Researchers at the Ohio State University have determined that young people with subtle hearing loss have altered brain functions in ways generally only seen in older adults. This research is new and disturbing. The result is that dementia could come down the road for these young people.
Researcher Yune Lee and his group studied the brain activity of subjects 18 to 41 years of age. Participants listened to increasingly complex sentences. The objective was to know if our brains work measurably harder to comprehend more complex language data.
Everyone had a hearing test before the monitoring took place. However, they unexpectedly discovered that people with subtle hearing loss had activity in the brain’s right frontal cortex, a part not typically used to process language until much later in life. Such finding could be cause for worry. And it could be happening due to increased use of headphones.
The link between hearing loss and dementia
Hearing loss and dementia have been linked, according to studies. If all your energy goes into hearing, there may be little leftover for for cognitive use in other areas. For instance, memory and attention could suffer.
Regular hearing checks are important at any age as a measure of prevention. Early detection is the key to hearing and brain health.
If you would like a free hearing test, please contact a hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids.
Exposure to ear infections, loud noises, and certain illnesses are common causes of hearing loss. But hearing loss can be present at birth, due to genetic traits passed down from the parents. Birth defects in the head and face can precipitate hearing loss. These conditions are known as craniofacial syndromes. They affect the development of the ear and often lead to hearing loss.
Did you know July is National Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness & Prevention Month? This action is dedicated to understanding how to prevent these conditions, raising awareness about these conditions, ensuring patients receive proper care, and removing the associated stigmas.
Facial syndromes and the ears
These syndromes can involve deformities of the ears and eliminate normal hearing. You can have underdeveloped or small ear canals or other parts of the middle or inner ear. Other syndromes heighten the possibility of middle ear effusion--the buildup of fluid--which can cause ear infections or other diseases--leading to hearing loss. Cleft palate, which is not connected to a syndrome, can even cause hearing loss--due to a greater risk of ear infections.
Treachers Collins syndrome, which is well known, can cause both hearing loss and cleft palate. Pierre Robin syndrome can trigger difficulty hearing, too. This condition causes malformation of the jaw and mouth, but ear effusion can occur and happens in about 83 percent of patients. Hemifacial macrosomia, Apert syndrome, Saethre-Chotzen syndrome, Crouzon syndrome, and velocardiofacial syndrome are craniofacial syndromes also affecting hearing.
Prevention and treatment
Women treated for thyroid disease or diabetes while pregnant, women given certain fertility drugs like clomiphene citrate, or women who smoke are at risk for having a baby with craniofacial disorder. Speak to your doctor about prevention and the possibilities for manifestation of such conditions.
Treatment for the syndromes can involve many doctors, depending upon the severity of the condition. The types of doctors involved might be speech pathologists, hearing care professionals, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, and ophthalmologists. Among the things that would need to be addressed are social, physical, and developmental challenges.
Hearing loss can be devastating, especially when it is accompanied by other problems, but awareness is key to understanding and treating such conditions.
For more information on hearing loss, please contact your hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids.
Aging is a process that includes the graying of your hair, the wrinkling of your skin, and the shrinking of your brain. Yes, the brain shrinks. As we get older, our brains shrink in volume, especially in the frontal cortex. Hearing also diminishes. In fact, a study by Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging discovered that adults with hearing loss had elevated rates of brain atrophy compared to people with normal hearing.
The bright side
Treating hearing loss not only helps you hear better, it also reduces the acceleration process of brain atrophy. If you don’t want your hearing loss to diminish your brain function, contact a hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids.
According to the Indian Journal of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, hypertension, which is high blood pressure, can accelerate the chances for hearing loss, not to mention cardiovascular disease and strokes.
In the study, which occured in 2013, a link was discovered between hypertension and hearing loss. The subjects were adults 45 to 64 years old. The older people had hypertension in more more cases than the younger people. The study confirmed that high blood pressure does impact hearing by increasing the degeneration of the hearing components due to aging. So, the link between high blood pressure and hearing loss is clear.
