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Earguru - We hear you

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  • Amrik Singh
  • April 17, 2018 09:31:25 AM
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A Little About Us

Is hearing loss getting you down? A few simple steps will help protect your Hearing Health and put the fun back in your life. Know more about hearing aid and how hearing can be taken care of.

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Hearing Aid Repairs? Handy Tips To Fix Them At Home

Any hearing aid problem or breakdown can upset the daily routine of people with high hearing aid usage. What can one do during a prolonged shutdown or a lockdown similar to Caronavirus or the Covid-19 epidemic? You can always learn to attend to hearing aid repairs at home. Check out these handy tips to fix your hearing aids. The post Hearing Aid Repairs? Handy Tips To Fix Them At Home appeared first on Ear Health...

For regular users of Hearing aids, they are an extension of the ears. Hearing aid repairs have to be done on priority as any hearing aid problem or breakdown can upset the daily routine of people with high hearing aid usage. Though authorized service centres are all over, what can one do during a prolonged shutdown? Or a lockdown similar to the one we are facing due to Caronavirus or the Covid-19 epidemic? With no one to attend to the hearing aid repairs, it is better to know a little about hearing aids from a user’s perspective. How they function? The hearing aid problems and, how to fix the hearing aids at home in the absence of professional repair facilities.

Hearing Aid Repairs Handy Tips To Fix Them At Home Blog feature image
Image Credits: airforcemedicine.af.mil

The common problems and the useful tips to handle minor hearing aid repairs at home will come in handy during an emergency. However, repeated instances of hearing aid repairs are avoidable if one takes regular care of the hearing aids at home. Below is a guide to troubleshooting hearing aid problems, let’s find out about the common hearing aid problems and how to fix the hearing aids at home.

Why Can’t I Hear Out Of My Hearing Aids?

A very common problem faced by many hearing aid users, you keep them safe at night, and the next morning they refuse to work.

Are Hearing Aid Repairs Possible At Home If They Are Dead?

You can fix hearing aids at home if the hearing aid is not broken or physically damaged. The first thing we should do is to inspect the hearing aids visually. In case of breakage or cracks in the shell, only an authorized service professional can repair them.

If there are no signs of physical damage, then read further to diagnose the issue. You may be in a position repair your hearing aids at home.

Is The Hearing Aid Battery Door Closed Properly?

Digital hearing aids do not have an On/Off switch; the hearing aid switches off by opening the battery door. If the battery door is not closed properly, then the hearing will not function.

Solution: Close the battery door properly. Your hearing aid may start working again. Since the battery door was not closed properly, the battery was not in contact with the terminals.

  • Is The Battery Door Not Closing?

If the battery door is not closing comfortably, do not use excessive force, it will damage the hearing aid. The reason for the battery door not closing could be that you have not inserted the battery correctly.

Solution: Remove the battery, look for the positive and negative marking on the battery as well as the hearing aid, and reinsert.

Another reason for the battery door not closing could be due to a small particle stuck in the battery door. Examine the battery drawer carefully and remove the dirt particle if any, causing the obstruction.

  • Have You Checked Your Hearing Aid Battery?

When did you last replace your hearing aid battery? Is it overdue? Even if it is not due, at times, the battery consumption increases due to other reasons.

Solution: If you have a battery checker, check the battery. If you do not have a battery checker, insert a new battery to confirm, if the hearing aid still does not work, it’s not a battery issue.

If you are using a rechargeable battery, confirm the charge level with a battery tester. It may be possible that due to some reason, they have not charged. Hearing aid batteries should be handled carefully, read how to care for your hearing aid batteries.

  • Have You Checked The Hearing Aid Listening Program Setting?

Digital hearing aids have multi-listening programs or settings. These settings change by pressing the program button. Unintentionally if the listening program switches from “Speech” to the “Telephone” mode, the microphone will cut off. For the user, the hearing aid will not give out any sound.

Solution: Press the program change button and bring it back to your regular listening program. The hearing aid may start working.

  • Have You Checked The Volume Control Setting?

Though, this is a very simple suggestion as long time users of hearing aids are fully aware of the volume settings.

Solution: Since most of the digital hearing aids have a press type switch or button, it is difficult to know the volume setting by looking at the hearing aid. It is safer to reconfirm by pressing the volume up/down key to ensuring that it’s in the right position.

My Hearing Aids Have Low Output

Your hearing aids are not dead, but your hearing aids are not loud enough to hear well. Check out the causes given below and how to fix your hearing aids.

As in the case of a dead hearing aid, first, you should examine them visually.

  • Check The Ear Moulds And The Tubing

Cleaning a Hearing Aid. blog image
Cleaning a Hearing Aid. Image compiled by EarGuru

In case you are using a BTE (Behind the Ear) or a RIC/RITE (Receiver in Canal) type of hearing aid, observe closely for wax blockage in the ear mould opening.

Solution: If you see signs of wax accumulation in the ear mould, clean the ear mould with a cleaning tool for Hearing aids, or if the dome has a wax guard, replace the wax guard.

Check for breakage in the silicone tubing if there are no signs of wax blockage in the BTE.

Solution: In case of breakage, replace the silicone tubing. BTE users should always keep spare tubing at home; it is part of the hearing aid repair kit.

For the In ITE type of hearing aids (ITC, CIC, IIC) Check the wax guard. At times, it is difficult to see the wax, as a precaution, replace the wax guard with a new one. Your hearing aid may start performing as before.

  • Check The Volume Control Setting

As mentioned above, check the press type volume control, take it to the minimum volume setting position and bring it back to the maximum position. This is possible for BTE’s and some RIC’s which have a volume button.

Check if the remote control is functioning if you are using a remote control with your hearing aids. Maybe the remote control needs a change of battery.

  • Check The Program Button Setting

Check the program setting by pressing the button and trying out other memory settings. The setting may have shifted to another program, which is compressing the sound.

  • Have Your Ears Checked For Wax

It is easy to blame the hearing device, but it is advisable to check if earwax is blocking your ear canal.

Solution: Keep your ears clean, check out these home ear cleaning tips.

Why Are My Hearing Aids Whistling?

You must be wondering, “What causes a hearing aid to squeal?”

Hearing aid whistling or hearing aid squealing is technically known as Hearing Aid Feedback or Acoustic feedback.

The features in the latest digital hearing aids have an anti-feedback feature; the hearing aid automatically detects the feedback and suppresses it or reduces it.

If your hearing aid still emits feedback, check how to stop the hearing aid squealing.

What Causes The Hearing Aid To Squeal?

The hearing aids amplify the sound picked up by the microphone; this amplified sound reaches our ear canal. If this sound leaks out of our ear, it may be picked up by the same microphone and amplified again by the hearing aid, this forms a loop which we hear as hearing aid feedback.

