Intensive Outpatient Therapy A-z

You must learn that the term ‘outpatient treatment program’ is an umbrella term. In the state of Iowa, for example, you’re going to find different kinds of programs that are all known as outpatient treatment programs. The basic pattern remains the same; the patient continues living at home while attending the treatment center for some days to obtain the treatment for the addiction. However, there are different types based on how frequently the center calls in the patient for processing and what the program actually comprises.

Here we discuss three different kinds of outpatient treatment programs for drug addiction treatment in Iowa.

It Makes You Wonder..

What is normally known as the outpatient treatment program for drug addiction treatment in Iowa is a programme that is conducted for up to nine hours a week. The patient is called in at the treatment center for three to four sessions in the week each consisting of 2 to 3 hours duration. The total time for the week doesn’t go beyond nine hours.

The focus of outpatient treatment program in an exceedingly drug addiction treatment center is on drug addicts. This program will go up to nine or ten hours in an exceedingly week. The patients go back to the centers and go back home at night. The length of these programs could vary depending on the treatment centers. However, in general they last for a couple of weeks. The patient is predicted to be offered at the center for at least 4 therapy sessions. Every session varies from three to four hours.

The basic goal of this program is to counsel addicts concerning the implications of substance abuse. It also includes therapy to extend their social activities and focuses on the creation of a positive approach towards life. An outpatient treatment programme is the most delicate of all other types of treatment. Physical therapies conjointly type part of those programs. The focus of these programs is to call on the person to interact into social teams; which can inspire him/her to remain faraway from the addiction.

This next program is a relatively intense version of the outpatient treatment program during a drug addiction treatment center. The approach is equal to the first, with specialize in stability briefly term and address the problem areas immediately. The patient is treated by professionals who would ensure that the patient is recorded in the middle and goes through the same procedures like different patients. The time for this programme is more as a consequence of of the procedures concerned and it could go up to twenty hours in a very week.

The program consists of three vital elements. First, there is a detox program that is conducted on an outpatient basis. The patient is equipped with a maintenance medication that can help them keep far from the substance. As long as the maintenance medication is taken, the patient won’t feel any temptation for the substance. This allows the substance to be worked out from the regime of the patient.

The second part of the programme is to the substance abuse education. Here the patient is taught in a classroom format what the substance addiction is all about, how it can influence the body, how it can affect personal, social and working life and, most importantly, how it can be treated. The program teaches people that substance addiction is quite vicious. However, it can surely be treated.

The third part consists of counseling. This is done on an individual basis. The crux of this part of outpatient drug addiction treatment in Iowa is to better understand the patient’s underlying emotional issues that are keeping them in the addiction and help them to get out of it. The patient is handled by psychiatrists in some cases who can counsel them on how to get out of their mental conditions and preoccupations that might be retaining the urge for the substance within them.

There are various kinds of outpatient treatment programs for drug addiction treatment in Iowa. However, you have to first confirm whether such a treatment mode would be useful if the patient. A counselor on substance abuse treatment will be in a position to help you arrive at the correct decision.

Real World Tapeworm

Toxoplasma gondii is a single-celled parasite that lives in mammals and birds. It’s a common parasite in humans. Our immune system usually keeps a T. gondii infection under control and prevents any health problems from developing. Some people experience flu-like symptoms from a Toxoplasma infection, however. This disease is known as toxoplasmosis. Sometimes the parasite enters the brain, where it may affect brain chemistry and alter a person’s behavior.

Toxoplasma gondii are small parasites, affecting humans with a weak immune system. These parasites can also affect a cat. Proper handling of food, and regular cleansing of litter boxes prevents the transfer of these parasites. Common symptoms include painful urination or blood in the piss.

Let’s widen this tapeworm topic

Taenia solium is another parasite which causes health problems. It enters the body when we eat undercooked pork that contains tapeworm larvae. A larva attaches itself to the wall of the small intestine and grows into an adult. The tapeworm survives by absorbing food that we have digested.

