Hearing Loss Statistics Astound

Three of every 1,000 American children are born deaf or hard of hearing, statistics show.

Three of every 1,000 American children are born deaf or hard of hearing, statistics show.

Hearing loss of some degree is all too common in the United States. Consider these statistics:

  • One in five Americans has hearing loss in at least one ear. That figure represents 48 million people and far exceeds previous hearing care industry estimates of approximately 25 million;
  • 20% of the U.S. population aged 12 years and older has hearing difficulties severe enough to impact communication. This can lead to difficulties in school, at work and with relationships;
  • There exists a direct link between age and hearing loss: Approximately 18% of American adults between the ages of 45 and 54, 30% of adults between ages 65 and 74, and 47% of adults ages 75 and older have hearing some degree of hearing impairment;
  • Three out of every 1,000 American newborns are deaf or hard-of-hearing;
  • Upwards of 26 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have high frequency hearing loss caused by exposure to loud noises at work or on leisure activities;
  • About 60% of deployed military service men and women have noise induced hearing loss (NIHL), tinnitus (ringing in the ear), and other hearing injuries. In fact, Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans are more likely to suffer impairment of auditory activity than post traumatic stress syndrome.

If you believe you’re suffering a loss of hearing, however mild or severe, it’s highly recommended that you see a specialist. At St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat, our board-certified audiologists can perform a battery of hearing assessments and develop a treatment plan to help minimize continual hearing loss, or even restore your ability to hear. Contact our Jacksonville clinic at 904-461-6060 or via our convenient online form.

Hearing Aids for Ringing in the Ears?

Ringing in the ears or tinnitus is the perception of a sound (i.e. – ringing, high-pitched whining, buzzing, whistling or hissing) that does not have a corresponding external source. Although tinnitus can be a symptom of a more serious medical problem, neurological injury, earwax buildup, withdrawal from certain drugs or ear infections, the most common cause is noise-induced hearing loss. A doctor, ENT specialist or audiologist is needed to rule out potential medical or physical sources that may be causing the sounds a patient perceives.

Xino Tinnitus Hearing Aid - A new solution for ringing in the ears.

Xino Tinnitus Hearing Aid – A new solution for ringing in the ears.

Since it is a subjective irregularity, tinnitus can be difficult to measure using an objective hearing assessment. For some people, the ringing in their ears is infrequent or only produces a faint background noise. For others the condition causes a constant noise that can be so intense that the sensation can still be heard over a very loud external sound. However, many patients who suffer from the annoying condition understand all too well how debilitating tinnitus can be.

The pressing need for relief of benign conditions has led medical researchers to look for better ways to manage the otologic condition rather than cure it. As there is a high correlation between tinnitus and hearing loss, major manufacturers of assistive listening devices, such as Starkey®, have developed a tinnitus solution (Xino Tinnitus) that also functions as a high-end hearing aid, or can be configured for use as either. The state-of-the-art device features 16 adjustable frequency bands that allow the hearing specialist to create a preferred sound therapy stimulus for each patient. Additionally, the Xino Tinnitus hearing aids feature both binaural and monaural controls.

Patients use a BTE (behind the ear) hearing aid with a mini receiver-in-canal (RIC) to personalize their sound therapy stimulus independently of the amplification needed for volume control. Within a selected frequency, a hearing specialist can adjust the spectrum of noise from broadband to narrowband to tailor the results for each patient. If you sufferer from ringing in the ears, contact St. Augustine ENT to determine if you are a good candidate for a tinnitus hearing aid.

Dr. Kalpana DePasquale Featured on TLC’s "My Strange Addiction"

Everyone has a bad habit they’d like to break, but what if you were addicted to something seriously harmful, like digging in your ear with giant scissors?

You call in the experts, of course. The “Ear Digger” episode of TLC’s popular freaky-habit show, “My Strange Addiction”, featured a young woman who couldn’t stop digging in her ears with sharp, pointy objects. Our own Dr. Kalpana DeDasquale of St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat was called in to give her some much-needed help! The air date for the episode was February 17th, 2012.

When 32-year-old Jamie, a resident of Jacksonville, FL, was a young girl, a flower became lodged in her ear canal. The flower was removed, but Jamie was convinced that there was still something foreign deep inside her ear.

Over the next 23 years, her ear-digging habit became a full-blown addiction that alienated her friends, forced her fiancé to postpone the wedding, and left her at risk of going completely deaf.

Jamie used a plethora of scary-looking tools to accomplish her gruesome task, from bobby pins to different-sized scissors to a tiny scalpel. Her ears have repeatedly swollen themselves shut, she’s punctured her ear drum, and she’s had multiple ear infections and regular bleeding.

How Dr. DePasquale was able to help Jamie

Jamie knew she had to stop this dangerous compulsion, but it wasn’t until her fiancé postponed their wedding that she decided to seek medical help at St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat.

St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat featured on My Strange Addiction

At SAENT, Dr. Kalpana listened to Jamie describe her addiction, then used a otoscope to check out the damage done to Jamie’s ear canals. She showed Jamie the results of her digging, a location in the inner ear that had “clearly been picked at” and various areas of swelling, though Dr. Kalpana was surprised to find that the ear drums were intact.

At the end of the examination, Dr. Kalpana sat Jamie down and gave her a sobering warning. “I am worried that you will have progressive hearing loss, perforate your ear drums, perhaps even require surgery,” she told a concerned-looking Jamie. “I do suggest that you see a psychologist so that they can help the emotional side of this.”

Thankfully, Jamie took Dr. Kaplana’s warning to heart and went to a therapist, who diagnosed her with “impulse control disorder,” a condition characterized by impulsive actions that achieve a small, short term gain (such as an adrenaline rush) but at the expense of a huge, long-term loss.

The therapy sessions and her visit to St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat helped Jamie to finally stop her ear digging, and the episode left her alive and well, working on her relationship with her fiancé and freed from her dangerous addiction.

This strange addiction seems extreme to most, but inner-ear disorders and discomfort is not uncommon. If you feel pain or discomfort in your ears or sinuses, make sure you give us a call to schedule a visit with Dr. DePasquale by calling (904) 461-6060 today.