  • How Do I Stop My Hearing Aid From Whistling Or How Do You Fix Hearing Aid Feedback?

There are multiple reasons which cause a hearing aid to squeal. Let’s look at some of them.

  • You Have Not Worn Your Hearing Aids Properly

Whether it’s a BTE, a RIC or a CIC, any style or type of hearing aid has to fit well into the ears. If the ear mould or the CIC fits loosely, the sound will leak out and result in whistling or squealing due to hearing aid feedback.

Solution: Push the ear moulds or the ITC/CIC hearing aid into the ear canal. At times, we need to twist the hearing aid a little or pull the earlobes a little to make room for the hearing aids to get into the right fit and position.

Watch this informative video to understand better.Coutesy: Beltone (Please click on CC to enable captions)

  • Some of you must be wondering, “How far into the ear canal should a hearing aid go?”

The ear mould or the shell is as per the size and shape of the ear canal, insert till the fitting is tight but comfortable.

  • Another Question Generally Asked Is “Why Won’t My Hearing Aid Stay In My Ear?

There could be more than one reason for this:

  • The ear mould does not fit well; it may be slightly bigger; in this case, make a new mould.
  • In the case of BTE or RIC, the tube is either long or short.

Are the Ear Moulds Hurting You?

Solution: The ear mould or the dome has to be the right size and comfortable, if it’s an ITE type, the hearing aid has to be inserted into the ear canal properly. If the ear moulds or the ITC/CIC is slightly big and hurts the ear, the user will not insert it properly which will cause hearing aid feedback,

  • Is The Hearing Aid Volume Set Too High?

If the volume setting has been unknowingly disturbed, the high volume will cause hearing aid whistling.

Solution: Gradually reduce the volume to the point where the feedback stops. Check if you can hear properly at this volume setting.

Earwax accumulation can also cause hearing aid feedback as the sound bounces out without reaching the eardrum.

Solution: Clean your ears regularly, check out these home ear cleaning tips

Why Does My Hearing Aid Keep Turning Off And On?

You put on your hearing aids; they work fine for some time, and they suddenly cut out. Do you wonder why my Hearing Aid keeps cutting out? The reason could be water or moisture.

  • Are Your Hearing Aids Exposed To Sweat And Moisture?

Electronics and moisture do not get along; water can spoil a hearing aid unless your hearing aid is water-resistant. This can happen if the humidity levels are high; you were caught in the rain or forget to take off your hearing aids before a shower.

Solution: Use a stay dry box or an electric dehumidifier. Leave the hearing aid in the chamber for a few hours, do not forget to remove the battery and leave the battery compartment open. It is very important to keep hearing aids dry. Use hearing aid sweat covers if you sweat a lot. To know more, read our blog on protecting your hearing aids from rain and water. Using a good dehumidifier will reduce hearing aid repairs.

  • Have You Checked The Batteries?

Most people do not associate intermittent hearing aids with batteries. A hearing aid with a weak dying battery will function for some time and shut off. If the same cell is removed and reinserted after a few minutes, it will work for a short while.

Solution: replace the old battery with a new one. Always keep adequate stock of batteries. If you use rechargeable batteries, confirm that the batteries are sufficiently charged.

  • Why Is My Hearing Aid Distorted?

My hearing aids sound muffled, or my hearing aids sound funny or distorted are common hearing aid complaints. Hearing aid voice distortion can be a muffled sound or a crackling sound.

Solution: Check battery terminals for rust or dirt accumulation. You will notice two shiny strips inside the battery compartment; these are the positive and negative terminals which carry the current from the battery to the circuit. If any of them is rusted or has dust coating, it will not send the current efficiently giving rise to distortion. Take a cotton bud or a Q tip and clean the battery terminals.

Low batteries are also one of the reasons; please refer to the procedure given above for checking batteries.

Moisture in a hearing aid can cause distortion; humidity interferes with the working of the electronic circuit and can distort the speech.

  • How Do You Fix A Muffled Hearing Aid?

In case of muffled sound, check for dirt or earwax blocking the outlet of the ear mould or change the wax guard and test again.

In the case of BTE, check the tubing, dirt or moisture beads in the tube can cause a muffled sound.

Cleaning Kit for Hearing aids blog image
Cleaning Kit for Hearing aids. Image compiled by EarGuru

With hearing aid usage of 8 to 10 hours a day, hearing aid problems are unavoidable. Cleaning a hearing aid every night before you retire can reduce hearing aid repairs to a large extent. Use hearing aid disinfectant wipes to clean the outer shell of the hearing aid before you retire for the night. If possible, keep a cleaning kit for hearing aids at home. Check out the cleaning tools for hearing aids which are available with most hearing aid dispensers.

Author Bio
Amrik singh aroraAmrik Singh Arora  is the founder of EarGuru – the Ear Health Blog.  An Engineer by qualification, he has over 20 years of experience in the field of Hearing loss and manufacturing and sale of Hearing aids, Audiometers and Assistive listening devices. He was the Secretary of the Hearing Association of India from 2013 to 2017 and was last Associated with Starkey India as a Director-Business Development.

The post Hearing Aid Repairs? Handy Tips To Fix Them At Home appeared first on Ear Health Blog-EarGuru.


Speech Therapy Exercises For Children with Down Syndrome

Children with Down syndrome often have difficulties with their speech, language and communication skills, hence speech therapy for Down syndrome and it plays an important role in the child’s speech and language development. The post Speech Therapy Exercises For Children with Down Syndrome appeared first on Ear Health...

Yaashna Rajani Haryani

Our body is an amazing machine as it performs various complex functions with relative ease and also adheres to a biological pattern. Our physical and behavioral traits depend on our parents as we inherit their genes. Chromosomes are molecules which contain the genes that we inherit. Every human being has 46 chromosomes, at times, due to some abnormality or genetic disorder some babies are born with an extra chromosome. Babies born with an extra chromosome suffer from Down syndrome or Trisomy 21. Speech therapy for Down syndrome is highly recommended as the children have communication issues which can be successfully addressed by a Speech therapist.

Down syndrome blog feature image

What is Down Syndrome?

Downs Syndrome is a genetic disorder. It is commonly known as Trisomy 21. Down syndrome is due to a genetic condition in which there is an extra copy of a specific chromosome 21.

What Are The Common Symptoms Of Down Syndrome?

The symptoms of a Down syndrome baby include developmental and intellectual disabilities. The range is from mild to severe and the profile varies with each individual.

Children with Down syndrome can be easily identified due to their distinct facial features. The following features are common indicators but everyone may not necessarily have the same features or symptoms as there are different levels of severity of Down syndrome.

