Deafness/Hearing Impairment/Meniere's disease

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QUESTION: Respected sir,
I am suffering from meniere's disease for the past ten years. I lost my hearing in my right ear because of that. The audiogram says that it is 35dbs in right and 13.3 in left. It was diagnosed to be mild to moderate SN hearing loss. Is there any way I can get my hearing Back to normal? If I require a hearing aid in future, can a completely in the canal hearing aid help me?
If the former is possible, please suggest me the medication and/or the place I can receive it. If it is going to be the latter kindly suggest a good hearing aid.

ANSWER: Dear Suresh,

Unfortunately, sensorineural hearing loss cannot be restored to normal, although some types of temporary loss do exist (such as recovery of hearing following a Meniere's bout or some other sudden types of losses).  If such losses do not recover in a relatively short amount of time, then they are considered permanent.  the mild to moderate unilateral hearing loss you describe in your right ear should be a great candidate for amplification provided your word understanding in that ear is good (I would imagine it is).  

The important aspects in receiving proper treatment is finding a good provider, preferably an Audiologist as opposed to a hearing aid salesperson (ie, hearing aid dealer, dispenser, hearing instrument specialist) who is just trying to sell a product for commission.  Studies have shown that even with similar access to technology, outcomes are much greater when best practices and treatment are provided.  The device is only part of the total package, as proper counseling, guidance, prescriptive fitting and verification, and ongoing care are equally if not more important.  That being said, your loss is usually able to be fit by any style, each with its own pros and cons.  Many individuals gravitate toward the CIC (completely in the canal), but this may not provide the most "natural" hearing and all options should be discussed with your audiologist.  The same is true with technology level.  The rule of thumb on technology is to select the capabilities based on your activities, lifestyle, and communicative needs. For example, in your particular case, with Meniere's and the potential for fluctuations in your hearing on a somewhat regular basis, you would most likely benefit from some type of user volume control ability, and may not be an option for CICs unless a remote control can be used. Higher-end tech is usually better in more difficult listening environments, but lower-end technologies can also be quite effective when fit properly.  Finally, there are many device manufacturers that have very capable and comparable lines of style and technologies.  I recommend you find a provider who independently offers a few different manufacturers and is not tied directly to a company.  This offers the greatest flexibility for you to switch to another brand of device within the practice and if you choose to go elsewhere or move your residence to another city, you will have an easier time finding another provider who can work with your device.

One last note:  mild to moderate hearing losses can be a challenge when it comes to adjusting to amplification, since a complete balanced perception between the two ears is not likely, it may take several weeks of proper fitting and consistent use for your brain to adjust and "re-calibrate" and the benefits are not going to be dramatic at this point with you having normal hearing in the other ear.  I am not saying you should not consider it, but only to have the right expectations.

If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Sir, I'm not able to perceive the voice and other sounds clearly. It seems to be distorted. Can the ITC hearing aids help me with this.

Answer
Yes, depending on the degree of "distortion" and the resulting effect.  You should have had word recognition testing with the audiogram.  Although speech may not sound "normal" or completely "clear," if the information is able to be used by your auditory system and brain to advantage, then amplification is beneficial.  This is really best discussed with your audiologist with your specific situation and may even warrant a trial with amplification to help determine amount of benefit.

Deafness/Hearing Impairment

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Dr. Clint D. Keifer, Audiologist

Expertise

I am qualified to answer all questions related to the diagnosis and rehabilitative treatment of hearing and balance disorders. This includes evaluation of hearing and balance, counseling, amplification (hearing aids and assistive devices), tinnitus (noises in head) evaluation and management, cochlear implants, and audiology in general.

Experience

I started my career as a hearing instrument specialist (on a trainee license) in 1998. After almost 2 years, I decided that I needed to pursue higher education if I was to provide the best care to hearing impaired patients that I could. In 2007, I completed my Doctor of Audiology and have been providing audiological care for almost 5 years. I have vestibular, cochlear implant, and pediatric experience along with prescribing, fitting, and verification of hearing aid amplification as part of comprehensive hearing loss rehabilitation.

Organizations
Audiology doctor and owner at Great Lakes Audiology in Toledo, OH. phone: 419 327-2273 website: www.GLAudiology.com American Academy of Audiology American Speech-Language Hearing Association Ohio Academy of Audiology

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Western Michigan University, Speech Pathology and Audiology Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.), Ohio State University Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A)

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