Posted: September 17th, 2017

Special Senses- Ear

Janice worked as a diesel fitter on heavy machinery for many years without using personal protective equipment, specifically ear muffs. She is now 58 and has been suffering progressive hearing loss over the last few years. Her audiologist has recommended that she start to use hearing aids. She has been told that her condition will continue to worsen and that she will need stronger hearing aids in a few years’ time. Janice was quite intimidated by the audiologist who said that it was her own fault that her hearing was damaged.
On Tuesday, Janice noticed a lump on the left side of her face and her doctor sent her to a specialist. After numerous scans, she was referred to an oncologist who has said that the lump is a malignant tumour that must be removed as soon as possible. The oncologist pointed out that the tumour is wrapped around the vestibulocochlear nerve. Removing the tumour will cause severe damage to the nerve and Janice will lose hearing in her left ear.
The whole ordeal has been very traumatic and Janice is nervous about asking the doctor further questions due to her poor experience with the audiologist. As Janice’s nurse, you have gained her trust so she asks you a couple of questions: “Why won’t I be able to still hear if my ear is not damaged at all by the procedure?” and “Why can’t I just get a stronger hearing aid for the left ear?”
Your task is to label the ear diagram and send it to Janice with a short written letter (approximately 800 words) written as a reply to Janice’s questions in essay format. In the letter you will explain how each part of the ear that is labelled in the diagram results in sound being converted to nerve impulses that are sent to the brain for processing. In the discussion you are required to clearly distinguish between sensation and perception. You will then briefly discuss hearing loss due to damage to the vestibulocochlear nerve and hearing loss due to exposure to constant loud noises. Finally, you will explain whether or not a hearing aid will help Janice’s condition.

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