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Volume 12 Issue 5

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  • Larry M Sivertson
    HOH-LD-News Vol. XII, Issue 5 August 3, 2002 Copyright (C) 2002 Hearing Loss Web. All rights reserved. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Table of Contents ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ -
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 4 11:44 AM
      Vol. XII, Issue 5
      August 3, 2002

      Copyright (C) 2002 Hearing Loss Web. All rights reserved.

      Table of Contents

      - Meniere's Disease and the Meniett
      - L.A. Doctor Performs First California SOUNDTEC Implant
      - Search for SHHH Executive Director Underway
      - MED-EL Introduces Remote Support System for CI Programming

      Contact information is at the end of this newsletter.

      ++++++++++++++ NADezine ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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      The NADezine is short, 2x a month, and contains broad
      information about the work of the National Association
      of the Deaf -- advocacy/lawsuits, NAD Conference
      information, job market and more. Membership in the
      NAD is not required.

      - Meniere's Disease and the Meniett

      Presenter: Dr. George A. Gates, M.D. Professor and Director,
      Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center, University of
      Washington, Seattle

      Dr. Gates devoted the second half of his presentation to a
      discussion of Meniere's Disease and a new treatment option
      called the Meniett.

      Meniere's Disease is caused by too much fluid in the inner fluid
      space of the inner ear, and is characterized by vertigo,
      ringing, and hearing loss. Treatment typically includes a low
      sodium diet and diuretics; for 70% of Meniere's patients, that
      is all that's required. For the other 30%, no medication has
      been found to be effective, so these folks have no treatment
      option other than surgery.

      It has been known for some time that pressure change can make
      the ear feel better. Pressure chambers are sometimes used to
      treat Meniere's in Sweden, but that option is rarely available
      in the US. So scientists began looking for a different way to
      get pressure to the ear, and they came up with a device called
      the Meniett. It requires the insertion of a tube through the
      eardrum (like that typically used to treat chronic ear
      infections in kids) as a conduit to administer pressure change.

      The Meniett is in clinical study at the University of Washington
      Medical Center under Dr. Gates. The study is seeking to validate
      the long-term effectiveness of the Meniett in a randomized,
      placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial involving people
      with classic, active Meniere's disease. People participating in
      the study are those diagnosed with unilateral (one ear)
      Meniere's disease and experiencing tinnitus and aural pressure
      in the same ear. They also have vertigo lasting for at least 20
      minutes and at least 2 attacks during the past 2 months, and
      fluctuating hearing loss. They are between 21-70 years of age
      with general good health. Current medical therapy has failed to
      control their vertigo.

      The Meniett generates pressure pulses at a rate of six Hz. These
      pulses are generated for one second, followed by four seconds
      without pulses. To use the Meniett, a patient inserts a probe
      into his ear and turns the device on for five minutes. The probe
      delivers the pressure pulses to the inner ear through the tube.
      Treatment is required three times a day.

      Scientists aren't certain why this treatment works. They
      speculate that it's either because it causes the inner ear fluid
      to move, or because it somehow signals the inner ear to
      "behave". Whatever the exact mechanism, it alters the
      endolymphatic control mechanism. It takes days or weeks to have
      an effect, and symptoms return quickly if treatment stops. The
      results have been very good on patients for whom low sodium diet
      and diuretics fail to work; over 90% of such patients typically
      report relief using the Meniett. Some candidates also experience
      a bit of hearing improvement.

      Dr. Gates explained the "treatment ladder" for Meniere's, in the
      order in which they are typically tried:
      - Low sodium diet and diuretics
      - Pressure chamber
      - Local overpressure
      - Endolymphatic sac surgery
      - Gentamicin injections
      - Inner ear destruction

      The cost of the Meniett is $3500. Most insurance companies have
      no clue about this treatment, but Dr. Gates hopes they will
      cover it when their study is completed this year. He pointed out
      that it's a lot cheaper than surgery. He also predicted that it
      would become the standard intermediate therapy.

      Q: Does the Meniett work for people who have vertigo from other
      A: No

      Q: I can hold my nose and swallow and put presser on the middle
      ear that way. How is the Meniett different from that?
      A: You can't pulse the pressure at the rate of 6 Hz.

      Q: You said that the trial is for people with unilateral
      Meniere's. What about people with bilateral Meniere's?
      A: We're excluding them from this trial, because it's a
      different form of Meniere's. We want to prove the Meniett for
      one ear first.

