I Know That Something Is Not Right. Hearing Loss to Dementia

I know that something is not quite right. I just can’t put my finger on it. I seem to be a little outside the conversation, asking my friends and colleagues to repeat things more times than is comfortable. I’m uncomfortable enough to withdraw a little. Afraid of the times I’ve been told that my response to a question has been off the mark. Aware of the times that I didn’t respond when I should have. I know that something is just not right. I was always mentally sharp, able to answer questions with accuracy, humor, and often with drips of sarcasm. The people around me were quick to respond with smiles and even laughter at my wit. It’s not like that now. People give me quizzical looks rather than smiles. They ask if I’m feeling okay rather than reward me with praise for my funny, sometimes off-color, responses. For a while, I was receiving a near constant flow of invitations to meet and dine with friends, attend professional conferences, meet with others involved in the same line of work I was doing. These invitations have slowed to a trickle. I don’t even get invitations to attend my own family’s events. Friday evening card games, something I’ve always looked forward to has stopped. Have they stopped? Or am I no longer being invited? And if that’s the case, why? I’m not sure of much of anything anymore. I just know that something is not right. My family says that my hearing is really bad and I should get it checked and start wearing a hearing aid in each ear. I...

Finding Quiet by Turning Up the Volume

Finding Quiet by Turning Up the Volume People are Retreating into a World of Increasing Volume… Losing Their Hearing and More Alan R. Ehrlich, CLP Our world is filled with noises, some invited, others not. Voices of conversation, babies crying, music and the warning sounds of car horns and alarms are invited. Externally, the sounds of buses, trucks, motorcycles and the broad low-frequency hum of ever-present office electronics are not. Multi-speaker televisions, stereos and conveniences devices have overtaken our homes. Our entertainment has become louder without our awareness but with our permission. Digital sound has allowed movie theaters to dramatically boost sound levels without distortion. Needless to say, our beloved rock concerts use extreme volume to pump up the crowd and “drive the sound into our inner being” but in doing that they have become painfully loud. Even our “quiet-little-booth-in-the-corner” restaurant is no longer quiet. It seems that we can’t escape from excessive noise, which can be problematic and distracting for anyone seeking a little quiet and solitude for concentration, creativity or rest. Where can we go to find a little quiet? Home? Library? How about the neighborhood park? Many people, it seems, have given up even looking. Instead of seeking quiet time, people are gravitating towards self-directed distraction. To block out the noise around us we plug-up our ears and turn up the volume. MP3 players, cell phones, personal video game players…. people of all ages use them, not only to keep themselves entertained but to block out the surrounding noise. Fighting noise with our own self-chosen noise requires us to crank up the volume even louder than...

Childhood cancer can cause a lifetime of listening difficulties

September is Childhood Cancer Month. Hearing the diagnosis that your child has cancer is brutal, to say the least, and from the outside, it seems that the treatment is worse than the disease. Pediatric oncologists use everything they have in trying to save the child’s life. The spectrum includes chemotherapy, surgery and/or radiation. It is difficult to watch a child go through chemotherapy. The drugs that kill the cancer comes close to killing the child. The side-effects include neutropenia (reduced white blood cell count) which reduces the child’s ability to ward off infection, peripheral neuropathy which can cause extreme pain and/or loss of feeling and tingling in the fingers and toes, loss of taste buds so that food has no taste and is not desired, and extreme fatigue. Radiation has its own set of side-effects that include fatigue and skin rashes and burns in the targeted area. Most if not all of these side-effects will disappear within a few weeks or months after the end of treatment. One side-effect that might not begin to appear for years after treatment is hearing loss and other listening disorders. Depending upon the chemo agents used and the length of treatment, hearing loss can range from mild to severe.  Radiation, if the tumor is in the head or neck area, can create additional damage to the cilia within the cochlea. A child with listening problems, be they based on physical, cognitive, or treatment-based reasons, can suffer a lifetime of difficulties. Listening disorders have an impact on learning, communication, school performance, social interaction, and overall quality of life. Listening disorders can lead to academic...

America, You’re Beautiful to Hear!

America, You’re Beautiful to Hear! By Gael Hannan On February 27, 2018 | Hearing Health & Technology Matters | See Original Article Here   For people with hearing loss, nature is a different experience than for the ‘hearing people’. For us, many outdoor sounds – rustling, whistling, babbling, chirping and whatnot – don’t travel successfully through our auditory system. On a recent hike at the Pinnacles, our favorite California park, the Hearing Husband and I came across a sign that said “Stop! Listen! What Do You Hear?”  Jeez, I thought, don’t I get enough of this at the audiologist’s? We dutifully stopped to do what the sign said (a Canadian trait). I didn’t hear much besides my own breathing, but Doug was cocking his head all over the place, presumably hearing things, neat things. Around the bend was an earnest young park ranger, with a display chart on an easel showing various nature things. He wanted to talk to us about “soundscapes” which are all the sounds that are connected with a particular location. He asked the small group of hikers to, once again, listen intently.  After about 10 seconds of unbearable silence, I asked, “Excuse me, could you give me a clue as to what I’m supposed to be hearing? It’s not my strong point – I have hearing loss.” The wind. Birds. Water rapids. Leaves rustling. Or perhaps, a bunny hopping, a deer foraging or a snake slithering. All these and more make up the environmental soundscape of this park, said the young man.  “Thank you very much, goodbye,” said I. I mean, it was interesting, but even with one cochlear implant and one hearing aid,...