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Hearing Research

Hearing Research If you suffer from hearing loss, you are likely to wonder what  hearing research is being done by medical science.   And how is hearing research being conducted?The hearing organ and complex nerves that allow one to hear are located deep inside the brain.  While imaging techniques such Read more

Hearing Aid Batteries

Hearing Aid Batteries Hearing devices can be life-changing, but they can’t help you if the hearing aid batteries are dead. Hearing device users know when they hear that little beeping noise, they’d better have a spare pack of batteries handy. Hearing aid batteries typically last between 3-7 days, depending on factors like:The type Read more

Can Hearing Be Restored?

Can Hearing Be Restored With so many medical advances in the 21st century, individuals with hearing loss yearn to know…can hearing be restored?  It is tempting to feel left-behind if you are hearing impaired.  The weight loss industry is rife with a dizzying number of commercials, books and advertisements Read more

Severity of Tinnitus Related to Emotional Sounds

Severity of Tinnitus Related to Emotional Sounds A research study out of the University of Illinois has suggested that the severity of tinnitus related to emotional sounds.  Not only do those with severe tinnitus process emotions differenty in the brain compared to those who report the severe tinnitus but also Read more

Severity of Tinnitus Related to Emotional Sounds

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Severity of Tinnitus Related to Emotional Sounds

A research study out of the University of Illinois has suggested that the severity of tinnitus related to emotional sounds.  Not only do those with severe tinnitus process emotions differenty in the brain compared to those who report the severe tinnitus but also that among those who have tinnitus, there are significant differences in which regions of the brain are used when processing emotions.


brain processing

Not a disease in and of itself, tinnitus is usually a symptom of another underlying health condition or the result of trauma such as exposure to loud noise or ototoxic medications. Basically, tinnitus is the perception of sound such as ringing or buzzing in one or both ears when no sound is present. And that perception of sound means that the brain is a key player in the presence and severity of tinnitus.

“We are trying to understand how the brain adapts to having tinnitus for a very long time,” said Fatima Husain, University of Illinois speech and hearing science and neuroscience professor who led the research team.

The research study was especially significant given that, according to the NIDCD, 25 million people in the U.S. have experienced tinnitus symptoms lasting at least five minutes in the past year. There is no “cure” for tinnitus, only treatments and therapies that can reduce the severity of the condition.

Tinnitus and emotional sounds

During the study, the researchers used MRI brain imaging analysis to see changes in blood oxygen levels in the brain. Researchers first looked at the brain activity of those with tinnitus versus those without. When exposed to different types of sounds the results of the fMRIs showed those with tinnitus had greater engagement in different areas of the brain when exposed to emotion-triggering sounds than those without tinnitus.

The second round of fMRI revealed to researchers that those with less severe tinnitus, i.e. those who reported lower tinnitus distress, actually used a different pathway to process emotional information.  It is possible that that the severity of tinnitus related to emotional sounds.

Understanding tinnitus for better therapies

The takeaway for the researchers was that greater activation of an area of the brain known as the frontal lobe helped control emotional responses and reduce tinnitus stress, which could have far-reaching implications on possible interventions or therapies for tinnitus.

An important note – tinnitus is reported in 85% of individuals with hearing loss. Treating your hearing loss can bring back the wonderful sounds of life, improve your relationships and help keep your mind sharp. For some people who have both tinnitus and hearing loss, just wearing hearing aids can also alleviate tinnitus. If you need help with your hearing or tinnitus, contact Peninsula Hearing Services for an appointment.

Reference:  This article was modified from the article “Research shows severity of tinnitus is related to emotional processing” by Lisa Packer, staff writer, (November 7, 2017)

Rechargeable Hearing Aids

Peninsula Hearing Services Hearing Aid Batteries

Rechargeable Hearing Aids

Wouldn’t it be great if instead of replacing batteries every week in hearing devices, there were rechargeable hearing aids ?  Well, that is exactly what is available today.

While hearing aid technology markets advances and exciting new features and capabilities every year that more often than fall short of expectations, there has been innovation in one area, and that’s rechargeable hearing aids. If not having to buy disposable batteries frequently and handling those tiny batteries each day sounds appealing, rechargeable hearing aids might be just what you need.