  • Short neck
  • High arched palate
  • Protruding tongue
  • Small head
  • Upward slanting eyelids (palpebral fissures)
  • Unusually shaped or small ears
  • Poor muscle tone
  • Short hands, normally broad with only one crease in the palm
  • Excessive flexibility
  • Brushfield’s Spots. These are very tiny white spots found on the iris of the eye
  • Short height

At times, children with Down syndrome also suffer from the following conditions:

  • Heart defects
  • Intestinal problems
  • Vision and hearing problems
  • Thyroid problems

How Can A Speech Therapist Help A Child With Down Syndrome?

A speech language pathologist carries out an assessment to help identify the areas in which the child is facing difficulty. These include receptive language skills, expressive language skills, play skills, social skills, semantics, syntax, articulation skills, oral motor planning and Oro-motor strengthening skills.

Based on the evaluation, the Speech Therapist will make a treatment plan to target the areas wherever the child is facing difficulties. This is generally done in the form of one on one therapy or group therapy sessions.

What Is Early Intervention?

Down syndrome is a developmental disorder. The initial years of the child’s life are very crucial for development. Any remedy provided during the initial years helps the child to bridge the gaps in the developmental delay. Children with Down syndrome experience delays in various areas and hence early intervention is highly recommended.

Physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy exercises for children are the common treatments for Down syndrome.

What is Speech, Language and Communication?

Understanding the difference in speech, language and communication is an important factor. Many times these terms are interchangeably used. Communication, by definition, is the process in which there is an exchange of information. It can be by way of speaking, writing or using some other medium. In simple words, it is the exchange of thoughts and ideas.

Language is basically a commonly used and accepted method or system of communication between human beings. It can be either spoken or written and mainly consists of the use of words in a structured and conventional way. Speech is considered as the vocalized form of communication (i.e. spoken words).

Thus it is very important to remember that the goal is not always speech but mainly communication. The speech therapist ensures that people with Down syndrome communicate effectively.

Down Syndrom Baby blog image
Speech Therapy session in progress for a Down Syndrome Baby

Why Do We Need Speech Therapy for Down Syndrome?

Children with Down syndrome often have difficulties with their speech, language and communication skills. It is noticed that some children with Down syndrome start gesturing and using signs to communicate before they learn to use speech. This is basically the development of non-verbal skills before the use of verbal skills for communication. They also face some difficulty with speech clarity and overall speech. Language skills in children with Down syndrome are often delayed, and hence there is a need for speech therapy for Down syndrome and it plays an important role in the child’s speech and language development.

How Does Down Syndrome Affect Speech Production And Language Skills?

Children with Down syndrome also suffer from the following disabilities which affect speech production and language development

  • Cognitive development or the ability of the child to think and react to situations
  • Hearing loss
  • Decreased muscle tone, strength and coordination in mouth and throat

How Do You Teach A Down Syndrome Child To Talk?

There are many pre- requites and pre-linguistic skills which are to be achieved and worked on before the child can learn to speak.

The following skills are desirable to obtain good results in Speech therapy for Down syndrome.

  • Means to end (the ability to achieve an object/ goal by some means)
  • Attending (eg turns head in response to a sound in the environment)
  • Imitation of vocal behaviour (repeating sounds and words eg gaga, mama, bye)
  • Use of object (uses the spoon for eating / stirring)
  • Object permanence (The ability to understand that even though an object is not present and cannot be felt or heard, but it still exists)
  • Visual attention (look at the speaker, look at objects)
  • Auditory skills (listening to language, music, etc. for increasingly longer times)
  • Cognitive skills (understanding cause and effect relationships, object permanence)
  • Social skills (turn-taking, such as peek-a-boo or rolling a ball back and forth)
  • Play skills (playing meaningfully with toys)
Down syndrome blog image
Activity for Down Syndrome Child

What Is A Total Communication Approach?

In speech therapy for Down syndrome, many a time speech therapists follow the total communication approach, which means a combination of verbal and non-verbal means to help the child improve his or her communication skills. These include speech, sign language, gestures, pictures and / or communication aids.

As mentioned earlier, children with Down syndrome often develop non- verbal communication before verbal communication, thus a total communication approach helps even more.

How Do You Teach A Down Syndrome Child To Communicate?

Use of basic Makaton signs including signs for more, finished, give me, and help. It is observed that using sign language with speech shows an increase in understanding and also offers the child an additional method for expression. Remember to pair the sign with verbal expression of objects, people and actions.

Provide your child with additional visual input by pointing to objects and/or pictures that you are describing as you speak.

Will Using A Total Communication Approach Delay My Child’s Speech Development?

Many studies have been commissioned to get a better understanding of this issue has shown that a total communication approach does not slow down speech development. In fact, most of the studies showed that a total communication approach increased speech production.

Basic Tips For Total Communication Approach

Provide a speech and language enriching and stimulating environment to your child. There are many activities in day to day routine that can be opportunities for you to provide speech and language skills to your child. Bath time can be used for labeling various objects like

  • Water
  • Shampoo
  • Bucket
  • Labeling actions like washing
  • Pouring
  • You can even add adjectives and get bath books
  • You can also use the time for brushing, changing clothes and eating meals etc
  • Play interactive games like peek-a-boo, pat-a-cake and bubbles.
  • Comment on sounds in your environment (e.g., doorbell, ice clinking in a glass, dog barking, etc.) to increase your child’s auditory awareness
  • Model speech for your child in every situation e.g. if the child brings a glass/ bottle of water to you, you can make the child tap your hand and you can model (emphasise lip movement) “Mumma water” for your child.
  • Follow your child’s lead. When the child picks up a toy, as a parent you should also engage in the same toy and provide modelling and language input and play along with the child.
  • Expand on your childs utterances eg. if the child says “give me the ball” you can expand by saying “give me the red ball.”
  • Respond positively to all attempts at communication (“Oh you signed more! More what? Do you want to play the ball more? Once the child begins to attempt to say or sign the words you are modelling for him / her, you must praise them for their efforts, eg. “Oh that’s good”

Does Singing Help In Speech Therapy For Down Syndrome?

Singing is another good opportunity to improve the Childs speech and language skills. You can encourage the child to fill in words, gestures and sound effects.

Remember to be face to face with the child and use facial expressions to engage the child better. Also singing slowly and pausing allows your child to really hear the words and fill in. Also, use actions and gestures.

You can also make up songs for your daily routine.

Speech Therapy blog image
Parents involvement with Down Syndrome Child

How Does Play Help The Child With Down Syndrome?

Play is a great opportunity to promote speech and language skills. Engage the child in anticipatory games like ready, set and go. Using functional objects within play also helps.

Pretend play can be used to expand your Childs speech and language skills. Toys which can be used for the same include:

  • Dolls with accessories
  • Kitchen/ cooking items/ foods
  • Workbench/ tool kit
  • School bus and other vehicles
  • Farmhouse with animals
  • Dollhouse or garage
  • House cleaning set
  • Toy telephone
  • Doctor kit

Play can also help to promote motor and verbal imitation and encourage command following and social skills like taking turns.

