News

28
Aug

There’s An App For That!

People whose work and play put them at risk for ear damage commonly complain about difficulty hearing and ringing/buzzing in the ears. Construction workers, machinists, contractors and musicians find themselves immersed in loud sounds as a matter of common practice. Add off-the-job hobbies, such as shooting, power tools or practicing music, and you have a recipe for significant ear damage at an early age. Hearing loss is not a sign of aging, it’s more indicative of “wear and tear” of the ears.
Along with difficulty hearing soft speech and speech in background noise, many noise-damaged patients complain of incessant ringing or buzzing noises, particularly in quiet environments. While these are certainly signs one has done damage to the ears, it is important to note we now have excellent technology to effectively and discretely improve these symptoms.
For most hearing loss patients, the days of big, squawking hearing aids filling your ears or the big “shrimp” behind the ears are over. Most modern hearing instruments are very small and hide behind the top of the ear. Only a barely-visible wire enters the canal with amplified sound. The instruments are tuned to the frequencies of loss. High frequencies are added when the loss is in the highs. The same goes for a low or middle frequency losses.
For the additional symptom of tinnitus, the goal is to increase the amount of sound we receive. Silence will only allow tinnitus to become more dominant, as it is more a brain phenomenon triggered by ear damage. Many modern hearing instruments can be custom programmed with tinnitus therapy noise that can help promote long term “habituation” to tinnitus. Habituation is a powerful brain phenomenon that allows us to ignore familiar stimulation (like clothes on our skin or unappetizing odors) over time. Tinnitus can be come no more noticeable than a watch on your wrist or the rim of your glasses as you look through them.
The latest innovation is technology that pairs many modern hearing instruments with smart phones. Various iPhone or Android phones can utilize an app specific to the amplification and tinnitus of the patient. We can now control the sound into our ears much like we control virtually everything else in these days of text messages and social media, by tapping a screen on our phone. This is an unprecedented level of control by the wearer, and many people are experiencing improved quality of life though this technology.
Don’t miss out on the sounds of life. Be careful with noise exposure and utilize all the technology that is now available. We want to keep you on a clear path to good hearing and ear health.

 

22
Aug

Hearing loss and tinnitus: there’s an app for that!

A tinnitus app

People whose work and play put them at risk for ear damage often complain about difficulty hearing and ringing in the ears. Construction workers, machinists, contractors, musicians and others find themselves immersed in loud sounds as a matter of common practice. Add hobbies, such as shooting, power tools or practicing music, and you have a recipe for ear damage at an early age. Hearing loss is not a sign of aging, it’s more indicative of “wear and tear” of the ears.

Along with difficulty hearing soft speech and speech in background noise, many noise-damaged patients complain of incessant ringing or buzzing. These are signs one has done damage to the ears. It is important to note we now have technology to improve these symptoms effectively and discretely.

For most patients, the days of big, squawking hearing aids filling your ears or the big “shrimp” behind the ears are over. Most modern hearing instruments are small and hide behind the top of the ear. Only a barely-visible wire enters the canal with amplified sound. The instruments are tuned to the frequencies of loss. High frequencies are added when the loss is in the highs. The same goes for a low or middle frequency losses.

For tinnitus, the goal is to increase the amount of sound we receive. Silence will only allow tinnitus to become more dominant. This is more a brain phenomenon triggered by ear damage. Many modern hearing instruments can be custom programmed with tinnitus therapy noise. This can help promote long term habituation to tinnitus. Habituation is a powerful brain phenomenon that allows us to ignore familiar stimulation, like clothes on our skin or unappetizing odors. Tinnitus can be come no more noticeable than a watch on your wrist or the rim of your glasses as you look through them.

Welcome to the future

The latest innovation is technology that pairs many hearing instruments with smart phones. iPhone or Android phones can utilize a tinnitus app specific to the amplification and tinnitus of the patient. We can now control sound into our ears much like we control virtually everything else. We tap a screen on our phone. This is an unprecedented level of control by the wearer. Many people are experiencing improved quality of life though this technology.