      Q: What about the micro wick being studied in Florida? How does
      this compare?
      A: This is a treatment of gentamicin injection and it destroys
      hearing. It won't be needed if the Meniett works.

      Contact: Aimee Verrall verrall@... or

      - L.A. Doctor Performs First California SOUNDTEC Implant

      Editor: Last week we published an article about an SHHH
      presentation on implantable hearing aids. The bottom line,
      according to Dr. Gates, is that they offer real but small
      benefit over traditional hearing aids. It's been interesting
      that we've seen very little about their use in the real world -
      until now. Dr. James Andrews recently performed the first
      California implantation of the device. Here are portions of the
      press release.


      Dr. James Andrews of Pacific Head and Neck Specialists and
      Clinical Professor of Surgery at UCLA, has performed the first
      California implantation of the SOUNDTEC Direct System hearing
      device since the device received FDA approval in September.

      The Direct System is a revolutionary new hearing device that
      could replace hearing aids for millions of Americans.
      Implantation took only thirty minutes and was performed in the
      doctor's office.

      A 72-year-old Yuba City gentleman received the implant, then
      after allowing for complete healing, he received the
      speech/sound processor. For the first time in years, Donald
      Lehman is enjoying good sound quality and freedom from
      overwhelming background noise. He can clearly hear the sounds of
      nature, his family and even the television without using
      excessive volume.

      The Direct System consists of two components, a tiny rare-earth
      magnet and a sound processor. In the implant procedure, the
      tissue between the eardrum and the ear canal is incised so that
      the eardrum becomes a "flap," giving access to the middle ear.
      The micro-magnet, which has been hermetically laser-sealed in a
      titanium canister, is then placed on a segment of the three tiny
      bones in the middle ear. The eardrum "flap" is then closed,
      completing the simple procedure.

      Conventional hearing aids have three inherent limitations, often
      referred to as feedback, distortion and occlusion. Feedback is
      the squealing or whistling noise associated with most hearing
      aids. Many hearing aid wearers also experience distortion, when
      words and sounds seem muffled and garbled. Finally, tightly
      fitting hearing aid earmolds can cause occlusion -- the feeling
      that one is speaking from within a tunnel, or that their ear is

      The Direct System, approved by the FDA in September, can benefit
      a wide range of people. Anyone 18 years or older who exhibits
      mild/moderate to severe sensorineural (nerve) hearing loss may
      be able to benefit from the implantable device.

      The Direct System's superior performance stems from its ability
      to increase the usable range of hearing or functional gain. The
      Direct System's speech/sound processor accepts acoustic
      information and transmits it to the tiny magnet as
      electromagnetic waves, causing it to vibrate. These vibrations
      are passed on to the small bones of the middle ear, providing
      clear, natural, high-fidelity sound.

      The Direct System was tested in a clinical trial -- 103 patients
      at ten U.S. locations -- which demonstrated that the device
      minimizes acoustic feedback, minimizes occlusion effect and

      For more information about The Direct System, call Dr. Andrews
      at Pacific Head and Neck Specialists at (310) 477-5558. You may
      also call the company at (800) 793-9587 or visit
      http://www.soundtecinc.com .

      FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Steve Hawkins, VP Sales and
      Marketing (800) 793-9587 or shawkins@...

      - Search for SHHH Executive Director Underway

      Editor: SHHH has posted the position announcement for its new
      Executive Director (ED) and has named Kathryn Stephens as
      interim ED. Ms Stephens has considerable experience with
      management of nonprofit organizations, and is expected to serve
      until the appointment of a new permanent ED.

      The SHHH Board of Directors has formed a search committee and is
      working with the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations
      (MANO) and its Executive Transitions Program.

      Here are excerpts from the ED position announcement. For
      additional information, please visit the SHHH website at


      Based in the Washington, DC suburb of Bethesda, Maryland, SHHH
      serves as the national focal point and support organization for
      a broad and robust network of members, chapters and state
      organizations throughout the United States.

      Public Policy
      SHHH National Convention
      Hearing Assistive Technology Training
      Leadership Training

      SHHH has over 9,000 individual members and donors. (An estimated
      additional 5,000 individuals maintain local chapter membership
      only.) Currently there are 240 chapters, eight state
      associations and four state offices. Local chapters and state
      organizations play a vitally important role enabling members to
      share communications strategies, technologies, and policy issues
      that help them to take responsibility for their own
      communication needs-helping them connect with resources, tools
      and ideas that help them to live their lives to the fullest.

