspects of emotional life and will pull you out of that feeling of helplessness and burden.
Your optimism will return and people around you will not be anxious as well. Simple tasks will …. Well, be simple again.
Identify speech in noise
Since we are surrounded by nearly constant background noise almost everywhere, you may not be able to discern what people are saying. You might think they're not enunciating enough, or not speaking loudly enough, but chances are, it's your hearing that's not cooperating. This makes a huge impact on your life and you start avoiding public places. The hearing aid is an amazing technology that's designed in a way to filter the noise and capture spoken words.
Stay sharp and alert
Did you know if hearing loss is untreated, you are more likely to experience dementia or Alzheimer’s than someone without hearing loss? Our brains are used to hearing the everyday sounds and this helps us stay alert and keeps our mind sharp. So regaining this with the help of a hearing aid is a positive step.
It will not only help keeping our brains active, it will keep us safe as well. Alertness improves, as you would be able to hear the alarms, doorbells or sirens. It will also improve the reflexes and response to any kind of sound.
Do better at work
Hearing loss is an occupational hazard in many professions. A hearing aid will help you improve your productivity and conduct. You will be happier, safer, and be able to communicate better with clients and co-workers alike.
It's important to note that if you have concerns about your hearing, it can be worse the longer you wait.
At Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona, our experienced audiology team would guide you to choose the right hearing aid that will add tremendous value to the quality of your life. You'd get expert care from the hearing test, to consultation conversations, to exploring options for hearing aids for Scottsdale and other Phoenix metro clients. Then, if you do move forward with hearing aids, you can try a set for a few weeks to see how you like it. We carry four major brands (considered the best hearing aids on the market), so you can experiment with others if you like.
We've seen so many patients that were either hesitant, or skeptical, and nearly all of them thanked us later for not only our friendly guidance in the appointment, but for helping them hear better in all situations, which led to better interactions and communications with friends and family.
We can't tell you how many times we've been thanked for "getting my life back." Is it time to improve your life with better hearing? Contact us today by phone at (480) 831-6159 or use our online scheduler.
Hearing is one of the five senses, as we all know. A newborn is usually tested for hearing to determine if there is any permanent hearing loss at birth. Those with normal hearing are re-examined again at school at some point. There is no regular hearing test requirements carried out after school, which means, unless someone identifies any symptom, hearing loss is not diagnosed until symptoms are noticeable.
The audiologists at Tinnitus and Hearing Center provide hearing tests in Tempe AZ and serve residents of the Phoenix metro, including Scottsdale, Chandler, Gilbert, Sun Lakes, and throughout the East Valley. If you suspect that you or a family member has a problem related to hearing, it is important to understand that there are experts who can explain and help you resolve the issues with ease.
What is the role of an audiologist and what are the different hearing tests available in a clinic?
When you attend a clinic, you will have an initial consultation with an audiologist. Audiologists are specialists in ear conditions, hearing, and hearing rehabilitation. The first step is a general screening, which involves asking questions which may reveal vital symptoms.
An otoscope is then used to check the eardrum. It is a very common device, has a conical end and is pressed against your ear. Being illuminated and magnified, the audiologist can clearly see through this device, if there is any abnormality in the eardrum. A diagnostic hearing evaluation is the next step.
This evaluation can be done for both children and adults to help identify the type and the degree of hearing loss. This may also give an insight into the cause of the hearing loss and help the audiologist determine the appropriate treatment recommendations and referrals.
Please note that these tests are completely safe and painless. They can mostly be performed even if you have other medical condition.
You will be asked to go and sit inside a soundproof booth and relax with headphones on. Usually, you will be given a button to press and follow simple instructions. Your response will be automatically recorded by a machine, and a chart will appear. Imagine an electronic cash register or an ECG machine. This chart is called an audiogram. Based on the audiogram, your audiologist will be able to decide on treatment options.
Types of hearing tests
The ear is a complex organ and is connected to the brain with a network of nerves. Any damage or alteration along the way might affect the hearing.
In our clinic, expert audiologists will conduct a combination of diagnostic tests depending on the symptoms of the patient. The aim is to find the cause and also the extent of any damage.
These tests are quick and painless, and as mentioned before, mostly involves sitting in a silent booth with headphones on.
Here is a list of some of the hearing tests:
1. Acoustic Reflex Testing (AR) — AR test measures the reflexes in the ear. It measures the involuntary muscle contractions of the middle ear, in response to sound. The middle ear is home to the three smallest bones of the human body, the ossicles. When sound reaches the middle ear, two muscles, the stapedius, and tensor tympani muscles, attached to the ossicles, contract involuntarily. On contraction, these muscles create a movement of the bones which in turn stimulate the inner ear. If the reflex action is reduced, the hearing mechanism will be impaired. This broadly means, this test will indicate if the problem lies in the middle ear.
