Ear Nose & Throat

On Saturday March 24th our guests were Dr. Colin Driscoll and Dr.  Doug Sladen.  They are both otorhinolaryngologists (ENT- ear, nose and throat) at Mayo Clinic Rochester.  We concentrated hearing issues that patients have at every age.

Medical Edge Weekend 3-24-12


  1. Eadie
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Is there any treatment or cure for tinnitus?

    • Eadie
      Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

      Also, why does aspirin make the ringing worse?

      • Tracy
        Posted March 29, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

        Dr. Driscoll says, “We don’t know for sure why. This sometimes happens with aspirin or red wine. It is only temporary and reversible.”

  2. Ann Oswald
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    I have been amazed at the number of people who have been undergoing ear candling instead of seeking proper medical care. Could you please inform us of your observations and the hazards of doing this?

    • Tracy
      Posted March 29, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Dr. Driscoll says there is no benefit to candling. “None at all!”

  3. Juanita Aase
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    I was diagnosed with otosclerosis. The ENT physician recommended a stapedectomy, which I consented to. When he got in he found lots of calcifications and just scraped them away. That helped for a short period of time but now having difficulty again. Do you have anything to recommend for me? I won’t be able to listen to the radio show beings I’m in ND, I don’t think so would appreciate any feedback. Thank you.

    • Tracy
      Posted March 29, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Dr. Driscoll encourages you to seek out a second opinion. “Try to find a surgeon that specializes in ear surgery or specifically stapedectomy.”

  4. Ann Hanson
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Will the miracle ear allow an elderly person to hear better than regular hearing aides? We have been professionally tested and were told H/A’s would not improve the hearing due to the loss being degenerative due to age. The problems are not being able to hear in crowds, also soft voices. also loud noises pierce the ear.

    • Tracy
      Posted March 29, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Dr. Sladen says “Miracle Ear is a brand name, not a specific type of hearing aid. When you buy Miracle Ear you are buying the name. They are a fine product, but the same as other non-branded aides.”

    Posted March 20, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    I have really loud tinnitus. I am currently doing exercises recommended by my ear doctor. Do you have other suggestions?

    • Tracy
      Posted March 29, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      The American Tinnitus Association might offer some other strategies for you to try. http://www.ata.org

  6. Anita W.
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    My daughter, who is 8 yrs old, was born with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss – mild to moderate. The cause of the hearing loss has never been determined. She was fitted with hearing aids at the age of 2 months… and 8 years later, it is still a HUGE struggle to keep the aids in her ears. She will only keep the aids in during school hours (she has FM receivers attached). I also believe she has other sensory issues with the aids… she doesn’t like the “fullness” feeling when the molds are in her ears. Our audiologist offers suggestions, makes tweaks to the molds, but nothing works. I think we are our dear audiologist’s nightmare case. :o)

    BOTTOM LINE… have you worked with the pediatric crowd? Do you have any suggestions that make hearing aids MORE TOLERABLE? ALSO… are you aware of any cutting edge alternatives to current hearing aids?

    • Sara
      Posted March 24, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      Hi Anita, I have moderate to severe bilateral sensorineural hearing loss very similar to your daughter’s. I am about to be 30, and I can attest that my parents struggled with the same thing you are going through. Even my husband goes nuts because sometimes I go without my “ears” around the house. I like to think of wearing hearing aids like shoes. Sometimes you just want to go barefoot. Hearing aids have come a LONG way since I started wearing mine, and custom hearing molds have too. Hang in there. 🙂

      • Anita
        Posted March 25, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

        Hi Sara!
        Many thanks for the reply. My audiologist makes me feel like I’m not doing right by my daughter…sometimes. And I know my audiologust just wants my daughter to have access to as much of her hearing as possible, but so do I.

        So my question to u Sara is… when did u get your aids..super early, like my daughter (as an infant)? People think that is why she SHOULD be accepting of the aids, becuz that has always been her reality… but, it’s not our reality.

      • Sara
        Posted March 26, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

        I didn’t get my hearing aids until I was about 4. They didn’t realize I had a hearing loss. They just thought I was super quiet, and happy because I was always smiling. I guess ignorance can be bliss! 😉 All kidding aside, my dad said he realized something wasn’t right because I wasn’t talking, and I was at that age where I knew how to adjust the volume on the TV set, and he said I would turn it up all the way and sit really close. He went to tell me to turn it down I didn’t hear it. He said he tried, louder and louder, and I didn’t know he was even behind me until he finally walked up to me and tapped me on the shoulder, and he said I was scared and shocked he was there, so he knew something wasn’t right. You do get used to it, but not like most people would think. I can’t really explain it other than the shoe analogy, it’s the best thing I can think of. So I think I was young enough to adjust, because honestly, I don’t remember much at that age. I just say try and do your best, but try to be patient, like I said before I KNOW I drove my parents crazy. And the worst time would be when it was time to buy new hearing aids. I would cry and cry because nothing sounded like the old hearing aids, and I always wanted my old ones back… it’s a hard adjustment each time, even as an adult, it’s still can be a struggle. Although these last pair that I got about 6 weeks have been amazing and I haven’t looked back… Good luck to you, your doctor, and your audiologist! 🙂


      • Anita W.
        Posted March 26, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        Oh Sara,
        Thank you for reaching out and sharing. You’ve made this mama cry…and that’s OK. Just a gentle reminder that I need to be vigilant to ensure the best opportunities are available to Sabrina… but that I allow her some freedom and to be understanding about the changes that come with each new aid (different is not necessarily better).
        Hugs and best wishes to you!

    • Tracy
      Posted March 29, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Dr. Driscoll says “Hearing aides are becoming slimmer and smaller every year, so hang in there!”
      *Note from Tracy~ We were pleased to see Sara log in to offer her support to you and your daughter.*

  7. Posted March 22, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I have a problem swallowing> I have a feeding tube because of it. any help out there

  8. Abdulkadir
    Posted March 24, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    I have really loud tinnitus on my right ear. Which exercise can one do, or what would you advise me. I am a diabetic.

    • Tracy
      Posted March 29, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Dr. Driscoll says “Keep exercising, it is good for your overall health but I am not aware of any specific exercise that would help with tinnitus. If you have not yet had a hearing test done that should be your next step. Your health care provider needs to determine why you have tinnitus primarily in one ear, this can be a sign of a treatable problem or even a more serious issue. You should get it checked out.”

  9. William Ward
    Posted March 24, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Really like all these health tips

  10. Pran Razdan
    Posted March 24, 2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    I am a heart patient having MI five years back with ICD implant. My ear get plugged with wax and I have observed that I hear my heart beat resulting in anxiety and fear. This also leads sometimes to hypertension.
    I feel keeping ear clean particularly for a person with high BP and CAD is important. Any views/

    • Tracy
      Posted March 29, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      Dr. Driscoll says “When the ear gets plugged with wax you no longer hear the “outside sounds” so you then hear those “inside the head sounds”, which often means your heartbeat. Some people also hear chewing, breathing or their voice sounds abnormal. Not to worry! It is normal to hear these sounds when the ear canal is plugged. Be glad the heart is doing its job pumping along. Reducing stress and anxiety is good for everyone so if keeping the ears clean assists with this then that is a good idea. Perhaps placing a few drops of olive oil or mineral oil in the ear canal periodically will help keep it open? Or try one of the over the counter products.”

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