2004 Convention

Ask the Doctor
12:30-2:00 p.m.
Friday, 6-11-04

Dr. Paul Hammerschlag and Dr. Edward Cohn

An informal question/answer time with doctors who KNOW hearing loss. Dr. Hammerschlag is a member of the SHHH Board of Trustees, and specializes in hearing loss, cochlear implants, neuro-otology, otology, facial nerve problems and aural atresia. He is a clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at the New York University School of Medicine. He has a congenital sensorineural hearing loss.

(Otolaryngology? Try saying that fast 10 times! What a “mouth-full”!)

Dr. Cohn, was a spur-of-the-moment replacement I gather, as his name was not on the original program. A very likeable professional who is an Associate Professor in theDepartment of Otolaryngology and Human Communication at Creighton University’s School of Medicine, and staff Otolaryngologist at Boys Town National Research Hospital.

Tinnitus was discussed at length, as many attendees had questions about it. I even went up to the microphone to voice a question or two. My first, with tongue in cheek had me thinking back to a bhNews discussion.

“Tinnitus with a long “i”, or short “i”? Both doctors agreed that either pronunciation was correct. See? We at bhNews had already come to that conclusion! Aren’t we smart? My second, and real question was: “I suffer from tinnitus,” (of which I pronounced with a long “i”, as it goes better with my southern twang…..) “and I have heard that cochlear implants eliminates tinnitus in some patients, but have also heard that some people suffer tinnitus for the very first time after having received an implant. What is your experience as to whether or not there is a connection between CI’s and tinnitus?”

Dr. Hammerschlag answered my question. He said that as far as he knew there had not been a study to see if there was a connection. He, too, had heard that some people suffer a usually “temporary” tinnitus after having received a CI, but that he knew some no longer suffered with it after a CI. He did make sure all of us knew that CI’s were not given in order to eliminate tinnitus. Tinnitus does not make a CI candidate.

One lady had a charming story/question. She suffers from what I know after having read enough of bhNews member “Neil Bauman’s” posts, as auditory hallucinations. She only “hears” one song…I believe she said it was “Shall We Gather at the River”. The doctor’s asked her additional questions, and through her story it seems she suffered a head injury prior to the “song” starting. When she is busy during the day amongst a great deal of noise, the song does not bother her like it does when she is in a quiet setting. Perhaps we’ll all learn more when Neil comes out with his new book? I thought it very interesting, as the only auditory sound I hear is a ring…I know some tinnitus sufferers hear a variety of rings and pitches. I only hear one. Am I boring or what?

Earlier this month I joined the American Tinnitus Association. I received my first magazine from them while I was away at the SHHH convention. I look forward to reading it. This session could have been much longer as I don’t believe time allowed everyone who had questions to ask the ones they needed answers too. I hope SHHH continues to have this workshop, and perhaps every local chapter should invite a qualified otolaryngologist at least once a year to answer member questions.

Denise Portis
Frederick County SHHH
Frederick, MD
©2006 Hearing Loss Diary

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