2. Otoacoustic emissions (OAE) testing— OAE test is a quick, non-invasive method that measures the cochlear (inner ear) function. This is the test done on newborns to establish any hearing loss at birth. A small probe is placed in the ear and clicks or tones are played. The machine attached to the probe records the response of the hair cells of the inner ear. Any change from normal, in the audiogram pattern indicates that the problem lies in the inner ear.
3. Tympanometry —It is a simple and painless testing method that measures the air pressure on the eardrum. Air pressure will be abnormal if there is a build up of fluid or wax, presence of a tumor or if the eardrum is damaged.
4. Pre-tone and pure-tone testing — This test, uses air conduction to measure your ability to hear various sounds at low, mid, and high frequencies. You will hear a series of sounds through the headphones and you will be instructed to press a button every time you hear a tone. Any abnormal pattern in the audiogram chart will indicate a problem in the middle ear.
5. Speech-in-noise testing — In case of any abnormality in the previous test, a speech-in-noise (SIN) test is carried out in older children and adults. Similar to the tone-testing procedure, it determines if the person can hear speech in the presence of background noise. So in essence, this is considered as a “real world” test. It also works as part of the counseling process and helps the patient reach their hearing expectations.
5. Bone conduction testing — This test measures the inner ear’s response to a sound. A conductor is placed behind your ear which sends tiny vibrations through the bone directly to the inner ear. The experts can interpret the audiogram and the results will indicate if there is any loss of hearing.
From these tests, the experts get invaluable insight into the patients' status of hearing. Subsequently, it helps them to prescribe the appropriate treatment or hearing aid strategy.
Your audiologist will explain the test results to you, and clarify your doubts and fears. You will get help in understanding the plan for treatment and get referrals if necessary. We encourage you to ask your audiologist plenty of questions - we’re here for you to make sure you thoroughly understand the information provided and that you feel comfortable with the recommendations. We're a hearing doctor in Tempe, AZ that understands the best pathway to better hearing.
Misophonia is a condition where people experience a negative emotional reaction and dislike (e.g., anxiety, agitation, and annoyance) to specific sounds (e.g., ballpoint pen clicking (repeatedly), tapping, typing, chewing, breathing, swallowing, tapping a foot, etc.) While these are considered as normal sounds to most, it might act as a trigger for anger and rage for a few.
Misophonia is, therefore, a very subjective response and hyper-sensitivity to certain sounds. Phonophobia is a type of Misophonia, when someone is scared of a specific sound. So, while fear is the dominant emotion in Phonophobia, anger is the dominant emotion in Misophonia. In addition, people with Misophonia also display other emotions like irritation, stress and anxiety, aggravation, feeling trapped, and impatience.
Misophonia is common but rarely known
Misophonia is not considered a rare disease but it is a ‘rarely known’ disease. It was identified and treated, for the first time, in 1990 and the term Misophonia was coined as recently as 2002. This condition is common and people suffering from tinnitus or hyperacusis may also have Misophonia. Some people who are extremely sensitive to smell, light or even touch may have high sensitivities of particular sounds as well. Children within the autistic spectrum have been found to display Misophonic symptoms.
Misophonia usually develops during childhood or early adolescence. The feeling of anger or rage appears suddenly or after an emotional incident. Very often, people misunderstand and don’t realize that it is because of a hearing problem.
It is important to point out that usually everyone has a dislike of any particular sound, but it can be categorized as a condition only when it severely affects the persons’ quality of life.
Doctors have argued that Misophonia is either a psychological or an auditory condition or both. In 2012, experts suggested that this condition is a particular form of DST (decreased sound tolerance). This means it can be associated with the broader medical diagnostic categories of abnormal auditory perception and/or hyperacusis.
However, doctors still believe that Misophonia is not specific to the inner ear, but a combination of different parts of the brain that controls hearing, memory, balance and other reflexes.
Misophonia Testing and Treatment
If you suffer from Misophonia, doctors would use a multidisciplinary treatment approach. They begin with counselling and focus on regular progress. They prefer the family members to get involved as well because family interaction might be a trigger for Misophonia.
Psychologists may help with treatment if necessary, since behavioral therapy plays an important part in treatment.
Misophonia symptoms are found in people with other conditions
Below is a long list of conditions where patients display symptoms of Misophonia. It shows that Misophonia is not always a stand-alone phenomenon, but rather a combination of other psychological, developmental, or neurological conditions.
A few of the conditions are:
• Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
• Autism spectrum disorder or Asperger's syndrome
• Multi-sensory hypersensitivity
• Hearing loss
• Family relational problems
• Intermittent explosive disorder (IED)
• Tonic tensor tympani Syndrome (TTTS)
• Acoustic shock
• Major depressive disorder
• Anxiety disorders, including post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and agoraphobia
• Bell’s palsy
• Ramsay Hunt syndrome
• Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
• Superior canal dehiscence syndrome
• Perilymph fistula
• Lyme disease
• Williams syndrome
• Lacunar stroke
• Narcotic and benzodiazepine withdrawal
• Head injury
Coping with Misophonia
There is no medicine to treat Misophonia. However, there are several effective options available to manage this condition:
1. Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) – this therapy is widely available, especially in auditory clinics. It is a way to teach the brain to tolerate specific sounds that affect you.
2. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – This therapy focuses on altering the negative associations you have with triggering noises. Studies have shown that this therapy is very effective for most people with Misophonia symptoms
3. Counseling – You and your family can benefit from counseling sessions with a psychotherapist.
Thankfully, Dr. Allen Rohe of Tinnitus and Hearing Center of Arizona is a qualified audiologist that treats patients with Misophonia. You can read more about his approach to Misophonia here.
If you or someone you know suffer from Misophonia, we encourage you to contact us to set up an initial consultation to discuss misophonia treatment. Dr. Rohe can conduct consultations either in his Tempe, AZ office, or online via Skype teleconference.
Palumbo, D. B., Alsalman, O., De Ridder, D., Song, J. J., & Vanneste, S. (2018). Misophonia and Potential Underlying Mechanisms: A Perspective. Frontiers in psychology, 9, 953. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00953
Tinnitus, also known as "ringing in the ears" can be a frustrating and sometimes debilitating hearing condition. The good news is that there are experts who can help you manage your symptoms and lead a good quality life. There is no medication proven to help, and no surgical option that works, so treatment is focused on dealing with your emotions.
There are a few effective standalone treatments for tinnitus like TRT, CBT and Desyncra.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) is a neuromodulation technique, where an external sound is added to mask the ringing sound. This can bring relief to the person. In the long term, the sound therapy convinces the brain that the tinnitus sound is unimportant and therefore learns to ignore it.
CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as the name suggests looks at your emotional response to tinnitus. It identifies any distorted thinking, beliefs and reactions to the ringing sound and encourages a change of behavior. Very few clinics offer CBT for tinnitus. Dr. Rohe and his team are trained to utilize the CBT tools to address your concerns and relieve your tinnitus.
Desyncra™ is a sound therapy where the doctor first conducts pitch-matching tests to establish the frequency of the tinnitus tone that you are experiencing. This information is then fed to the software that tailors a pattern of therapeutic tones complementing that frequency. You can listen to your tailored therapeutic music which is quite soothing, through the Desyncra app. This therapy can be easily integrated into your daily routine and the instructions are simple. Over time, the nerve patterns would alter and the tinnitus sound would diminish.
In our clinic, Dr. Rohe has devised a highly effective practical program to treat tinnitus. It is personalized to the needs of his patients.
The Rohe Method®
Dr. Allen Rohe of Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona has developed a treatment program called the Rohe Method® that has successfully improved the quality of life of many sufferers like you. It is based on mindfulness and has integrated the principles of cognitive behavior therapy.
It is quite an intensive eight-week program that uses a comprehensive step by step approach. The main focus of the Rohe Method is to understand your specific symptoms first. Your symptoms are due to a combination of the nerve connections and the psychology behind it. This program is specifically designed to desensitize your nervous system through a series of therapy sessions. The program targets specific areas of your brain and promotes rewiring and retraining through a systematic approach.
Retraining your brain is like learning a new language and also being emotionally detached to that irritating sound. For example, if your daily commute involves a train ride, or if you live near train tracks, you hardly ever ‘hear’ the noise of the train. This is because your ears have acclimatized to the entire railway commotion. Similarly, the Rohe Method helps you to get used to the tinnitus noise and allows you to emotionally get detached from it. As a result, you will feel much better. You would be able to sleep better and perform your daily activities better.
Despite no psychology sessions, the audiology team is aware that trauma may have caused your tinnitus like an accident, whiplash or bereavement. Treatment sessions are carried out with these sensitivities and patients can discuss their symptoms in detail. The team also specializes in dealing with musicians who have tinnitus, as well as people exposed to loud sounds. People with hereditary factors or accident victims may also suffer from tinnitus.
By the end of the program, you will have tools and strategies that will help you to manage your symptoms so effectively, that you will feel significantly relieved from the constant ringing sound. So far, the patient satisfaction of those who have completed the Rohe Method® has been very high. (Read testimonials here)
Dr. Rohe says, “The bottom line is that there is hope, and I’ve been very successful in helping patients regain control and enjoy their lives again.”
Read More about The Rohe Method® here.
Dr. Rohe conducts Tinnitus treatments both in his Tempe, Arizona clinic, as well as globally via Skype internet teleconference.
Contact Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona at (480) 831-6159, or use our Contact Form here.
Dr. Rohe is a nationally-recognized audiologist specializing in Tinnitus Therapy and other hearing conditions.