How Do Books Help The Child With Down Syndrome?

Reading word and wordless books help improve the Childs speech and language skills. The idea is not just to read the story but to engage the child, try and use books with more pictures and less text. Act out the characters in the story by animating or changing your voice, hand movements and facial expressions. This will keep the child engrossed and attentive and increase his interest in the storybook.

Ensure that your child is pro-active and interacts by identifying pictures. Encourage your child to choose the storybook he likes, let him or her remove the book from the shelf, go to the right page and turn the pages as the story progresses. When the child repeatedly picks up the book he likes and is familiar with the story, you should pause mid-sentence while story-telling and encourage him/her to finish the sentence. The child can finish the sentence on his/her own using a mix of gestures, words and sounds

Hygiene for children with Down syndrome blog image
Oral hygiene lesson for Down Syndrome Child

Other Related Recommended Speech Therapy Exercise For Down Syndrome

  • Take pictures of your Child’s items and things they see in their environment, encourage them to point to those items.
  • The pictures can be of their preferred food, a favourite toy or other items in their surroundings
  • Point to the pictures as you talk about or show the objects to help build your child’s understanding of symbols. When you are talking about an object make sure you point to it if in a book and/ or show the real object to help the child associate the word to the object.
  • Show two pictures to give a choice between activities (“Do you want to play ball or play with your toy cars?”)
  • Make a book of pictures of daily activities and objects that your child can use to make choices or talk about the day
  • Make a visual schedule for everyday routines (e.g. wake-up, use the bathroom, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, playtime)

Speech Therapy For Down Syndrome To Improve Muscular Strength

Children with Down syndrome often exhibit low muscle tone and hence Speech Language Pathologists suggest Oro-motor Exercises for the same. Especially the tongue movements, many a time the movements are sluggish and thus the speech shows imprecise pronunciations. The tongue of children with Down syndrome appears thick and slightly larger in size and many a time tongue thrust (see footnote for details) is observed.

The following activities help to develop tongue strength and mobility.

  • Encourage your child to lick food substances from a spoon
  • Offer them lollipops and encourage the child to lick it.
  • Place food on the child’s lips and encourage him/her to lick the food.
  • Encourage the child to blow hard, for e.g. difficult-to-blow whistles, party horns and continuous blowing, e.g. bubbles.
  • Straw-drinking with long, thin straws and thickened liquids, for e.g. juices, smoothies, milkshakes.
  • Put small pieces of easy to melt jelly sweets in the child’s mouth, push the sweets towards the cheeks.
  • Pull faces in the mirror – encourage your child to copy you or make them move their tongue up and down and side to side.

How Does Articulation As Speech Therapy Exercise Help Children With Down Syndrome?

In children with Down syndrome articulation or clarity of speech is often affected. The Speech Therapist carries out a detailed articulation assessment to find out the error in sounds, the types of errors and the position of the sound in error. Based on the evaluation results, the pathologist starts the therapy. Sounds are initially targeted in the isolation level followed by syllables, words and then phrases, sentences and regular conversation.

Below Are Some Tips To Work On Articulation

  • Make sure your child can see your mouth when you speak; the child needs to understand the placement in order to produce the correct sound.
  • Model clear articulation: When modelling speech for a child with downs syndrome we need to remember to articulate each sound correctly and slowly.
  • Using a mirror in the therapy session will greatly help the child with articulation. By looking into the mirror, the child notices the exact position of the tongue, lips, and teeth. The child makes use of the mirror to observe the mouth and repeats the exercise until he can produce the correct sound and words.
  • You can help the child by providing auditory, visual and tactile cues for the same.

You can also play games like:

  • Rolling the dice and saying the target words that many numbers of times.
  • Draw small squares on a piece of paper and colour them or cross them out after you have mentioned the word.
  • Take turns blowing bubbles. Have your child say one of their words before their turn to blow the bubbles.
  • Treasure hunt using the target words
  • Fishing game with target word sounds.

Speech Therapy for Down Syndrome is a highly recommended approach to improve the communication skills of the child. Parents are advised to approach a Speech Language Pathologist for a proper evaluation and assessment.

Important Information for Parents:

Parents seeking consultation and advise can contact Ms. Yaashna Rajani Haryani by mentioning your contact details here or in the comments section below for a free consultation.

Note:

Tongue thrust (also called “reverse” or “immature” swallow is the common name given to oro-facial muscular imbalance, a human behavioural pattern in which the tongue protrudes through the anterior incisors during swallowing, speech and while the tongue is at rest.

References:

About the Author
Yaashna Rajani Speech Language PathologistYaashna Rajani Haryani is an Audiologist & Speech Language Pathologist holding a Bachelors & Masters Degree from the National Institute of Hearing Handicapped, Mumbai. Her research has been published in the International Journal of Science & Applied Research, Global Journal of Otolaryngology, and Asian Academic Research Journal. She has also presented her research at various conferences like the International Developmental Paediatrics Association (IDPA) Congress, Indian Speech & Hearing Association Conference, and the PHONO-Con. She is currently attached to Godrej Memorial Hospital, Vikhroli, Dr. Indu Khosla’s Newborn & Child Care Centre, Little Joys Paediatric Rehabilitation Centre, Andheri West ,  and  Dr. Deshpande’s Clinic, Kharghar.

The post Speech Therapy Exercises For Children with Down Syndrome appeared first on Ear Health Blog-EarGuru.


The Tinnitus & Stress Link

Some say that their tinnitus is extremely distressing, affecting routine, sleep and communication. This severity is generally caused by the amount of stress that the person is under. Read about the theories behind this link and how we can seek change and relief. The post The Tinnitus & Stress Link appeared first on Ear Health...

Paul Harrison

Tinnitus and stress blog feature image

Currently, tinnitus affects one in eight adults in the UK and the severity of this condition depends somewhat on the person.  While some state their tinnitus doesn’t cause them too many problems in their daily lives – others say that their tinnitus is extremely distressing.  Affecting routine, sleep and communication.  This severity is generally caused by the amount of stress that the person is under.  The higher the level of stress, the more acute the tinnitus seems to be.  Here we discuss the theories behind this link and how we can seek change and relief.

Back to basics – what is stress?

We will all experience stress in different parts of our lives and it will generally show its ugly self when we are not balanced.  When demands of life are not matched by our own resources.  On the other hand, stress can also manifest when you have little to do or to occupy yourself with.

Small levels of stress aren’t considered to be detrimental to your health and well-being.  A certain amount of this can be a trigger to help you focus on and maintain a more determined mindset.  Stress hormones are released, and this helps our bodies to attain certain goals and be proactive in tackling a challenging situation.  However, in this blog we are focusing on stress from a long-term perspective and how it can ultimately bring difficulties to our body and mind.