More Info About Tapeworm

If we ingest tapeworm eggs, cysts containing larvae may appear in our brain as well as in other areas of the body. A larval cyst is known as a cysticercus and the occurrence of cysts in the brain is known as neurocysticercosis. The cysts can cause seizures, epilepsy and other serious problems.

Tapeworms in dogs do affect the human health. As the immune system of children isn’t fully developed, they’re more vulnerable to parasitic infections. If humans ingest the tapeworm eggs, they can travel to the intestines. The larvae will hatch and make hydatid cyst in the liver, kidneys, brain, lungs, or other organs. In extreme cases it may cause organ failure or cyst rupture which can even result in death. It is advisable to wash meat, fruits, and vegetables before cooking or eating as food contaminated with dog feces can also cause tapeworms.

Although the body of Toxoplasma gondii consists of only one cell, this cell has a complex structure and behavior. T. gondii is very well adapted for life as a parasite. It lives inside a cell of another organism and absorbs nutrients from this cell. The parasite takes just a few seconds to write a host cell.

The primary host of the parasite is a wild or domestic cat. The cat is called the ‘primary’ host because the parasite undergoes sexual reproduction inside the cat’s body. Rodents (especially rats and mice), birds, humans, and other warm blooded animals are said to be intermediate hosts of the parasite. The parasite undergoes asexual reproduction in the intermediate host’s body. The parasite must move from its primary host to an intermediate host and then back to its primary host to complete its life cycle.

The Toxoplasma parasite has a complex life cycle. The parasite exists in three different forms-the sporozoite, the tachyzoite and the bradyzoite. The sequence of developments in the life of T. gondii is as follows.

Toxoplasma leaves a cat’s body in a form known as an oocyst. The oocysts are published in the cat’s feces. They have a tough, protective wall and may survive in the environment for longer than a year.

If a person (or an animal) comes into contact with an infected cat’s feces, oocysts may enter the person’s body. Contact may occur by touching cat feces or by eating or drinking items contaminated with the feces, such as plants and water.

In the human or animal’s intestine the oocysts become active and release sporozoites. The sporozoites penetrate the lining of the intestine, then enter the host’s cells.

Once inside host cells the sporozoites produce tachyzoites, the form that produces the symptoms of toxoplasmosis.

Tachyzoites burst out of the host cell, destroying it, and then enter new cells, where they reproduce rapidly. The cycle of reproduction and destruction is repeated many times, unless the host’s immune system is able to bring an end to the process.

Bradyzoites multiply slowly, unlike tachyzoites. They are placed inside a cyst. This is sometimes known as a tissue cyst to distinguish it from an oocyst. Tissue cysts tend to form in particular parts of the body, including the brain, the heart, the eyes, and the skeletal muscles.

The tissue cysts become dormant and may stay where they’re formed for a number of years-perhaps the same for the life of their host. However, the cysts may sometimes get out of their dormancy and release the cells inside them. These infect new cells.

If a cat eats an animal part containing tissue cysts, the cysts become active in the cat’s intestine. The parasites invade the intestinal lining, producing male and female reproductive cells. These cells join to make a zygote. This becomes an oocyst. Then the cycle begins again.

Most cats and humans do not get sick when they have a Toxoplasma infection. The immune system limits the proliferation of the tachyzoites through the body and no symptoms arise from the infection. Other people may experience the aches and pains of mild flu before these symptoms disappear and the parasite enters a dormant state. However, cats and humans in a vulnerable stage of life may exhibit far more serious symptoms.

In humans, the individuals that are more likely to experience major effects from a Toxoplasma infection are people with weakened immune systems and the fetuses of pregnant women. The parasite may be very dangerous in AIDS patients or in people taking drugs that suppress the work of the immune system, such as organ transplant patients. During pregnancy Toxoplasma can go through the placenta and cause birth defects in the developing baby. It may even kill the baby.

More than 60 million people are chronically infected with Toxoplasma gondii, the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. New infections in pregnant women can cause birth defects. Infections in people with weakened immune systems can be deadly.

Health experts declare that it certainly is not necessary to eliminate a pet cat from a family when someone in the home is susceptible to getting sick from a Toxoplasma infection. However, it is extremely important to take certain precautions.

