Hearing Loss, Job Performance and Income

Many people are aware that their hearing has deteriorated but they are hesitant to do anything about it.  There are various reasons that they don’t seek help.  Unfortunately, many people wait years or even decades, to get their hearing checked.  During those years of putting it off and ignoring their problem, auditory deprivation can start to raise its ugly head.  With auditory deprivation, the individual’s ability to understand amplified speech deteriorates because of inadequate auditory stimulation.  Also, a study done last year at Johns Hopkins revealed a strong link between hearing loss and dementia.  People should not ignore the early signs of hearing loss.

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Hearing Loss Leads to Brain Tissue Loss in Older Adults

Hearing loss isn’t just an inconvenience—it could be harmful for your brain, too.

A new study from Johns Hopkins University and the National Institute on Aging shows that people with hearing loss have accelerated brain tissue loss. This is in addition to a higher risk of poor physical and mental health, dementia, falls, and hospitalizations.Lin

Frank Lin, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins, evaluated data from the ongoing Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging to compare brain alterations that occurred over time in adults with normal hearing and those with an impaired sense. His research was published in Neuroimage.

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, more than 30 percent of people over the age of 65 have some type of hearing loss, and 14 percent of people between 45 and 64 do as well. Close to 8 million people between the ages of 18 and 44 have hearing loss.

How Does Hearing Loss Change the Brain?

Studies in the past have linked hearing loss to structural differences in human and animal brains. They’ve found that brains are sometimes smaller in people and animals with poor hearing.

In the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, 126 participants had yearly magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to track brain changes for up to a decade. They also had physical exams and hearing tests.

When the study period began in 1994, 75 participants had normal hearing, and 51 had impaired hearing that included at least a 25-decibel loss. Lin found that people with hearing loss at the start of the study had quicker rates of brain atrophy than those with normal hearing.

The scientists say that people with diminished hearing lost more than an additional cubic centimeter of brain tissue each year compared to those with normal hearing. People with hearing loss also experienced more shrinkage in the superior, middle, and inferior temporal gyri—parts of the brain that process sound and speech.

Lin wasn’t surprised by that; in fact, he said it may be a result of an “impoverished” auditory cortex, which could shrink due to lack of stimulation. But those parts don’t work alone; they also play roles in memory and sensory integration. And they have been shown to be linked with the early phases of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

“Our results suggest that hearing loss could be another ‘hit’ on the brain in many ways,” Lin said. He urges people not to ignore possible hearing loss. If hearing loss is contributing to the differences the scientists saw on the MRI scans, it should be treated before structural brain changes occur.

Eric Smouha, M.D., an associate professor of otolaryngology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, said that the new study offers more evidence that hearing loss contributes to dementia.

Time for a Hearing Test?

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association recommends that adults be screened for hearing loss at least every decade through age 50 and at three-year intervals thereafter. A hearing test takes about 30 minutes and measures hearing sensitivity to pure tones and speech.

A first visit to an audiologist will include questions about your medical history and an ear exam with an instrument called an otoscope. The doctor will then put you through various tests that involve listening and signaling when the audiologist says to.

If you suspect hearing loss, Smouha says, you should go for audiometric testing right away and get a hearing aid if significant loss is detected.  “The study makes a good case for the concept of disuse atrophy…use it or lose it,” Smouha said.

Eric W. Healy, Ph.D., a professor of speech and hearing at Ohio State University, thinks it’s a good idea to have a screening if you think you might have some hearing loss—even the tiniest bit. “It’s not uncommon to believe that you have a ‘problem’ with your hearing,” Healy said. “It’s simple to test, and many people who believe that they have an issue actually don’t.”  If you are routinely exposed to loud noises or music, go in for a hearing screening, he said.  “A test done early can serve as a baseline for future comparison,” Healy said. “There’s little reason not to.”

#hearingloss, #dementia

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Improve Your Hearing and Improve Quality of Life!

According to the Better Hearing Institute, research shows that hearing loss is frequently associated with other physical, mental, and emotional health conditions, and that peopleFamily who address their hearing loss often experience better quality of life. Eight out of 10 hearing aid users, in fact, say they’re satisfied with the changes that have occurred in their lives specifically due to their hearing aids such as from how they feel about themselves to the positive changes they see in their relationships, social interactions, and work lives.

Business group meetingWhen people with even mild hearing loss use hearing aids, they often improve their job performance; enhance their communication skills; increase their earnings potential; improve their professional and interpersonal relationships; stave off depression; gain an enhanced sense of control over their lives; and better their quality of life.

