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Related terms: Age-related hearing loss, Deafness

FDA Eases Up on Hearing Aid Rules

Posted 2 days 15 hours ago by

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 7, 2016 – Getting a hearing aid should be less of a hassle – and eventually less expensive – under new rules introduced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA said on Wednesday it will no longer enforce a requirement that people aged 18 and older receive a medical evaluation or sign a waiver before buying most hearing aids. The agency said it will also consider creating a category of over-the-counter hearing aids that could provide innovative and lower-cost devices to millions of Americans. Currently, a pair of hearing aids typically costs $4,000 or more, putting them out of reach for the majority of older Americans who need them, according to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. "Today's actions are an example of the FDA considering flexible approaches to regulation that encourage innovation in areas of rapid scientific progress," ... Read more

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Having Trouble Hearing? Maybe It's Not Your Ears

Posted 11 days ago by

TUESDAY, Nov. 29, 2016 – Seniors who struggle to make out what people are saying around the dinner table or on a noisy street may have perfectly "normal" hearing. The problem could actually be in the brain, a new study suggests. Trouble processing conversations in a loud setting may indicate that the brain's ability to quickly and easily process speech is diminished. The findings demonstrate that "separately from any typical hearing loss that might occur as we age, our brains also get worse at processing the sound of talking when there are other sounds at the same time," said study co-author Jonathan Simon. He's an associate professor at the University of Maryland's Institute for Systems Research. "The background noise may not even be considered especially loud by younger listeners," he noted. But "the implication is that typical older adults need to exert more effort, and take more ... Read more

Related support groups: Hearing Loss, Diagnosis and Investigation

Now Hear This: Wind Noise Can Pose Threat to Cyclists

Posted 14 Oct 2016 by

FRIDAY, Oct. 14, 2016 – Cyclists may be at risk of hearing loss from wind noise, researchers report. For the study, microphones were attached to cyclists' ears to measure wind noise at various speeds. Wind noise ranged from 85 decibels at 15 mph to 120 decibels at 60 mph. "These findings are important because noise-induced hearing loss can begin with sounds at or above 85 decibels," said study co-leader Dr. Anna Wertz. She is an otolaryngologist at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. How loud is that? Heavy city traffic registers 85 decibels; an ambulance siren or a clap of thunder from a nearby storm can reach 120 decibels, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. "Short-term exposure to loud sounds isn't likely to have a lasting effect on hearing, but prolonged or repeated exposure can lead to permanent damage," Wertz added in a hospital news release. More information The ... Read more

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Study Suggests Genetic Link to Middle Ear Infections

Posted 7 Oct 2016 by

FRIDAY, Oct. 7, 2016 – Researchers say they've found a potential genetic link to a child's higher risk of middle ear infections. These painful infections are the most frequent reason kids are given antibiotics, according to the researchers. They said the new discovery could lead to more effective treatments. The analysis of DNA samples from 13,000 children revealed a link between middle ear infection and a site on chromosome 6 that contains the gene FNDC1. Follow-up studies showed that the corresponding gene in mice was expressed in the middle ear. The study was published online recently in the journal Nature Communications. "Although the gene's function in humans has not been well studied, we do know that FNDC1 codes for a protein with a role in inflammation," said study leader Dr. Hakon Hakonarson, director of the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children's Hospital of ... Read more

Related support groups: Otitis Media, Hearing Loss, Diagnosis and Investigation, Otitis Media with Perforation of Ear Drum, Chronic Otitis Media, Perforated Tympanic Membrane

New Clues to Age-Related Hearing Loss

Posted 7 Oct 2016 by

THURSDAY, Oct. 6, 2016 – When background noise makes it hard to carry on a conversation, many older people chalk it up to hearing loss. But a new, small study finds that the problem may not just be in your ear, but also in your brain. Researchers from the University of Maryland in College Park have found that the brain's ability to process speech declines with age. For the study, Alessandro Presacco and colleagues divided 32 English-speaking adults into two groups – one with an average age of 22, the other with an average age of 65. Study participants were given a speech comprehension test and also underwent brain scans. In both quiet and noisy settings, the older people had more trouble tracking and understanding speech. Evidence of these hearing-related deficits in the older participants was also evident in the brain scans, the investigators found. The findings suggest that ... Read more