To get your hearing tested for free, contact a hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids today.
Some factors contributing to hearing loss are not so apparent. While loud noises factor in with hearing loss in an obvious way, obesity is not so obvious of a contributor--just as genetics and your health are not as apparent, either.
Studies indicate that obesity can increase the chances of developing hearing loss. This fact means that hearing is connected to your overall health and calls for a need to action to have have a healthy lifestyle.
Poor health and poor hearing
The way obesity influences your hearing is that it compromises blood flow and oxygen levels. A steady flow of blood and oxygen is needed for sound to function properly through tiny hair cells in your ears. The tiny hair cells detect sound. Your heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout your body with the added element of obesity. The arteries and capillaries that move blood and oxygen to fragile hair cells can become damaged. Once the hair cells are impaired, there’s no turning back. The resulting hearing loss is permanent. But weight may not be a direct cause per se. Type 2 diabetes and other diseases can result from obesity and may be the contributing factors to hearing loss.
Most overweight individuals are prone to Type 2 diabetes. This group is twice as likely to incur hearing loss. Heart disease also limits blood flow, which again can affect your inner ears. A larger and larger group of obese individuals is young people. They are less active and eat more in today’s world. Obese adolescents have more hearing loss than those who are not obese, according to studies.
Good health and better hearing
Being physically active and eating controlled portions of food, as well as nutritious food, are key to overall better health. In doing so, you limit your risk of developing hearing loss. Knowing that obesity and hearing loss are linked should be a primary motivator to be proactive about your health.
If you suspect you have hearing loss, contact your hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for the best hearing test.
When you have to strain constantly to hear, you not only experience increased stress, but your memory fails. You would do poorly on memory tests. Dr. Arthur Wingfield, a professor of neuroscience, verified through research that the ability to remember data is compromised, even if people with untreated hearing loss catch and register speech. The brain’s resources, in the case of hearing loss, are stretched thin. He says that you will strain so hard to hear and understand what is being said that the storage of memories will fail. The brain’s resources for other things will be diminished with the extra effort to hear and understand speech.
To protect your memory function and have better hearing, schedule a free hearing test with a hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids today.
In patients older than 80, hearing loss may warn of cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease and accelerated hearing loss in such patients can be treated to slow this age-related decline. In the journal JAMA Otolaryngology, lead author Kapil Wattamwar, MD, of the Yale School of Medicine and his colleagues published these findings June 14, 2018. Each condition points to the other, he noted. Treating cardiovascular disease may aid in slowing hearing loss and treating hearing loss may aid in slowing cardiovascular disease. Wattamwar and his group studied 433 patients older than 80. There will be more people in this age bracket in the next 40 years, he states.
Decibel thresholds and word recognition scores were ascertained in the study. These were the findings:
Cardiovascular disease interferes with blood flow to the cochlea part of the ear. The Cochlea is the spiral cavity of the inner ear containing the organ of Corti, which produces nerve impulses in response to sound vibrations. Wattamwar and his group wrote, “Decreased blood flow in the cochlea may directly cause stereocilia cell death.”
So, if you have cardiovascular disease or some other comorbidity associated with hearing loss, you might want to get your hearing checked, or if you have hearing loss, you might want to be checked for cardiovascular disease or other comorbidities.
For the best hearing test, please contact your hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids.
Tina Myers, 46, a busy mom of five children and a breast cancer survivor, had an unexpected encounter with hearing loss as a result of chemotherapy drugs. First of all, the diagnosis of cancer came as a shock because no one in her family ever had cancer before. She was diagnosed in 2015. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation--as treatments--were no surprise. But treatment did not include a baseline hearing test, which she wouldn’t have expected anyway.
Two years after her cancer struggle, she noticed major changes with her hearing. She didn’t hear her kids calling her or the doorbell ringing. She also had problems hearing at work when she returned there. Myers never had hearing problems before she got cancer treatment, believing two years of chemotherapy drug treatments did the damage.
