From the desk of Dr. Ruffin

Born with severe hearing loss, Dr. Ruffin is an ENT Doctor, Cochlear Implant Surgeon and advocate for adults and kids. In addition to working one-on-one with patients at his clinic in Seattle, Dr. Ruffin & his team perform innovative research and advocacy for the hard of hearing community.

Dr. Chad Ruffin

ENT Doc and CI Surgeon

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Treating Stuffy & Runny Noses

Treating Stuffy & Runny Noses

October 20, 2022

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Hear better when you preserve remaining hearing with cochlear implantation

Hear better when you preserve remaining hearing with cochlear implantation

June 13, 2022

It is no longer true that cochlear implants destroy residual hearing. Soft surgery results in atraumatic electrode insertion. This can preserve residual hearing. This hearing is useful whether the hearing is "usable" or not. Preserved hearing means less scar inside the cochlea so the cochlear implant can work better. If you have usable hearing, you may wear a cochlear implant and a hearing aid in the same ear. Atraumatic insertion also improves balance outcome. With less scar inside the cochlea, you may be able to adopt new and upcoming technologies for improved hearing.

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How Much Do Cochlear Implants Cost?

How Much Do Cochlear Implants Cost?

May 31, 2022

Cochlear implants can cost over $100,000. Read more to learn how to understand insurance, minimize your costs, and start your journey to hearing better.

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Do Facial Shields Prevent COVID-19 Transmission?

Do Facial Shields Prevent COVID-19 Transmission?

August 18, 2020

Facial shields may be a way around masks. They seem to decrease the amount of inhaled flu virus. Flu is another respiratory virus like COVID-19 that has similar transmission dynamics. In addition, shields may keep hands from faces better than masks. They also protect virus from landing inside the eyes.

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Tinnitus treatment apps from Hearingtracker.com

Tinnitus treatment apps from Hearingtracker.com

July 10, 2020

Most tinnitus isn’t curable, but there are still things you can do to make it quieter. The key for most types of tinnitus is to cover it up with masking noise. Check out this article from Hearingtracker.com.

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New Seminar Series: WFH, Quarantine Economy, & Using Accessibility to Proactively Change Organizations

New Seminar Series: WFH, Quarantine Economy, & Using Accessibility to Proactively Change Organizations

May 6, 2020

Remote work. Zoom fatigue. Economic uncertainty. Anxiety? Sure, but this is the time for the deaf and hard of hearing to change work culture. Join us to learn how to take this opportunity to build better remote culture for better collaboration and less videoconferencing and meetings.

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Part 2 of COVID-19 for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing: Communicating in the Hospital

Part 2 of COVID-19 for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing: Communicating in the Hospital

April 30, 2020

In the hospital, COVID-19 creates unique challenges for those with hearing loss. COVID-19 patients are separated from other other patients into “respiratory isolation.” This means that masks and noisy air purifiers are widely used. Masks that muffle the voice and prevent lipreading. Unlike other medical settings, masks will not be lowered so that you can lipread.

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Part 1 of COVID-19 for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing: How Hospitals Work

Part 1 of COVID-19 for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing: How Hospitals Work

April 29, 2020

Have a plan in place before you get sick. Being prepared ahead of time is key. In an epidemic, the hospital can be overwhelming. You may be in a temporary isolation tent or placed in a hallway. You may not have access to communication tools that you usually get. Again, being prepared ahead of time is key. Make a plan with your family if you’re not ready.

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How an Ear Surgeon with Hearing Loss Chooses His Own Hearing Tech

How an Ear Surgeon with Hearing Loss Chooses His Own Hearing Tech

April 14, 2020

Choosing your hearing “kit” can be paralyzing. Thankfully, my background in hearing science makes it easier for me. Because I work in some of the noisiest and mission-critical environments, like the operating room, I’ve learned what really works for me. Read below to read some of my thoughts:

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Video: Dr. Ruffin discusses COVID-19 at ourLightbox.org

Video: Dr. Ruffin discusses COVID-19 at ourLightbox.org

March 27, 2020

Dr. Ruffin was a guest speaker at ourLightbox.org virtual event and answered questions about COVID-19. Lightbox also hosted three other speakers on mental and financial health.

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🦻Update on COVID-19 for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing

🦻Update on COVID-19 for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing

March 21, 2020

If you are admitted to a hospital for COVID-19, you will be confined to a respiratory isolation ward and separated from your loved ones. The experience of a cochlear implant patient will drive this home below. Dr. Ruffin and other experts have discussed JP’s experience and believe that DHH people should prepare beyond our original recommendations.

