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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

Rechargeable Hearing Aids


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 Read more

Hearing Loss a risk factor for Dementia


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 Read more

Auditory Processing Disorders

Peninsula Hearing Services Auditory Processing Disorders

Auditory Processing Disorders

Auditory processing disorders (APD), also known as central auditory processing disorder (CAPD) is a hearing problem that affects approximately 5% of school age children and 1-2 % of adults, although statistics are not strong with adults, especially older adults.

Trouble Understanding Speech

Individuals with this condition, many of them with “good” ability to hear the presences of sound, can’t process what they hear because of processing problems between the ear and brain.  Something interferes with the way the brain recognizes and interprets sounds, especially speech in the presence of  background noise. Many individuals with Auditory Processing Disorders can understand speech well in quiet.

Symptoms

Symptoms can range from mild to severe and take many different forms.  If you believe you or someone you known might have a problem processing sounds, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the individual easily distracted or unusually bothered by loud or sudden noises?
  • Are noisy environments upsetting”\
  • Does behavior and hearing performance improve in quieter settings?
  • Does the individual have difficulty following directions, whether simple or complicated?
  • Is the individual disorganized and forgetful?
  • Are conversations hard to follow?

 

APD is often misunderstood because many of the behaviors can also accompany other problems, like learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and  even depression or cognitive impairment.

Causes

Often the cause of Auditory Processing Disorders is unknown.  Evidence suggests that head trauma, lead poisoning and chronic ear infections could play a role in children.

Diagnosis

If you suspect APD, have an audiologist perform an exam.  They are training in the testing and diagnosis of hearing and hearing related disorders.  Audiologist perform specialized tests for APD that present sounds and noise to one or both ears at a time, which requires different parts of the brain to process sound and speech and evaluates the ability of the  ears to work  together.

Treatment

There are few scientifically, medical based  treatments for Auditory Processing Disorders.  The most common treatments emphasise changing the  communication environment and some kind of therapy with an audiologists who specialize in diagnosis and treatment of APD.

Reference:  Portions of this article were edited from the website kidshealth.org, auditory processing disorders (author and year unknown)

 

Further reading

Understanding Auditory Processing Disorders in Children (American Speech Language Hearing Association)


Otoacoustic Emissions

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Otoacoustic Emissions

Otoacoustic Emissions are tiny unique sounds emitted by nerve receptors in the inner ear organ known as the cochlea, typically in response to specific sounds generated by specialized hearing testing equipment. The image below shows a test  probe delivering tones to the cochlea.  If the cochlea nerve receptors are healthy, they send a unique sound back to the probe, that measures the  response.  If the nerve receptors are absent or unhealthy, a limited or absent response will be recorded.

probe oae in ear

Otoacoustic emissions were discovered over 4 decades ago and are most well known today as a standard of measure for hearing screening in newborns (see image below).

newborn hearing screening

Although otoacoustic emissions are not a comprehensive hearing test, the presence or absence does provide a good measure of whether the tiny nerve receptors in the cochlea are healthy or not.

Uses of Otoacoustic Emissions

  • Newborn hearing screening
  • Those undergoing medical treatments that have the potential to damage hearing (eg. Some types of chemotherapy, certain life-saving medications like gentomyicin)
  • Those who are unable to respond to a comprehensive hearing evaluation (individuals who are developmentally disabled, cognitively impaired or toddlers)
  • Those who have been exposed to loud noise but do not show hearing loss
  • Those feigning hearing loss

 


Fight Hearing Loss

Peninsula Hearing Services Hearing Protection

It’s a new year so why not explore healthy habits to fight hearing loss. No matter your hearing status – whether you currently use hearing aids, suspect you may have hearing loss or have perfectly healthy ears – you can start your new year right by vowing to fight hearing loss and protect your hearing.

The statistics

ear muffs

According to 2016 statistics from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), 15 percent of all American adults report having some trouble hearing – that’s almost 38 million people over the age of 18. Of Americans over the age of 12, 13 percent have hearing loss in both ears. And, a whopping 28 million people in the United States could benefit from wearing hearing aids, but the vast majority of those never try them.