In a study, 61 out of 67 cancer patients had hearing loss after being treated with chemotherapy drugs. The study was done at Oregon Health and Science University. The subjects were eight months to 23 years old.
Some patients also experience tinnitus--ringing or chirping in the ears. The damage to the nerves or hair cells can’t be reversed. And 24 hours after one round of chemotherapy hearing loss can occur. Jennifer Boho, also a cancer survivor and who works in the hearing field, said that she immediately heard relentless ringing in her ears following a chemotherapy treatment.
Myers says that with hearing aids, she can hear again and communicate with her children. Of the former situation, she says, “I would say eye opening, but it has been ear opening.” Her cancer has spread to her bones and she still receives chemotherapy treatments, but the new drugs do not affect her hearing.
Be sure to ask about what drugs affect hearing and get a baseline hearing test as a starting point for tracking any hearing loss. For more information on hearing loss, please contact your hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids.
Alzheimer’s disease affects more than five million Americans. Its debilitating symptoms include depression, memory loss, and confusion. The disease is devastating in the wake of its destruction, but there’s hope. Research has come to suggest that hearing aids might help delay or avoid the effects of the disease and other forms of dementia. But if you already have Alzheimer’s disease, can hearing aids be of good use? The answer is yes because any hearing loss can add to mental decline.
World Alzheimer’s Day has been established to support efforts for finding a cure for the disease, make life more comfortable for patients and their families, and to raise awareness. This day is important in outlining the research findings to date. Below are some findings and what they mean for the future.
Alzheimer’s disease and hearing loss
Hearing loss can worsen the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Without hearing aids for hearing loss, Alzheimer’s patients have increased feelings of confusion, experience social isolation, and have difficulty communicating. Often untested and diagnosed, hearing loss causes a lack of response to verbal cues, often mistaken for the increased decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
At the very least, a hearing test can determine if simple ear wax buildup is the problem with clear communication. But if hearing loss is determined to be the case, being fitted with them may be wildly beneficial.
The truth about hearing aids and Alzheimer’s disease
A 2003 United Kingdom-based study determined that when mild hearing loss sufferers with dementia were fitted with hearing aids, mental decline lessened in 42 percent of the participants, according to the Clinical Global Impression of change scale. There was also a 32.9 percent increase, collectively, in audible speech with the use of hearing aids.
In a 2013 study, which was featured in the American Journal of Epidemiology, patients with Alzheimer’s who wore hearing aids showed a slower rate of cognitive decline compared to those people without hearing aids. Also, the study found that hearing loss sufferers wearing hearing aids only had a slightly greater decline than people with normal hearing.
Making better how Alzheimer’s patients hear the world
It may be too soon to give hearing aids to all Alzheimer’s patients with hearing loss, but the studies indicate positive results. Further examination is being done with the connection between hearing loss and Alzheimer’s disease. It certainly appears that the quality of life can be improved, which makes it a worthwhile effort to continue the studies. For more information, please contact a hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids.
Studies have confirmed links between dementia and untreated hearing loss. As you might know, studies from over the years have shown that hearing loss is linked to accelerated brain shrinkage, adults with hearing loss are up to five times more likely to develop dementia, and adults with hearing loss experience a 30 to 40 percent faster decline in cognitive abilities.
Currently, a systematic review of these studies confirm the link, as published in February’s JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. The thinking behind the review is to promote a preventative strategy for dementia by reducing proven risk factors, rather than using post-diagnostic therapy. When getting your hearing loss treated, you play a role in lessening one of the risk factors associated with dementia.
For more information, contact your hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids.
Drugs prescribed for cancer may cause the reaction of tinnitus--ringing in the ears--or even hearing loss. Ones that fight chemo toxins and radiation may be useful in combating cancer, but may also be devastating to the inner ear. But not taking the drugs can create a worse alternative. No one wants cancer. It’s a trade-off.
There is a connection between ototoxicity and specific cancer-fighting agents, especially radiation and chemotherapy drugs, according to the Better Hearing Institute, John Hopkins Medicine, WebMD, and others. Cancer relates to hearing loss in the sense of what drugs are used to fight it.