So, why is tinnitus & stress linked?

People either act calm and neutral or react negatively when faced with tinnitus.  It usually depends on how the specific person views the condition.  Let me explain, for people who are stressed with their tinnitus symptoms are those who generally perceive it as hopeless and restricting.  They are also the individuals who are unable to believe that they will ever find relief, they are misunderstood, and feel people don’t ‘get’ this invisible condition.  Unfortunately, people fear or don’t understand what they can’t see.  Resentment for the condition grows and a deep feeling of wanting to escape the episodes they are experiencing increases over time.  These thoughts continue to spiral and can cause considerable impact on wellbeing.

However, it is important to know that there is no medical confirmation that stress causes tinnitus – but it is an emotional factor.  What is commonly known, is that the condition can start at points of your life with high amounts of stress or after a period of stress.  Tinnitus also worsens with stress and becomes quite a heavy burden to carry.  A vicious cycle – where each stress impacts the other.

Gain from understanding

If you try to see that the link between tinnitus and stress is solely down to taking into account, the role of attention – you can see the link more clearly.  In short, our role of attention is what we choose to focus on in our environment.  What we consciously draw attention to or what we don’t and decide to block out.  We simply get used to it in the background.  We habituate.

When you are experiencing high levels of stress you lose the ability to filter sounds or distractions out.  You become more sensitive to it and it translates into a form of threat.  This is why tinnitus is heavily linked to stress – if you label this condition as stressful then you will sadly focus on it.  You can’t habituate the same.  In result, tinnitus seems to be both louder and overwhelming.  Thus, explaining why tinnitus could jump-start or worsen when you are experiencing high levels of stress.

Tinnitus and Stress blog image
Yoga can reduce stress

Instigate change

Making simple changes in your everyday routine can be the game-changer you need to manage your tinnitus and stress levels better.  In simple terms, turn your focus on to something more interesting and distracting.  To find a more positive perspective to tinnitus and to relieve its symptoms, here are a few ideas that are worth implementing in your life:

  1. Have moments of quiet and reflective time to yourself.
  2. Partake in a new activity and hobby.
  3. Socialise more regularly.
  4. Exercise
  5. Practice mindfulness and/or yoga.
  6. Find comfort in the support of friends and family.
  7. Regularly visit a counsellor or therapist. A happy mind promotes a happy body and life.
  8. Try and reduce the challenges in your life that cause you stress and anxiety.
  9. Listen to music, audiobooks and podcasts to distract yourself from the symptoms of tinnitus.
  10. Contact your audiologist who could recommend various types of medication that can help aid relief.
Paul Harrison photo
Author Bio
This article was written by our friend, Paul Harrison, BSHAA council member & founder of Hearing Aid UK.

The post The Tinnitus & Stress Link appeared first on Ear Health Blog-EarGuru.


Sudden Hearing Loss Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Sudden Hearing Loss is an unexpected loss of hearing which is immediate and takes place overnight or over a period of a few days. It is a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment. Medication within 14 days is very effective. The post Sudden Hearing Loss Symptoms, Causes and Treatment appeared first on Ear Health...

Dr. Preeti Talwar

Sudden Hearing Loss or Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss is an unexpected loss of hearing which is immediate and takes place overnight or over a period of a few days. In normal cases of sensorineural hearing loss, the loss progresses slowly over a period of months or years. Sudden Sensorineural deafness occurs due to a defect in the inner ear or the sensory part of our ear. In some cases, people with normal hearing realize they have deafness when they get up the next morning. Some people realize they have a hearing problem when they try to use the phone in the affected ear and cannot hear clearly. The intensity of sudden hearing loss differs from person to person and can be from mild to severe. One should not neglect sudden deafness and if left untreated, the loss can become permanent.

Sudden Hearing Loss Blog feature image

Why Have I Suddenly Gone Deaf In One Ear?

Since the loss is sudden and unexpected, the first thought which crosses one’s mind is ‘Why have I suddenly gone deaf in one ear? Since this type of deafness is not very common, not many people know that this is a sign of sudden single sided deafness and they should seek medical help as soon as possible.

Can You Suddenly Go Deaf In One Ear?

The answer is yes, however it affects a very small percentage of people.  Sudden Sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) is mostly unilateral hearing loss or is hearing loss in one ear. Less than 10% of the recorded cases are of hearing loss in both ears, some studies claim that sudden bilateral hearing loss cases are in the range of 1-2%.

 What Does Sudden Deafness Feel Like?

People who experience sudden deafness in one ear experience a variety of symptoms which may vary from person to person. Some experience a sudden muffled hearing in one ear; they experience difficulty in following conversations and are unable to hear if the background noise is high. Some suffer from high frequency hearing loss and find it difficult to hear high-pitched sounds. People also suffer from dizziness, balance issues or vertigo and tinnitus (ringing in the ears)

How Common Is Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss In One Ear?

Sudden deafness is not as common as other types of hearing loss. Between one to six persons per 5000 suffer from this problem. The August issue of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery record the figure as 66,000 cases per year in the United States. In fact, the figure could be higher as some cases often go unrecorded.

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I cannot hear anyone on the phone

What Are The Symptoms Of Sudden Deafness?

Majority of the people experience a “pop” in the ear before the hearing deteriorates. People experience a variety of symptoms like

  • Sudden muffled hearing in one ear
  • Fullness or stuffed or clogged ears
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of sensation in the pinna of the ear (the soft part of the earlobe)
  • Ear balance problems or vertigo
  • Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
  • Difficulty in hearing high- pitched sounds or High frequency hearing loss

Is Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss An Emergency?

Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss in one ear or sudden deafness noticed overnight or over a few days is a medical emergency. In Audiological or medical terms, if the loss of hearing is in the range of 30 dB and above in 3 connected or consecutive frequencies, it is most probably a case of sudden deafness.

People do not rush to the Doctor as the first option is to wait for some time expecting it to clear by itself or try self-treatment. People do not consider it as an emergency and try cures for allergies, check for earwax and also some home remedies like gargling with warm water etc before they consult an ENT doctor. Sudden deafness is mostly permanent in nature, however, early treatment may restore some of the loss. A window of 14 days is considered crucial for effective treatment, the chances of recovery decrease if the treatment starts after 2 weeks.

What Are the Causes of Sudden Hearing Loss?

