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Research Topics


My Theories

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The Cause of Internet and TV Addiction?


Hearing Suggestions


·           Laterality: Correcting Ear Dominance

·           Ear Congestion

·           Ear Plugs

·         Chronically Plugging the Ears

·           Low Frequency Noise

·           Mozart Effect

·           PC Noise

·           Sound Sensitivity


Ear Congestion


·          "Sudden onset of muffled hearing.

·          Crackling or popping noises in the ear.

·          A stuffy, full sensation in the ear.

·          No ear pain.

·          Unusual complaint until after age 4 or 5 years.

St Louis Children's Hospital: Ear Congestion



·          Vision: Dry Eye Syndrome: Related Conditions


"Common causes:

·          Blockage of ear tube (eustachian tube) [e.g. through the use of earplugs]

·          During nose allergies,

·          A cold or

·           Airplane/mountain travel."

St Louis Children's Hospital: Ear Congestion


"The most common cause of ear congestion is fluid in the middle ear due to intermittent eustachian tube blockage by

·          A cold,

·          Hay fever, or

·           Over-vigorous nose blowing.

·           Sudden increases in barometric pressure, which occur in descent from mountain driving or airplane travel, also cause ear congestion."

Children's Hospital of Orange County: Ear Congestion


Home Care Advice

·          "More Chewing and Swallowing:  Have your child chew gum if over age 4.  Swallow water while the nose is pinched closed.

·          Antihistamines:  If your child has hay fever or other allergies, give an antihistamine.

·          Expected Course:  The symptoms usually clear within 2 days (48 hours) with treatment. It's safe for your child to swim.

·          Prevention for Airplane/Mountain Travel

  • Swallow during descent using a pacifier or fluids.
  • Children older than age 4 can chew on gum during descent.
  • Yawning also can open the middle ear.

·          Call Your Doctor If

  • Your child becomes worse or develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms [see below, or click on link].
  • Ear congestion lasts for more than 48 hours.
  • Ear pain occurs."

St Louis Children's Hospital: Ear Congestion


"Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 and 4) if...

·          You think your child needs to be seen.

·          Earache.

·          Possible foreign body in ear canal.

Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours if...

·          You have other questions or concerns.

·          Ear congestion lasts for more than 48 hours."

St Louis Children's Hospital: Ear Congestion


Ear Plugs

General Information

·           Some of the articles on the Laterality and Mozart Effect pages may suggest that you wear ear plugs.

·           The article: Rules of Thumb for Everyday Hearing Protection contains information about the different kinds of ear plugs, and how to properly insert them.


Musicians' Earplugs

"Some people with hyperacusis tend to use devices such as earplugs or earmuffs, to block out sound. Your audiology specialist may refer to these as ‘attenuators’. Although these may provide temporary relief, in the long-term they can undo any progress you are making to adapt to sound and they may even make hyperacusis worse.

     However, if you are exposed to loud sounds for a long time, for example, in your job, this can make hyperacusis worse. Therefore, you may find it helps to wear special ‘active’ electronic sound attenuators and ‘musicians’ earplugs’ if you work in a noisy place."

RNID: Factsheets: Hyperacusis


"Ordinary earplugs provide greater attenuation for higher frequency sounds, making sounds appear muffled. Musicians’ earplugs are designed to give similar attenuation for sounds of all frequencies. This means that the earplugs protect from the damaging effects of loud sounds, but preserve the sound quality."

RNID: Factsheets: Noise Exposure



"It is not uncommon to have a closed-in feeling when we have plugs in our ears. Initially this can create some anxiety, but after using them many times you will become accustomed to the feeling."

Hyperacusis Network: Supplement


·         Some people have anxiety from their earplugs because of tactile hypersensitivity. Tactile hypersensitivity can be reduced by changing your earplugs regularly, before they become tough and abrasive.

·        If you cut your earplugs in half before wearing them, try positioning the earplug so that the smooth side is facing the inside of the ear (not the rough, cut side).


Things to Avoid

Chronically Plugging the Ears

Chronically plugging one ear can permanently impair the ability to be focus on one sound amid many interfering sounds (the 'cocktail party effect'), and the ability to determine the specific location of a sound source (sound localization).

"Auditory spatial acuity [used in sound localization] and binaural unmasking (a measure of the spatial contribution to the 'cocktail party effect') are permanently impaired by chronically plugging one ear, both in infancy but especially in adulthood."

PNAS Online: Plasticity in the Neural Coding of Auditory Space in the Mammalian Brain


"On the other hand, excessive protection against sounds may also damage the auditory system in a different way. Earplugs worn inappropriately, when the environmental sounds are not harmfully loud, results in unnecessary strain to hear. This may lead to hyperacusis – an extreme sensitivity to sounds, and may also cause tinnitus."

Healthy Hearing & Balance Care: Self- Inflicted Hearing Disorders (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)


·     Vestibular System: Auditory (Inner Ear): Things to Avoid

·      Laterality: Too Much Lateralisation



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