"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible." TE Lawrence

Monday, January 25, 2010

Can you hear me now?

Many of my close friends already know I suffer from hearing loss. I have lost 90% of hearing in my left ear. I have a hearing aid that balances out the hearing

I now face loosing the right ear. I struggle to protect it through diet and exercise. I do know that if it was lost a hearing aid can assist with hearing.

As I venture out and expand my circle of friends I felt time to share. So when I seem to not listen or not pick up on the entire conversation. It not that I don't care its probably cause I didn't hear. Here is some research on the disease that effects the ear.

Meniere's Disease

Meniere's disease is a periodic illness (the attacks come in phases followed by a symptom-free period) that affects the inner ear.
The inner ear is composed of the organs of balance and hearing. Meniere's disease is a long term, progressive disease which damages both the balance (semicircular canals) and hearing (the cochlea) parts of the inner ear. These are some of the main symptoms of Meniere's disease:
Hearing loss
Initially it usually affects one ear, but 15% of people have both ears affected at the start of symptoms and as the disease progresses ± 50% will develop the disease in both ears.
Stress, overworked, emotional or physical, additional illnesses, pressure changes, certain foods and too much salt in the diet also seems to play a big role in speeding up the attacks.
The causes of Meniere's disease

The cause is unknown, but many factors are involved in the development of this disease. These are the factors that may be involved in causing Meniere's disease:
Increased pressure of the fluid in the inner ear (endolymphatic sac)
Allergies that damage the inner ear
Viral infections
Vascular factors
Autoimmune reaction
Unknown factors
Symptoms of Meniere's disease

A sensation of "fullness" or pressure in the ear
Loss of hearing
Pressure in the ear
Severe imbalance
Double vision
Lack of coordination
Disequilibrium ("brain fog")
The symptoms of Meniere's disease come in cycles; the patient suffers several episodes that last for several months at a time, then it generally subsides. Symptoms in some individuals seem to be more severe in spring, fall or when they are under extra stress.
VertigoThe most frightening and unpredictable symptom of Meniere's disease is vertigo. It is thought to result from the accumulation of excessive fluid in the inner ear, this stretches the membranes that divide the compartments of the inner ear. As the membranes stretches, hearing often diminishes and tinnitus worsens. If the membrane is severely stretched, the fluids in the inner ear may rupture these compartments. This will results in the mixing of fluids (one rich in sodium, the other rich in potassium) which is thought to bring on the vertigo. These membranes will eventually heal, but some hearing is usually lost.
Loss of hearingThe loss of hearing usually affects one ear, which typically looses sensitivity to low-frequency sounds the most. Loud sounds may cause more discomfort than normal. Hearing loss alters over time; hearing may be normal one day, but then the next days hearing may be difficult. The degree of hearing loss may get progressively worse over time, eventually leading to loss of hearing completely in the affected ear.
TinnitusTinnitus is constant loud "ringing" in the ears. The tinnitus experienced by Meniere's patients is continual and does not decrease with time, its intensity may vary. It may be heard more as a load roaring, squeal, whine, hissing, humming, buzzing sensation, rather than a whistling.
Fullness or pressure in the ear The feeling of "fullness" in the ear can be described as a barometric pressure changes (such ascending in an airplane or a car), this fullness cannot be cleared by swallowing, as in the case of pressure changes.
Dietary tips for Meniere's disease

Reduce the amount of salt intake (excess salt cause's pressure on the nerve endings of balance and hearing)
Stop smoking (it constricts and reduces blood flow to the tiny blood vessels which nourish the inner ear nerve endings)
Avoid caffeine in coffee, tea and colas, as well as chocolate (caffeine excessively stimulates nerve endings)
Exercise regularly

Causes of Meniere's Disease

Meniere's disease is a disorder of the inner ear. The cause of Meniere's disease is idiopathic-meaning that the cause is not known. However, the symptoms of Meniere's disease are associated with the disorder or infection of the fluids in the labyrinth (a bisected portion of the inner ear that contains certain fluids). Most audiologists (ear specialists) believe that the abnormality of fluids in the inner ear is responsible for most symptoms of Meniere's disease.
Abnormality of fluids in the inner ear

The labyrinth consists of two semi-circular canals; the bony and membranous canals. The bony portion of the labyrinth contains certain fluids called endolymph and it is responsible for balance and hearing. Whenever you move your head, the fluids inside the bony labyrinth (endolymph) also move and transmit a message to the brain via the nerves so that the brain interprets the orientation of your body.
There's a little space between the bony and membranous labyrinth that contain some fluids called perilymph. If the perilymph and endolymph mix due to excess endolymph (endolymphatic hydrops) or other causes, wrong messages are transmitted to the brain. The brain misinterprets these messages and transmits a wrong message about your body orientation.
The cause of increased endolymph is not known, but several conditions are believed to be role players in causing endolymphatic hydrops.
According to Moore, K.L (1985:975), an abnormal increase in the amount of endolymph is called hydrops of the internal ear or Meniere's disease. These excess fluids produce recurrent vertigo (dizziness) that is accompanied in later stages by tinnitus or noises in the ear and deafness.
Here are factors that may cause the abnormality of fluids in the inner ear, producing Meniere's disease:

Environmental causes
Viral and Bacterial causes
Biological factors such as:
Middle ear infections (otitis media)
Head, neck or ear injuries (or surgery)
Autoimmune reaction (allergies)
Alcohol or smoking
Symptoms of Meniere's disease may also have a lot to do with the

Joining a running group has been a big step for me. I know when I run alone I can focus on the road. But what fun is running alone.

Gotta Run.


1 comment:

  1. I have the same hearing issue, but only when my wife is talking to me...

    Seriously, thanks for sharing. We can't take anything for granted, can we? Glad you are part of UCRR.

    Jack Shannon