Archive for May, 2009

Having James Bond for a reassessment

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

One of the delights of an Audiologist is the fact that one meets very interesting characters from time to time.

I had the pleasure of seeing Mr Bond earlier this week for a hearing reassessment. He told me he is a Greek Linguist and works as a translator for the Ministry of Defence. He speaks no less than eight languages and though far past retirement age, still works three days a week and loves his job. Even more remarkable, is the fact that Mr Bond has a severe hearing loss in both ears! His thresholds are on average 70dB and he has air-bone gaps of between 20 and 40dB. Yet he could imitate my accent and intonation absolutely spot-on. When I commented on how amazing this is, he humbly replied: “I love languages dear, it comes easily for me”. Working for MI6 I enquired about interesting cases he might have dealt with but he assured me he is no James Bond and only does office work. I on the other hand, choose to believe he is an under cover agent translating spy documents on the forefront of combating terrorism. You never know!

Dezi Belle

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Its no bats in the belfry!

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Around seven million Britons are thought to suffer from tinnitus but here follows an article with some sound advice.

“My ears are ringing, ringing like empty shells. Well, it can’t be no guitar player. It must be convent bells”

Bob Dylan, ‘Call Letter Blues’

WHERE Bob Dylan heard ringing, others report a persistent whistling, buzzing, humming or roaring noise.
And for many the effect can be significant, ranging from crippling bouts of insomnia to job-loss, depression and even suicide. Around seven million Britons are thought to suffer from tinnitus. Cher, Bono, Sylvester Stallone, Ozzy Osbourne and Steve Martin are all on record as having had the condition. It is even thought to have been the cause of Vincent Van Gogh’s ear-slicing frenzy, while Barbra Streisand’s famously fiery temper has been blamed on her suffering since the age of seven.

The Who’s Pete Townshend also lives with the condition. He says, “It’s painful, and it’s frustrating.” And Star Trek’s William Shatner admits that the unrelenting noise associated with tinnitus made him contemplate ending his life. “It was like listening to the hiss of a TV that’s not tuned to a channel. I thought I’d go deaf or nuts. I thought of killing myself.”

Alan Sharp first noticed a continuous noise in his ears in February 1984, almost immediately after undergoing a course of chemotherapy during treatment for testicular cancer. “It was like when you go up in an aeroplane and your ears pop,” says the 58-year-old retired solicitor from Edinburgh. “But because there were so many other things going on at the time, it was filed away as something that didn’t need to be dealt with at the moment.”

He describes the noise now as a constant hiss. “If I stopped and thought about it I would be aware of it,” he says. “If you imagine a mini jet engine, that’s what it is like – in both ears.”

More worrying than the continuous noise, however, was the accompanying hearing loss, which proved to be a serious handicap for a solicitor. “There are only so many times you can ask someone to repeat something,” he says.

“Having to appear in court I found a terrible strain because acoustics in court are not very good. It was awful. There were some embarrassing moments, when I would be cross-examining a witness and they would say, ‘I’ve already answered that question.’ And I’d have to say something quickly like, ‘And I’d like to hear your answer again,’ to make it sound convincing.”

Meetings, too, were tricky, and Sharp would have to manoeuvre himself to one side of the table to try to make out what people were saying. He got an NHS hearing aid but that didn’t help as it just amplified the volume of the sounds around him, rather than making them any clearer. So as time went on, he simply accepted that there was little he could do about the condition.

Fortunately, unlike many tinnitus sufferers, Sharp didn’t experience problems with sleep. “Funnily enough, that was almost a positive, in that before this happened I had very acute hearing and therefore was a very poor sleeper; I would hear every little creak and noise, which kept me awake. But with the dullness of my hearing and the hissing noise, I slept a bit better.”

But he still finds watching television difficult without subtitles, and going to the cinema is hit or miss. “The theatre as well: even though they have loop systems, I struggle to make out what’s being said.”

He soldiered on in his job for several years, under a terrible amount of stress, but eventually retired on health grounds last year. While the tinnitus is as bad as ever, he refuses to let it dominate his life. “It’s unremitting; it has never ever stopped,” he says. “But I’m resigned to it now.

“My wife and I have some interesting exchanges when I mishear what she has said. And it can be frustrating for other people, particularly socially, when you’re in a crowd and can’t really make out what’s being said. You nod away and try to look as though you’re following the conversation.”

He has also managed to get a better hearing aid – which he had to pay for – and it has made a big difference to his life. But he says a sense of perspective also helps. “Don’t let it get on top of you,” he advises.

“There are too many important things to be concerned with, so try to put it to one side and get on with your life.

“If you concentrate on other things and if you’re busy there are other noises going on. If you stop and listen, it will be there and you can let it worry you to death. But if you just get on with things, it is subsumed into the background.”

Alternatively, you could adopt the attitude of Sir Jimmy Savile, who has learned to embrace his tinnitus. “It doesn’t bother me in the slightest,” he says. “It reminds me of all the girls I’ve known, and all the discos. I’m very happily ensconced with this friend inside my head.”

