Director and Consultant Audiologist,
Kent Hearing Ltd, UK.
The 3 March is the World Health Organisation’s World Hearing Day 2019. This year, the theme is ‘check your hearing’ to encourage early identification and management of hearing loss inspired by the vast number of people living with hearing loss around the world. So it is well-timed that this issue is focusing on diagnostics and intervention of hearing loss, but with more advanced (or rather non-routine) approaches.
Professor Bance of the University of Cambridge provides a comprehensive overview of the middle ear muscles. So often as audiologists, our patients report symptoms of noises in the ear like clicks and crackles, which we need to differentiate from pulsatile tinnitus. This article very clearly takes us through the anatomy involved, the presentation, diagnosis and management of disorders of the middle ear muscles. In keeping with the middle ear, Leigh Martin of Interacoustics takes us through wideband tympanometry and its uses in clinical practice. Most clinics and clinicians often rely on 226Hz tympanometry unless they are dealing with neonates. While multifrequency tympanometry has been around for some years now, there is still not widespread use in clinical practice. This article reviews some of the literature and highlights the benefits and challenges, with a focus on the paediatric population.
This edition also touches on TEN testing for cochlear dead regions, and the use of speech mapping for hearing aid verification. It is all too easy in our busy clinics and schedules to stick to the same ol’ battery of tests and procedures, but a little additional time spent in getting information that is specific to your patient can mean less time spent on follow-ups, and more informed counselling and management plans. With time being a major factor, not just for clinicians but for patients as well, more and more the thought of tele-audiology is becoming a reality. While this is a topic that is much written and spoken about, actual use in practice is still limited. The IDA Institute’s Cherilee Rutherford takes us through some of the many tools that are freely available Telecare tools for use at all stages of the audiology consultation, assessment and intervention phases. With estimates of 42% and 65% respectively in the USA and UK of 65-year-olds and older having smartphones, Telecare tools seem a no-brainer.
I hope this edition inspires you to try something new and, most importantly, that you have done your bit this March to spread awareness of hearing loss, and have motivated and encouraged at least one person to ‘check their hearing’!