      SHHH is governed by a 17-member board of trustees with
      representatives from throughout the nation. The Board structure
      provides for 10 regional representatives, with the remainder
      serving as "At large" members; all are elected by the

      The 2002 budget is $1.2 million. Principal sources of revenue
      include: contributions from individuals and corporations,
      membership dues, journal advertising and convention income.

      The staff currently includes the following seven positions in
      addition to the executive director:
      Membership & Chapter Development Coordinator
      State Development/Chapter Relations/Public Policy Director
      Development Assistant
      Editor, Hearing Loss
      Convention/Meeting Planner and Volunteer Coordinator
      Administrative Assistant

      Staffing also includes a contractual advertising sales position.
      The executive director reports to the Board. All staff report to
      the executive director.

      Similar to other associations, SHHH relies on earned income and
      donations to supplement its dues revenue. The executive director
      serves as the organization's principal fundraiser and developer
      of earned income opportunities.

      About the Candidate We Seek

      Must have or be willing to develop an understanding of the
      communications issues involved with hearing loss and share our
      dedication to improving the lives of people with impaired
      hearing. Has the entrepreneurial drive and abilities to achieve
      challenging fundraising goals and develop successful earned
      income projects. Has the membership and/or network marketing
      skills necessary to help SHHH boost its membership renewal rates
      and expand its membership base.

      Has the management skill to oversee finances, membership data
      management, board development/relations and volunteers.
      Demonstrates good political judgment and has solid interpersonal
      communications skills.

      Preferably has experience with association programs such as
      journals, annual conferences and chapter structures.


      Organizational Experience: Minimum of five years of professional
      employment, two years of which must have been in a senior
      management role. Demonstrated successful track record in
      fundraising and working with a governing board.

      Educational Qualifications: Bachelor's degree required.

      Personal Qualifications: Strong written and verbal
      communications skills. Demonstrable success in building and
      maintaining relationships with key constituents, such as board
      members, funders, staff, government entities, and community and
      constituent groups.

      Competitive salary and benefits.

      To apply, send r�sum�, cover letter and salary requirements to:

      Donald Tebbe
      SHHH Search Consultant
      Rewarding Results Group
      10007 Battleridge Pl
      Montgomery Village, MD 20886
      Via Fax: (301) 330-4438
      Via e-mail: shhh@.... (Attachments in
      Word, plain text or PDF format only please.)

      Applications must be received by September 16, 2002.

      - MED-EL Introduces Remote Support System for CI Programming

      Editor: One of the complaints we hear from CI recipients in
      rural areas is that they have to travel so far to their implant
      center for programming adjustments. That may soon change, as
      MED-EL has recently announced a remote support system for
      programming their CIs. Here are portions of the press release.


      Today, for the first time, an expert team of audiologists,
      including Suzanne Hasenstab, Ph.D., from the Medical College of
      Virginia Hospitals and Carol Gilmer, M.S., from the University
      of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will use a new high- tech
      development known as the "Remote Support System" to assist an
      audiologist in Columbia, South America, in programming a
      cochlear implant patient.

      MED-EL, the first to develop the hybrid multi-channel cochlear
      implant, has introduced the "Remote Support System" to enable
      cochlear implant teams to collaborate with patients and health
      care providers around the world. "This video conferencing based
      system," says Suzanne Hasenstab, "is needed in areas of the
      United States and around the world where support is limited. It
      links clinicians with highly trained experts in the field of
      cochlear implants."

      Cochlear implant users and audiologists work together in regular
      fitting sessions to program the device to best meet the
      individual needs of the user. Using special software, the
      audiologist fine tunes the cochlear implant system to optimize
      sound quality and speech understanding. The "Remote Support
      System" will make it possible for audiologists to receive direct
      support from expert audiologists worldwide - regardless of
      location. If, for example, a question arises during a fitting
      session, the audiologist uses the Internet to dial-up a "remote"
      expert audiologist who can see the patient and all programming
      information on screen in real-time. The remote audiologist can
      then provide recommendations to the on-site audiologist to
      perfect the patient's program.

      In addition to working with adults, audiologists and speech
      pathologists must find creative methods to work with children in
      order to program their cochlear implant systems correctly. Most
      of these children have never before heard a sound, and as this
      is a completely new experience for the child, reactions and
      responses may vary. "This new technology", says Bertrand, "is a
      great tool in such instances as it allows the audiologist to
      contact other audiologists and trained professionals worldwide
      to assist in monitoring a child's responses and facial
      expressions in order to provide an optimized program."

      For more information, contact MED-EL Corporation or visit our
      website at http://www.medel.com

      Contact Information

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