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Do you hear a ringing, roaring, clicking, or hissing sound in your ears? Do you hear this sound often or all the time? Does the sound bother you a lot? If you answer yes to these questions, you may have tinnitus (tin-NY-tus).
The Tinnitus & Sound Sensitivity Treatment Center was created due to the growing need for the evaluation and treatment of Tinnitus (ear/head noises) and for sound sensitivity (hyperacusis). Our center is directed by Thomas Zalewski, Ph.D., CCC-A, who has had extensive training through the University of Maryland and is qualified in Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) and other tinnitus treatment and counseling methods.

What are the causes of tinnitus?

    • Hearing Loss
    • Most people who have tinnitus also have some kind of hearing loss.
    • Loud Noise
    • Exposure to loud noise can cause permanent hearing loss and tinnitus. Continued exposure can make the tinnitus and hearing loss get worse
    • Medicine
    • More than 200 medicines, including aspirin, can cause tinnitus. If you have tinnitus and take medicines, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether your medicine could be involved.
    • Other Potential Causes
    • Allergies, tumors, problems in the heart and blood vessels, jaw, and neck can cause tinnitus.
    • How will the hearing expert treat my tinnitus?
    • Although there is no cure for tinnitus, Audiologists, scientists, and doctors have discovered several treatments that may give you some relief. Not every treatment will work for everyone, so you may need to try several to find the ones that help.
    • Treatments can include:
    • Hearing Aids, Maskers, Medicine or Drug therapy, Neuromonics Tinnitus Therapy, Counseling, or Relaxing.

Auditory Processing Disorder

The Center for Hearing & Balance is currently one of the only facilities in Northeast Pennsylvania to conduct a comprehensive auditory processing evaluation. Dr. Deborah John, Au.D., CCC-A works in conjunction with a multidisciplinary team to fully identify and diagnose auditory processing disorders.

What is Auditory Processing?

Auditory processing is the series of tasks done by parts of the auditory nerve pathways in the brain to sort out and refine the “raw data” delivered by the ear. This processing provides the recognizable sound message we use in thinking and communication.
When some of these tasks are done incompletely, an auditory processing disorder (APD) results. It is a hearing disorder just like a peripheral (ear) hearing loss, in that it keeps a clear message from reaching the intellect.
APDs are physical inefficiencies with physical causes such as genetics, minor birth difficulties, illness, or injury. Often the cause is unknown. Most APDs are mild compared to other physical problems, but they can have a large impact on listening and analyzing what we hear (at school, at work, or socially).

When might I suspect a CAPD in my child or myself?

Auditory Processing Disorder Symptoms: 6 Signs
Auditory processing disorder symptoms can take a variety of different forms. Here are some symptoms to look for.

    • Has trouble following a conversation
    • Has difficulty following directions, easy or complicated
    • Is distracted or disturbed by loud or sudden noises
    • Forgets directions and is unorganized
    • Has reading, spelling, or writing difficulties
    • Noisy environments become a distraction

Diagnosing APD

A multidisciplinary team is crucial to fully assess and understand the group of problems exhibited by children with APD. Thus, a teacher or educational diagnostician may shed light on academic difficulties; a psychologist may evaluate cognitive functioning in a variety of different areas; a speech-language pathologist may evaluate written and oral language, speech, and other related capabilities. Some of these professionals may use test tools that include the terms “auditory processing” or “auditory perception” in their evaluation, and may even suggest that a child exhibits an “auditory processing disorder.” However, an Audiologist is the only professional who may diagnose an auditory processing disorder.

To diagnose APD, the audiologist will administer a series of tests in a sound-treated room. These tests require listeners to attend to a variety of signals and to respond to them via repetition. Other tests that measure the auditory system’s physiologic responses to sound may also be administered. Most of the tests of APD require that a child be at least 7 years of age because the variability in brain function is limited in younger children that test interpretation may not be possible.

Cochlear Implants

The Cochlear Implant Center is part of our ever growing Center for Hearing & Balance. This center is currently in development and we look forward to providing device programming, performance monitoring, educational recommendations and support for children and adults, and aural rehabilitation to cochlear implant patients.

What is a Cochlear Implant?

Cochlear implants are implantable devices designed with the goal of providing sound detection and speech recognition for people who receive little or no benefit from hearing aids. There are several manufacturers of cochlear implants such as Advanced Bionics Corporation, Cochlear Americas, and Med-El. The cochlear implant-regardless of the manufacturer-is comprised of both internal and external components.

Cochlear implants are surgically placed within the inner ear, bypassing the hair cells of the cochlea and directly stimulating the endings of the auditory nerve. Although there have been many variations on the theme, the basic design of an implant system has remained relatively stable over the years. It consists of an external microphone, processor and transmitter and an internal receiver-stimulator and electrode array.

  • The internal portion, which is implanted surgically, has a receiver and tiny electrodes. The receiver is embedded under the skin behind the ear and the electrodes are surgically inserted into the cochlea.
  • The external components, the microphone captures incoming sound and converts it into electrical signals. The processor reconfigures, amplifies and manipulates the electrical signal into an analog or digital signal, which is then transmitted to the receiver/stimulator and electrode array of the implanted device.

The surgery required for the implant takes approximately three hours and has a very low rate of complications.

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