Childhood cancer can cause a lifetime of listening difficulties

September is Childhood Cancer Month. Hearing the diagnosis that your child has cancer is brutal, to say the least, and from the outside, it seems that the treatment is worse than the disease. Pediatric oncologists use everything they have in trying to save the child’s life. The spectrum includes chemotherapy, surgery and/or radiation. It is difficult to watch a child go through chemotherapy. The drugs that kill the cancer comes close to killing the child. The side-effects include neutropenia (reduced white blood cell count) which reduces the child’s ability to ward off infection, peripheral neuropathy which can cause extreme pain and/or loss of feeling and tingling in the fingers and toes, loss of taste buds so that food has no taste and is not desired, and extreme fatigue. Radiation has its own set of side-effects that include fatigue and skin rashes and burns in the targeted area. Most if not all of these side-effects will disappear within a few weeks or months after the end of treatment. One side-effect that might not begin to appear for years after treatment is hearing loss and other listening disorders. Depending upon the chemo agents used and the length of treatment, hearing loss can range from mild to severe.  Radiation, if the tumor is in the head or neck area, can create additional damage to the cilia within the cochlea. A child with listening problems, be they based on physical, cognitive, or treatment-based reasons, can suffer a lifetime of difficulties. Listening disorders have an impact on learning, communication, school performance, social interaction, and overall quality of life. Listening disorders can lead to academic...

America, You’re Beautiful to Hear!

America, You’re Beautiful to Hear! By Gael Hannan On February 27, 2018 | Hearing Health & Technology Matters | See Original Article Here   For people with hearing loss, nature is a different experience than for the ‘hearing people’. For us, many outdoor sounds – rustling, whistling, babbling, chirping and whatnot – don’t travel successfully through our auditory system. On a recent hike at the Pinnacles, our favorite California park, the Hearing Husband and I came across a sign that said “Stop! Listen! What Do You Hear?”  Jeez, I thought, don’t I get enough of this at the audiologist’s? We dutifully stopped to do what the sign said (a Canadian trait). I didn’t hear much besides my own breathing, but Doug was cocking his head all over the place, presumably hearing things, neat things. Around the bend was an earnest young park ranger, with a display chart on an easel showing various nature things. He wanted to talk to us about “soundscapes” which are all the sounds that are connected with a particular location. He asked the small group of hikers to, once again, listen intently.  After about 10 seconds of unbearable silence, I asked, “Excuse me, could you give me a clue as to what I’m supposed to be hearing? It’s not my strong point – I have hearing loss.” The wind. Birds. Water rapids. Leaves rustling. Or perhaps, a bunny hopping, a deer foraging or a snake slithering. All these and more make up the environmental soundscape of this park, said the young man.  “Thank you very much, goodbye,” said I. I mean, it was interesting, but even with one cochlear implant and one hearing aid,...

With Many Left to their Own Devices, Consumer Reports Offers Advice on PSAPs

With Many Left to their Own Devices, Consumer Reports Offers Advice on PSAPs By Brian Taylor On February 27, 2018 | Hearing Health & Technology Matters | See Original Article Here   Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs) have been the center of controversy among hearing care professionals for several years. This debate surrounding PSAPs is not without merit, as PSAPs are essentially unregulated by the FDA. Hearing care professionals are likely to recall the FDA in 2009 and 2013 issued what it refers to as “draft guidance” on the the intended use of PSAPs. This draft guidance states PSAPs are hearing enhancers intended for individuals with normal hearing. While several studies indicate PSAPs are of poor sound quality, some other laboratory studies suggest that a few PSAPs are of comparable sound quality to conventional hearing aids. From consumers, however, who often are not privy to PSAP research, a balanced summary of PSAP pros and cons was published by Consumer Reports. A February 2nd on-line article by Julia Calderone asked three Consumer Reports employees, diagnosed with mild to moderate hearing loss to try four PSAP devices priced from $20 to $350. Each person wore these devices for 3 to 7 days in every day listening situations. At the end of the trial, the employees’ ability to “pick out words in a noisy environment” was assessed. In addition, Consumer Reports enlisted the services of hearing aid researcher to objectively assess all of the PSAPs used in their trial. Consistent with previous PSAP research inexpensive products costing less than $50 were  judged to be of very poor quality and their use could further diminish a person’s ability to hear.  On the other hand, two...

So THAT’S the reason! A common but little-known condition could explain why your partner ignores you

So THAT’S the reason! A common but little-known condition could explain why your partner ignores you By Julie Cook For The Daily Mail | 08:51 EST, 14 February 2018 | See Original Article Here Listen up: Auditory processing disorder is a problem with how the brain interprets sound Ask 14-year-old Pippa Marchant to describe the machine that washes clothes and she might pause, then say: ‘The shaky-shaky thing.’ She knows what it is really called, but she can’t find the word. Because Pippa has a condition called auditory processing disorder, or APD. APD is essentially a problem with how the brain interprets sound. It may explain why some people struggle to hear speech in a noisy restaurant and could even be the reason your spouse seems to ignore you. Listen up: Auditory processing disorder is a problem with how the brain interprets sound People with APD find it hard to distinguish between very similar words or sounds. Unlike with typical hearing loss, in APD sounds reach the brain — people with the condition hear them, but find it difficult to process them. This means APD is hard to diagnose, as standard hearing tests rarely pick it up. ‘I’m sure there are thousands of children and adults in the UK who have not been correctly diagnosed,’ says Dr Ralph Holme, director of biomedical research at Action on Hearing Loss. CHILDREN CAN BE MISDIAGNOSED In cases where an adult has it but was never diagnosed, people might think of them as rude or unresponsive. Family members may complain about being ignored while, say experts, the person with APD may become anxious or...

Hearing loss a possible risk factor for dementia

In the journals Published: March, 2018 | Harvard Health | See Original Article Here Older adults who develop hearing loss are more likely to experience greater cognitive decline and develop dementia than their counterparts without hearing problems, according to a meta-analysis published online Dec. 7, 2017, by JAMA Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. Researchers examined data from 36 studies including more than 20,000 people who underwent both cognitive evaluations and hearing tests. Those with age-related hearing loss were more likely to have cognitive impairment or a diagnosis of dementia. The study found a small but statistically meaningful association between hearing loss and a variety of specific cognitive abilities, including executive function, memory, processing speed, and visuospatial ability (how you recognize shapes and sizes and estimate the distance between two objects). The association between hearing loss and weaker cognitive skills was still strong even after accounting for risk factors like high blood pressure and smoking. It is not yet known how hearing loss may be related to cognitive decline and dementia. The researchers speculated that these abilities may share a common neural pathway. For instance, hearing loss may require increased mental energy to perceive speech, which leaves fewer mental resources available for other cognitive processes like memory. There also may be an indirect link. For example, hearing loss can lead to greater social isolation, which can increase the risk of cognitive...