Don’t miss out on the sounds of life. Be careful with noise exposure and utilize all the technology that is now available. We want to keep you on a clear path to good hearing and ear health.

31
May

How To Talk To Your Grandchildren About Hearing Loss

You love your grandchildren — their smiles, the way they look like their parents did when they were young, and their exuberance — but sometimes, they are very hard to hear. Children have a way of swallowing their words, or slurring them together, and typically have softer and higher pitched voices. That is, when they are not shrieking with delight or terror. Their way of speaking makes it hard to understand them under any conditions, but with hearing loss it can be even tougher, especially with age related hearing loss, which tends to impact the higher frequencies most.

Hearing loss is no reason to miss out on the fun and important relationships you desire with your grandchildren. Teaching them the best way to speak with you will take patience and repetition, but it is worth it. Share these tips with them in an age appropriate way each time you see them. Soon it will become second nature.

 

Ten Tips For Better Conversations With Your Grandchildren

1. Tell them about your hearing loss. The first step is letting them know that it is hard for you to hear them. You can show them your hearing aids and explain that your ears don’t work as well as theirs do. For younger children that might be enough of an explanation, but older children will be interested in the scientific aspects. Visit websites like KidsHealth or Dangerous Decibels with them to explore how hearing works and the causes of hearing loss.

2. Ask them to get your attention first. Explain that it is much easier for you to hear them if they get your attention first. That way you can concentrate on what they are saying and have a better chance of understanding the topic of the conversation. Knowing the context can help a lot when you need to figure out harder-to-hear words.

3. Make sure they are facing you. Explain how you use their lips to help you hear. Tell them, “If I can’t see you, I can’t hear you.” My family and I sometimes play lipreading games to help them understand how I use lipreading to hear. They can be a lot of fun

4. Keep background noise low and the lights bright. Ask them to turn down the music while you talk or to move away from the air conditioning unit to minimize competing sounds. Well-lit spaces also make it easier to lipread.

5. Teach them to take turns speaking. Children can be excited to speak and don’t know to wait their turn, but it is probably difficult for you to hear more than one speaker at a time. Remind them to take turns speaking. This is good manners in any event, and will make it much easier for you to follow the conversation.

6. Ask them to speak at a normal volume and pace. Explain that normal speech is easier to lipread, while shouting or excessively slow speech is harder for you to understand. Clarity of the sounds is the key, so ask them to speak each word as clearly as they can rather than slurring them together. Sometimes asking them to pretend they are speaking to an audience or are onstage can help them understand what you mean.

7. If you miss something, ask for clarification. Rather than just saying “What?” or tuning out, ask them to rephrase or spell a difficult word (depending on their age). Or ask them to point to the object in question. Repeat the part of the sentence you heard and ask them to fill in the missing pieces. Say what you think you heard — sometimes the mishearings can be very funny if you let them be.

8. Get down to their level. Sit on the floor with them, or ask them to join you on your lap. Interact with their toys along with them. The more engaged you are with them in activities, the more willing they will be to make the extra effort to communicate.

9. Maintain a good energy level. Communication takes work, especially when you have hearing loss. Make sure you are well rested before a visit. Eat healthy foods, try to exercise regularly and be sure to get enough sleep. Don’t be afraid to take breaks if your energy is lagging.

10. Keep your sense of humor. It can be frustrating, but remember the goal is to connect with your grandchildren, so why not laugh at the misunderstandings rather than being upset by them. Children are used to making mistakes and learning new words, and they will not judge you for your errors. If you are at ease with your hearing loss, they will be too.

Hearing loss can make communication difficult, but by following these tips and maintaining a healthy attitude, it does not have to stand in the way of meaningful and lasting relationships with your grandchildren. Don’t let a single moment with them go to waste.

Source: https://livingwithhearingloss.com/2017/01/31/how-to-talk-to-your-grandchildren-about-your-hearing-loss/

31
May

How to use audiobooks for hearing rehab

Do you ever listen to audiobooks? The form of storytelling can be also very beneficial for hearing rehab.

