I Know That Something Is Not Right. Hearing Loss to Dementia

I know that something is not quite right. I just can’t put my finger on it. I seem to be a little outside the conversation, asking my friends and colleagues to repeat things more times than is comfortable. I’m uncomfortable enough to withdraw a little. Afraid of the times I’ve been told that my response to a question has been off the mark. Aware of the times that I didn’t respond when I should have. I know that something is just not right. I was always mentally sharp, able to answer questions with accuracy, humor, and often with drips of sarcasm. The people around me were quick to respond with smiles and even laughter at my wit. It’s not like that now. People give me quizzical looks rather than smiles. They ask if I’m feeling okay rather than reward me with praise for my funny, sometimes off-color, responses. For a while, I was receiving a near constant flow of invitations to meet and dine with friends, attend professional conferences, meet with others involved in the same line of work I was doing. These invitations have slowed to a trickle. I don’t even get invitations to attend my own family’s events. Friday evening card games, something I’ve always looked forward to has stopped. Have they stopped? Or am I no longer being invited? And if that’s the case, why? I’m not sure of much of anything anymore. I just know that something is not right. My family says that my hearing is really bad and I should get it checked and start wearing a hearing aid in each ear. I...

Finding Quiet by Turning Up the Volume

Finding Quiet by Turning Up the Volume People are Retreating into a World of Increasing Volume… Losing Their Hearing and More Alan R. Ehrlich, CLP Our world is filled with noises, some invited, others not. Voices of conversation, babies crying, music and the warning sounds of car horns and alarms are invited. Externally, the sounds of buses, trucks, motorcycles and the broad low-frequency hum of ever-present office electronics are not. Multi-speaker televisions, stereos and conveniences devices have overtaken our homes. Our entertainment has become louder without our awareness but with our permission. Digital sound has allowed movie theaters to dramatically boost sound levels without distortion. Needless to say, our beloved rock concerts use extreme volume to pump up the crowd and “drive the sound into our inner being” but in doing that they have become painfully loud. Even our “quiet-little-booth-in-the-corner” restaurant is no longer quiet. It seems that we can’t escape from excessive noise, which can be problematic and distracting for anyone seeking a little quiet and solitude for concentration, creativity or rest. Where can we go to find a little quiet? Home? Library? How about the neighborhood park? Many people, it seems, have given up even looking. Instead of seeking quiet time, people are gravitating towards self-directed distraction. To block out the noise around us we plug-up our ears and turn up the volume. MP3 players, cell phones, personal video game players…. people of all ages use them, not only to keep themselves entertained but to block out the surrounding noise. Fighting noise with our own self-chosen noise requires us to crank up the volume even louder than...

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...

How hearing loss and depression are connected

Posted by Karl Bates-Duke | Duke University | See Original Article Here Hearing loss can create chronic stress that can lead to depression, but high levels of social support—from family, friends, and others—can help alleviate depression, according to new research. Given that hearing loss is a growing social and physical health problem, the study suggests a need for increased vigilance regarding hearing loss among older adults, says study author Jessica West, a PhD student in sociology at Duke University. Here, West discusses her research, which appears in the journal Social Science & Medicine. Q: Your research examines the correlation between hearing loss and depression. That seems a logical connection: why study it in the way you did? A: Despite how common hearing loss is, it is actually quite understudied. A handful of studies have looked at the relationship between hearing loss and mental health over time, but the results from these studies are mixed: some find a relationship between hearing loss and more depressive symptoms, while others do not. On top of the mixed findings, most studies have been based overseas, and studies based in the US have tended to use state-specific datasets, like the Alameda County Study, which drew from Oakland and Berkeley, CA. I use the Health and Retirement Study, which is nationally representative of adults aged 50 and older in the US, and therefore more generalizable to the US population. I frame hearing loss as a physical health stressor that can impact mental health, and that social support can alter this relationship by preventing a person from experiencing stress or reducing the severity of a reaction to it....

Hearing loss can be very isolating, hurting relationships with family and friends

By Consumer Reports February 17 at 2:00 PM | See Original Article Here Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with any advertisers on this site. We’ve known for a while that hearing loss can increase the risk of depression and issues related to concentration and memory, and possibly even dementia. Now, mounting research, including a recent British review of studies, suggests that hearing problems can take a significant toll on relationships with spouses, children, friends and ­co-workers. “Hearing loss is a family issue, not just an individual one,” explains Catherine Palmer, director of audiology and hearing aids at the University of Pittsburgh, who was not involved in the British research. “It’s long been understood that a person with hearing loss may start to withdraw from social situations, but there’s been less focus on the effects on their partners — the social isolation as well as the burden of being a loved ones ‘ears.’ ” Here’s what to know about this research and how to curb social problems related to hearing loss. What the research shows The research, conducted at the University of Nottingham and published in the journal Trends in Hearing, looked at more than 70 previous studies on the complaints made by people with hearing loss and those closest to them. “We found that hearing loss impacted people’s social relationships in all facets of their life,” says lead study author and audiologist Venessa Vas. “Oftentimes, both parties became depressed and socially withdrawn.” Spouses, in particular, reported feeling anxious and stressed about their partners’ hearing loss. “The whole process is draining for them, as they often have to serve as another set...