Story Medical partners with Hearing Doctors of Iowa to offer audiology services on an outpatient basis. Specializing in hearing loss and tinnitus solutions, our audiologist works on the premise that better hearing means a better life!
Your audiologist or hearing instrument specialist will do a full case history to help determine the source of your hearing loss or tinnitus. A full diagnostic hearing evaluation will assess your hearing ability. Further testing and questionnaires will determine how your auditory condition affects your quality of life. These assessments are selected based on your needs. Your audiologist will discuss your test results and recommendations for treatment.
Due to the different sources that may cause hearing loss or tinnitus, some conditions may require management or treatment by outside professionals. Some hearing disorders are temporary and require immediate medical attention. Your audiologist or hearing instrument specialist will follow the recommended protocol to help guide you through possible forms of relief and whether further medical attention is warranted.
Hyperacusis is the abnormal sensitivity to sound. In other words, environmental sounds that would otherwise be normal are not tolerated well and are very loud or uncomfortable. Hyperacusis is not the sensitivity to very loud or loud sounds, however. Individuals with Hyperacusis may find everyday sounds like a car engine, paper rustling, or even louder conversation as being so intolerable that these situations are avoided.
According to The Hyperacusis Network, approximately 1 in 50,000 experience Hyperacusis. It can occur in those with hearing loss as well as those with normal hearing. Moreover, those with Hyperacusis often have Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. Several diseases or disorders are linked to Hyperacusis, such as Meniere’s Disease, Autism, or Bell’s Palsy. Hyperacusis may also result from exposure to loud or unsafe noises.
In some cases, the issue of sensitivity may go away on its own. In others, treatment such as desensitization may be useful to help build up tolerance to bothersome sounds.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is hearing loss that is caused by exposure to hazardous noise suddenly or for extended periods of time. Those most at risk for NIHL include those whose job has exposure to hazardous noise, for example:
- Factory workers
- Construction workers
- Additionally, those with loud hobbies, such as lawn mowing, playing recreational music, attending concerts, hunting, or working with power tools may experience NIHL.
Symptoms may include sensitivity to everyday sounds (Hyperacusis), difficulty hearing, or ringing or noises in the ears (Tinnitus). Results are confirmed on a full hearing evaluation, where a “notch” is noted at specific frequencies of the hearing test. The prevalence of NIHL has increased in recent years, where the exposure of loud music through headphones or earbuds has become more frequent, especially in teenagers and young adults. Staying informed about hazardous noise and hearing protection can help prevent Noise-Induced Hearing Loss across the lifespan.
Tinnitus is not “all in your head”. Tinnitus is a known symptom associated with a wide variety of disorders, or can occur with no known cause. Although it is a subjective symptom, it is present and can affect life to varying degrees.
Although it may sound counterintuitive, tinnitus “treatment” will not necessarily make your tinnitus go away. Using education strategies as well as establishing a way to use sound in your favor, our goals are to help you:
- Feel less stressed about your tinnitus.
- Have fewer emotional reactions to your tinnitus.
- No longer let tinnitus be at the forefront of your thoughts.
- Remove the emphasis and subsequent effects tinnitus has on your day to day activities, such as concentration, work, or sleep.
- Feel confident in your tinnitus strategies and tinnitus support system.
- Use provided tools and feel more in control when your tinnitus is bothering you.
Using education as well as sound therapy, our goal is to work with you to feel more in control of your reactions to tinnitus without actually changing the perception of tinnitus itself.