Different kind of disorders affecting the ear can lead to Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss or SSHL. Only in 10% of the cases, a clear identifiable cause is diagnosed. SSHL is known as Idiopathic Hearing loss or hearing loss due to unrecognized causes. The factors which could lead to Sudden deafness are:

  • A tumour on the auditory nerve
  • Infectious diseases like Lyme Disease
  • Autoimmune diseases (Cogan’s syndrome)
  • Trauma to the head or spine
  • Exposure to ototoxic drugs
  • Reduced blood circulation to the ear
  • Prolonged exposure to loud sounds
  • Continuous stress
  • Untreated chronic middle ear infection
  • Neurological problems like Multiple Sclerosis and inner ear disorders like Meniere’s disease.

How Is Sudden Hearing Loss Identified?

After a preliminary look into the ear with an otoscope to check for temporary blockages and infection, the doctor will direct you to the Audiologist for a pure tone Audiometry test. If the audiometry test results show that the loss is in 3 connecting frequencies and the drop in hearing level is 30 dB, this will confirm the diagnoses of sudden deafness.

The doctor can further advise test like MRI test (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and ABR (Auditory Brainstem Response) to narrow down on the exact cause of deafness.

How Long Does Sudden Deafness Last?

One of the important factors in early recovery from sudden deafness is the time of starting the treatment. Right diagnosis and treatment improve the chances of recovery; however, it also depends on the cause. One should visit a doctor immediately if one experiences the above symptoms and avoid self-treatment or unnecessary delay. People treated within the first 14 days showed a higher recovery rate. The recommended treatment is the use of corticosteroids. People suffering from Mild to Moderate sudden deafness have a 60% chance of recovery. Treatment started after 2 weeks has shown very poor chances of recovery.

What Are the Treatments for Sudden Hearing Loss?

The recommended treatment for Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss is the immediate use of corticosteroids over a period of 2 to 3 weeks.

Antibiotics are also prescribed if the cause is infection. People should be particular about their diet and medicines if they are suffering from diabetes, cardiac problems and hypertension, keeping these diseases in control can also help in early recovery.

In case, the person is under treatment for another ailment and the medicines are the cause of ototoxicity, the doctor will change the medicines to reduce ototoxicity.

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Audiogram Report of improvement in hearing after treatment

Do Steroids Help in Sudden Deafness?

Steroids are beneficial when the cause of sudden deafness is unknown. Corticosteroids act immediately to reduce inflammation and decrease swelling. Doctors generally prescribe Intratympanic Steroid therapy or injecting steroids into the middle ear as research has shown this procedure as a more effective method.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Sudden Hearing Loss?

There is a healthy recovery in 32-79% of the cases if the treatment starts within the first two weeks. The chances of complete hearing recovery are less for patients if the sudden Sensorineural hearing loss is accompanied by vertigo, tinnitus or is severe to profound. Lower the age, better are the chances of a complete recovery.

Since the cases of sudden deafness are very low, it is natural that people are not very well informed compared to other types of hearing loss.

We answer some of the FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) for the benefit of our readers.

  • Is Sudden Hearing Loss A Sign Of A Stroke?

People who experience Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss are vulnerable to a stroke. Any symptoms of sudden deafness is a warning, a complete health check is a must to avoid an actual stroke which might take place in the near future.

  • What Causes Sudden Hearing Loss in the Elderly?

The chances of getting SSHL is higher in the age group of 50 to 60 years, the problem could be hereditary or occur because of the changes in the inner ear and the auditory nerve. Scientists feel that the changes could be due to exposure to noise throughout life and other damaging factors which slowly wear down the ear’s delicate machinery. Diseases like Diabetes, Hypertension, Cardiac problems increase the chances of SSHL among the elderly.

  • Can Neurological Problems Cause Hearing Loss?

Auditory Neuropathy or nerve deafness is the disruption of impulses travelling from the inner ear to the brain. The person can hear but cannot understand resulting in poor speech discrimination. Though it is a hearing loss it’s not considered as SSHL.

  • Which Illnesses Causes Sudden Hearing Loss?

A number of diseases like Meningitis, Mumps, Cytomegalovirus, Jaundice and Chickenpox can lead to Hearing Loss in one ear. Read about the common diseases which cause hearing loss.

  • Can Stress Cause Sudden Hearing Loss?

Our body responds to stress which leads to overproduction of adrenaline, this lessens the blood flow to the ears, which affects hearing leading to damage of ear cells. This can lead to Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss. Read more on how stress affects our hearing.

  • Can Earwax Cause Sudden Hearing Loss?

Our ear secretes earwax in the canal to protect our ear from dust and water. Excessive secretion of earwax can lead to ear blockage which in turn can lead to hearing loss. However, this loss is temporary.

  • Can A Viral Infection Affect Your Ears?

A particular group of viral infections can cause direct damage to the inner ear structure. Some others can cause inflammation leading to damage and a few can increase susceptibility to bacterial and fungal infection. All these can lead to hearing loss.

  • How Do I Know If My Hearing Loss Is Permanent Or Temporary?

As soon as one notices any change in hearing one should pay a visit to the doctor to confirm the type of hearing loss. It can be temporary if it’s due to ear infection or excessive earwax.  Or it can be permanent if its noise induced, genetic, trauma induced or due to ototoxicity. Pure Tone Audiometry Test can determine the type of loss.

References

The post Sudden Hearing Loss Symptoms, Causes and Treatment appeared first on Ear Health Blog-EarGuru.


Communication and the Hearing Impaired

Communication is very important for the hearing impaired. Dr. Niharika, MBBS our guest blogger is hearing impaired and wants people to know the difference between the deaf and people with normal hearing. The post Communication and the Hearing Impaired appeared first on Ear Health...

If we go by the dictionary meaning of both the words, communication and Hearing Impaired, they should not be in the same sentence. Grammatically speaking the sentence is an oxymoron. As per the Oxford dictionary an oxymoron is “a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction”. In our case, it may not be entirely true. This sentence is not an oxymoron. Communication is very important for people who are hearing impaired. I am a hearing impaired person or as some say, Hard of hearing and would like to share my practical experience and thoughts on communicating as a hearing impaired person and the challenges we face on regular basis.

Communicating and the Hearing Impaired blog image
communicating with a hearing impaired person

First of all people need to understand that there is a big difference between the hard of hearing and people with normal hearing. .At times, I might say, the difference is huge! We are often misunderstood, people think we are not good at handling situations, or capable of sharing the problems of others or even lack a sense of humour. Well, it’s definitely wrong. We are capable of all the above and much more, what we want is that normal hearing people should be a little more proactive in understanding our situation.

Common Situations Faced By the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

I am listing below some of the common problems we face due to the mind-set and reaction of some people.