Oral storytelling is one of the most ancient art-forms. Stories have been passed on by word of mouth to entertain, educate and inform from generation to generation, long before recorded history.

Although these oral traditions have changed, the desire to TELL and HEAR stories remained constant. This is why hearing loss can have such a significant impact on everyday life.

The sudden change in hearing ability after receiving new hearing aids or cochlear implants impacts most aspects of your life, but listening exercises can vastly improve one’s auditory skills.

Those who are unable to participate in conversations can experience feelings of loneliness, isolation, and frustration. Thankfully, there are ways to rehabilitate from the loss of hearing, through technology and auditory training.

Home Based Rehab Using Audiobooks

Audiobook exercises can be conducted at home or as part of an Auditory Rehab program. A Rehab Specialist, such as a rehab audiologist, an auditory verbal therapist or speech pathologist, can guide and coach you on the strategy, as well as recommend sessions where family or significant others can join in and learn effective communication techniques. Therapy-based services can help you successfully put the pieces of the communication puzzle together.

Today, a new era of oral storytelling or audio books is booming with mobile technologies such as smartphones, tablets, and multimedia entertainment systems in cars and podcasts over the internet.

Audiobooks, especially, are easily accessible and an enjoyable way to practice listening that can be completed independently at your own pace. They are particularly useful for patients who might have difficulty finding a suitable conversational partner. Auditory training at home with audio books and the corresponding texts is an enjoyable rehabilitation option that spans the scope of a beginner to experienced cochlear implant user.

How To Begin With Audiobooks?

Your first book should be a book you are already familiar with and have even read a few times. This serves as a way to get the “feel” of the audiobook experience which focuses on listening not vision. You’ll find that it’s quite different from reading paper books, so ease yourself into this and don’t rush. Non-fiction books are a good beginning as the storyline is familiar and predictable.

Select audiobooks that have a clear narrator, a relatively slow pace and without accents foreign to you. Consider books with few characters to follow. Sound effects and background music should be limited as not to obscure the spoken words of the book.

Select audiobooks that have a clear narrator, a relatively slow pace and without accents foreign to you.

It is important to listen in a quiet room or connect your sound source directly to your cochlear implant processors or hearing aids with a Telecoil, Bluetooth or a direct audio input cable.

Levels Based On Your Auditory Skills

There are three listening levels based on your auditory experience and skills.

1.Beginner

As a beginner, try listening to an unabridged audiobook while reading the book simultaneously. This helps you to make the connection between the words you hear and words. By listening and looking at the words at the same time, a connection can be made and comprehension soars.

If this level is a challenge: Ask a friend to read a written passage out loud to you while you follow along reading the words. Run your fingers along the words as they are spoken. This is easier than a recorded audiobook because you are familiar with the friend’s voice and speaking style. A friend can respond to your requests to slow down, repeat or make changes based on your abilities.

2. Intermediate

When you become more familiar with the practice of listening to audiobooks, listen to an unabridged audiobook and have the hardcopy book to look at as needed, or to review what was said and heard. Listen to the audiobook for short periods of time as it can be fatiguing.

If this is a challenge try reading the book first. This will help with understanding the topic or plot so you know the storyline as you listen to the audiobook.

3. Experienced

Remove the visual and focus on listening ALONE to the audiobook without the written text. Over time this will build your confidence and improve the ability to follow and take part in natural conversation situations.

Tips for Choosing Audiobooks for Auditory Rehab

When it comes to audiobook sources there is your local library and countless companies. Begin with a familiar story such a fable or classic tale and make you book choice based on the narration. Ask a librarian or friend with typical hearing for help choosing a narrator. Resources for free audiobook listening samples are available NoveList Plus, iTunes, and Audible. Consider if the source offers options to listen to multiple speeds and the ability to quickly rewind or fast forward.

