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Is it safe to take Omega 3 fish oil without it causing tinnitus?

Question:

Is it safe to take Omega 3-fish oil to reduce inflammation and joint pain without it causing tinnitus.?Is there a safe dosage?

Regards,
Brent Redstone

Answer:

Dear Mr. Redstone,

If you take a good naturally sourced Omega 3 with no fillers, it is just like eating a lot of fish, and should help tinnitus by improving your overall health.  I have never seen a case where Omega 3 caused or exacerbated tinnitus.  I like Life Extension products as they are one of the most pure formulas at a very reasonable price.  I recommend only purchasing directly from them, however, to assure they have been handled well with minimal storage.  Use the dosage recommended on the bottle or by your PCP.
My best,
Dr. Barbara Jenkins, AuD, BCABA

 

What is the general price range for hearing aids?

Question:

I’m looking at our budget for next year and wondering what price range hearing aids might fall into.  I know you can’t be precise till a particular model is selected, but it would be helpful if you could tell me a general range I’m likely to encounter.  Is that possible? ~ Anonymous patient

Answer:

Hearing aids range in price from $6375 for the most advanced (per pair), which includes all services, evaluation, fitting, etc.  The low end of the new technology runs $2975 per pair, services included.  There are three levels in between these.  There is an even lower range of $2,375 or less, but then you are getting into older and more limited fidelity.
When selecting which to get, I always suggest you get the best you can afford.  You will be hearing out of these devices for 4 to 7 years or more, and you don’t want to compromise if you don’t have to.  Each level up has a faster more precise computer configuration, affording better hearing in noise, etc.
I hope that this helps you,
Have a blessed Christmas, and we will see you next year!
Dr. Barbara Jenkins, AuD, BCABA

Rapid Elevation Decent and Sudden Onset of Tinnitus

Question:

My wife had a sudden onset of tinnitus while on a June, 2014 tram ride in Colorado in a rapid descent from 11,500 to 10,000 feet. It has been loud, screeching, 24/7 tinnitus since and she cannot sleep without zolpidem. We strongly suspect that her tinnitus was caused by some inner ear trauma (barotrauma?), a suspicion strengthened by her history of chemo and radiation therapy for breast cancer during 2009-10. All the experts we have spoken to thus far want either to treat TMJ (she doesn’t have this), do sound masking or give her Neurontin. Is it possible to find a solution to the core problem of barotrauma-induced tinnitus?

Answer:

Dear Mr. Stringham,

I’m so sorry for the difficulty you and your wife have had trying to get to the bottom of her tinnitus.
Her tinnitus was most definitely triggered by the decent, but here are most likely a combination of factors contributing to her chronic  tinnitus.  As soon as we find out which are in play, a solution for remediation can be developed. It would be best if she could come for a visit to our office so that we could better discern the underlying cause and contributing factors.  There are many treatments that may reduce her tinnitus, and it sounds like the sooner the better for your wife.
Call our office to see if there is an appointment soon that will work with your and your wife’s schedule.  I would definitely like you here as well if possible.
My best to you both,
Dr. Barbara Jenkins, AuD, BCABA

Is tinnitus or hearing aids covered by any insurance?

Question:

Is tinnitus or hearing aids covered by any insurance and do you accept insurance for tinnitus or hearing aids?

~Rodger

Answer:

Dear Mr Glick,

Our tinnitus consultation is not covered by any insurance.  It is $285 for a 45 minute consultation with Dr. Jenkins.  If you need a hearing evaluation, that part is usually covered by all insurance.  Check your benefits to see if you need a referral from your physician first, however.
Hearing aids are covered about 15 to 20% of the time, and each insurance agency will have so many plans it is impossible for us to say.  It’s best for you to call the number on your card and ask.  If they say that you do have insurance we will get prior approval and verification as needed.
Call our office if you have more specific questions regarding your particular needs.   303-649-2122.  We hope to have the pleasure of seeing you soon.
Sincerely,
Dr. Barbara Jenkins, AuD, BCABA

Vets Through Chocolate Bar Sales

Question:

Hi Dr. Barb,
Time for batteries for Pats hearing aides.
Just wondering if you are still sponsoring the Vets through the chocolate bar sales.
A Great program says my taste buds.
Dan Meinerz
President, Dr. Barbara Jenkins Fan Club

Answer:

Howdey Dan!

Just call with your credit card for the batteries if you want us to send them, or stop by and get “Chocolate” at the same time.
We usually start the “Support a Soldier” program November 1 through April due to melting issues other months.  We have the chocolate now though, so were planning on putting it out next week anyway.
Say “hi” when you are in.
Blessings,
Barbara
President, Dan Meinerz Fan Club 🙂

I have had tinnitus in my ears constantly for three months.

