Friday, July 20, 2012

Guest Post: How Tinnitus Affects Hearing Health

Below is a guest post written by John O'Connor who told me, "Over the past few years I have become more and more interested in hearing loss.  My father and grandfathers along with various other family members and friends suffer from hearing loss.  I feel that there is a general lack on understanding around the issue and it is right to try and spread awareness." Enjoy!

New studies show that there may be more health benefits from the statement, “Get your beauty sleep.” Poor sleeping habits may make it difficult to cope with certain types of hearing loss. For instance, tinnitus is characterized by ringing, hissing, clicking or buzzing in the head or ears. Poor sleep habits make it difficult to cope with the condition. People with tinnitus may need to get more sleep to improve hearing.

Are There Any Studies to Prove This Finding?
Several studies have been conducted. The most notable study was conducted at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital. The study conducted between 2009 and 2011 included 117 patients. The studies showed that the symptoms of tinnitus and the patient’s emotional state worsened with insomnia. Tolerance levels decrease when a patient’s sleep decreases.

Patients may, subsequently, begin to experience depression, anxiety or annoyance. Treatment of insomnia seemed to alleviate some symptoms related to tinnitus. Since more than 36 million Americans have tinnitus, there is extra incentive to find relief for sufferers of this type of hearing loss. Lack of sleep is not the only condition that affects tinnitus sufferers. Loud noises, ear infections, Lyme disease, hyperthyroidism and fibromyalgia may all affect tinnitus sufferers.

What Causes Tinnitus?

The exact cause of tinnitus is not known, but it can be a result of acoustic trauma. High intensity sound could cause the acoustic trauma to the ear. The ringing of the ears is a common symptom of tinnitus.

Acoustic trauma is defined by any event that delivers excessive sound energy to the inner ear. The event may be permanent or temporary based upon the severity of the noise. After an exposure, oral steroids can help the inner ear to recover. Many people take oral steroids after a loud rock concert to reverse the effects to the acoustic trauma. If the exposure is long, the damage may be permanent.

One-third of 30 million people in the United States have hearing loss due excessive noise exposure. Since noise-induced hearing loss can be prevented, people must do all they can to prevent hearing loss. Prevention of hearing loss will lead to an overall better quality of life that is free of frustration and annoyance. If the damage is permanent a reliable option, after speaking with your doctor may be the use of hearing aids.  Instead of risking losing hearing, people should take the necessary precautions to preserve hearing.

Protect Your Hearing, Protect Your Health

Many people take hearing for granted and neglect to make the necessary changes in their lives to prevent permanent damage. Everyone should have a strategy to preserve their hearing. Hearing is one sense that most people cannot afford to lose. Take the necessary steps to protect hearing today. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Good Customer Service

Most of the time, my cochlear implants make it so that the person I am conversing with has no idea I am deaf. Occasionally, however, conversations are a struggle. One such incident occurred when I went to order lunch at a bakery a few weeks ago. It was noisy and the cashier seemed to see no reason to speak any clearer than a mumble. The interaction was painful as I struggled to catch onto a single word that was said.The cashier made the situation much worse, making sarcastic comments about me not being able to hear him. Flabbergasted, I told him I was hearing-impaired, but his rude attitude continued. Embarrassed and angry, I took my food and left.

On the drive home, I was fuming. Why should I have to apologize for my hearing loss? And why should I allow someone to make me feel inferior just because I struggle to hear them? The AG Bell Convention was just a few days away, and I was in full-on advocacy mode. I went to the company's website and filed a complaint with the local restaurant.

A few days later, the manager at the location I went to contacted me and apologized profusely, stating that the employee was reprimanded and that his behavior would not be tolerated. Then, they asked for my email so they could send me a coupon.

Sure enough, they sent me not one, but two coupons for a free meal! Now that's what I call good customer service. Good move, Paradise!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Is it offensive to find people with disabilities doing ordinary things "inspirational"?

I found this article to be really interesting. I'd like to hear what my readers think! Here is an excerpt from it, and the link to the entire thing can be found here.

"Let me be clear about the intent of this inspiration porn; it's there so that non-disabled people can put their worries into perspective. So they can go, "Oh well if that kid who doesn't have any legs can smile while he's having an awesome time, I should never, EVER feel bad about my life". It's there so that non-disabled people can look at us and think "well, it could be worse... I could be that person".
In this way, these modified images exceptionalise and objectify those of us they claim to represent. It's no coincidence that these genuinely adorable disabled kids in these images are never named: it doesn't matter what their names are, they're just there as objects of inspiration.
But using these images as feel-good tools, as "inspiration", is based on an assumption that the people in them have terrible lives, and that it takes some extra kind of pluck or courage to live them."

Stay tuned for an update on my life shortly!