A popular option for hearing aid and cochlear implant users is the “Great Listen Guarantee” in which you can exchange one audiobook for another, no questions asked offered by Audible. This allows you can try the audiobook and decide if the sound quality and narrator fit your listening level and needs.

Top Audiobooks for Auditory Rehab

1. Beginner:

Oh the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss, read by John Lithgow


This is a children’s book that has been read at high school and college graduations! It’s a book well-loved for beginners.

2. Intermediate:

Because of Winn-Dixie” by Kate DiCamillo, read by Cherry Jones


This is a heart-warming story for young adults about a girl who learns how to get over her fear and loneliness thanks to a dog named Winn-Dixie and is perfect for intermediate listeners.

3. Advanced

The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde, read by various.

The dramatic reading of this book has a different person reading the different parts, which makes it an excellent audiobook to practice listening and understanding different voices and accents.

Audiobooks are an excellent tool for auditory training and listening practice.

Soon you will be on your way to improved speech understanding for following conversations with much to talk about with all the audiobooks you’ve enjoyed!

Source: https://www.hearinglikeme.com/use-audiobooks-hearing-rehab/

31
May

Study Shows That Hearing Aids Improve Brain Function

According to a recent study by Jamie Desjardins, PhD, an assistant professor in the speech-language pathology program at The University of Texas at El Paso, hearing aids improve brain function in people with hearing loss.

It is known that hearing loss, if left untreated, can lead to emotional and social consequences, reduced job performance, and diminished quality of life. Recently, research has shown that untreated hearing loss also can interfere with cognitive abilities because so much mental effort is diverted toward understanding speech.

Jamie Desjardins, PhD

Jamie Desjardins, PhD

“If you have some hearing impairment and you’re not using hearing aids, maybe you can figure out what the person has said, but that comes with a cost,” said Desjardins in a recent university announcement. “You may actually be using the majority of your cognitive resources – your brain power – in order to figure out that message.”

Desjardins explained that as people age, basic cognitive skills – working memory, the ability to pay attention to a speaker in a noisy environment, or the ability to process information quickly – begin to decline. Hearing loss affects more than 9 million Americans over the age of 65 and 10 million Americans ages 45 to 64, but only about 20% of people who actually need hearing aids wear them, Desjardins said.

To explore the effects of hearing loss on brain function further, Desjardins studied a group of individuals in their 50s and 60s with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss who had previously never used hearing aids. Study participants took cognitive tests to measure their working memory, selective attention, and processing speed abilities prior to and after using hearing aids.

After two weeks of hearing aid use, tests revealed an increase in percent scores for recalling words in working memory and selective attention tests, and the processing speed at which participants selected the correct response was faster. By the end of the study, participants had exhibited significant improvement in their cognitive function.

“Most people will experience hearing loss in their lifetime,” said Desjardins. “Think about somebody who has hearing loss and is still working and they’re not wearing hearing aids. They are spending so much of their brainpower just trying to focus on listening. They may not be able to perform their job as well. Or if they can, they’re exhausted because they are working so much harder. They are more tired at the end of the day, because it’s a lot more taxing. It affects their quality of life.”

Desjardins is currently undertaking a study that focuses on the use of hearing aids by Hispanics. Research shows that only 5% of Mexican-Americans wear hearing aids. She has developed a survey to investigate their attitudes toward hearing loss. The survey will be conducted at health fairs in the community, including one at the Mexican Consulate in El Paso, Texas. Desjardins also will begin work on another study that will look at older bilingual people and their ability to understand speech.

Source: http://www.hearingreview.com/2016/02/study-shows-hearing-aids-improve-brain-function/

31
May

Hearing Loss Costs Far More Than Ability to Hear

Mark Hammel’s hearing was damaged in his 20s by machine gun fire when he served in the Israeli Army. But not until decades later, at 57, did he receive his first hearing aids.

“It was very joyful, but also very sad, when I contemplated how much I had missed all those years,” Dr. Hammel, a psychologist in Kingston, N.Y., said in an interview. “I could hear well enough sitting face to face with someone in a quiet room, but in public, with background noise, I knew people were talking, but I had no idea what they were saying. I just stood there nodding my head and smiling.