The American Heritage Research Foundation says ototoxicity causes two types of hearing loss--sensorineural and conductive. The sensorineural type targets the inner ear and usually stems from chemo meds, while the conductive type targets the outer or middle ear and usually stems from radiation meds. Sensorineural damage is most often permanent, and conductive damage is sometimes temporary. It’s important to gather information and be informed before treatment. However, in today’s world, many of the ototoxic drugs have been replaced with ones that cause less side effects.
Getting a baseline hearing test before treatment is good. It gives you a starting point where changes to your hearing can be monitored. For a free hearing test, contact a hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids.
Did you know that fever--disease and illness that raise body temperature--can impair the cochlea--the auditory inner ear that transforms the sound in neural messages? Such damage will cause hearing loss. Some illnesses that include a high fever, for example, are encephalitis, jaundice, meningitis, and mumps. In this way, the tiny hairs and nerve cells in your inner ear can be susceptible to harm. Hearing loss is also caused by certain medications, natural aging, and loud noises.
Contact a hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids to answer more questions about hearing loss.
According to a new study by JAMA, older US adults who wear hearing aids are hospitalized less than those who don’t.
Elham Mahmoudi of the University of Michigan, the lead study, hypothesized that “the use of hearing aids helps individuals with severe hearing loss to communicate better with their physicians and to have a more active lifestyle compared with those who do not use hearing aids”.
Poor communication caused by hearing loss can result in less compliance with prescribed treatments and medications.
If you or a loved one have the symptoms of hearing loss, call Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test.
Cardiovascular disease, which is heart disease, includes, collectively, a number of conditions caused by blocked or narrowed blood vessels. Heart disease contributes to stroke, chest pain, or heart attacks. Heart attacks cause about 610,000 deaths in the U.S., and each year 735,000 people suffer from heart attacks. A healthier lifestyle can dramatically reduce these numbers.
American Heart Month occurs in February, so during this time focus on lessening your risk of developing heart disease and learn to identify the risk factors. Surprisingly, paying attention to your hearing is one sure way to protect your heart.
Cardiovascular disease and hearing loss
There is a well known link between heart disease and hearing loss. Compared to the general population, 54 percent of people with heart disease are more likely to experience a hearing loss, according to a Harvard University study. This means hearing loss occurs more often in people with cardiovascular disease than the general population, making heart disease a comorbidity of hearing loss. Understand that both conditions often occur together. The reason is that the tiny hair cells in the inner ear that conduct sound to the brain are vulnerable to poor blood flow, which results from narrowed blood vessels. Failure to get enough oxygen through the blood to the tiny hair cells can cause damage to them permanently and, therefore, cause poor hearing. Poor blood circulation affects hearing, so this sign could mean you have an issue with heart disease.
Heart health and hearing
You can take steps to protect your hearing by having a healthy heart. A list of three initiatives are:
One part of the body often affects another. Hearing loss may be an indicator of heart disease, so speak with your physician if you think there may be a connection. Also, contact your hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids to get your hearing tested.
Hearing loss can be traumatizing, and it changes the way you interact with the world at large. Even more, hearing loss may be an outcome or symptom of some other more serious condition, which makes it a co-morbidity. The word “co-morbidity” refers to the simultaneous existence of two conditions or diseases in someone. Problems associated with hearing loss range from mental conditions to physical disorders. The first sign of other health issues in conjunction with hearing loss may be one or more of five disorders, namely cardiovascular disease, diabetes, thyroid disease, dementia, or depression.
The condition of cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular disease can be a physical manifestation of hearing loss. Poor cardiovascular health includes coronary artery disease, strokes, and heart attacks. However, one of the first signs of cardiovascular disease is blood vessel injury to the inner ear. Damage to fragile hearing nerves induced hearing loss. So, cardiovascular disease is often a co-morbidity of or coupled with hearing loss.
