Hearing & Audiology articles, resources and resources provided by North Florida Speech & Hearing Center of Jacksonville, FL.

tinnitus hyperacusis veterans jacksonville

A Veteran’s Experience with Tinnitus and Hyperacusis

If you’ve ever experienced ringing in your ears (tinnitus), even for just a few moments, you can imagine how disruptive and even crippling it can be when it’s ongoing or frequent.

Tinnitus is often caused by age-related hearing loss and changes. It can also be caused by earwax blockage or ear bone changes. In other cases, it’s caused by certain medications, blood vessel disorders, and other chronic health conditions.

Oftentimes, an exact cause isn’t determined, although it can often be linked to inner ear hair cell damage. There are tiny, delicate hairs in your inner ear and they move in conjunction with the pressure of sound waves. Their movement triggers the release of an electrical signal from an auditory nerve to your brain, which your brain interprets as sounds. But once those inner ear hair cells are damaged, they can send random electrical impulses to your brain resulting in tinnitus.

Interested in learning more about tinnitus? Take a look at this blog post for a list of tinnitus facts.

sergeant veteranTinnitus and veterans

While tinnitus can happen to anyone, today we’re focusing on one group who is disproportionately affected by this condition. In many cases, their tinnitus is brought on by exposure to frequent and repetitive loud noises, including bomb blasts and gunfire – veterans. 

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), tinnitus (ringing in the ears) is one the most prevalent service-connected disabilities for veterans, with more than 1 million veterans receiving disability compensation for the condition.

Tinnitus affects more than the ears

Evidence suggests a strong link between a veteran’s hearing and mental health. In 2015, researchers with the VA and Loma Linda University Medical School found that veterans with untreated tinnitus frequently develop anxiety, depression, or both.

Additionally, hearing loss can often lead to isolation and avoidance of social settings, limiting family and caregiver support, and exacerbating mental and physical health problems. 

Untreated tinnitus can also have a deeply negative impact on a veteran’s physical health. 

A 2017 study conducted by the South Texas Veterans Health Care System also reported that without intervention, veterans with hearing conditions who suffer from injuries are more likely to lack progress in their physical rehabilitation, as well as more vulnerable to life-threatening ailments and injuries.

Treatment options

Fortunately, there’s hope. The primary treatment for tinnitus is hearing aids. Research indicates 93 percent of hearing aid users experience a significant overall improvement in their quality of life because of their hearing aids. Such reported improvements include greater overall physical health, cognitive functioning, ability to communicate, and personal independence.

To get a firsthand perspective about the challenges veterans face when dealing with tinnitus, we interviewed a sergeant of the U.S. Army Reserve about his experience living with tinnitus and hyperacusis (increased sensitivity to sound), which affects approximately 50 percent of individuals with tinnitus. 

In this interview, the sergeant shares his recommendations as well as information for anyone dealing with tinnitus and hyperacusis, including his fellow veterans.

tinnitus hyperacusis jacksonville veterans

A Veteran’s Experience

Q: What is your advice for veterans who think that they may have tinnitus and hyperacusis?

Sergeant: The first thing is to go to a medical professional that understands what you are going through. For me, that is Dr. Mattson of Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center. Secondly, stay away from loud noise. The ear condition isn’t going to get better. You can only keep it the way it is or make it worse. I strongly suggest staying away from loud noises, using masking devices that JSHC provides, and changing your lifestyle to utilize the resources you have, such as medical professionals, family, and your personal fortitude. Life is different now. Medical science cannot fix it yet, but you can make sure it’s not getting worse.

Q: What was your experience at JSHC like?

Sergeant: As you may know, the VA wait time is about a month to a month-and-a-half to see an audiologist. With this clinic, it may be just a few days until you can see an audiologist. When I met with Dr. Mattson, she truly understood what I was going through. I’m in safe hands. Dr. Mattson explained to me what I’m going through. She explained to me what can be done to normalize the situation. You cannot fix it completely, but you can improve your quality of life. She fought to authorize resources for me. I have resources like musician earplugs and a specialized hearing aid for daily use. She got this for me. She made the phone calls. She said, “This veteran needs this.”

“I enjoy being an advocate for my patients that are veterans. To me, it’s about helping them get their life back on track. There is nothing greater than giving back to someone needing the same help. Usually, they are working towards getting back to work and feeling comfortable with being in public again. It’s a hard struggle for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injuries. These veterans oftentimes have hidden injuries that they feel trapped with. Having the right support makes all the difference.”

Fenja Mattson, AuD, CCC-A
Doctor of Audiology
Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center

Q: Would you recommend JSHC to other veterans dealing with tinnitus and hyperacusis issues?

Sergeant: Through all my experiences with different doctors, audiologists, and ENTs (Ear, Nose & Throat Doctor) I believe strongly whatever branch of military you served, the Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center is your best option and the best treatment that you will get.