Pregnant women (or other people at risk) should avoid cleaning cat litter or should wear plastic gloves when they deal with the litter tray. In addition, the litter should be cleaned frequently. The oocysts are shed into the cat’s feces in an immature state. It takes at least a day for the sporozoites to form in the oocysts, and normally takes between 2 and 5 days. Cleaning the litter frequently reduces the risk of a dangerous infection.

Pregnant women should be very careful when gardening because they may touch old cat feces released by wandering cats. This feces may contain mature oocysts. Plants should be washed thoroughly before being eaten.

Vulnerable people should also make sure that all meat is thoroughly cooked and that they maintain good kitchen hygiene, avoiding the contamination of items with raw meat or its juices. Raw meat may contain T. gondii.

Rodents are the main intermediate host of Toxoplasma. The parasite has an amazing impact on a rat or mouse’s behavior. These animals are usually fearful of a cat’s scent, since the cat preys on rodents, and will run away from any cats in the area. However, a rodent infected with Toxoplasma loses its fear of cats and is actually attracted to them. This means that the rodent is more likely to be caught and eaten by the cat. This allows the parasite to go into the cat’s body and continue its life cycle.

Researchers have revealed that the parasite triggers the rodent brain to produce a much greater amount of dopamine than normal. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter-a material that enables a nerve impulse to pass from one nerve cell to another or that influences this transfer.

One scientist has found that T. gondii contains genes that code for an enzyme involved in dopamine production. Dopamine has no known function in single-celled organisms. In addition, the scientist found that when rats infected by T. gondii were injected with a medication that blocks dopamine receptors, they were no longer attracted to the scent of cats. Since rats and humans are both mammals, scientists wonder if T. gondii affects the dopamine system in humans too.

Although the connection between Toxoplasma in the human brain and behavior changes is not confirmed, the list of observations that support this respect is growing. Some of the observations are based on lab experiments. Others are based on epidemiology studies in which researchers record Toxoplasma levels in people’s bodies as well as their disease states, behavior traits or other areas of their lives.

Researchers have discovered that people with schizophrenia, depression and anxiety syndrome are more likely to have a Toxoplasma infection than people without these conditions. We need to be careful when interpreting these results, however. They may indicate that Toxoplasma causes the disorders. However, they could indicate that when people suffer from the disorders they’re more sensitive to a Toxoplasma infection.

In one lab experiment Toxoplasma was injected into human dendritic cells in a container. Dendritic cells are an essential part of our nervous system. Once they were infected, the dendritric cells started to produce GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid), a major signaling molecule in the nervous system.

The researchers found that when dendritic cells infected with T. gondii were fed into the brain of living mice, they influenced the brain’s GABA system.

Surveys suggest that people with the parasite in their bodies are taking part in more traffic accidents, whether they’re drivers or pedestrians.

One survey found that people with a Toxoplasma infection were less conscientious than those without Toxoplasma. Another found that infected people had shorter attention spans.

Some scientists think that Toxoplasma may affect its host even though the parasite is in its ‘dormant’ or latent phase.

The pork tapeworm lives in the human intestine, despite its name. Taenia solium has a flat, ribbon-like body which is segmented and white in color. At one end is a structure called the scolex. This is used to attach the tapeworm to the intestine. It has four suckers, each of which has a double row of hooks. The adult tapeworm may have as many as 800 segments. These are known as proglottids. The proglottids at the end are the most mature and contain both male and female generative organs. Eggs are fertilized in these proglottids. The terminal sections of the tapeworm’s body are shed and pass outside of the person’s body in the feces.

When a pig eats food contaminated by proglottids or fertilized eggs, the eggs develop into embryos known as oncospheres. These travel through the intestinal wall and enter the pig’s circulatory system. This carries the oncospheres to muscle. Here an oncosphere changes into a larval form known as a cysticercus. The larva is embedded in a cyst. When humans ingest the pig’s muscle as meat, the cysticercus is not digested but attaches to the wall of the intestine and grows into an adult tapeworm.

