"It's a hushing sound, like, I guess you'd say, like a radiator. The sound that would be steam coming out of the radiator."
Like most people with tinnitus, Shikora says the more you focus on it, the louder it gets.
"I tried accupuncture, I tried biofeedback, and nothing helped," he said. "I was at my wit's end because it really depressed me. You're hearing this constant hushing sound in your ears 24 hours a day."
Two million Americans are like Shikura. It's what finally brought him to the League for the Hard of Hearing, an intensive, 18-24 month program called Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) that starts with a hearing evaluation to rule out any other problems. The heart of the therapy, called directive counselling, teaches patients to put psychological distance between them and the noise in their ears. For some patients, there are low-level noise generators that give the brain something other than tinnitus to listen to.
The TRT program costs $2,000 for the first six months of appointments. From then on, the treatments are on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Renu Moisture-Loc contact solution is disappearing from store shelves, but users are still seeing its effects. More than 30% of people with eye infections linked to the solution have had corneal transplants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that number may go up. The transplant patients are contact wearers who didn't respond to treatments with eye drops or oral medications.
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After six more people died in Indonesia, the county has received 9,500 doses of the anti- bird flu drug, Tamiflu. The World Health Organization (WHO) suspects the half-dozen family members transmitted the disease to each other. So, WHO is putting the drug maker on alert. Roche is ready to send 3 million doses anywhere in the world. But health experts say bird flu has not mutated into something that could easily spread from person to person.