“Eventually, I stopped going to social gatherings. Even driving, I couldn’t hear what my daughter was saying in the back seat. I live in the country, and I couldn’t hear the birds singing.

“People with hearing loss often don’t realize what they’re missing,” he said. “So much of what makes us human is social contact, interaction with other human beings. When that’s cut off, it comes with a very high cost.”

And the price people pay is much more than social. As Dr. Hammel now realizes, “the capacity to hear is so essential to overall health.”

Hearing loss is one of the most common conditions affecting adults, and the most common among older adults. An estimated 30 million to 48 million Americans have hearing loss that significantly diminishes the quality of their lives — academically, professionally and medically as well as socially.

One person in three older than 60 has life-diminishing hearing loss, but most older adults wait five to 15 years before they seek help, according to a 2012 report in Healthy Hearing magazine. And the longer the delay, the more one misses of life and the harder it can be to adjust to hearing aids.

As Dr. Hammel put it: “I had lost the habit of listening. After I got the aids, it took me a long time to get back into the habit of paying attention to what people were saying.”

The author of the Healthy Hearing report, Debbie Clason, pointed out that “the sooner you get help for your hearing impairment, the easier it will be for your brain to use the auditory pathways it’s developed for processing sound.”

The National Register of Health Service Psychologists states in an online continuing education course, “For the majority of people with hearing loss, the difficulties faced can wreak havoc in a person’s life.” Yet, the register added, “many people who have hearing loss are not aware of it, do not accept the fact of it, or are unwilling to discuss their hearing loss.”

In a large survey by the National Council on the Aging, two-thirds of older adults with untreated hearing loss explained their reluctance to get a hearing aid with statements like “my hearing is not bad enough” or “I can get along without one,” and one person in five said things like “it would make me feel old” or “I don’t like what others will think about me.”

However, those in the survey who had hearing aids were, on average, more socially active and less likely to be depressed, worried, paranoid or insecure, and their family members and friends were even more likely than they were to have noticed these benefits.

The findings of the survey, conducted among 2,096 hearing-impaired people and 1,710 of their family members and friends, and funded by the Hearing Industries Association, a trade group, were published in 1999, but experts say little has changed in people’s attitudes and treatment of hearing loss.

Many who are hard of hearing don’t realize how distressing it is to family members, who typically report feeling frustrated, annoyed and sad as a consequence of communication difficulties and misunderstandings.

For the hearing-impaired person, confusion, difficulty focusing and distracting thoughts are common cognitive impairments, Andrea Ciorba of the University Hospital of Ferrara in Italy and colleaguesreported in Clinical Interventions in Aging. Other frequently reported problems include an inability to think straight and difficulty making decisions.

When people can’t hear what is being said, they may become anxious and even suspect that others are talking about them behind their backs or saying things others don’t want them to hear. Anger, embarrassment and a loss of self-esteem are common emotional fallout.

Links have also been found to an increased risk of dementia, which is not surprising given the diminished cognitive input among those with untreated hearing loss. In a 2013 study of 1,984 older adults living independently and followed for 11 years with repeated cognitive examinations, “rates of cognitive decline and the risk for incident cognitive impairment were linearly associated with the severity of an individual’s baseline hearing loss,” Dr. Frank R. Lin of the Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health and his colleagues in the Health ABC Study Group reported.

Untreated hearing loss can have physical consequences as well, including excessive fatigue, stress and headaches, which may result from trying so hard to hear and understand spoken language. One recent study found that moderate to severe hearing loss was associated with a 54 percent increased risk of death, and mild hearing loss with a 27 percent increased risk of death, compared with individuals with normal hearing. Affected individuals also report more problems with eating, sleeping and sex, according to Deborah Touchette, an audiologist in Paradise, Calif.

Working people with poor hearing are more likely to earn less than those with good hearing; they may even risk losing their jobs if the work depends on good communication.

