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Chiropractic Care and Hearing Loss: The Birth of a Profession
The first recorded chiropractic adjustment was administered by the founder of Chiropractic, Daniel D. Palmer, to Harvey J. Lillard in 1895. Mr. Lillard had suffered from partial hearing loss for some 17 years. D. D. Palmer administered a chiropractic adjustment to Mr. Lillard not for the purpose of restoring his hearing, but rather to correct what he identified as as abnormal "bump in his back." When Mr. Lillard's hearing was restored, D. D. Palmer recognized the significance of this finding and theorized that correction of spinal misalignments had an impact on the nervous system that could correct health problems. The restoration of Harvey Lillard's hearing was one in a series of events that led to the birth of the field of chiropractic care. (Source: Palmer, D.D., The Science, Art and Philosophy of Chiropractic. Portland, Oregon: Portland Printing House Company, 1910.) If you are interested in learning more about the history of Chiropractic, click here.
Dr. Joseph DiDuro's recent article Improvement in Hearing after Chiropractic Care: A Case Series (Chiropractic and Ostopathy (2006) 14:2, click here for a PDF) lends a more quantitative and data-driven analysis to the question of whether chiropractic care can help to counter hearing loss. In this case series, DiDuro describes the outcomes of fifteen hearing-impaired patients who were assessed for hearing loss, then given a single chiropractic adjustment, and assessed again. A Welch Allyn AudioScope 3 was used to screen frequencies of 1000, 2000, 4000 and 500 Hz at three standard decibel levels 20 decibels (dB), 25 dB and 40 dB for hearing loss. The results showed improvement or restoration of hearing capacity in the majority of study participants.
Bjorne et al's study Cervical Signs and Symptoms in Patients with Meniere's Disease: A Controlled Study (The Journal of Craniomandibular Practice July 1998, Vol 16, NO. 3, CHROMA Inc. ) offers potential explanations of the connection between subluxation in the neck and hearing loss. For a synopsis of this paper, click here. In short, Bjorne (a D.D.S.) found "a much higher prevalence of signs and symptoms of cervical spine disorders [subluxation] in patients diagnosed with Meniere's disease compared with control subjects from the general population."
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