Article source: http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/spectrum/Sound-advice.5137340.jp

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The “Not-so-pleasant” patients

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Fortunately it doesn’t happen regularly but as an audiologist one occasionally sees the “not-so-pleasant” patients as was the case last week whilst I was covering an ENT clinic. When I called Mr R in the waiting room, he was talking with a raised voice on his mobile phone despite a huge sign opposite him requesting no mobile phone usage in that area. As this is always an extremely busy ENT clinic, the waiting room was jammed pack with patients and there was already a pile of files waiting for audio’s to be done. Mr R waved me off with his hand (indicating he has actually heard me) but proceeded to finish his conversation first!When Mr R eventually followed me to the soundproof booth, he didn’t bother to apologise for his rude behaviour but instead pointed out how small the room is (Mr R is extremely over weight). He also chewed incessantly on gum in a very unpleasant manner, appeared bored with the instructions I gave and hardly made eye contact. He then asked whether the test will take long because he is in fact in a hurry!

Goodness me, I thought when he left, hoping he was just having a bad day rather than actually being rude like that every day. If however the latter is true, he is a very sad case indeed!

Dezi Belle

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The Credit Crunch and Audiology Jobs

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Ohh not another CC report!!

I hear you forte claritas. In english I guess that possibly translates to loud and clear. Okay, I will not bore you. In short, we have a few locums looking for jobs in and around London, however we have a few audiology locums willing to work anywhere. Should you know of any vacant positions please drop us an email,
click here..

Thanks!

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Mobile phones causing acoustic neuroma’s?

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

A recent article in Pakistan suggests a link between excessive mobile phone use and acoustic neuroma’s amongst other brain tumours.

In Summary:
“If you must conduct extended conversations by wireless phone every day, you could place more distance between your body and the source of the RF, since the exposure level drops off dramatically with distance. For example, you could use a headset and carry the wireless phone away from your body or use a wireless phone connected to a remote antenna,” advised Dr. Masood….. Those experts stated that, “electromagnetic fields emitted by cell phones should be considered a potential human health risk.”

To read more: http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/3126453

However, EHSO has seen no credible evidence to date that cell phones cause cancer or brain tumors. It is illogical to believe that evidence of unusual brain tumors is covered up when there are hundred’s of millions of people using cell phones worldwide. There is a TREMENDOUS amount of junk science and thoroughly ignorant (as in untrained, uneducated) people running around naming themselves as experts and publishing their opinions on the internet. This hype and fear-mongering has only one goal: to puff up the egos and wallets of those propagating nonsense.

However, cell phones are still relatively new, and while science does not support that the radiation may not be likely to cause cancer, time may prove differently! And in any case, it may cause some other type of damage (certainly accidents in cars from being distracted while fumbling with the phone!)

So common sense suggests that we each take some prudent precautions.

To read more, the following website however states all the facts http://www.ehso.com/ehshome/cellphonecancer.php

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One in ten refuse hearing aids

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

One in ten people with hearing loss are too embarrassed to use a hearing aid even though they feel left out in social situations, research has revealed.

In a poll of 700 people nearly two thirds (64%) of those with hearing problems said they felt isolated by not being able to hear.
But one in ten refused to wear a hearing aid because they felt there was a stigma attached.

The survey was carried out by high street chain Specsavers to coincide with Deaf Awareness Week which begins on Monday.
Specsavers hearing aid audiologist Colin Campbell said: “It is really important to remove the associated stigma of old age so we have less of the population suffering from loneliness because of their hearing problems. This could be simply managed with the correct treatment and aftercare.”

According to the Royal National Institute for Deaf People, one in seven people in the UK are deaf or hard of hearing.

Jenny Moir from charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People said: “The findings of this survey confirm the feedback we receive from deaf people applying for our hearing dogs. Loneliness and isolation very often leads to depression.

“Hearing aids can help many people with hearing loss feel more able to cope in society, while a hearing dog offers companionship and security breaking down barriers and increasing confidence and independence.”

Specsavers surveyed passers-by from their hearing centres as well as optical customers.

Source: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5i6NzMYoQ8uhdd0cAJSGkX4ELkcxA

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Deaf Awareness Week – UK

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

4th – 10th May 2009 is Deaf Awareness Week when organisations working with deaf people across the country are inviting everyone to ‘Look At Me’. The theme aims to improve understanding of the different types of deafness by highlighting the many different methods of communication used by deaf, deafened, deafblind and hard of hearing people, such as sign language and lipreading.

Supported by over one hundred deaf charities and organisations under the umbrella of the UK Council on Deafness, Deaf Awareness Week involves a UK wide series of national and local events. “The UK Council on Deafness are delighted to coordinate the all-inclusive Deaf Awareness Week campaign, promoting the positive aspects of deafness, social inclusion and raising awareness of the huge range of local and national organisations that support deaf people and their family and friends.”

For more info visit: Deaf Awareness Week
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