La Grande’s Most Trusted Tinnitus Experts

Tinnitus is the technical name for the sounds you can hear, which others cannot. Sometimes the sounds may feel like they are coming from your ears, your head, or your body.

It has been described as ringing, hissing, humming, static, buzzing, music, rushing, whooshing, or people talking or mumbling.

Surprisingly, tinnitus is very common. Millions of people report having some degree of tinnitus. Whether after attending a loud concert or working at a building site, almost everyone experiences it from time to time.

It is estimated to affect 32% of the US population, according to National Center for Health Statistic studies, and only a small proportion of this figure actively seeks out ways to reduce its severity.

Erika and her staff are well beyond AMAZING! Everyone there treats you more like a friend rather than a patient . I just received my new hearing aids and they are absolutely awesome. I’m hearing sounds I haven’t heard in a long time. The best thing is when you have an appointment you will never feel rushed or pushed thru. I just can’t say enough good things about these people. I will not go anyplace else. I highly recommend Erica and her staff. If this had a rating of 100 stars I would rate them at 100. It don’t get any better than right here.

Larry Jacobson

Schedule a Tinnitus Assessment

Q: What are the common signs of tinnitus?

Many of my patients are shocked to find out that tinnitus is not the disease process; it is a symptom or sign of another underlying disease, insult, or injury in or around the ear space or head.

This can be something as simple as a hair on the eardrum, earwax, or fluid in the middle ear, to something as complex as an acoustic trauma, a vestibular disorder, or even a growth along one of the cranial nerves.

Q: What are the causes of tinnitus?

People can get tinnitus for a number of reasons. Some are as simple as dehydration or lack of good sleep, whereas more complex reasons may be trauma to the auditory nerve or central pathology.

Some of the other common tinnitus triggers that can cause or increase tinnitus include:

·   Caffeine
·   Nicotine
·   Marijuana (both THC and CBD)
·   NSAIDS (including aspirin and ibuprofen)
·   Alcohol
·   Stress
·   Noise

It is important to note that the exact causes of tinnitus are hard to pinpoint, and each person will experience tinnitus differently.

The best way to tackle your tinnitus is to seek help from a medical professional who is trained in audiology and tinnitus management.

Q: Is there a cure for tinnitus?

As tinnitus is the symptom of something else happening in the body, if we are able to address the root issue, then typically the tinnitus will resolve on its own.

For example, if your tinnitus is caused by earwax pushing on the eardrum, once the earwax is removed, then the tinnitus may begin to fade away over time with very little intervention.

However, there are pathologies that impact the ear that cannot be cured and as a result, we are unable to “cure” the resulting tinnitus, so instead we shift to managing the tinnitus.

An example of this is an acoustic trauma. We do not currently have a means for reversing the damage done to the ear from noise exposure or blast injuries.

In these cases, we need to manage the damage done and manage the additional symptoms of the damage, which could be hearing loss, tinnitus, and/or any auditory processing issues.

Q: Can hearing aids help tinnitus?

Let’s face it, there are a lot of hearing aids out there that market “tinnitus function” as the silver bullet solution to eliminating tinnitus. At Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates, we call them “on ear sound generators.”

These can be set as an ear level masking unit to be used in conjunction with sound therapy, tinnitus retraining, or to achieve minimum masking levels.

However, these should not be implemented outside of a guided tinnitus management plan and the care of a licensed provider that has tinnitus management within their clinical scope of practice.

In fact, if used incorrectly, sound generators can actually make symptoms worse.

Our Tinnitus Management
Program

The good news is that our tinnitus management program is one of the most trusted and valued options for tinnitus relief in La Grande and the surrounding areas.

It’s a customized program designed to the unique needs of the individual. In some instances, the program will include necessary devices and equipment to manage the tinnitus.

In the event that there is an underlying hearing loss, we will start with managing the hearing loss so that we can maximize the benefits of the other therapies or plan that will be incorporated in your overall program.

The plan can range anywhere between 3-12 months, allowing us to directly manage your tinnitus and work toward reducing its severity. Separately, it can be purchased for $3800.

Please note that this price does not include hearing aids or devices intended to manage hearing loss. Most insurances do not cover tinnitus management but may cover portions of the evaluations that are performed as part of your plan.

La Grande’s Most Trusted Tinnitus Experts

Why us? Well, audiologists are uniquely qualified to diagnose and manage tinnitus like no other.

Erika Shakespeare, the owner of Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates, has been through extensive training in a variety of tinnitus management strategies and programs over the years.

Each year, she participates in intensive training events specifically for the management of tinnitus, as well as being part of several tinnitus organizations.

In Oregon, it is against the law for a hearing instrument specialist to manage tinnitus.

By choosing Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates, you get to work with a licensed audiologist to work manage your hearing loss and and your tinnitus.

It’s the best way to prioritize your hearing, ensuring your tinnitus can be successfully managed and you can continue to live the life you love.

FREE DOWNLOAD: HOW TO ENCOURAGE A STUBBORN MAN TO GET HIS HEARING TESTED

With hearing loss impacting 1 in 5 of us, the data suggests that at least one special person in our lives are struggling with hearing loss. The challenge is that it's often difficult for these people to admit that they have a challenge with their hearing or be open to seeking help.

That's why we have developed a free white-paper to help you to understand the different ways that you can support a loved one and encourage them to get the help that they need.

What Should I do Next?

 

If you’re concerned about your tinnitus, the first step is to start with a visit to an audiologist for a diagnostic hearing evaluation. This allows us to get a baseline of your ear and hearing status.