“If the boss says, ‘Don’t go over $15,000 on that contract,’ and the employee hears $50,000, there is a potential for problems,” the national register wrote. A 2011 study by the Better Hearing Institute, the educational arm of the Hearing Industries Association, found that untreated hearing loss adversely affected productivity, performance and career success, and was associated with a loss in annual income that could reach $30,000. Those in the study with severe hearing loss were twice as likely to be unemployed as people with normal hearing and nearly twice as likely to be out of work as their peers who used hearing aids.

There are safety issues, too, for someone who may miss auditory signals important for survival, like alarms, car horns and shouts of warning, as well as the potential impact of missing sounds like the ringing of a telephone, doorbell or alarm clock.

Source: https://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/well/2015/09/28/hearing-loss-costs-far-more-than-ability-to-hear/

9
May

Why is Hearing Loss a Public Health Concern?

Question: People do not die from hearing loss, so why should it be added to the list of public health concerns like tobacco use and obesity? Answer: Because hearing loss is highly prevalent, with numerous associated health risks that burden affected individuals, their family, and their community.

Older adults in the United States are disproportionately afflicted with hearing loss, with as many as one-third of adults over 65 years old exhibiting hearing loss (Ear Hear. 2012;33[3]:437 http://bit.ly/2lT6zo6). The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the number of people with hearing impairment increased from 42 million in 1985 to about 360 million in 2011 (Bull World Health Organ. 2014;92:367 http://bit.ly/2m4dw4G).

Because hearing loss is highly prevalent, patients are often told “your hearing is normal for your age,” or “you’ll have to learn to accept and deal with your hearing loss.” However, research tells us that hearing loss has a tremendous impact on a person’s quality of life. It is associated with numerous health issues, including accelerated cognitive decline, depression, increased risk of dementia, poorer balance, falls, hospitalizations, and early mortality. Therefore, despite what patients are told, hearing loss and related health issues are not easy to “accept” or “deal” with.

A MEDICAL & PUBLIC HEALTH CONCERN

Hearing loss is a burden. The WHO measures the burden of all health conditions and diseases with the Disability-Adjusted Life Year (DALY). One DALY equals one year of healthy life lost. In the case of hearing loss, DALYs are primarily related to years lived with disability (YLD). The number of years lived with a disability because of hearing loss is significant. In 2013, the top five causes of global YLD were back pain, major depression, iron deficiency anaemia, neck pain, and hearing loss (Lancet. 2015;386[9995]:743 http://bit.ly/2lAsUsK).

Traditionally, hearing health care falls within a medical model where diagnostic assessments are used to determine if the hearing loss can be treated with medications and/or surgery. However, when there is no evidence of medical pathology, as is the case with most age-related hearing problems, there’s also no clear and effective pathway of care. Without a known cure for hearing loss at this time, people with hearing loss, as well as those in their communication circles, have needs that are not being met because they require services that fall outside the medical model. Such services include education and counselling (e.g., increasing knowledge, changing attitudes, and reducing stigma), support in promoting behavior change (e.g., adapting communication strategies), and environmental modifications (e.g., reducing noise; Gerontologist. 2016;56 Suppl 2:S25 http://bit.ly/2lAChsi). In other words, what is lacking is a hearing health care system that can serve a broader population of people with hearing loss and include the larger ecological context within which hearing loss occurs. For these reasons, there is increased awareness that hearing loss is not only a medical problem but also a public health concern.

A SHIFT IN PERSPECTIVE

When hearing loss is viewed from a public health perspective, the mission expands to include improving health and quality of life, not only through prevention and treatment of hearing loss but also through the promotion of healthy behaviors. An essential component of public health is the “collective action for sustained population-wide health improvement” (Lancet. 2004;363[9426]:2084 http://bit.ly/2lALIIj; Bull World Health Organ. 2014;92[5]:367 http://bit.ly/2lAFqIq). As such, there are many ongoing initiatives aimed at making hearing health care more accessible and affordable within and outside of the medical model (Ear Hear. 2016;37[4]:376 http://bit.ly/2lAL6SW; Ear Hear. 2010;31[1]:2 http://bit.ly/2lAIMew).

