Hearing: Beyond the Ears

Hearing: Beyond the Ears A traditional hearing test evaluates the ears . The ears are responsible for: Collecting sounds, Amplifying sounds,   Organizing sounds, and then Transmitting the amplified and organized signal to the auditory nerve While the ears do the hearing, however, the BRAIN does the LISTENING! It is once those sound signals hit the nerve that the magic really happens! The signals travel from the ear to the brainstem, the midbrain, then the auditory cortices, crossing from one side to the other multiple times and sending information up and down that chain.n (photo from The auditory cortex lives in the temporal lobe of the brain and each side does something different. The left side is responsible for things related to language and the right for things like tone and patterns. Together they work so that we can understand. Understanding happens when we apply meaning to the sounds we have heard. We compare it to the history of all the sounds we he

The Wax We Packs

Today I will engage in a Q & A regarding the fascinating world of earwax. We in the audiology world call it "cerumen". Enjoy! Q: What is cerumen? A: Per Okuda et al.(1991): " Earwax is a mixture of desquamated keratinocytes and hair combined with the secretions of both the ceruminous and the sebaceous glands of the external ear canal... The major organic components of earwax identified were long chain fatty acids, both saturated and unsaturated, alcohols, squalene and cholesterol." Layman's terms: the wax and oil producing glands within the skin of the outer 1/3 of the human ear canal put out secretions that mix with dead skin cells. It is made of saturated and unsaturated fats, alcohols, cholesterol, and a naturally existing moisturizer present in our skin. Additionally, it is hydrophobic which means that it repels water and other fluids. Q: Is cerumen dirty? A: Cerumen is like any other mucous in your body - it is present to protect. It keeps the

Do you hear what I hear? I hope not.

Did you know my ears ring? All. Day. Long. Imagine a tea kettle battling it out with some cicadas. That's what's in my head. 24/7. I have NO CLUE when it started. When I was taking my intro to audiology class, at age 23, my professor started talking about tinnitus. I went up to him after class and said: "You mean, not everyone hears this all day long?" I had had it so long at that point that it had become my normal. I think that my tinnitus has probably been present since I was a kid. I think it was exacerbated by playing my flute and piccolo very loud in the band with other very loud instruments and from listening to loud music. When you have constant tinnitus, peace does NOT equal quiet. I hate quiet. Not easy when you're an audiologist and in and out of a sound treated booth all day. Patients ask me occasionally if I like to go in there so I don't have to listen to anything. Never. When I have students test me I sit in the booth and close my eyes

Dr. Curtis's Tips for Hearing Aid Success

5 Steps To Success With Your Hearing Aids This June, I will have been an audiologist for 10 years. I’ve worked in various settings – VA hospital, speech and hearing center, hospital, retail, and now my own private practice. I’ve cared for infants, children, working adults, and geriatrics. I’ve seen patients from all walks of life and from opposite financial ends of the spectrum. I have fit A LOT of hearing aids which makes me happy – I am a self-professed hearing aid nerd. I have fit people with their first pair of hearing aids and I have fit those who have been aided for years. My patients have success with their hearing aids – usually. I have brought success to people who have previously given up. For you, I would like to offer my tips to success. Whoever you are, whatever your loss, these steps will give you your best possible outcome.: 1) A comprehensive diagnostic examination by someone who knows what your results mean both independently and in relation to your lifestyle,