If a human ingests tapeworm eggs instead of the cysticercus larva, the result of the tapeworm infection is very different. As in the pig, the eggs develop into oncospheres. This burrow through the lining of the intestine, then enter the circulation. In humans the oncosphere develops into a cysticercus in the brain, lung, or eye as same as in heart and skeletal muscle. The presence of cysticerci in the brain is called neurocysticercosis.

The primary source of getting a tapeworm infection is through the tapeworm eggs (cysticercoids) present in the fleas feeding on the cat. These eggs hatch in the intestines where they grow into adult tapeworms.

Cats are commonly infected by five types of tapeworm species. The manner in which such species of tapeworms infect the cat is different.

Dipylidium caninum is the most frequent type of tapeworm found in cats. It infects cats when they ingest fleas which have larvae of tapeworms present in them.

The symptoms of neurocysticercosis can be very serious and include seizures and acquired epilepsy. A doctor at the National Institutes of Health estimates that at least 5 million cases of epilepsy in the world are caused by a pork tapeworm infection in the brain.

As a cyst enlarges it pushes against brain tissue, preventing it from working properly. Cysts may block passageways for the cerebrospinal fluid that circulates through and over the brain. This can give rise to a condition called hydrocephalus. This is sometimes known as ‘water on the brain’. Fluid builds up under the skull, putting strain on the brain and damaging it. The increased pressure may cause a brain hernia, a condition in which a portion of the brain is pushed away from its normal position. This is a medical emergency since it can result in a coma and death.

If the immune system attacks the cysts the brain may become inflamed. This can lead to blindness, seizures, meningitis or other serious conditions. Meningitis is inflammation of the membranes covering the brain. These are referred to as the meninges. Untreated meningitis may be fatal.

There are treatments for acute toxoplasmosis (the condition is which the symptoms are obvious) and for neurocysticercosis. However, in areas such as North America it is easier to prevent these diseases than to treat them. This is especially true for neurocysticercosis. This requires treatment over an extended period of time and with greater than one medication in order to handle the disease.

Both Toxoplasma gondii and Taenia solium can cause symptoms ranging from minor to deadly. They are of major concern not simply because they can kill people but also because the first parasite may affect our behavior and the other is widespread and very common in some countries.

Digging Deeper Into Wart

A dense mat of spider webs, held onto the skin by a sheet of paper fastened with string. Compresses of castor oil. The milk squeezed from the leaf of a wild lettuce. These are part of the treatments that were in use over a century ago for the age-old and most irritating of skin conditions, warts. There is no indication that they may be caused by toads.

Common skin warts can be effectively treated with over-the-counter medication containing salicylic acid. It works by dissolving the keratin and dead skin that makes up the wart infection. It is applied topically using pads, gels or plaster. This wart treatment doesn’t cause negative effects on the skin despite being an acid. At worst, the skin reddens and stings slightly. In case of such inflammation, just avoid using it on the irritated areas. Avoid using it on facial warts as the skin is generally more sensitive and likely to draw more attention than intended.

Continuing On With Wart

The human papilloma virus (HPV) is responsible for genital wart infections. It is transmitted from one person to another only by sexual intercourse or other intimate contact. It isn’t possible to catch it from toilet seats or spa baths.

The obvious result of infection with the human papilloma virus is the growth of warts, sometimes of quite a large size, on the penis in men and around the genital area of women. They may appear as flat, pale areas on the skin, or as the dark-colored, irregularly-shaped lumps more usually associated with warts. After contact, the incubation period varies from 1 to six months, but may be even longer.

There are a set of hidden problems with this virus. In men, the virus may be present on the penis, but no warty growths may be obvious. They may only be seen if a doctor stains the area with a particular liquid. The wart virus may likewise be present at the end of the day of the urine tube (urethra) that crosses the penis, and in that situation the warts are completely invisible. The warts can also be spread through sexual contact to other areas of the body.

Both men and women can be carriers of the virus from one sexual partner to another without being aware that they’re infected. Only when the warts become large and obvious does the victim seek attention.

