FAQ on Hearing and Hearing Aid Related Issues:
Who can I consult relating to my hearing and hearing aid?
Audiologists specialize in prevention, diagnosis, identification, and non-medical treatment of individuals with hearing loss and balance disorders. They assist the ENT in cochlear implant by evaluating and optimizing the cochlear implant function during the surgery.
Speech-language pathologist – speech-language pathologists (SLPs) help people develop their communication abilities as well as treat speech, languages, swallowing, and voice disorders. Their services include prevention, identification, evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation.
What is Tinnitus?
One in 10 is affected by tinnitus, the constant presence of sound ranging from a “light buzzing”, “hissing” to a “constant roar” in the ears and head. Tinnitus is the perception of noises in the head and/or ear which have no external source.
There are a number of causes which may provide the initial trigger to tinnitus, including:
- Middle ear infection
- Inner ear damage
- Some medications
- Exposure to loud noises
Listening to loud music for a prolong period of time can trigger tinnitus. Tinnitus is an indication of damaged hearing or a symptom of a fault in the hearing system. In many cases the loud noise wears out the hair cells that convert sound waves into neural signals, inside the inner ear. The brain adjusts to the loss of input by boosting certain activity that create the impression of a noise (hence called Phantom sounds) that nobody else can hear.
Treat tinnitus as a warning signal – protect against excessive noise. See your doctor and audiologist on how to manage the tinnitus. The audiologist will work with you to look at different approaches to help you manage your tinnitus more effectively.
How do we Hear?
The ear itself has three major parts: the Outer Ear, Middle Ear and the Inner Ear.
- The Outer Ear – which is made up of the skin and cartilage on the outside and the ear canal that leads into your head.
- The Middle Ear – which begins at the ear drum about 2.5 cm inside your head and includes the little bones that carry the sound vibrations to the area where hearing really begins.
- The Inner Ear – where those vibrations are change into signal that is transmitted to your brain, which you experience as sound. This part of your ear also controls your balance.
Damage to any of these three parts of your ear from injury, sickness and other causes could make it hard for you to hear well.
Hearing depends on the following series of event that change sound waves in the air into electrical impulses that the auditory nerve carries to the brain.
Sound waves enter the outer ear and travel through a narrow ear canal that lead inside the ear to the eardrum (TM). The TM vibrates from the incoming sound waves and transmits the vibration (mechanical energy) through three tiny bones called the Ossicles in the middle ear. They amplify the sound and send it through the entrance to the Inner ear and into the fluid filled hearing organ called the cochlear.
The vibrations create ripples in the fluid that bend projections from tiny hair cells in the cochlea, causing electrical impulses in the auditory nerve that is connected to the brain, which turns these signals into what we hear.
Hearing Loops (Audio frequency induction loops or hearing loops)- way before Bluetooth Streaming:
Hearing loop is an assistive listening system that provides access to facilities for those with a hearing impairment.
The loop system transmits audio signal directly into a hearing aid (with Telecoil feature) via a magnetic field, hence greatly reducing background noise.
The 1st loop system was created in Netherlands in the 1960s.
Sudden Hearing Loss:
Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSNHL) affects 5 to 20 per 100,000 population.
SSNHL is defined as a rapid onset of a sensation of hearing impairment in one or both ears occurring over a 72 hour period. 30 to 65% cases of SSNHL may recover spontaneously. Up to 88% of SNHL is idiopathic.
Seeking treatment early during the onset by the specialists is recommended.
Elderly Scheme Support:
Government has put in place over the years to support elderly Singaporeans, via the following schemes, which the elderly might explore in the public, community hospitals and polyclinics but not applicable to the private clinics/centres:
Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS)
Senior Mobility Fund (SMF)
Special Assistance Fund (SAF)
Assistive Technology Fund (ATF)
Pioneer Generation Discount
Check here (https://www.moh.gov.sg/cost-financing/healthcare-schemes-subsidies) for benefits and eligibility.
Nevertheless, We are happy to extend our support by giving discounts/specials to our elderly citizens as well as those in need – Check with us for details.