Left Untreated, a Hearing Impairment Causing Safety Concerns

The month of June is designated as National Safety month.  One of the things an individual can do is to make sure your hearing is up to par.  According to Dr. Frank Lin, assistant professor of Otology at John Hopkins University School of Medicine; hearing loss, like heart disease or high blood pressure, if left untreated can lead to serious problems.  Loneliness and isolation, problems commonly associated with hearing loss – are among those older people fear the most, says Lin.

A new study by the National Institute on Aging and John Hopkins University School of Medicine finds that individuals with hearing loss are much more likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  Those with severe hearing problems, the study reports, were five times more likely to develop dementia then those with normal hearing.  This occurs due to lack of “proper” stimulation to the auditory portion of the brain that interprets speech.  Even mild hearing loss doubled the risk of dementia.  That risk, says Lin, a co-author of the study, appeared to increase once hearing loss began to interfere with the ability to communicate.  A prime example would be a noisy restaurant, or anywhere else ambient noise is present.

Read more: Left Untreated, a Hearing Impairment Causing Safety Concerns


Welcome to the Land of the Living!

Today manufacturers of hearing aids advertise technical advancements in blocking out background noises in their products and I wonder why.  When I hear the jingle of metal tags on my little dog’s collar, I know she’s around; when I hear the whistle of my tea kettle, I know I’m not going to forget to turn my stove off; when I hear the turn signals in my automobile, I know my car is functioning; when I’m outdoors and hear the birds, I know I’m alive.  There’s excitement in reading and hearing the crackle of a newspaper and excitement in learning sounds that have been lost and forgotten and identifying them again – why would anyone want to take background noises away?  I want to hear kids laugh and play, hear my neighbor’s lawn mower and cars passing by – I don’t want to live in a vacuum or a void.  To those of us who are hearing impaired and wear a hearing aids, it is easy to understand how frustrating noise can be in a crowded area like restaurants and public places when conversation is difficult to follow or understand.  However, we lose sight of the fact that people with “normal hearing” have this same difficulty but mentally push those noises in the background and adjust – they don’t hear all the conversation either – just ask them.

As for myself, I’ve worn a hearing aid for nearly sixty years – and the advancements in technology over the years have been incredible.  To all my colleagues who have “new ears” – be patient, listen, identify and learn.  To learn is to be alive!!!

Josie Conrad
Lake Fairways


Hearing Aids Contribute to Better Quality of Life

Washington, DC: According to a comprehensive research study conducted by the Better Hearing Institute (BHI), today’s technically advanced, sleekly designed hearing aids are helping people with hearing loss regain their quality of life and remain socially involved. In fact, eight out of ten hearing aid users say they are satisfied with the changes that have occurred in their lives specifically due to their hearing aids. And 82 percent of hearing aid users would recommend hearing aids to their friends.

The findings of this nationally representative survey are both timely and encouraging—particularly given that an increasing number of Americans are suffering from noise-induced hearing loss at increasingly younger ages, oftentimes many years before retirement and even as early as their teens.

“This survey clearly reveals how dramatically people’s lives can improve with the use of hearing aids,” says Sergei Kochkin, PhD, BHI’s Executive Director. "In this comprehensive study of more than 2,000 hearing aid users, we looked at 14 specific quality-of-life issues and found that today’s hearing aids are a tremendous asset to people with even mild hearing loss who want to remain active and socially engaged throughout their lives.”

Read more: Hearing Aids Contribute to Better Quality of Life


Hearing Loss Could Accelerate Decline in Brain Volume in Seniors

Philadelphia: A new study by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania shows that declines in hearing ability may accelerate gray matter atrophy in auditory areas of the brain and increase the listening effort necessary for older adults to successfully comprehend speech.

When a sense (taste, smell, sight, hearing, touch) is altered, the brain reorganizes and adjusts. In the case of poor hearers, researchers found that the gray matter density of the auditory areas was lower in people with decreased hearing ability, suggesting a link between hearing ability and brain volume.

Read more: Hearing Loss Could Accelerate Decline in Brain Volume in Seniors


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