Some initiatives include specialized pre-conferences such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research biennial conference, “Hearing Loss as a Public Health Concern,” in 2015. Another is the establishment of a special interest group called the Population Hearing Health Care Group, which held a pre-conference at the 33rd World Congress of Audiology 2016 and an upcoming one at the American Auditory Society Annual Meeting in 2017. At these meetings, scientists and clinicians gather evidence to identify gaps in knowledge, service, and policy to develop new approaches to hearing health care.

The hearing health care landscape is changing rapidly. The time is right for bold and innovative changes. As an example, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in December 2016 that they were waiving the requirement that individuals 18 and up have to receive a medical evaluation or sign a waiver prior to purchasing most hearing aids, in addition to possibly creating a new category for over-the-counter hearing devices. This month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is hosting a workshop called “Now Hear This: Competition, Innovation, and Consumer Protection Issues in Hearing Health Care.” The workshop is open to stakeholders such as health care providers, consumers, hearing health advocates, industry representatives, and policymakers. The goal is to explore how innovation and competition in the hearing health care industry can improve access to and use of hearing aids by those who need them.

What we are witnessing is “collective efforts” aimed at providing sustainable, population-wide hearing health improvement. Depending on who you are (audiologist, engineer, or patient with hearing loss) the proposed changes may or may not sit well with you. Shifts in perspective can be challenging and time-consuming. However, when hearing health care is viewed from a public health perspective, it becomes clear that change is needed. There is a high prevalence of hearing loss and only about one-fifth of people who could benefit from a hearing aid seek intervention. Even fewer make use of technology or communication strategies that might help them. Thus, we have a large population of people living with unmet communication needs.

Source: http://journals.lww.com/thehearingjournal/Fulltext/2017/04000/Why_is_Hearing_Loss_a_Public_Health_Concern_.5.aspx

9
May

CDC Study: 1 in 4 US Adults Who Report Good Hearing Already Have Hearing Loss

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (February 7, 2017), 1 out of 4 US adults who report excellent to good hearing already have hearing damage. The new CDC Vital Signs report by Yulia Carroll, MD, PhD and colleagues finds that many of those with hearing damage report no workplace noise exposure.

According to the new study, about 40 million US adults aged 20-69 have hearing damage in one or both ears that may be due to noise exposure. CDC found that more half (53%) of those report no exposure to loud noise at work. Based on the information they provided, researchers believe their exposure to loud sounds comes from everyday activities in their homes and communities.

The study was based on analyzed data from the 2011–2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to estimate the prevalence of audiometric notches and exposure to noise among adults aged 20-69 years. Using the standard NHANES audiometric protocols, audiograms were analyzed using an algorithm to identify high-frequency audiometric notches that suggest hearing loss caused by exposure to noise. The presence of a high-frequency audiometric notch was indicated when any threshold at 3, 4, or 6 kHz exceeded the average threshold at 0.5 and 1 kHz by ≥15 decibel (dB) hearing level (HL) and the 8 kHz threshold was at least 5 dB HL lower (better) than the maximum threshold at 3, 4, or 6 kHz.

The study showed the presence of an audiometric notch increased with age, ranging from 19.2% among people aged 20–29 years to 27.3% among persons aged 50–59 years. The prevalence of notches was consistently higher in males than in females for both reported work exposure to noise and for no reported work exposure to noise—and this was true for both unilateral and bilateral notches.

The results also showed that 21 million US adults (19.9%) who reported no exposure to loud or very loud noise at work had an audiometric notch (bilateral or unilateral). People exposed to loud noise at work were twice as likely to have bilateral or unilateral notches than those not exposed. However, 23.5% of persons who self-reported excellent or good hearing (irrespective of noise exposure reported) had bilateral or unilateral notches (5.5% and 18.0%, respectively). A total of 70% of people exposed to loud noise in the past 12 months never or seldom wore hearing protection.