Here are five little-known facts about today’s hearing aids:

  1. They’re virtually invisible. Many of today’s hearing aids sit discreetly and comfortably inside the ear canal, providing both natural sound quality, and discreet and easy use.
  2. They automatically adjust to all kinds of soundscapes. Recent technological advances with directional microphones have made hearing aids far more versatile than ever before—and in a broad range of sound environments.
  3. You can enjoy water sports and sweat while wearing them. Waterproof digital hearing aids have arrived. This feature is built into some newly designed hearing aids for those concerned about water, humidity, and dust. This feature suits the active lifestyles of swimmers, skiers, snowboarders, intensive sports enthusiasts and anyone working in dusty, demanding environments.
  4. They work with smartphones, home entertainment systems and other electronics. Wireless, digital hearing aids are now the norm. That means seamless connectivity—directly into your hearing aid(s) at volumes that are just right for you—from your smartphone, MP3 player, television and other high-tech gadgets.
  5. They’re always at the ready. A new rechargeable feature on some newly designed hearing aids allows you to recharge your hearing aids every night, so they’re ready in the morning. It’s super convenient —and there’s no more fumbling with small batteries.

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Business Webpage: www.hearingaidsinfortwayne.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/fortwaynehearing
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hearwellhere
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/company/dr-gregory-lowe-audiologist?trk=hb_tab_compy_id_2983014
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Boomers Redesign Aging, Sport Hi-Tech Hearing Aids

noneAmerica’s baby boomers have been setting trends and making headlines since they first came on the scene in 1946. Now, as the first wave of this history-making generation begins to enter the golden years, they’re continuing to shake things up—and for the better.

People in their 40s, 50s, and 60s are getting their hearing checked and tuning into the hi-tech sophistication of today’s modern hearing aids. Many are realizing that today’s sleekly designed and highly functional hearing aids are an extremely valuable tool for remaining active, and socially, cognitively, and professionally engaged. Just like any other coveted wearable electronic, today’s hearing aids are a must-have gadget for staying youthful and connected.

How America’s change-leading generation has redesigned aging

America’s baby boomers first came on the scene in 1946. They’ve been turning the world on its head ever since.

Known as the country’s greatest generation for leading change, baby boomers make up roughly 26 percent of the United States’ total population – at about 78 million people. Over the years they’ve reinvented almost everything about the way America lives – from the music we listen to, to the cars we drive, to the technology we rely upon, to the way we age.

The oldest baby boomers have already begun crossing the threshold into their golden years – and as expected, they’re redesigning what’s on the other side.

Never known as an understated generation, baby boomers have already made it clear that they won’t be fading quietly into retirement. On the contrary, they’re all about staying active and engaged. Chronologically they may be aging, but their spirits aren’t. So whether it’s finding a new career, rock-climbing, volunteering, adventure travel or online dating, baby boomers are embracing life’s second act with gusto.

More than any generation before them, baby boomers have adopted lifestyles that help them stay healthy and fit. And they’re embracing modern technologies that enable them to stay connected to the world around them and involved in it. An important way in which active baby boomers are keeping up their youthful pace is by taking care of their hearing.

This generation understands that in order to fully enjoy the experiences of life, you need to stay connected to it. So rather than deny a hearing loss and suffer the negative social, cognitive and professional consequences that inevitably result from leaving it unaddressed, baby boomers are increasingly dealing with hearing loss head on.

Boomers in their 40s, 50s and 60s are getting their hearing tested. And they’re benefitting from the technological revolution taking place in the hearing aid marketplace. Simply put, the generation has caught onto the fact that today’s state-of-the-art hearing aids are highly effective, sleek and sophisticated wearable electronics that can help them stay actively connected to life – not to mention to all their other prized electronics.

America’s baby boomers have been shaking the place up for decades. It’s no wonder, then, that they’re now redesigning the golden years. For more information on hearing loss, visit the Better Hearing Institute at http://www.betterhearing.org.