Though age is a factor, noise-induced hearing loss among people of all ages has become a concerning issue. More than five million children in the U.S. between the ages of 6 and 19, are affected by hearing loss caused by loud noises. This could be due to extremely loud toys, exposure to loud music through ear buds or recreation activities like hunting or riding snowmobiles, for example.

Prevention

One of several healthy habits to fight hearing loss is prevention.  If you don’t have a hearing loss, it might be difficult to imagine the impact it can have on quality of life. But even a minor hearing loss, left uncorrected, can lead to lack of confidence, damaged relationships, limited career opportunities, difficulty hearing conversations and feeling left out – all of which can lead to social withdrawal and depression.

Also, having hearing loss has a possible impact on safety. If you have hearing loss, you might not hear smoke alarms or approaching traffic, for example.

One of the most common types of hearing loss is noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), and it is almost completely preventable. While you have healthy hearing, do your best to protect your ears from excessive noise every chance you get.

Protect your ears

We often unintentionally expose ourselves to noisy situations without protection. Here are some everyday activities and times when you could be putting your hearing health at risk:

  • Mowing the lawn
  • Attending a rock concert
  • Walking near heavy traffic
  • Setting off or watching fireworks
  • Attending sporting events
  • Using a power saw
  • Shooting a gun
  • Listening to music that is too loud, either via car radio or through headphones or ear buds
  • Being near a construction site
  • Riding a motorcycle or going snowmobiling

Sound is measured by decibels, and being exposed to sounds above 85 decibels is potentially damaging to hearing. All of the above sounds are much higher than 85 decibels. If you’re unsure how loud is too loud, do the “lawnmower test.” If you think the sounds you are exposed to are as loud – or louder than – a lawnmower, it’s important to protect your ears and limit how long you are exposed to the noises. You can also use the technology of your smartphone to help you measure the loudness of your environment with several easy-to-use apps.

  • Never turn your music up to drown out other sounds. Instead, use sound-isolating or noise-canceling headphones, which block out sounds from the outside so you can listen to your music at a comfortable and safe level.
  • Wear hearing protection while at concerts and other loud events, while mowing the lawn, setting off fireworks or participating in recreational activities like shooting, motorcycling and snowmobiling and when using power tools.
  • Walk away. If you’re at a loud concert or some other event without hearing protection, take a break. Always maintain a safe distance from speakers and give yourself hearing breaks.
  • Simply turn down the volume. If you know you’re prone to listening to music that is much too loud, just turn the volume down a few notches.

 

Give up smoking

Good healthy habits to fight hearing loss include not smoking.. Mounting research suggests that smoking leads to an increased risk of hearing loss. Smoking causes constrictions in your blood vessels, disrupting circulation and cutting off oxygen to certain parts of the body. This can prevent the body from being able to repair damaged hair cells in the ear, leading to permanent hearing damage.

Additionally, a 2011 study by researchers at the NYU School of Medicine found that exposure to secondhand smoke can lead to hearing loss in children and teenagers. So if you quit smoking, you’ll be protecting not only yourself, but also those you care about. Even if you have smoked for decades, it is never too late to benefit from quitting this unhealthy habit.

Know the signs

If you know the signs of hearing loss, healthy habits to fight hearing loss include getting your hearing checked and to encourage others who are showing the symptoms to get their hearing checked.

  • Having trouble following a conversation, especially when there are two or more people speaking at once
  • Straining to hear when there is background noise
  • Difficulty talking on the telephone
  • Misunderstanding what others say and responding inappropriately
  • Difficulty hearing and understanding women’s and children’s voices
  • Often asking people to repeat themselves
  • Struggling to hear the TV even when turning the volume up higher than is comfortable for others

 

A new year brings a fresh start and an opportunity to leave bad habits and regrets behind. Addressing health concerns such as that pesky hearing loss can be a springboard for many other positive changes in your life. Don’t delay; see a hearing healthcare professional such as one in our extensive directory of consumer-reviewed clinics now so you can enjoy your best year yet.

SOURCE:  edited from healthyhearing.com, Health Habits to Fight Hearing Loss by Brande Plotnick, MS, MBA, managing editor, Healthy Hearing | Thursday, January 5th, 2017