I would ask for Dr. Mattson. She truly cares about vets. There is no cure for our condition, but there are things she can do for you to improve your quality of life. That’s what matters. The doctor cares. She knows what you are going through. She can help you with what you are going through. I believe this is the best place for vets to get treatment.

Q: What caused you to seek treatment at Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center?

Sergeant: Since being discharged from active duty, Duval County is my home. I went to a few audiologists and I went to the VA, and most of the responses I got were, “Live with it.” At that time, 2008-2009, there was limited technology, and overall my experience with audiologists and ENTs in Duval County was totally negative.

A year ago, I did research online to find which is the best clinic or who is the doctor that specializes in and understands tinnitus and hyperacusis. I found a couple of audiologists in Duval County and I met with a few of them. I found Dr. Mattson of Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center and saw that she specializes in hearing. At that time, I came and I met her. I truly am blessed to be here and to have her as an audiologist who can understand what I’m going through.

Out of all the audiologists and ENT doctors in Duval County, including the VA, she is the primary person I would like to recommend you come and get treatment from. She is the reason I chose this place.

Q: What caused your tinnitus and hyperacusis?

Sergeant: My first assignment in the military was infantry. In infantry, we are front line troops and use our auditory system to survive in combat. Our auditory system is being used not just 12 hours a day, but 24 hours a day. You may sleep, but your auditory system is working in the background to make sure you’re not getting attacked. This is the condition for 11 months in a combat zone. Your auditory system is used and abused and, if it doesn’t recover, there will be consequences. What happened to me by the end of deployment was that everything was loud to me. Everything was bright and then the ringing came. It would go on for 10-15 seconds and I couldn’t really figure out where it came from.

Dealing with tinnitus and hyperacusis can be incredibly challenging and frustrating, but you’re not alone. Please contact us so we can help you manage and treat these and other hearing-related conditions.  

Are you interested in learning more about Tinnitus, Hyperacusis, or our services, events or volunteer opportunities? Please reach out to us or call (904) 355-3403‎.

Did you learn a lot from this article? Don’t miss these other posts either: 

ADULT SPEECH DISORDERS AND HEARING LOSS

HOW DOES HEARING LOSS AFFECT THE BODY?

HOW ALLERGIES IMPACT HEARING

This article was updated on October 15, 2020.

speech and hearing jacksonville

May Is Better Hearing and Speech Month

Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center wants to remind Jacksonville residents that communication disorders are treatable by raising awareness that May is Better Hearing and Speech Month. Founded in 1949, Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center provides speech pathology and audiology evaluations and treatments including hearing aid fittings for children, adults and seniors from its office at 1128 N. Laura St.

Better Hearing and Speech Month

“Our staff of seasoned professionals has decades of experience in the areas of speech pathology and audiology,” said Mike Howland, President and CEO of Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center. “We work with everyone whether they have insurance or not to provide quality, affordable care.”

Hearing loss can affect children and adults.

Signs for parents to watch for with a child’s hearing loss is:

  • lack of attention to sounds,
  • does not follow simple directions,
  • delays in speech and language development,
  • and pulls or scratches his/her ears. 

In adults, hearing loss signs can include:

  • buzzing or ringing in ears,
  • muffled hearing,
  • increasing the volume on the television or radio,
  • constant frustration hearing speech and other sounds.

Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center offers a variety of hearing aids including in the canal and behind the ear.  Unlike many hearing aid centers, Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center works with a number of hearing aid manufacturers including Widex, Oticon, Siemens, Resound, Phonax and Unitron. This feature insures that the patient receives the type of hearing aid that will best help their particular hearing loss.

“Over 40 million Americans experience some kind of hearing loss,” said Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center audiologist Dr. Fenja Mattson. “Research has shown that addressing hearing loss can positively impact all aspects of a person’s life – personally, professionally and financially. I know we make it possible for people to continue to participate in the work force by wearing hearing aids.”

On the speech pathology side of the Center’s work, speech pathologists work with children and adults evaluating and treating language skills. Failure to assist children who have trouble with developing vocabulary or auditory processing can lead to problems in school. Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center can also work with children who are on the autism spectrum to help them improve their speech and adults who may have suffered speech impairment due to stroke.

“We have identified through pre-kindergarten screenings several preschoolers who have difficulty with articulation or stuttering disorders,” said Dorothy Train-Marsh, Speech Pathologist at Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center.  “These youngsters have now successfully exited the program with age appropriate skills that will give them a solid foundation for school.”