The report concludes that “Hearing screenings can help reduce delays in diagnosis and improve access to hearing aids for those with hearing loss, thus improving health-related quality of life, yet a 2014 report found that only 46.0% of adults who had any trouble hearing had seen a health care professional about their hearing in the past 5 years. Hearing loss often progresses for years before being self-perceived or diagnosed. Talking to one’s personal health care provider about hearing loss symptoms, tests, and ways to protect hearing, might support early diagnosis and access to hearing rehabilitation if needed.”

The report also discusses hearing conservation standards and guidelines, as well as steps people can take to prevent hearing loss. According to the CDC, noise exposure is the second most common cause of hearing loss (aging is the first). The louder a sound is and the more often a person is exposed to it, the more likely it will damage hearing. Common activities in homes and communities—such as using gas-powered lawnmowers or leaf blowers or attending a rock concert or ball game—can cause permanent hearing loss.

The report’s conclusions also state that, during routine exams, primary care providers can examine patients’ hearing; ask about patients’ hearing and noise exposures and inform them about the benefits of hearing protection; monitor patients with hearing loss symptoms, recommend or provide hearing tests when indicated; and counsel patients with hearing loss. However, that 40%–77% of primary care providers have not asked about or screened for hearing loss. Although there is currently a lack of data to support the benefits of regular hearing screening in adults aged >50 years, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) recommends adults be screened at least every decade through age 50 years and every 3 years thereafter. Healthy People 2020 includes objectives to increase the proportion of adults who have had a hearing examination in the past 5 years and to increase the number referred by their health care provider for hearing evaluation and treatment.

The CDC recommends that clinicians—especially primary care providers—can play an important role in identifying hearing in its early stages. Doctors, nurses, and other health professionals can ask patients about exposure to loud noise and trouble hearing during routine exams. When patients show or report hearing problems, healthcare providers can make referrals to hearing specialists. And they can explain how noise exposure permanently damages hearing and counsel patients in how to protect their hearing.

Source: http://www.hearingreview.com/2017/02/cdc-study-1-4-us-adults-report-good-hearing-already-hearing-loss/

9
May

Greece Hearing Center Opens Brighton Office

Clear Choice Hearing and Balance, an audiology practice specializing in tinnitus and other hearing and imbalance disorders, recently opened a new office in Westfall Surgery Center, 1065 Senator Keating Blvd., Rochester.
The hearing center expanded to Brighton to meet the growing demands of hearing loss. Since opening its Greece office on Canal Landing Boulevard in 2008, the need for diagnosis and treatment for hearing loss, vertigo, poor equilibrium and tinnitus continues to grow due to an aging population and environmental issues that put ears at risk, said founder and owner Christine Tirk.
“We see the growing need to provide quality health care for hearing loss and other disorders of hearing and balance,” Tirk said. “We are excited to be expanding our practice to the Westfall Surgery Center, where we can better serve even more patients who suffer from tinnitus, vertigo and other debilitating disorders that affect quality of life.”
Americans with hearing loss have doubled between 2000 and 2015, with one in five adults and one in five teens having hearing loss and tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, according to the Hearing Health Foundation.
“Our state-of-the art diagnostic tools enable us to precisely diagnose and address hearing loss better than before by guiding options or treatment of a variety of disorders of the ears,” audiologist Ron D’Angelo said. “Often the clinical signs we discover result in referrals for appropriate medical care.”
D’Angelo said hearing loss has been associated with cognitive decline, dementia, depression, hospitalization and heart disease, among other diseases and conditions.
Clear Choice Hearing and Balance serve thousands of patients in the five-county area and is recognized as a leader in tinnitus treatment.

Source: http://www.greecepost.com/news/20170412/greece-hearing-center-opens-brighton-office

9
May

Why Are (Some) Sports So Noisy?

Why Are Some Sports So Noisy