A recent report from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs revealed more than 10 percent of all veteran disability claims in fiscal year of 2011 were due to tinnitus, an early sign of hearing loss.
In the military community, the most common cause of tinnitus is noise exposure, said Navy Lt. Amy McArthur, a Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune audiologist. Tinnitus is commonly described as a ringing in the ears, and can vary in degree from an uncommon, annoying occurrence to a constant, distracting and sometimes painful ringing noise.
“A lot of the military occupational specialties that Marines will occupy involves either shooting a weapon or being near demolitions, generator noise and engine noise,” McArthur said, adding that 18 percent of active duty Camp Lejeune Marines are currently suffering from some degree of tinnitus.
Infantry Marines are the most at risk for developing tinnitus, as 29 percent of the Marines in that MOS suffer from the disorder, McArthur said.
Similarly, 21 percent of artillery Marines suffer from tinnitus, as do 19 percent of Marines working in explosive ordnance disposal.
Surprisingly, Marines working in the aviation community are the least likely to suffer from tinnitus: Only 8 percent of aviation maintainers have complained of tinnitus and 12 percent of pilots suffer from the disease.
“There’s a culture of prevention amongst those aviation MOSs,” McArthur said. “They wouldn’t think of going out on the flight line without wearing their hearing protection. They’re also a lot more motivated to protect their hearing because they want to maintain their flight status. You can’t be a pilot and have hearing loss.”
Tinnitus, as well as hearing loss, is irreversible and permanent, meaning once the damage has been done to the ear, there’s no replacing or repairing the cells. Because there truly is no cure for tinnitus or hearing loss, prevention is key for Marines on Camp Lejeune, McArthur said.
Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune frequently instructs units and individual service members on the importance of wearing hearing protection like earplugs or earmuffs when shooting guns or participating in other high noise activities.
The hospital has three mobile hearing conservation trucks they can deploy to units to assess troop hearing loss as requested.
“We can go out and provide doorstep screening to the Marines,” McArthur said, adding that the trucks allow them to quickly assess each service member for hearing loss without the need for the Marine to ever leave their unit. Each truck can test six Marines at a time.
Additionally, the hospital reports the percentages of hearing loss to each unit commanding officer twice a year, allowing the officers to make a plan to educate and prevent further hearing loss within the unit.
Although there is no cure for hearing loss or tinnitus, McArthur said there are ways to help a service member cope with tinnitus should they develop it, to include teaching them to avoid quiet situations, so their brain can focus on something besides the ringing in their ears.
Second to tinnitus, actual hearing loss is the next most claimed disability, with 60,229 veterans – or 7.5 percent of all disability claims – citing hearing loss in FY 2011, according to the report from the VA.
Contact Daily News Military Reporter Amanda Wilcox at 910-219-8453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By John On May 15, 2013 No Comments
By Genevra Pittman
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Using a magnet to generate an electrical current in areas of the brain that control hearing does not seem to improve ringing in the ears, a new study suggests.
Researchers found people reported just as much bothersome ringing after a month of so-called repetitive transcranial magnetic simulation (rTMS) as after a series of fake, magnet-free treatments.
Although it seems natural that ringing in the ears – known as tinnitus – would be a hearing-related problem, so far medications and magnetic stimulation targeting the brain’s auditory areas haven’t made the sound go away, according to Dr. Jay Piccirillo.
“People want a pill to make it go away, but there isn’t anything like that,” Piccirillo, an otolaryngologist from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, told Reuters Health. “There’s no cure for tinnitus.”
Up to 50 million Americans report chronic ringing in the ears at some point during their lives, research suggests. Although that experience is common, Piccirillo said only about one-fifth of people who do hear ringing are bothered by it enough to disrupt their everyday lives.
Current treatments for those individuals include devices to mask the sound, antidepressants to lessen its bothersome effects or talk therapy, yoga and meditation.
In Europe, doctors have been using rTMS to create electrical currents in the auditory nerve for people with tinnitus, seeing a “mild to moderate, short-lasting effect,” according to Piccirillo.
He and his colleagues previously tested two weeks of rTMS treatments on people with tinnitus and found it had no benefit (see Reuters Health story of March 24, 2011 here: http://reut.rs/ghFeJZ ).
For the new study, they gave 14 people with tinnitus four weeks of rTMS and four weeks of a sham, magnet-free treatment. Study participants reported having had tinnitus for at least six months and started out with an average tinnitus handicap score of 52 on a scale from 0 to 100.
That score dropped by an average of 10 points after rTMS and by six points after the sham treatment – a difference that could have been due to chance, the study team reported in JAMA Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery.
Researchers believe tinnitus is the result of over-activity in certain areas of the brain – and in theory, rTMS should suppress some of that activity, according to Josef Rauschecker, from Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC.
However, “Neurophysiologically, it’s not at all clear what it does,” Rauschecker, who has studied that question but wasn’t part of the study team, told Reuters Health.
John Rothwell, who has researched brain stimulation for tinnitus at University College London, said a number of small studies have looked at this treatment and all have the same problem: the response to stimulation varies greatly from one person to the next.
“You’ll find in all of these trials, some people will get better, some people will get worse and most will stay the same,” Rothwell, who also wasn’t involved in the new research, told Reuters Health.
By John On May 15, 2013 No Comments
Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) cure – neurostimulation sound
just listen for a cure. 2 hours a day. Tinnitus reduce within a week.
By John On May 14, 2013 No Comments
Electrodes implanted into the brain of a man with a stubborn case of ringing in the ear sparked an out-of-body sensation, according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine.
A team of doctors led by Dr. Dirk De Ridder of Antwerp University found that stimulating the electrodes made the 63-year-old patient feel like he was outside his body twice – for 15 and 21 seconds – allowing doctors to track which parts of the brain became active during the experience, Reuters reports.
Click here to read the study (subscription required) Whether out-of-body or near-death experiences are glimpses into the afterlife has been long-debated. De Ridder and his team report in NEJM that they were trying to cure the man of tinnitus in one ear when they stumbled onto the phenomenon.
The treatment did not work. Instead, the electrodes made the man feel like he was about 20 inches behind his body and off to the left. Only stimulation involving a portion of the superior temporal gyrus, located on the right side of the brain, produced the sensation.
Click here for the Reuters story They wrote: “Whether these regions are activated in patients who report disembodiment as part of a near-death experience – and if so, how – is a provocative but unresolved issue.”
By John On May 13, 2013 No Comments
TINNITUS- Can you hear that? More info at http://t-gone.com
Tinnitus-do you know what it is?- About 50 million people in the US know it, mostly kids, young people. Millions more outside the country. I am not talking about a little ringing you may hear every now and then, or a mild annoyance.