It is in women that the sterling, and deadliest, problems occur. If a woman is infected by HPV, she may develop genital warts not only around the exterior of her genitalia, but internally where they’re difficult to detect. There may in fact be no warts present at all, but once the virus enters the vagina, it can attack the cervix. This is the opening into the uterus (uterus). HPV infections of the cervix are associated with cancer of the cervix. It doesn’t happen immediately and may take some years to develop. However, a large proportion of women with this infection will develop cancer. Cancer of the cervix has few early signs and is often not detected until it is well under way and difficult to treat.

Every woman should have regular Pap smear tests every year or two while she is sexually active. These tests can detect this kind of pre-cancer and cancer, genital wart infections and other gynaecological problems at an early stage. When detected early, the cancer can be addressed effectively and completely cured. Any woman who knows that her partner has genital warts should be extremely careful to have Pap smear tests, and probably more often than normally recommended. Condoms can give reasonable, but not total, protection against catching an HPV infection.

The genital warts themselves, in both men and women, can not be treated by destroying the warts with acid paints or ointments, freezing the warts with liquid nitrogen, or by burning them away with an electric needle or lasers. Treatment with all except the acids and freezing will require either a local or general anaesthetic depending on the size of the affected area. Treatment is often prolonged, as the warts tend to recur, but with careful observation and rapid treatment of any recurrence the infection will finally settle.

There are various types of treatment methods used besides these medications. One if it is laser treatment, mostly used for overly recurring genital warts although it cost high to do the procedure. Another method used is electrodessication. This uses electric current on the affected area to destroy the warts. There is also a technique called cryotherapy that uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the warts.

Another type of method used, mostly for warts that are still beginning to acquire or those which are still small in size and number is surgery. The only problem with it is that it tends to have a greater chance for the warts to return again, although this might be the fastest and easiest way of treatment. People also tend to try various types of non-medical procedures such as acupressure and acupuncture, and even ayurveda, though of course, these are mostly not advisable by doctors and other specialist.

Anyone who is treated for genital warts should also have tests performed to check for the existence of other venereal disease, as a person carrying one type of VD could well carry another.

Warts on the skin are caused by a virus, a very slow-growing virus. This may take months or years to cause problems. Only a quarter of the people are susceptible to the wart virus, the rest of us have natural immunity. That is why some people never catch the disease, even if they may come into contact with warts frequently.

Warts are more common in children from 8 to 16 years of age. The virus is caught from someone else who’s got the disease, and months or years later, the wart develops. People with warts shouldn’t be isolated for fear of spreading the disease. The virus is common in the community. Isolation of victims is both impractical and ineffective.

Once a wart has developed, it will normally go away by itself without any treatment, but this may take many months or years. The average life span of a wart is about 18 months. The body gradually builds up antibodies against the wart virus, and when they reach a high enough level, the virus and wart are destroyed. Normally that person then has long-term resistance to further wart infections.

The most common sites for warts to develop are the knees, hands, feet, and elbows. When warts develop on the ground floor of the feet they’re called plantar warts or verrucae.

Because warts can become both unsightly and painful, many patients wish them to be removed. The medical profession has progressed a step further than using spider webs and wild lettuce. However, the principle of wart removal remains the same. They cannot be cured by tablets or creams, they must be physically removed. The methods available are acid paints that are applied regularly to eat away the wart tissue, freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen to destroy its cells which causes it to fall off within a few days, burning the wart tissue away with a large voltage electric current in a proceeding called diathermy, injecting a cell destroying substance under the wart, or cutting the wart out surgically. All these methods have their right and wrong points, and if a wart is more than just a few millimeters across, the various options should be carefully discussed with a doctor.

Because warts eventually disappear without any treatment, only those that are causing disfigurement or discomfort should be treated, as a scar may remain after any type of surgery, freeze, or diathermy. Warts may also recur after all such forms of treatment.

