Hearing Loss

Information about hearing health and hearing loss.

Hearing Health at Hear Now

Hearing loss is the inability to hear sound in either one or both ears. Sometimes, with hearing loss you can hear sound, you just lack the clarity to hear words in a conversation or you can’t hear certain tones or frequencies. Hearing loss can occur naturally or can be the result of repeated exposure to loud noise.

Often times, as we age the hair cells in the inner ear deteriorate, causing hearing loss. The best solution is to manage your hearing loss with hearing aids. At Hear Now, we carry a wide range of affordable hearing aids that will help you manage your hearing loss and allow you to continue to hear the voices of the people who mean the most to you.

Types of Hearing Loss

There are three main types of hearing loss:

The most common type of hearing loss is sensorineural. This is often the result of aging as the hair cells in your inner ear can deteriorate over time. Other causes of sensorineural hearing loss include genetics, head trauma, malformation of the inner ear, exposure to loud noise, or toxic medications. Sensorineural hearing loss can be successfully managed with hearing aids.

Conductive hearing loss is when sound cannot be conducted from the outer/middle ear to the inner ear. Causes include impacted or buildup of earwax, fluid in the middle ear, ear infections, allergies, perforated eardrum, or trauma to the ear. Depending on the cause, conductive hearing loss can be treated by medical professional or by taking antibiotics.

Mixed hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. This occurs when there is damage or a blockage in the outer or middle ear as well as damage to the cochlea or auditory nerve of the inner ear. Treatment for mixed hearing loss includes seeking medical or surgical treatment for the conductive portion and wearing hearing aids for the sensorineural portion.

Signs of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can be difficult to identify, especially if your hearing has worsened over a long period of time. Often times, a spouse, close friend, or family member may be the first to notice you are not hearing like you used to. If someone has recommended you have your hearing checked, then that is a good indicator that you may have hearing loss.

In addition, here are some common signs of hearing loss:

If you have noticed any of these signs, then make an appointment with us at Hear Now today. We can test your hearing and help you get back to hearing your best again.

Hearing Loss and Dementia

Seniors with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia over time than those who retain their hearing, a study by John Hopkins and National Institute on Aging researchers suggests. Researchers say these findings could lead to new ways to combat dementia, a condition that affects millions of people worldwide and carries heavy societal burdens.

Although the reason for the link between the two conditions is unknown, research suggests that a common pathology may underlie both or that the strain of decoding sounds over the years may overwhelm the brains of people with hearing loss, leaving them more vulnerable to dementia. They also speculate that hearing loss could lead to dementia by making individuals more socially isolated, a known risk factor for dementia and other cognitive disorders.

Whatever the cause, researchers report their finding may offer a starting point for interventions – even as simple as hearing aids – that could delay or prevent dementia by improving patient’s hearing. “Researchers have looked at what affects hearing loss, but few have looked at how hearing loss affects cognitive brain function,” says study leader, Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Division of Otology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “There hasn’t been much crosstalk between otologists and geriatricians, so it’s been unclear whether hearing loss and dementia are related.” To make the connection, Lin and his colleagues used data from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study on Aging (BLSA). The BLSA, initiated by the National Institute on Aging in 1958, has tracked various health factors in thousands of men and women over the decades.

The new study, published in the February Archives of Neurology, focused on 639 people whose hearing and cognitive abilities were tested as part of the BLSA between 1990 and 1994. While about a quarter of the volunteers had some hearing loss at the start of the study, none had dementia.

These volunteers were then closely followed with repeat examinations every one-to-two years, and by 2008, 58 of them had developed dementia. Research found that study participants with hearing loss at the beginning of the study were significantly more likely to develop dementia by the end. Compared with volunteers with normal hearing, those with mild, moderate, and severe hearing loss had twofold, threefold, and fivefold, respectively, the risk of developing dementia over time. The more hearing loss they had, the higher their likelihood of developing the memory-robbing disease.

Even after the researchers considered other factors that are associated with risk of dementia, including diabetes, high blood pressure, age, sex, and race, Lin explains hearing loss and dementia were still strongly connected.

“A lot of people ignore hearing loss because it’s such a slow and insidious process as we age,” Lin says. “Even if people feel as if they are not affected, we’re showing that it may well be a more serious problem.” The research was supported by the intramural research program of the National Institute of Aging.

For more information, go to:

Dr. Frank Lin’s Profile

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/otolaryngology/

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