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🦻COVID-19 and the Deaf/Hard-of Hearing Community

🦻COVID-19 and the Deaf/Hard-of Hearing Community

March 20, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is on track to become the greatest disruption to society since World War II. The U.S. has declared a state of emergency to decrease the spread of COVID-19. Currently the recommendations are to stay 6 feet away from other people and to practice social distancing.

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How Can a Cochlear Implant Help Me?

How Can a Cochlear Implant Help Me?

February 19, 2020

Most people with severe and profound sensorineural hearing loss don’t realize what they’re missing. The average hearing aid user waits for a decade before biting the bullet and getting hearing amplification. A cochlear implant candidate takes even longer—a dozen years before receiving an implant. Learn more about cochlear implants.

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State of Cochlear Implant Research Winter 2019

State of Cochlear Implant Research Winter 2019

January 4, 2020

Like other technology, cochlear implants (CI) are continually improved. Dr. Ruffin has been a scientist involved in cochlear implant research for 15 years. He provides a birds-eye view of CI research in the HLAA Washington State Fall 2019 issue of Soundwaves.

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A new treatment for nasal polyps

A new treatment for nasal polyps

December 30, 2019

There are several different forms of chronic sinusitis. One form that is particularly difficult to treat is “chronic sinusitis with nasal polyps,” or CRSwNP. This form of chronic sinusitis is a different disease than straightforward chronic sinusitis.

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Storytelling is Important and Other Thoughts on Andrew Solomon's Essay, The Dignity of Disabled Lives

Storytelling is Important and Other Thoughts on Andrew Solomon's Essay, The Dignity of Disabled Lives

September 2, 2019

The limitations placed by society can often exceed the limitations placed by disability. Solomon points out that the trajectory of disabled people has quietly improved in the last 40 years. To improve further, people with disabilities must continue to engage the public and tell our own stories. Doing so establishes our humanity, drives inclusion, and demonstrates that a diversity of thought improves the lives for all.

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Why An Audiologist Resisted Getting a Cochlear Implant

Why An Audiologist Resisted Getting a Cochlear Implant

August 29, 2019

Audiology doctoral student Sarah Sparks (Twitter: @saralovesears) is in training at Gallaudet University. Ms. Sparks was born typically hearing and initially resisted cochlear implants. This blog post by Med El describes her journey with hearing loss and the reason for her initial skepticism.

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Representation Matters: Jessica Williams, a deaf medical student, highlights self-advocacy and success  with hearing loss.

Representation Matters: Jessica Williams, a deaf medical student, highlights self-advocacy and success with hearing loss.

August 19, 2019

Student Dr. Williams is a medical student pursuing pediatric neurology. She is deaf and hears with a cochlear implant. In this article, discusses the importance of self-advocacy on succeeding with hearing loss, “Representation in medicine matters.

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Meet the Trailblazing FBI Agent with Hearing Loss Who Pushed the Bureau to Let Her in — and Excelled

Meet the Trailblazing FBI Agent with Hearing Loss Who Pushed the Bureau to Let Her in — and Excelled

August 5, 2019

This is a fantastic article and a great reminder to challenge employment restrictions on hearing loss. Policies restricting opportunities for hard of hearing people are rarely well thought out. Most hearing people cannot imagine functioning without full hearing. Thus, employers and agencies are often unfamiliar with what people with hearing loss can do with appropriate accommodations.

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Dr. Ruffin Featured in Soundwaves Newsletter from Hearing Loss Association of Washington

Dr. Ruffin Featured in Soundwaves Newsletter from Hearing Loss Association of Washington

April 12, 2019

Dr. Ruffin recently met with the HLAA-WA to learn more about the hearing loss community in Washington state. Karen Utter and Warren Weissman, leaders of the organization, responded with a warm welcome. Their excitement for having an ear surgeon with hearing loss is reflected in the article that they wrote. We are excited to work with the larger hearing loss community to improve outcomes for those with hearing loss.

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d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing Hidden Figures

d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing Hidden Figures

March 5, 2019

Every person with hearing loss, regardless of communication mode, can achieve big things. It takes courage to live defy expectations and determination to overcome hurdles. But it can be done.

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New York Times: Falls Can Kill You. Here’s How to Minimize the Risk.

New York Times: Falls Can Kill You. Here’s How to Minimize the Risk.

March 1, 2019

Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults. Every 19 minutes in this country, an older person dies from a fall. Learn more here at the NYT.

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New Urgency for Treating Hearing Loss

New Urgency for Treating Hearing Loss

February 11, 2019

In the past, hearing loss was often seen as less serious than other health issues. In recent years, its impact on health has become better understood. Untreated hearing loss can lead to withdrawal and social isolation. This can lead to depression and anxiety. But did you know that loneliness has severe health consequences? Its effect on mortality is as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

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