If you have been diagnosed with male genital warts, it’s best to consult a qualified practitioner regarding a proper form of treatment. The treatment you’ll be advised depends on factors like the extent of the warts, if you’ve had warts before and whether your warts respond to locally applied creams. You may choose from creams like imiquimode or podofilox. These are locally applied. There are a few precautions you’ll have to be taken when you’re on medication. You will also have to ask your partner to seek treatment if you’ve been diagnosed with genital warts.

If you have been advised surgery, you’d be having large warts, or warts which are resistant to other forms of treatment. Treatment options in this situation include electrocautery, cryosurgery, surgical excision or laser treatment. Remember that this condition recurs because the underlying virus isn’t easy to eliminate. You may have a relapse after you warts have gone.

In the future, it may be possible to obtain a vaccine against warts to prevent the emergence of this virus, in the same manner as measles and influenza vaccines work today.

If you’re not sure whether a lump on your skin is a wart, it should be verified by a doctor, as certain forms of skin cancer may mimic a wart in appearance.

Plantar warts (or verrucae) are warts on the ground floor of the feet. These tend to grow inwards rather than out. They tend to cause more problems than warts in other areas because they become painful with walking and so need treatment at an early stage than warts elsewhere on the body.

The treatment of plantar warts is the same thing as for skin warts, but a far larger hole than expected is commonly left in the sole of the foot, as plantar warts tend to be a little bit like icebergs, with only a small portion showing on the surface. It may take some weeks of the surgery for the hole to heal.

The information given on this page isn’t designed as a substitute for the advice of a registered doctor or other healthcare professional.

The content of this page is intended only to give a summary and general overview. Do not use such information to disregard medical advice, nor to delay seeking medical advice.

Hearing Loss – What’s Needed?

Deafness is the complete loss of hearing under one or both ears, hearing loss is both complete and partial sinking of the ability to hear.

Changes in the inner ear due to presbycusis or age-relating hearing loss happen slowly, it may be mild or severe but always permanent.

There’s Always More About Hearing Loss…

Sudden noise induced hearing loss such as gunfire and explosions is the highest cause of disability in recent wars.


Chronic ear infections are the leading causes of hearing loss. Chronic otitis media range from 1% to 46 per cent in both developed and developing countries.

Investigating Hearing Loss

Noise is a leading cause of avoidable hearing loss. The risk of social noise is increasing globally among young people.

Some frequently used medication such as aminoglycosides and anti-malarial drugs can cause irreversibly hearing loss.

Around 0.5 to 5 of every 1000 children are born with or develop disabling hearing loss in early childhood.

With public health actions, 50% of hearing loss is preventable through immunization, hearing care habits, healthy ear, and effective treatment for acute and chronic ear conditions.

An estimated 56 million people world wide uses hearing aid, the current hearing aid production meet only 3 per cent of the need in developing countries.

Generally, severe tinnitus or (ringing in the ears) will accompany hearing loss and can be as debilitating as the hearing loss. About 1:10 adults in the UK have mild tinnitus, up to 1% have tinnitus that affects their quality of life.

Causes of hearing loss include a build-up of ear wax, foreign object in the ear, injury to the chief or ear, ruptured eardrum, conditions, and infection which have an impact on the inner or middle ear.

We are life in a noisy world, incidence of deafness and hearing impairment is growing. The ability to hear and distinguish sound is said to be among the most important of our five senses.

But ask the blind man which sense is more important to him and he’ll answer sight, the masseuse will say touch, for the florist and perfumer it may be smell, for the gourmet chef it’s all about the taste.

All five senses are important to us. However, the lack of some senses can be more disabling than the absence of others. Partial or complete loss of hearing is referred to as deafness, hearing loss or hearing impairment.

Some people have acute hearing, they’re said to be able to hear a pin drop, while others who’re profoundly deaf, exists in a world without sound.

Voltaire referred to the ear as’ the way to the heart. ‘ Sound can have a profound affect on our emotions, most people find it near impossible to turn a deaf ear to an infant’s cry, this special sound can trigger emotional responses in the brain like no other sound can, even in people who’re not parents.

Walk-Block-and-Turn: walk away from a sound, block sound (with ear plugs, ear muffs or hands), and turn down the volume.