The condition of diabetes
Diabetes is a second, physical manifestation of hearing loss. Twice as likely to have hearing loss are individuals with the condition of diabetes over those without it. Diabetes patients often experience tingling in their toes and fingers because of nerve damage. High blood sugar from diabetes can result in hearing loss, due to damage to the nerves and blood vessels in the inner ear.
The condition of thyroid disease
Thyroid disease is a third manifestation of hearing loss. The body’s metabolism is regulated by hormones produced by the thyroid. A thyroid condition can affects other areas of the body. Hearing, energy level, and heart rate are examples. Thyroid disease, such as Pendred Syndrome, Hashimoto’s Disease, and Grave’s Disease are connected to hearing loss, although the exact link is still being researched.
The condition of dementia
Dementia refers to mental decline. A co-morbidity of mental decline is hearing loss. Straining continuously to understand and hear speech wears out the brain, inhibiting the brain from functioning at an optimal level. In addition, frustration and embarrassment occur with social interactions, causing individuals with hearing loss to withdraw. Mental decline accelerates under these conditions.
The condition of depression
Loss of hearing can induce clinical depression or negative emotions, taking an emotional toll on someone with hearing loss. Depression is a mental condition that can be linked to hearing loss. Not hearing so well anymore can trigger depression. Alienation, anxiety, and stress result when someone with hearing loss has to constantly ask people to repeat themselves.
The five conditions above speak to how they can be a co-morbidity of hearing loss. Understand how these conditions might affect you and know the signs, so that you can take action to protect your health. If you think you might have a hearing loss, contact your hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids to get your hearing tested and discuss the co-morbidity risks that may exist.
Hearing health is affected by the condition of the thyroid gland. It is well known that the thyroid is responsible for regulating the body’s metabolism. Thyroid problems can cause symptoms such as weight loss or weight gain, among other things. But the thyroid can also impact one’s body in other ways. Chronic fatigue, headaches, heart palpitations, and even hearing loss can occur. So, be cognizant of how important it is to protect your hearing from thyroid problems.
It is also good to know that the National Thyroid Awareness Month is every January. During this time, professionals study the link between hearing loss and thyroid problems. They work diligently on how you can preserve your hearing by keeping your thyroid in working order.
What constitutes the thyroid?
A butterfly-shaped gland located below your larynx and at the front of your neck, the thyroid is part of the endocrine system. It secretes hormones that affect the way the body uses energy. Two hormones, triiodothyronine and thyroxine, which are known more casually as T3 and T4, respectively, use iodine from food to be produced. Thyroid disease is caused by an overabundance or deprivation of T3 and T4. The side effects listed above will, therefore, occur if there is too much or too little of these hormones.
Thyroid disease and hearing loss
A link exists between hearing loss and thyroid diseases, despite the link’s mysterious cause. Hashimoto’s Disease, Grave’s Disease, and Pendred Syndrome contribute to or cause hearing loss. Another condition with a more direct connection to hearing loss is thyroid cancer. Hearing loss may arise from radiation used to treat thyroid cancer or other cancers of the neck and head. Conversely, cisplatin, a chemotherapy medicine for thyroid cancer, is ototoxic, being harmful to hearing.
Maintaining a healthy thyroid
Despite the potential for anyone to get thyroid disease, there are four ways to maintain your health and keep your thyroid in good working order. One way is to have healthy eating habits. A healthy thyroid can be maintained by consuming foods high in antioxidants, such as squash, tomatoes, and blueberries. However, it is good to reduce consumption of raw cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, and broccoli. Studies indicate that eating raw vegetables in large amounts can negatively impact your thyroid. Also, consume more wholesome foods, rather than junk food because junk food contains starches and refined sugars.
A second way would be to increase your exercise to better promote thyroid health and overall general health. Getting regular exercise is a good way to promote optimal health for anyone. But improved blood circulation and the production of T3 and T4 are more positively regulated with moderately intense aerobic exercise. Exercising 30 minutes per day, five days a week will successfully bolster your health. Also, exercising will boost your metabolism, which will counteract the risk for thyroid disease.