Related support groups: Hearing Loss, Diagnosis and Investigation

The 'Love Hormone' May Quiet Tinnitus

Posted 23 Sep 2016 by

THURSDAY, Sept. 22, 2016 – People suffering from chronic ringing in the ears – called tinnitus – may find some relief by spraying the hormone oxytocin in their nose, a small initial study by Brazilian researchers suggests. Oxytocin – dubbed the "love hormone" because it promotes social connections – might also help relieve the annoying and sometimes disturbing noises of tinnitus. "Oxytocin has actions in the brain and the ear that may help in tinnitus treatment and provide immediate relief," said lead researcher Dr. Andreia Azevedo. She is with the department of otolaryngology at the Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo. But, at least one hearing specialist was unconvinced that oxytocin would help. And, even Azevedo said it isn't clear how oxytocin might work to relieve tinnitus. She speculated that it may have an effect in the ear, probably related to fluid regulation in the inner ... Read more

Related support groups: Tinnitus, Oxytocin, Hearing Loss, Pitocin, Syntocinon

Balloon Device Approved for Eustachian Tube Problems

Posted 16 Sep 2016 by

FRIDAY, Sept. 16, 2016 – A small device inflated inside the tube that helps regulate pressure inside the ear has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Aera Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation System is designed to treat Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD), a condition that leads to sensations of pain, pressure or clogging inside the ear. The Eustachian tube is a valve-like apparatus that connects the middle ear to the back of the throat. It's normally filled with air and helps equalize pressure inside the ear with the surrounding environment, the FDA explained in a news release. When the tube doesn't function properly, it can lead to symptoms including reduced hearing, frequent ear infections and ringing in the ears. The new device is inserted through the nose into the Eustachian tube, where a small balloon is inflated and creates a path for mucus and air. The balloon ... Read more

Related support groups: Otitis Media, Hearing Loss, Otitis Media with Perforation of Ear Drum, Chronic Otitis Media, Ear Wax Impaction

Hearing Loss Widespread, 'Progressive' in Older Americans

Posted 15 Sep 2016 by

THURSDAY, Sept. 15, 2016 – A new study finds widespread hearing loss among elderly Americans, with an especially high rate for those 90 and older. In the study sample of 647 people aged 80 and above, nearly all had some level of hearing loss based on test results, with the over-90s the most affected. "Hearing loss accelerates with age in the oldest old, a population in which hearing aids are vastly underused despite their great potential benefit," concluded a team led by Dr. Anil Lalwani from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. One hearing specialist believes the study may even underestimate the problem. "This study population had access to medical care and social/financial means to be evaluated," said Dr. Darius Kohan, chief of otology at Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital in New York City. "Many of our citizens may not have the ability to ... Read more

Related support groups: Hearing Loss, Diagnosis and Investigation

Researchers Find Another Way Zika Can Harm Babies

Posted 30 Aug 2016 by

TUESDAY, Aug. 30, 2016 – In yet another example of the damage that maternal Zika infection can inflict on a fetus during the early months of pregnancy, a new report suggests that close to 6 percent of these babies may also experience hearing loss. The most common and devastating birth defect seen so far has been microcephaly, a condition where the head and brain are abnormally small. Vision problems and malformed joints have also been documented recently. But researchers in Brazil wanted to track the prevalence of hearing loss among newborns with Zika-related microcephaly. "Other congenital infections can cause hearing loss, which is diagnosed at birth or during later follow-up; however, few data exist regarding hearing loss associated with confirmed congenital Zika virus infection," the researchers said in their report. In the analysis, Mariana Leal, of the Hospital Agamenon Magalhaes ... Read more

Related support groups: Birth Control, Contraception, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Hearing Loss, Insect Bites, Zika Virus Infection

Hearing Test May Predict Autism Risk Sooner: Study

Posted 2 Aug 2016 by

MONDAY, Aug. 1, 2016 – A simple hearing test may help identify young children at risk for autism before they're old enough to speak, a new study suggests. Researchers from the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y., say they've identified an inner-ear problem in children with autism that may impair their ability to recognize speech. "This study identifies a simple, safe and noninvasive method to screen young children for hearing deficits that are associated with autism," said study co-author Anne Luebke, an associate professor in the departments of biomedical engineering and neuroscience. "This technique may provide clinicians a new window into the disorder and enable us to intervene earlier and help achieve optimal outcomes," she said in a university news release. Autism spectrum disorder is characterized by impaired social-communication skills and restricted and repetitive ... Read more