Five trending facts about today’s hearing aids:

  1. They’re virtually invisible. Many of today’s hearing aids sit discreetly and comfortably inside the ear canal, providing both natural sound quality, and discreet and easy use.
  2. They automatically adjust to all kinds of soundscapes. Recent technological advances with directional microphones have made hearing aids far more versatile than ever before – and in a broad range of sound environments.
  3. You can enjoy water sports and sweat while wearing them. Waterproof digital hearing aids have arrived. This feature is built into some newly designed hearing aids for those concerned about water, humidity and dust. This feature suits the active lifestyles of swimmers, skiers, snowboarders, intensive sports enthusiasts and anyone working in dusty, demanding environments.
  4. They work with smartphones, home entertainment systems and other prized electronics. Wireless, digital hearing aids are now the norm. That means seamless connectivity – directly into your hearing aid(s) at volumes that are just right for you – from your smartphone, MP3 player, television and other high-tech gadgets.
  5. They’re always at the ready. A new rechargeable feature on some newly designed hearing aids allows you to recharge your hearing aids every night, so they’re ready in the morning. It’s super convenient – and there’s no more fumbling with small batteries.
Business Webpage: http://www.hearingaidsinfortwayne.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/fortwaynehearing
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hearwellhere
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/company/dr-gregory-lowe-audiologist?trk=hb_tab_compy_id_2983014
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May is Better Speech and Hearing Month!

The month of May is Better Speech and Hearing Month. Back in 1927 the month of May was designated Better Hearing and Speech Month to raise awareness about the causes and treatments of hearing loss and speech impediments. And, on May 21, 1986, President Ronald Reagan issued aBHM120x120 formal proclamation designating May as the official month to “heighten public awareness” about hearing loss and speech disorders.

His proclamation is as follows:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, RONALD REAGAN, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of May as Better Hearing and Speech Month, and I call upon the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate ceremonies and activities. (Proclamation 5486, May 21, 1986).

Ronald Reagan is one among many famous people with hearing loss. Another is Helen Keller. In fact, Helen Keller once said that of all her sensory deprivations, she most missed her ability to hear. She noted that while blindness kept her separate from things, hearing loss separated her from people, and human connections.

During May, the hearing care industry encourages American citizens to get screened for hearing loss. Hearing care professionals nationwide make an effort to educate the public about hearing loss, and offer free, or reduced-price, hearing tests. May is also a great time to take advantage of incentives on hearing aids, and to learn about new hearing aid technology.

BHMWave

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Two Common Myths Regarding Hearing Loss

According to Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D. of the Better Hearing Institute, thereBusiness group meeting are two common myths regarding hearing loss:

The consequences of hiding hearing loss are better than wearing hearing aids.

What price are you paying for vanity? Untreated hearing loss is far more noticeable than hearing aids. If you miss a punch line to a joke, or respond inappropriately in conversation, people may have concerns about your mental acuity, your attention span or your ability to communicate effectively. The personal consequences of vanity can be life altering. At a simplistic level, untreated hearing loss means giving up some of the pleasant sounds you used to enjoy. At a deeper level, vanity could severely reduce the quality of your life because of the sounds you cannot hear including the voices of your family and friends.

Only people with serious hearing loss need hearing aids.

The need for hearing amplification is dependent on your lifestyle, your need for refined hearing, and the degree of your hearing loss. If you are a lawyer, teacher or a group psychotherapist, where very refined hearing is necessary to discern the nuances of human communication, then even a mild hearing loss can be intolerable. If you live in a rural area by yourself and seldom socialize, then perhaps you are someone who is tolerant of even moderate hearing losses.

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Hearing Loss in the Workplace

Below is information from the Better Hearing Institute:

  • The majority of people with hearing loss are still in the workforce. That’s more than 20 million Americans.Business group meeting
  • Workers with hearing loss are five times more likely to take sick-days due to severe stress than their co-workers without hearing loss. Perhaps this is because most people with hearing loss don’t get tested and treated.
  • Hearing loss is linked to a three-fold risk of falling among working-aged people (40 to 69) whose hearing loss is just mild. Falls and fall-related injuries cost billions in healthcare costs in the United States each year.
  • Unaddressed hearing loss often leads to isolation, anxiety, and depression. For employers, the estimated annual economic burden of depression, sadness, and mental illness is $348.04 per employee. More absences from work are due to depression, sadness, and mental health issues than any other illness.
  • Hearing loss is linked to heart disease. Some researchers even hypothesize that hearing loss could be an early warning against heart disease-America’s number one killer- potentially presenting an opportunity for early intervention, better outcomes, and contained healthcare costs. Heart disease is a huge expense for American businesses, tallying $368.34 per employee per year when averaged across all employees.

Perhaps the most eye-opening statistics for workers themselves to consider, however, are these:

  • People with untreated hearing loss lose up to $30,000 in income annually, depending on their degree of hearing loss. That’s a loss to society of $26 billion in unrealized federal taxes; and an estimated aggregate yearly income loss of $176 billion due to underemployment.
  • People with hearing loss who do not use hearing aids are nearly twice as likely to earlogobe unemployed as their peers who use hearing aids.
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