Category: Hearing Loss

Does Hearing Loss Contribute to Dementia?

Senior woman with hearing loss and dementia

In a recent article, Philly.com asked an important question: How might hearing loss contribute to dementia? (Dec 8, 2017). The article points to a study performed by the Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health that attempted to find a correlation between hearing loss and cognitive decline.

Two thousand older adults took part in the study which concluded that:

  • Older adults with hearing loss did, in fact, show an increased risk of cognitive decline
  • Cognitive decline appeared to accelerate over the six-year period in which the study was performed
  • Older adults with hearing loss (impairment) had a 25% greater risk of dementia than the control group

According to the United States Census Bureau, the US population is much older than it was just 16 years ago. The median age grew from 36 years to almost 38 years due largely to the advancing age of the Baby Boomer generation. Moreover, the amount of people aged 65+ grew from 35 million in 2000 to just under 50 million in 2016 which correlates to a higher incidence of hearing loss and a higher risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

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Buy Hearing Aids with Telecoil and Bluetooth Wireless Technology

It can be difficult for those with hearing loss to effectively communicate on a cell phone. Some wear headphones. Some rely on a speaker phone and others, in despair, opt for texting over calling. Even those without any distinguishable hearing loss can have trouble understanding each word of a cell phone call; communication is even more difficult with hearing loss in the mix.

“Verbal communication is one of the most important ways we have to stay connected with each other. People with hearing loss who avoid conversation because it is frustrating run the risk of becoming isolated from friends and loved ones,” says Dr. Marta Becker.

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An Irreversible Problem: Your Child May Be Suffering from Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in Children

A couple of weeks ago, The 2016 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Convention was held in Philadelphia. ASHA also brought along its Listen To Your Buds concert series and visited several local schools to educate kids on the importance of using technology safely to prevent permanent hearing loss. Hearing experts worldwide are detecting a disturbing trend indicating that noise-induced hearing loss is growing due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices, such as smartphones, and exposure to overreaching sound levels at music concerts, nightclubs, and sporting events.

Noise-induced hearing loss is completely preventable, but once it occurs, it is irreversible.

Who Suffers from Noise-induced Hearing Loss (NIHL)?

  • Over 1 billion kids and young adults worldwide (The World Health Organization)
  • 15% of Americans aged 20-69 years and 16% of teens aged 12-19 years (The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders)

Kids Need to Practice “Safe Listening”

ASHA has been proactive in delivering their “safe listening” message via the Listen To Your Buds campaign to younger children before they adopt bad (and loud) listening habits. ASHA does educate teenagers but wants to begin the conversation earlier to create a greater impact and to reach kids before the habit kicks in.

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Hearing Loss Affects More Than Just Hearing

Restaurant Waiter with Hearing Loss

At one end of the spectrum, hearing loss creates extreme frustration; at the other end it causes isolation, depression and the inability to enjoy daily life. The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) says that 20 percent of American adults, about 48 million of us, report some type of hearing loss. Loud music, head phones and noisy professions have become the great equalizers when it comes to hearing loss, and it now affects people of all ages- not just the elderly.

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Why Aging May Cause Hearing Loss

As we age, many body parts begin to simply wear out. Age related hearing loss is known as presbycusis and is caused by slow, progressive changes to the nerves and cells of the inner ear. It may be mild or severe but is considered permanent. According to the Center for Hearing and Communication, 12% of the U.S. population (38 million people) experience significant hearing loss and 30-40% of people over 65 experience some type of hearing loss.

Hearing is a complex function. Sounds are generated in the air and “caught” by the “pinna” which is the outer part of the ear. The sound waves are then channeled down the ear canal to the ear drum or tympanic membrane which vibrates and causes the tiny bones to move. This movement pushes the fluid in your cochlea (a spiral shell shaped chamber) and causes the cilia or small hairs in the cochlea to move in a rhythmic fashion. All of this movement is then interpreted by the nerves as sound.

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Shawn Guido Talks With Talk Philly Host Erika Von Tiehl About Hearing Loss And Hearing Aids

The First Clinically Proven Hearing Aid Allows People to Effectively Hear in Noisy Environments

As we age, we often encounter problems with our hearing whether it’s minor hearing loss or a substantial decrease. According to Shawn Guido, hearing specialist and co-founder of Listen 2 Life Hearing Center there are devices that can help. One such device is a sound amplifier which raises all of the different sound frequencies together, both close and ambient. People with hearing loss are not good fits because it makes normal ambient sounds too loud and the closer sounds (voices most likely) they want to hear not loud enough.

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