ZPower Rechargeable System

In the last few years, a company named ZPower is a game-changing creator of the ZPower Rechargeable System. This innovative and award-winning system turns compatible hearing aids into rechargeable hearing aids. The system can be ordered at the time of a new hearing aid purchase or, if the hearing aids are compatible, it can be retrofit on existing devices. This system is ideal to those individuals who struggle with the following pitfalls with traditional hearing device batteries:

  • Dexterity issues
  • Vision loss
  • Environmentally conscious and want to reduce the number of disposable batteries that end up in landfills.
  • Inconvenient to repeatedly purchase batteries every several months

Rechargeable hearing aids are convenient, easy to use and environmentally-friendly.


The downside is that the ZPower rechargeable hearing aid system is not exactly cheap.  The cost of the unit is approximately $200-$300, and the rechargeable battery, which needs to be replaced every year, is approximately $50 per hearing device. Compare this to traditional hearing aid batteries which can be purchased for as little as 25 cents apiece, resulting in an annual cost of $50-$75 for a pair of devices.

Learn More

To learn more about the ZPower system for rechargeable hearing aids, visit their website or contact Peninsula Hearing Services and see if they are right for you.



Reference:  Edited from an article by Brande Plotnick, MS, MBA, managing editor, Healthy HearingAugust 17, 201

Hearing Loss a risk factor for Dementia

Peninsula Hearing Services Hearing Loss Research

Hearing Loss a risk factor for Dementia

A new report  by the Lancet Commissions on Dementia Prevention, Intervention and Care suggests hearing loss a risk factor for dementia. The good news is the report suggests that managing hearing loss may be one way  to help lower the risk of dementia.  The report identified nine age-related risk factors for developing dementia. They include:

  • Before the age of 18: Level of education
  • Between the ages of 45-65: hypertension, obesity and hearing loss
  • Over the age of 65: smoking, depression, inactivity, social isolation and diabetes

dementia image leaves

What is dementia?

Dementia is a general term used to describe severe memory loss and other mental abilities typically affecting individuals 65 years of age and older. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia.

According to the Lancet Commissions, approximately 47 million people worldwide were living with dementia in 2015 at an estimated cost of $818 billion. Nearly 85 percent of that figure is related to non-medical costs, such as those affecting family and society. Experts estimate the number of cases of individuals living with dementia will increase to 66 million by 2030 and 131 million by 2050. The report was presented at the 2017 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.

Estimated cases of dementia will increase to 66 million by 2030 and 131 million by 2050.

Dementia is a debilitating condition affecting individuals as well as their family members. People with dementia are twice as likely to be hospitalized than their cognitively healthy peers, according to a study by University of Washington researchers. Additionally, a March 2017 report by the Alzheimer’s Association indicates that of the 15 million Americans providing physical, emotional and financial support for family members with dementia, 35 percent will themselves suffer health-related issues as a result.

Dementia prevention

Can dementia be prevented? Possibly. The Lancet Commissions report suggests as many as one third of all dementia cases may be delayed or prevented by eliminating some of the risk factors — specifically, active treatment of hypertension in middle and old age, as well as increasing childhood education, exercise and social engagement, reducing smoking, and managing hearing loss, depression, diabetes, and obesity.

How to manage hearing loss

With this release of this study suggesting hearing loss a risk factor for dementia, managing hearing is an important part of maintain good emotional and physical health.  After the age of 65, it might be a good idea to schedule regular hearing evaluations. Make an appointment with a qualified hearing healthcare professional to have your hearing evaluated. Ask your physician for a referral or search Google or Yelp for an audiologist in your community.

Just as many adults are diligent about getting yearly physicals, it is good practice to schedule a hearing test every 2 or 3 years. Once you have a baseline audiogram, you and your hearing health provider can closely watch for changes and take action if and when necessary.

Treat your hearing loss

Although our ears collect the sound, it’s our brain which makes sense of all the noise. If you are diagnosed with hearing loss and hearing aids are recommended, don’t delay treatment with this current study suggesting hearing loss a risk factor for dementia. Today’s hearing devices are discreet, comfortable and connect to the latest technology. Not only will you be able to hear better, recent research indicates your brain will be healthier, too.

SOURCE: edited from an article “New Study names hearing loss as one of nine risk factors for dementia” by Debbie Clason, staff writer, , August 22, 2017)