Listening to romantic songs can certainly stir our emotions, while persistently loud, unpleasant noises have been known to drive people to the edge of insanity. Sound can also have a negative effect on our health. A loud bang close to the ear, such as gunfire, an explosion, or long term exposure to noises like loud music or machinery, can damage the delicate organs of the inner ear to cause irreversible hearing impairment and deafness.

Mild hearing loss in children is most commonly caused by inner ear infections. Another cause of hearing loss is exposure to noise. Loud music, loud noises in the work environment, and other income of loud noise can cause hearing loss from noise exposure.

The mild hearing loss can affect either or both ears. Bilateral hearing loss is a hearing impairment in both ears. Hearing loss that affects only one ear is called unilateral hearing loss.

Mild hearing loss is one type of hearing loss severity. Hearing loss of forty-one to fifty-five decibels is moderate hearing loss. Moderately severe hearing loss is a hearing loss of at least fifty-six decibels but less than seventy-one decibels.

Severe hearing loss is a hearing loss of seventy-one to ninety decibels. A hearing loss of at least ninety-one decibels is profound hearing loss.

The physician or hearing professional will conduct a hearing test to discover the hearing loss and identify its severity. The type of hearing loss and its severity are factors that identify the best treatment for the hearing loss.

Even though mild hearing loss can often be alleviated with the consumption of a hearing aid, many people with mild hearing loss are unwilling to use hearing aids. The cost of hearing aids and being self-conscious about using a hearing aid are two common reasons for a shortage of hearing aid use.

Hearing impairment or hearing loss is determined by the quietest level of sound an individual can hear, this is called the hearing threshold and measured in decibels (dB). The hearing threshold is used to categorize an individual’s ability to hear. Normal hearing is categorized as no impairment. Hearing impairment may be mild, moderate, severe or profound.

Individuals withmild hearinglossmay find it difficult to follow speech in a noisy situation. Following speech without the help of a hearing aid can become a real challenge, for people with moderate hearing loss.

An average of 40dB to 69dB would be the quietest sound someone with moderate hearing loss will be able to hear.

Where there is severe hearing loss, the individual relies a great deal on lipreading even when a hearing aid is used, the quietest sound this person is able to hear, average around 70dB and 94dB.

Someone with Profound hearing impairment have an average threshold level of 80dB or worse and can only be able to hear any sound at all.

One of the very first sense we develop while still safely cocooned within our mother’s uterus is the sense of sound, the most powerful sound to the growing fetus is the sound of it’s mothers voice.

Research show that a five seconds stimulation can cause variations in the fetal heart rate and movement that can take up to an hour. It is widely believed that the most recent sense we lose before we die is our ability to hear.

I find it difficult to imagine a world without sound, sweet soothing music that helps us relax, the natural sound of a babbling brook, the wind in the trees, birds singing, raindrops on windows. Certain types of music can move us to weeping, for several of us. Conversely; research has proposed that the body can react negatively to loud noises such as airplane sounds, even as we sleep.

New research has demonstrated that the human body react to some noise by producing stress hormones, hormones that are usually produced when we perceive a threat, they prepare us for fight or flight. The exposure to loud noises can also trigger a wave of stress hormones that causes a rise in blood pressure, disturbances, and heart rate in the hormonal balance, with certain health implications. All these conditions can be precursors to cardiovascular disease. The negative effects of noise on our physiology are likewise seen in children.

A 1990s study of children in Munich, during a period prior to and after the city airport was closed to be moved elsewhere, found that stress hormone levels was higher in these children, memory and reading comprehension was lower. The scores had improved when the aerodrome was transferred to a different location, the children who were newly exposed to the sonic noise, displayed the same detrimental affects.

The UK charity organisation, Action on Hearing Loss, have estimated that over 10 million, or 1 in 6 people in the UK have a certain degree of deafness or hearing impairment.

Loss of hearing can happen suddenly, but more often, it develops gradually over a period of time. Many of us are living and working in environments where the noise levels are above that which is safe, even though there are health and safety laws in place to ensure that this.