Question:

I have had tinnitus in my ears constantly for three months. It might be getting worse, I do stress about it. Went to an ears nose and throat doctor that was recommended highly, and he told me there was nothing I could do for it. I do not have hearing loss, or loss of hair. This is something that I do see living with for the rest of my life. I am sixty four. I haven’t been ill, I have no idea why it started. Cherie Dodds

Answer:

Dear Ms. Dodds,

There is always something that can be done for tinnitus.  He may have meant that there is nothing that HE can do for it.
If you are able to get to the Denver area, we could do full assessment to see the underlying causes, triggering factors and options for best treatment or remediation.  If you cannot get to the office I would like you to find a true tinnitus expert in your area so that you can get relief sooner rather than later.  There are so many causes and treatment options that each patient I see each day may end up with a different treatment plan.
If all else fails, we may be able to do a phone consultation.  They are never as good as in person, but they are a lot better than not getting the help you need.
By best and God’s blessings,
Dr. Barbara Jenkins, AuD, BCABA

Who would you recommend seeing for tinnitus and what credentials should they have?

Question:

My daughter in law age 52 has had sudden onset of tinnitus in her left ear. She has been seen by local physicians ( EENT specialist) and has had a regime of steroid injections over three weeks and the ringing continues unabated. She also had MRI to r/o acustic tumor. That was negative. From what I have been able to learn there are many causes for tinnitus.

Who would you recommend she see in the Fort Wayne, Indiana area??? Or other places, Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois.

What credentials should the practitioner have?

I must admit that in the 45 years I practiced nursing, this was not a diagnosis that I remember ever had experience caring for.

My daughter-in-law is already experiencing stress from the constant ringing and finds it difficult to work any where the noise level is higher than normal.

I thank you ahead of time for your assistance with our search.

Answer:

Dear Ms. Franklin,

Your daughter-in-law is so blessed to have you help her.  I understand what she is going through.  Not only the sound is an issue, but the unknown surrounding it can cause anxiety as well.
I don’t know of anyone in your area who I would recommend, but go to “boardofaudiology.org” and type in your state or zip code to find board certified doctors who may be able to help.  Cross reference that list with tinnituspractitioners.com.  Hopefully you will find a match.  Although they do not have the same training and background that I do, I’m sure that someone will be able to help in some way.
Good luck, and let me know if I can be of any additional help.
Blessings,
Dr.Jenkins, AuD, BCABA

Is there any downside to using one of the noise cancellation devices early on?

Question:

I developed tinnitus on March 25 after a Eustachian Tube Dysfunction. I do show some mild hearing loss in the 4000hz, that seems to be staying about the same as of this date. Nobody can come up with a reason for it except perhaps an infection. I have known people who got better on their own in 6 months.

My question -is there any downside to using one of the noise cancellation devices early on, or is it best to wait at least 6 months to see if this will go away on its own? I am having a horrible time sleeping, and need strong meds at night.

Answer:

Dear Kathy,

There is no downside to using any type of noise canceling or masking device as long as they are not set too loudly as to irritate the ear and cause more noise.  Even a fan in the room will help.  If it truly is due to a eustachian tube dysfunction, then eat less sugar and hopefully it will decrease on its own over time.
Remember that the noise devices are not treatment, and if there is no improvement in the next few weeks, or if it changes or bothers you more, go see your tinnitus specialist for real help.  Sometimes tinnitus can be treated naturally or very easily if we know your tinnitus completely.  There is always something that we can do to help, sometimes just a little bit, sometimes completely.
My best to you, Kathy, and keep us informed.
Dr. Barbara Jenkins, AuD, BCABA

What is the most powerful aide for cognetive hearing loss about 95% loss?

Question:

I have a severe hearing loss and my audiologist has started that my loss is too severe on the right side to even warrant an aide. So I go without a hearing aide on my right ear. What is the most powerful aide for congetive hearing loss about 95% loss?

Answer:

You actually have a very good option.  My best friend has no hearing in one ear due to a previous surgery.  I was constantly trying to move around to “get on her good side”.  She has now been wearing CROS hearing aids for more than five years and she wears them constantly.  She will absolutely not be without them.

CROS hearing aids stand for “Collateral Routing of Signal”.  They take what you would have heard from your bad side and transfer it over to your good side.  It does not alter what you hear for the good side.  If someone whispers into your ear at the dinner table form your poor ear, you hear it clearly in the other ear.  AS you habituate, your brain can actually tell which direction the sound comes, from so it becomes natural over time.

If your hearing is too weak or distorted to clearly hear out of on one side, have your audiologist order you a set of CROS or BiCROS hearing aids.  I suggest you try two sets from different manufacturers to see which is best for you.  Signia, Widex and Phonak are the three most prominent manufactures that have them.  They have been around for years and years, but only in the last five years or so have they become easy to use.

All my best, and let me know how it goes!

Dr. Barbara Jenkins, AuD, BCABA

Can Tinnitus be present if the patient’s hearing is within normal limits on an audiogram?

The answer is definitely yes.

For tinnitus to occur there has to be a stimulation in the auditory cortex (temporal lobe), but that stimulation or irritation is not necessarily from the cochlea.  To determine where the signal is coming from you need to look at multiple areas and factors that can affect it.

By the way, a basic hearing test may not be a good indicator of cochlear function, as it typically only tests the frequencies needed for speech.  A more thorough audiogram or otoacoustic emissions test may in fact show some loss.

I hope that this helps,

Dr. Jenkins, AuD, BCABA