You should make sure to let the office know that you are experiencing tinnitus so that we can arrange for the additional diagnostic tools and time to be available to help us make better decisions on management and treatment options.

If you have had an evaluation of your ears and hearing within the last year, then request a tinnitus evaluation and make sure we know where to request your previous test results from.

After that, the rest is in our hands!

Erika’s Story

I’m Erika. I love learning about new technology, particularly with technology designed to help people hear and connect to their families, friends and community. I first learned about the Jabra Enhance Plus 18 months ago in a tech talk related to OTC hearing aids. OTC stands for “over-the-counter”; this was driven by the PCAST report (President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology) that was published in 2016 and was rejuvenated by Biden’s Executive to the FDA to develop regulations and labeling on a new classification of non-prescription hearing aids that would be available to purchase by consumers without professional engagement.

The purpose was to introduce lower cost entry to hearing aids for consumers. This is opening a whole new pipeline of devices from manufacturers of consumer electronics to manufacturers of medical devices to get into the lucrative market of entry level amplification. Bose had launched their new “hearing aid” which was a terrible flop, it didn’t have rechargeability, it had a ton of feedback (whistling), it didn’t even have basic streaming features. Signia launched a product, Apple Air pods added transparency mode and developed an app to “test” your hearing to apply mild gain to your Air Pod Pros, and Resound’s research team partnered with GN’s consumer electronic group that makes Jabra products to develop a hybrid hearing aid/consumer electronic sometimes referred to as a Hearable, PSAP (Personal Sound Amplifier), or and OTC hearing aid. Other companies have come out with products that they are marketing as hearing aids, the FDA has been playing whack-a-mole with these illegally labeled products. Whatever you may call the widget, it is an electronic device that is not programmed by a licensed hearing health care professional.

I was awarded a slot to participate in a pilot project to evaluate the Jabra Enhance Plus product before it was released commercially to the public. I have been wearing the device for the last 10 days. I have about 4 pages of feedback for the developers for the app and also the device itself. Here is my pro/con list.

Pros: The size and fit. It doesn’t look anything like a hearing aid, it is like a small button Bluetooth or wireless earbud. There is nothing hanging out of the ear to catch on masks. The green, faded yellow and red indicator lights on the device and the charger are intuitive ways to alert to battery life. The little charging case holds a charge even when it is not plugged in. It is easily portable, fits great in a pocket of my purse so I have them with me. The streaming is pretty seamless. The app controls are deceivingly simple, it seems like there should be more, but it is really just the volume up and down. They were a lot more comfortable to wear while reclining and listening to streaming audio than other wireless earbuds that I have used. It was easy to switch to a call while streaming. They enhanced listening when I was watching TV.

Cons: The built-in personalization didn’t seem to customize the sound; The filter setting was something that I wanted to change frequently, but it is a buried feature in the app. The fit was sort of uncomfortable in one ear and the selection of domes were not adequate. The occlusion effect for my own body noises was significant. My voice sounded too far away for people on the other end of the phone call. The sound quality for phone calls and streaming audio was inferior to other wireless earbuds that I use. I struggled in noisy situations to hear other people over my own body sounds. They move a lot in my ears with talking. They don’t connect to my computer, so going between zoom meetings and phone calls or other activities was cumbersome and I have to switch devices. My overall assessment is that there is a place in the consumer electronic world for these cute little hearing enhancers, but they will not yet replace my wireless earbuds. I look forward to future software updates that will hopefully improve and expand usability (like connecting to my PC for zoom calls).

Tom’s Story
Tom was not as happy as Donna after his 10 days with the devices. He much preferred his own hearing aids. He did like that his mask never got caught on them. His biggest issue was that he got whistling from them when he turned them up loud enough for him to hear the TV. He did enjoy the streaming capabilities. He struggled the most with pairing the devices, which may have been because he used his Bluetooth a lot for other things and the Jabra devices did not seem to respond well to intermittent connectivity.
Donna’s Story
Donna wore the devices for 10-12 hours everyday for ten days. She loved how much better she heard in group settings and in conversations with friends and family. She mentioned that after a long day she did notice that her ears would get a little sore and she thought maybe a smaller prescription hearing aid would be better for her long term, but she thought these self fitting hearing aids were great and easy to use. She would definitely consider buying them and even had several of her friends ask where they could buy them.
Linda’s Story

Linda wore the Jabra Enhance Plus 5-6 hours a day. Mostly while watching TV. She loved how much easier it was to hear the dialogue on TV. She also enjoyed hearing her husband more easily while they were having conversations. She had little difficulty connecting the devices to her app, the most difficult part of the connection that Linda had was remembering her apple password. She was really impressed with the product and the price.

Beth Story

Beth wears the Jabra Enhance Plus about an hour a day, primarily for streaming while exercising. She loves the quality of the streaming for phone calls and listening to audio books. She tried the devices in a restaurant with friends, but really struggled to adapt to her own voice and thought that it was actually harder to focus on the voices she wanted to hear over some of the other environment sounds being amplified. She really didn’t find them helpful in the classroom like she had hoped, but she admitted that only tried them once in that setting.

Jan’s Story
I'm Jan. I have enjoyed being part of this new technology. After day two I did experience right ear canal discomfort and was not able to wear the device for a few days. I feel if the device was a little bit smaller it would be more comfortable for me. I felt muffled and my own voice was hollow. After a few days I didn't notice it as much. I am not totally comfortable with new technology but found the setup for Jabra to be easy. The charging was easy, and the hearing test was relatively easy. I have normal hearing, therefore did not experience a lot of amplification. I found the app was user friendly. I would recommend them to someone who had a mild to moderate hearing loss that could not afford hearing aids.