I began experiencing mild deafness and intermittent buzzing in the ear (tinnitus) a few years ago, I’m fairly sure that my hearing impairment was sustained through years of working in proximity to some very loud intensive care equipment.

I’m exposed to a daily assault of noise on my eardrums, as a critical care nurse. Working in an enclosed cubicle, I’m bombarded by the sound of monitor alarms, dialysis machine alarms, infusion pump alarms, and the constant rhythmic sound of ventilators on a daily basis. Thankfully; while critical care departments will always be far too noisy, by updating old equipment with next generation models, this field of high equipment use are no longer as deafening as it once was, unluckily for me, the damage is already done.

We’ve known for a long time that regular prolonged exposure to noise, poses a risk factor for hearing loss. More than 30 million American are exposed to hazardous levels of sound on a regular basis. Noise Induced Hearing Loss or (NIHL) may be due to a single exposure to an intense impulse sound, or by continuous exposure to loud sounds over a long period of time.

Tinnitus is typically described as ringing, buzzing, humming, singing, whistling or whooshing in the ears. Research has shown that if left in complete silence in a sound reduction chamber, tinnitus would become apparent in most of the people. In a silence environment, 90% to 95% of people have reportedly experienced the odd incidence of tinnitus.

Ringing in the ear, deafness and hearing loss affects much of the population, the amount of people with hearing loss have doubled during the past 30 years. A study led by researchers from Johns Hopkins show, that about 20% of Americans 12 years and older, have hearing loss sufficiently severe to make communication difficult. 48 million had hearing loss in one ear around 30 million people in the US were found to have hearing loss in both ears.

Hearing loss is divided into two main types, conductiveand sensorineural. When the two types of hearing loss are present during the same time, this is returned to as ‘mixed ” hearing loss.

Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is not able to pass freely to the inner ear. This can be attributable to a build up of ear wax in the ears, or as usually occurs in children, an infection that caused the build up and accumulation of fluid in the inner ear. Abnormalities in the format of the outer ear, ear canal, or middle ear can also cause conductive hearing loss, as do ruptured eardrum.

Otosclerosis is a disease that causes abnormal growth of bone in the middle ear, resulting in severe conductive hearing loss, when the ossicles in the middle ear are not able to move freely. This type of hearing loss, causes sound to become quieter, while not necessarily distorted.

Conductive hearing loss may be temporary or permanent based on the cause, and may be corrected by minor surgery or medical management.

The majority of sensorineural hearing loss is caused by abnormalities in the hair cells located in the organ of Corti in the cochlea. Usually referred to as sensory, cochlea, neural or inner ear hearing loss or impairment, can also involve the auditory parts of the brain. This type of hearing loss changes the ability to hear quiet sounds and reduces the quality of the sound that is heard.

An individual with sensorineural hearing impairment, will find it difficult to understand speech. Once the hair cells of the cochlea are damaged, they remain damaged, sensorineural hearing loss is irreversible.

The cochlea can become damaged naturally as an outcome of the aging process, this is known as age-related hearing loss or presbycusis.

This is known as the ‘pinna’ with ridged cartilage covered by the skin. Sound travels through the atmosphere in waves, it enters the outer ear and moves through short tunnels approximately 25 millimeters long. When the sound waves reaches the thin layer of skin called the tympanic membrane or eardrum, it vibrates.

The pressurized space behind the eardrum is called the middle ear, it’s function is to efficiently transmit sound from air to fluid. Sound travels from causing movements of the ear drum, the outer ear, and the three small bones, known jointly as the ossicles which conducts sound vibrations from the ear drum to the inner ear. In the fluid filled inner ear, sounds are translated into nerve impulses. These are transmitted to the brain.

The semicircular canals in the inner ear, also referred to as the bony labyrinth serve as the balance organ. The cochlea which serves as the body’s mike, is filled with a watery liquid which moves to vibrations from the middle ear. As the fluid moves, thousands of ‘hair cells’ moves, the motion is transformed into electric signals that communicates through neurotransmeters to the large amounts of nerve cells which are interpreted by the brain as sound.