  1. The moment people realize that we are hearing impaired, they stare at us as if we were aliens. They fail to understand that our issue is only our inability to hear well; otherwise we are perfectly normal and equal in all respects. At times we are better qualified than most.
  2. Once the fact, that we are hearing impaired sinks in, people feel that we need sympathy, but hello! We do not need sympathy. This attitude has made us hate the word “sympathy”. So people, kindly do not sympathize with us, all we need is a little patience from you.
  3. Some people think that we are dependent on others just because we have a hearing loss, well folks; this is not true at all. We are not dependent on anyone. All we want is that you should speak clearly while facing us, so we can lip read you. Or be polite and repeat yourself if we happen to miss a few words.
Communication and the Hearing Impaired blog feature image
Ideal distance while talking to the deaf

4. We do have some limitations, yes we do. Doesn’t everyone? We cannot whisper, nor can we pick up whispers. But yes, we can certainly read facial expressions and to a large extent understand what’s going on.

5. We usually face trust issues, because of our hearing loss, we don’t discuss too much about ourselves. People think we are introverts, we are not. We do share our thoughts and secrets, but with people who understand us.

6. We may lack a little in hearing properly, but we are very good at listening to your eyes talk and your body language.

7. Most people think that talking about our deafness or our hearing aids is rude. Well, it’s not. We will be happy to discuss about our hearing aids and also flaunt its latest features like Bluetooth compatibility and internet connectivity.

8. Yes, we do have a little problem with loud parties and rock concerts. We prefer interaction in silent environments or staying at home reading or watching television.

Do we seem like someone who is always complaining? Not entirely true. We also enjoy the advantages of being hearing impaired.

Advantages of Being Hard of Hearing

We can cut off people who are toxic or plain boring. It’s like switching off our hearing aids or removing the batteries. And the world goes silent; at times silence is the best feeling ever. Yes, we can be wicked!

We perfectly understand that not all words are intended to be heard. God has given us the power to ignore negativity, keep toxic people out of our lives. Cherish this gift and always stay positive. There are pros and cons for every situation, we should try focusing on the tiny rays straight from the heavenly skies and not on the black hole in the universe. This helps us to stay calm.

We understand the feeling of being understood, our inability to hear well has given us the gift of compassion and understanding. We do not listen to others for the sake of listening; we genuinely listen to others irrespective of our hearing loss and personal problems.

My Advice on Communication to the Hearing Impaired

My personal advice to the hearing impaired people is not to consider deafness as a disability. Accept it, overcome it and be confident in what you are doing. With this attitude you will notice a huge difference in others attitude towards us.

Our confidence will enhance our personality. Work on building an identity rather than mourning about the deafness. Think about what you have rather than what you don’t have, communicate with others as if you are not hearing impaired. I know it’s difficult, but it’s all about acceptance and attitude and yes, we can do it. The idea is to move forward, our positive body language and smile can help us handle any situation.

The difference between reaching our destination and staying back is a positive mind-set and our communication skills.

Editors Note: Read our blog on tips to communicate with the deaf.

Author Bio

Dr. Niharika from North India is our 22 year old guest blogger. She suffers from moderate to severe Sensorineural hearing loss. Her disability has not stopped her from pursuing her goals. She has completed her MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine) from Punjab Institute of Medical Science and is planning to enrol for MD (Doctor of Medicine)

The post Communication and the Hearing Impaired appeared first on Ear Health Blog-EarGuru.


Benefits of Speech Therapy for Stammering

Globally, around 10% of the children stammer, which reduces as they grow up, and only 25% of them suffer from a permanent stammer. Speech therapy for stammering is recommended for its benefits. Checkout the speech therapy exercises The post Benefits of Speech Therapy for Stammering appeared first on Ear Health...

Children at times stop mid-sentence with their mouth open searching for an elusive word. It is perfectly normal if this happens occasionally, but if this happens too often, it could be a sign of stammering or stuttering. Stammering or stuttering is a common speech-related problem among children. Around 10% of the children stammer, which reduces as they grow up, and only 25% of them suffer from a permanent stammer. Parents should be observant, and if they notice that the stammer is not reducing but is increasing, they should consult a Speech therapist or a Speech-Language Pathologist for confirmation and guidance. Speech therapy for stammering is recommended for its benefits.

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What Is Stammering?

Stammering is a speech disorder affecting fluency or speech communication, as it obstructs the normal flow of speech. Globally, more than 70 million people suffer from stammering or stuttering. Males are at four time’s higher risk than females.

What Are The Symptoms Of Stuttering Or Stammering?

Children suffering from stuttering or stammering display one of the following patterns

  • Repetition

There is an interruption in the speech by repetition or repeating the same sound or word again and again, for example “and…and…and I wanted to know”. Also the repetition of the same syllable as  “C..C..C…Come h..h..here”.

  • Prolongation

The person suffering from stammering tends to prolong some words; for example, “Ssssssshear ssummer is beautiful.”

  • Stoppages or Blockages

In this case, the person’s mouth and facial muscles form to speak the word, but others do not hear any word or sound.

What Are The Other Symptoms of Stuttering or Stammering?

  • Additional body movements like shifting legs, body, change in posture, clenching of fists and building of muscle tension around the mouth and face as the child tries to speak. The child avoids looking directly while speaking.
  • Change in breathing; the breathing will become irregular. The child will either try to hold his breath or take a deep breath
  • Some children realise and immediately switch words or use another word
  • Twitching of the facial muscles and rapid blinking of eyes is another indicator

What Causes Stammering in Children?

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Speech Disorder in Children

According to Medical science, there is no single or one reason. Different reasons and situations can affect people differently as the stammering pattern for all are not the same. Let us explore some of the reasons which can cause stammering in children.

  • Is Stammering Hereditary?

Studies confirm that stammering is hereditary and genetics do play an important role. In most cases, a close family member has a stammering problem.

  • Is Stammering Connected To Delayed Speech Development?

Experts have found a strong link between stammering and other speech related problems in children. Chances of a child stammering are more if he or she also has other speech problems. In this case, it hampers the child’s verbal delivery due to the already delayed speech development. This type of stammer is also known as Developmental Stammering.

  • What Is Neurogenic Stammering?

Neurogenic Stammering means stammering or stuttering caused by defects or problems in the nervous system. The causes are as follows:

  • A stroke or a physical injury to the head affecting the brain
  • A heart attack or a blockage stopping the flow of blood to the head
  • Tumour in the region of the brain
  • Meningitis is also one of the reasons

 

  • Does Anxiety and Stress Cause Stammering?

At one time, medical science believed that Psychogenic factors or anxiety and stress were the primary cause. Recent studies have shown that they are not the primary cause but do play an important role and is a trigger. This is also known as Psychogenic stammering.

Recent studies have shown that in some cases, the brain processes speech in a slightly different manner than in people with do not stammer.

Though some children may stammer, but their intelligence or intellectual capabilities are not below others in any way compared to those who do not stammer. Their inability to speak fluently makes them self-conscious, withdrawn and shy fearing embarrassment.

At What Age Should You Worry About Stammering in Children?