As part of its celebration of Better Hearing and Speech Month, Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center hosts the annual FinFest event at Timaquana Country Club. This event uses an island/beach theme to raise funds and awareness for patients of the Center who cannot afford treatment.

speech and hearing jacksonville

Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center Completes Screening of 2385 Children

speech and hearing jacksonvilleThe Jacksonville Speech and Hearing Center, through grants funded by The Chartrand Family Fund at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, The Florida Blue Foundation and Medtronic has completed the screening of 2385 children ages 2 – 5 and provided 1765 speech and language therapy sessions to 79 children who were identified as at risk for communications disorders.  The announcement was made by Mike Howland, President and CEO of the nonprofit.

The purpose of the grants was to provide speech-language pathology screenings, evaluations, and therapy to underserved and under/uninsured pre-kindergarten children located at daycare centers and preschools throughout Duval County.  It is vital to catch and treat speech and hearing disorders at an early age so children will not fall behind in school.

“Young children with speech and language disorders are at increased risk for difficulty with academic performance later in life,” said Dorothy Train-Marsh, a speech pathologist at Jacksonville Speech and Hearing Center. “Speech sound production is key to letter-sound relationships necessary for reading and writing.”

Parents should note the number of words their child uses by pre-kindergarten as well as the ability to string together four to five words in a sentence.  Certain phonological sounds such as saying the letter “v” or “f” should be present around the age of three.

Screenings were provided by ASHA Certified Speech-Language pathologists at over 75 Duval County preschools.speech and hearing jacksonville  Evaluations and therapy were provided to children with Medicaid, uninsured children and underinsured children at more than 35 preschools in Duval County.

“We are grateful to our grantors for helping us to provide this much needed service,” said Howland.  “The Chartrand Foundation, Florida Blue Foundation and Medtronic understand that children need to be ready to learn and communication skills are an important skill set for school.”

The Jacksonville Speech and Hearing Center was founded in 1949 by the Junior League of Jacksonville.  Today this nonprofit, located at 1128 N. Laura St., serves children, adults and seniors providing screenings, evaluations and treatments in the areas of speech pathology and audiology.  Most major insurances are accepted.

JSHC Hearing Aid

Why Buy Hearing Aids from Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center?

If you or your loved one is in the market for hearing aids, rest assured the Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center is your best resource for hearing aids in North Florida. Today’s hearing aids are highly programmable with customized settings for your individual hearing needs. We have licensed doctoral level audiologists to assist you, a wide variety of hearing aid types and styles and we offer ongoing support and assistance since getting hearing aids is just the first step in the process of improved hearing. Read on to learn the many other reasons why to buy Hearing Aids from Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center.

Why Buy Hearing Aids from Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center?

We offer a broad range of hearing aids including a variety of both In-The-Ear and Behind-The-Ear styles.

JSHC has qualified and experienced audiologists on staff. Our audiologists will select the best style of hearing aid for the specific hearing loss you have, keeping in mind any cosmetic and lifestyle concerns you may have.

We treat our patients with care, and not just as customers. At the Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center, we put you and your family first. We know that treatment for speech, language or hearing disorders is not just about the individual; it is about enabling families to connect, communicate and care for one another.

We accept all major insurance plans. 

We offer many hearing aid services such as adjustments and repairs.

All hearing aids have a 30-day trial period.

Want to learn more? Check out our latest patient testimonial on YouTube: Amy R. shares insight into being diagnosed with hearing loss, her experience getting hearing aids and helpful tips for living with hearing aids. CLICK HERE TO VIEW.

tinnitus jacksonville

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a very common condition. It is a noise heard in the head or ears. Tinnitus affects people differently and can be described as low pitched, high pitched, constant, or intermittent. It can come across as ringing, roaring, buzzing, whistling, or humming. WATCH to learn more about tinnitus in this informative interview.

What is Tinnitus?

hyperacusis

Noise sensitivity? We have answers about Hyperacusis

What is hyperacusis?

Hyperacusis is a lowered tolerance or sense of discomfort to sounds that would not trouble the typical person. It can occur slowly or suddenly. Often, sounds such as walking on carpet can be unpleasantly loud or painful. Communicating with others can be very challenging with hyperacusis.

To me, noise is extremely loud. What causes this affect?

hyperacusis

Sensitivity to noise or hyperacusis can make everyday activities unnerving.

Some of the most common causes of hyperacusis or sensitivity to noise include head injury, ear damage from toxins or medication, viral infections involving the inner ear, TMJ syndrome, and Lyme disease.

Does hyperacusis cause hearing loss?

Although an individual with hyperacusis may have a hearing loss, there isn’t a direct correlation between the two. Hyperacusis doesn’t have any relation to hearing thresholds.

Is there a treatment plan for hyperacusis?

There is a treatment for Hyperacusis called Hyperacusis Therapy. This therapy focuses on desensitization through exposure to low sound levels.

Did you find this information helpful? If so, please share using the social media icons below.

RINGING IN YOUR EARS? WE HAVE ANSWERS ABOUT TINNITUS

Ringing in your ears? We have answers about Tinnitus

Tinnitus: What Causes the Ringing In Your Ears?