Related support groups: Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Hearing Loss, Diagnosis and Investigation

Hearing Aids May Help Keep Seniors' Minds Sharp

Posted 28 Apr 2016 by

WEDNESDAY, April 27, 2016 – A hearing aid may do more than help you hear better: New research suggests that the devices might also help prevent mental decline in elderly people with hearing loss. "We know that hearing aids can keep older adults with hearing loss more socially engaged by providing an important bridge to the outside world," Dr. Anil Lalwani, a professor of otolaryngology/head and neck surgery at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, said in a center news release. "In this study, we wanted to determine if they could also slow the effects of aging on cognitive function," he added. The study included 100 adults, aged 80 to 99, with hearing loss. The 34 who regularly used a hearing aid had much better scores on tests of mental function than those who didn't use a hearing aid. The researchers also found that mental function was directly linked to hearing ... Read more

Related support groups: Mild Cognitive Impairment, Hearing Loss

Type 2 Diabetes May Damage Hearing, Study Finds

Posted 27 Apr 2016 by

WEDNESDAY, April 27, 2016 – Type 2 diabetes may raise the risk of hearing loss, say researchers who recommend hearing tests for patients with the blood sugar disease. The researchers reviewed prior studies examining the link between diabetes and hearing loss. However, further research is needed to confirm this connection, said the team at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in New York City. "An association between diabetes and hearing impairment in human subjects has been shown in many, but not all, studies," said Elizabeth Helzner, an assistant professor in the School of Public Health. "Direct comparison of these studies is complicated due to a lack of consistency in defining hearing impairment and other factors," she said in a SUNY news release. However, Helzner added, the association between diabetes and hearing impairment tends to be stronger in studies that ... Read more

Related support groups: Diabetes, Type 2, Hearing Loss

1 in 8 U.S. Workers Has Some Hearing Loss: CDC

Posted 21 Apr 2016 by

THURSDAY, April 21, 2016 – Nearly 13 percent of U.S. workers suffer from at least some hearing loss, a new federal government study finds. And 2 percent of the more than 1.4 million workers tested across nine industry sectors between 2003 and 2012 had "moderate or worse" hearing loss, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. The agency defined moderate hearing loss as "difficulty hearing another person talking, even in a quiet place or on the phone." Workers in the mining, construction and manufacturing sectors were especially prone to noise-linked hearing loss, the new report found. One expert wasn't surprised by the findings. "Hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical condition in the United States, and is more prevalent than diabetes or cancer," said Katrien Vermeire, director of hearing and speech at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in ... Read more

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Earplugs Help Prevent Hearing Loss Tied to Loud Concerts: Study

Posted 7 Apr 2016 by

THURSDAY, April 7, 2016 – A new study confirms a common-sense notion: Earplugs can shield you from the temporary hearing loss that can happen after a high-decibel music concert. While getting young people wear earplugs at concerts may be a long shot, one expert said the threat to their hearing is real. With more people using MP3 players, "and the increasing loudness of movies, concerts and sporting events, physicians need to take a proactive role in the prevention of a potential hearing loss epidemic," said Dr. David Hiltzik, director of otolaryngology at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City. In fact, the study said, the number of American teens with hearing loss has jumped 31 percent since 1988, according to federal government data. One reason for that trend is increased exposure to loud music at venues such as concerts, festivals and nightclubs, the researchers said. Is ... Read more

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Hearing Loss Tied to Bigger Medical Bills for Late Middle-Aged

Posted 7 Apr 2016 by

THURSDAY, April 7, 2016 – Hearing loss is associated with higher medical costs for late middle-aged adults, a new study finds. Researchers examined health care use by nearly 562,000 adults between the ages of 55 and 64 who had private insurance. They found that over 18 months, those with hearing loss had 33 percent higher health care costs ($14,165, on average) than those without hearing loss ($10,629). However, the study only showed an association between hearing loss and higher medical costs, and not a cause-and-effect link. The study was published online April 7 in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. More than 60 percent of U.S. adults over the age of 70 have age-related hearing loss, and the rate of hearing loss triples between the ages of 50 and 60, the researchers said. "This finding indicates that negative health-related effects of hearing loss, a condition that ... Read more

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