Children normally stammer from age one to five years. Interruptions in speech can be irregular and may disappear at times. If the child does not stammer for days together and then stammers a little, it could be excitement or a new learning experience. But if on an average a child stammers more than 10%, it is advisable to consult a Speech therapist.

Is There a Cure for Stammering?

There are various methods to treat or cure stammering, however the benefits of Speech therapy for stammering are much higher than the other treatments.

The cures for stammering are:

  1. Speech Therapy for Stammering
  2. CBT or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  3. Using Electronic Feedback Devices
  4. Medication
  5. Parent-Child Interaction

Is Speech Therapy for Stammering Effective?

Speech therapy for stammering in children is the most effective treatment. Once the diagnosis of stammering is confirmed, start regular speech therapy exercises. A speech therapist can cure stammering in children as well as adults.

Share the child’s medical history with the speech therapist to enable them to understand the case better. Once the speech therapist is familiar with the child’s medical history, he or she will start with the speech therapy exercises.

The speech therapy exercises help in strengthening the organs responsible for speech. Breathing exercises are also an important part of the therapy. The exercises help in strengthening the following parts responsible for speech:

  • The tongue
  • Jaws
  • Lips and facial muscles
  • Lungs
  • The windpipe or the trachea

What Are the Speech Therapy Exercises for Stammering?

The speech therapist will customise the exercises as all cases of stammering are not identical. Some of the common exercises are as under:

  • Strengthening Of The Tongue And Jaws

The child should keep the mouth open and roll back the tongue. The tongue should touch the roof of the mouth towards the back as close to the throat as possible.

Now roll the tongue out and stretch it in the front, the tongue should come out of the mouth and try to reach the chin. Exercising daily strengthens the tongue. Keeping the mouth open for the tongue exercises also helps to strengthen the jaw muscles.

  • The Straw Speech Therapy Technique

Drinking through or sucking is a helpful speech therapy exercise. The sucking action keeps the tongue stationed throughout the sucking procedure. This helps in tongue control.

  • The Pause And Speak Speech Therapy Technique

The child should pause after every two to three words in a pre-decided manner. This gives them a better speech control and helps in reducing stammering.

  • Breathing Exercises To Reduce Stammering

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Breathing Exercises for Stammering

Breathing exercises are very important. Proper rhythmic breathing technique helps in strengthening the lungs and draw in more oxygen which helps the brain. Use the stomach for deep breathing exercises and not the chest.

Yoga exercises are beneficial for breathing techniques and strengthening the muscles involved.

  • Vowel Pronouncing Technique

The child should pronounce all the vowels from A, E, to U loudly and clearly. This helps to exercise the tongue as well as the facial muscles.

  • Slow Speaking Exercise

Most children stammer as they tend to speak fast. The child should stand in front of the mirror and speak slowly. This helps in better coordination between the tongue and the brain due to the audio-visual feedback received by looking in the mirror.

  • The Reading Exercise Technique

The child should read aloud slowly and pronounce each word in a relaxed atmosphere. It takes away the fear and anxiety of mispronunciation. Continuous practice will improve communication skills.

  • Selection of Words

Some children stammer on particular words, and these words become a trigger for stammering. The speech therapist can help them overcome the fear of using these trigger words, or the child can avoid these words.

  • How Does CBT or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Cure Stammering?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a treatment for many behavioural issues and not only stammering. The therapist counsels the child and changes their approach or behaviour. In the case of stammering CBT helps to lower anxiety and social phobias.

CBT is helpful if the stammer is minor and due to anxiety, stress build-up or anything psychological in nature. It does not help much if it is due to physical injuries.

  • How Do Use of Electronic Feedback Devices Cure Stammering

The Delayed Auditory Feedback device is an electronic device. It consists of a microphone, a set of headphones and the electronic device with controls. The child speaks into the microphone and hears the speech back into his ears through the headphones with a slight delay. The use of electronic DAF or Delayed Auditory Feedback device is based on the theory that if a child speaks along with others or in chorus, it helps in reducing stammer. In this case, the child speaks along with the DAF and not another person. This effect is the choral effect.

  • Do Medicines Help In Reducing Stammering?

There are no medicines formulated to cure stammering, most doctors prescribe anti-anxiety and anti-depressant drugs. These medicines work along with other therapy methods for curing stammering. Medicines are not a direct treatment or a cure for stammering. These drugs are only useful when stress or anxiety levels are high and are not prescribed throughout the treatment, which may last for a few months.

  • Advantages of Parent-Child Interaction in Reducing Stammering

The first step in therapy starts at home. Parents should change the way they speak to their child. Some simple changes can help the child come out of the shell and not be conscious of the speech disorder.

  • Parents should speak slowly and clearly in a pleasing tone
  • Encourage the child to speak, and parents should listen attentively
  • Make eye contact at all times while talking
  • Do not interrupt or fill in words while the child is talking , give them time to finish speaking
  • Talk and interact as much as possible. Discuss games, happenings at school or friends, stories etc.
  • Maintain a happy and relaxed family atmosphere and parents should not argue in front of the children
  • Do not correct the child or ask them to speak clearly
  • Use small sentences to communicate

What Causes Stammering in Adults?

Stammering in adults, also known as Adult Dysfluency can occur at any age. The primary reasons are:

  • Spastic Dysphonia in Adults

Adults suffering from Spastic Dysphonia have a blockage or an involuntary muscle movement of the larynx or the voice box. Spastic Dysphonia can also be caused by an injury to the larynx or a severe cold. This can also happen in the middle ages.

  • Neurogenic Stammering in Adults

Similar to the children, neurogenic stammering can happen in adults as well, most of the reasons are common.

  • A stroke or a physical injury to the head affecting the brain
  • A heart attack or a blockage stopping the flow of blood to the head
  • Tumour in the region of the brain
  • Diseases such as Parkinson’s

 

  • Psychogenic Stammering In Adults

Working adults too suffer from psychogenic stammering. The high levels of work stress and inability to cope with other demands in real life can be a trigger in adults.

Can Adults Benefit From Speech Therapy?

Speech Therapy for Adults blog post image
Speech Therapy for Adults

Elders and adults also benefit from speech therapy. In the case of adults, the treatment focuses on the underlying psychological reasons. Treating the underlying issues is important unless the stammer is due to a physical accident. Adults should not hesitate to start treatment as the stammer will affect their professional growth. Withdrawing from active social life due to stammer can result in depression.

Adults can also join self-help groups on popular social media platforms. Support groups are very helpful as the group members discuss practical experiences and help each other.

There is no miracle cure for stammering. Though all the above suggested therapies help, the benefits of speech therapy for stammering are universally proven. Teletherapy or Online Speech therapy for stammering is also possible within the comforts on one’s house.

The post Benefits of Speech Therapy for Stammering appeared first on Ear Health Blog-EarGuru.


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