What causes noise or ringing in my ears?

tinnitus

Tinnitus can be caused by exposure to loud noise, medical illness or head and neck trauma.

If you’ve been hearing a ringing or other persistent sounds in your ears that don’t go away, you may have developed tinnitus. 

Read on for some important facts about this very common condition.

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a common condition that causes a noise heard in the head or ears. It affects people differently and can be described as low-pitched, high-pitched, constant, or intermittent. It can come across as ringing, roaring, buzzing, whistling, or humming. It can also be permanent or temporary.

Tinnitus can also be incredibly maddening for those living with it. Therefore, it is important to take preventative measures against tinnitus. If you already have it, there are ways to treat and lessen your symptoms.

People Most at Risk for Tinnitus

The people most at risk for tinnitus are: seniors, military personnel, musicians and people who work in loud environments.

What causes tinnitus?

There are several factors that can cause tinnitus, the leading being exposure to loud noise that you might hear at concerts, or gunfire. Other things that can trigger the condition are age-related hearing loss, some medications, and head and neck injuries. Stress and anxiety can even cause tinnitus.

How do you prevent tinnitus?

You can’t always prevent tinnitus, especially if it is caused by infection or stress. However, tinnitus caused by loud noises can be prevented by wearing proper hearing protection devices.

Is there a cure or treatment plan for tinnitus?

Unfortunately, there is not a cure for tinnitus, but there are treatment options.

One such treatment option is Tinnitus Retraining Therapy. It is not a cure but rather a management program. This treatment works by helping to lessen the individual’s perception of the noise. Tinnitus retraining therapy can vary by provider, with success rates of about 80 percent.

Another treatment option involves treating the root cause of the tinnitus. When tinnitus is the result of hearing loss, many individuals find significant relief from it by simply treating the hearing loss with hearing aids.  

In addition to these options, a healthy diet, regular exercise, and stress-reducing habits have been known to help relieve tinnitus.  

What is sound therapy and how does it work?

Sound therapy is a treatment to help manage tinnitus symptoms. Sound therapy works by making the perception of the tinnitus less noticeable compared to background sound that is delivered through a sound therapy device. Most patients find the use of background sound very helpful when used in combination with Tinnitus Retraining Therapy.

The Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center has a Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) program to treat patients who suffer from tinnitus with trained and certified audiologists. Contact us to find out more.

Does tinnitus cause hearing loss?

Tinnitus doesn’t cause hearing loss. It is very common in people with hearing loss, however, not all people with hearing loss will develop tinnitus.

If you have further questions about speech or hearing disorders in children or adults, our audiologists, speech pathologists, services, events, or volunteer opportunities, please reach out to us online or call (904) 355-3403‎.

Was this information helpful? If so, please share it using the social media icons below. Thank you.

 

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more you might find helpful:

 

 

This article was originally published on February 28, 2018, and has since been updated.

prevent hearing loss with earplugs

Audiology Awareness to Prevent Hearing Loss

October is National Audiology Awareness Month

Hearing loss is an increasing health concern that is often preventable. Noise exposure is the most common cause of hearing loss and can result in difficulty sleeping and high blood pressure. Noise induced hearing loss occurs gradually and without pain. Experts agree that regular exposure to sounds of 85 decibels or louder are detrimental to hearing.

The good news is that noise-induced hearing loss is preventable!

Here are 3 key steps you can take to prevent hearing loss:

1. Make sure to take proper precautions with your hearing should you find yourself in a situation with large amounts of noise.

2. Use ear protection whenever possible, particularly when working with loud machinery such as lawnmowers, leaf blowers, and jackhammers.

3. If you plan on attending a concert or sporting event, make sure to protect your ears! Recent statistics suggest a trend of noise induced hearing loss occurring at younger ages. Ear plugs and earmuffs for noise protection can be purchased at your local drug, hardware, or sporting goods store.

Our doctoral level licensed audiologists can assess your hearing. Earplugs are also available for purchase!

For more information on healthy hearing, check out the link below from the American Academy of Audiology.

http://www.audiology.org/publications-resources/consumer-information/october

tinnitus hyperacusis jacksonville veterans

Patient Testimonial | Veteran Hearing Aid

We honor America’s Veterans and are proud to serve them. We are so grateful for the feedback we received in July of 2014 from a veteran that we had the pleasure of assisting for veteran hearing aid service. Mr. Connell, we salute you! Read more

speech and hearing jacksonville

Is Hearing Loss Making You Depressed?

There is new research that connects hearing loss with depression among American adults.  There are good reasons why depression and hearing loss can go together:  When it gets harder to hear what is being said by our friends, business associates, and family members, the frequent reaction can be a choice to stay away from these interactions and avoid having to ask someone to repeat herself or to look foolish or senile.  This leads to personal isolation and the onset of depression.

Read more