An essential mineral for the production of thyroid hormones is iodine. The third way you can help your thyroid function is to increase your intake of this mineral. Your thyroid might produce less T3 and T4 if there is an iodine deficiency. Goiters and hypothyroidism can result. Iodized salt, seaweed, dairy products, eggs, and seafood are fortified with iodine. However, too much iodine can cause adverse effects, so speak with your doctor about whether or not you have proper iodine levels.
The last way you can increase your thyroid health is to take other supplements. Vitamins and other minerals, not just the mineral iodine, can lead to a healthy thyroid. Specifically, Vitamin D, selenium, Vitamin A, and iron will help to ensure a healthy thyroid. But don’t forget to speak with your doctor to find out if you have a deficiency and if you should, therefore, take certain vitamins and minerals.
The association between hearing loss and thyroid disease is clear, despite the many factors that can lead to hearing loss, so it is important to protect your ears by keeping a healthy thyroid. If thyroid disease is already a reality for you and you are concerned about your hearing, contact a hearing aid specialist to test your hearing and recommend a course of action.
Body and mind require sleep to feel rested and recharged. Without a good night’s rest we can expect to feel spacy, exhausted, and sluggish. Insomnia can cause these symptoms every day, along with a higher risk of side effects, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, stroke, and depression. Be aware that insomnia can lead to hearing loss and increased tinnitus.
Cardiovascular health risk
The cardiovascular system depends on getting enough sleep because sleep deprivation leads to hearing loss. Not getting enough sleep will cause insufficient blood circulation in your body, affecting your ears. Hearing loss comes about when a weak blood flow causes the tiny hair cells in your ear to function improperly. The hair cells detect sound and signal the brain. Damage to these fragile cells will permanently damage your hearing.
Sleep apnea and hearing loss
Besides poor cardiovascular health, sleep apnea can also affect hearing. Roughly 43 percent of the population experience this problem. Trouble breathing and frequent bouts of waking up are the symptoms of sleep apnea. Large amounts of plaque in your blood vessels correlate with having sleep apnea. It may lead to hearing loss, due to the constriction of blood.
Effects on people suffering from tinnitus
Insomnia hurts your hearing, but it also worsens tinnitus, which is the humming, whistling, buzzing, and phantom ringing you may hear in your ears. According to one study, tolerance of tinnitus may decrease, taking an emotional toll. Difficulty sleeping can arise by focusing on tinnitus and lack of sleep can worsen tinnitus. It is a frustrating circular pattern. Seeking treatment for insomnia is imperative to prevent further damage. Talk to your doctor about this serious problem and its effects, so you can find ways to get a better night’s sleep. If you already have hearing loss or tinnitus, contact a hearing care specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids to address your needs.
It’s no surprise that hearing and hearing loss have been the focus of numerous research and scientific studies. Hearing is, after all, vital to our quality of life, and hearing loss affects millions of people worldwide.
Over the past two decades, studies have determined that hearing loss is linked to a host of health issues, including increased risk of falls, hospitalizations and dementia, as well as impaired memory, mental fatigue and even shorter lifespans.
Parallel studies, though, have shown that treating hearing loss can help — by reducing the risk of cognitive decline, improving balance, and helping people stay physically and mentally active.
Hesitation to get hearing aids has many negative health consequences and should be treated early. If you or a loved show signs of hearing loss, such as playing the TV too loud or saying "what" too often, call for a hearing consultation. It may be time to consider hearing aids.
Plenty of factors can contribute to fatigue, like lack of sleep or exercise. But did you know hearing loss also plays a role? It’s true, and has to do with “cognitive load.”
Cognitive load refers to the amount of mental effort being used in the working memory: the short-term memory used to plan and make decisions. Hearing loss forces the person to “steal” finite working memory to make sense of speech and other inputs throughout the day. This load is even greater in noisy environments.
The additional effort puts stress and anxiety on the listener, resulting in a rush of adrenaline and muscle tension that can lead to feeling “drained” or physically tired at the end of the day.