Early Detection

Title:  Early Hearing Detection Can Prevent Serious Impact in Learning

Hearing is a critical component of language development, communication, learning and social skills. In the United States more children are born with hearing loss than any other congenital health issue. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, various studies estimate that between one to six per 1,000 newborns are born with hearing loss. 90 percent of the children are born to hearing parents who have no experience raising a child with hearing loss.

There are several ways in which hearing loss affects children’s ability to learn.  Vocabulary develops more slowly in children who have hearing loss. Children with hearing loss have difficulty understanding words with multiple meanings and have difficult learning the meaning to more complex words.

Hearing loss also affects children’s ability to speak. Children with hearing loss may not hear their own voices when they speak and may speak too loudly or not loud enough.

Children with hearing loss have difficulty with all areas of academic achievement, especially reading and mathematical concepts. In fact, a recent study indicated that children with mild to moderate hearing losses, on average, rank one to four grade levels lower than their peers with normal hearing.

The earlier hearing loss occurs in a child’s life, the more serious the effects on the child’s development. Similarly, the earlier the problem is identified and intervention is begun, the less serious the ultimate impact. If you have any concern about your child’s ability to hear, don’t hesitate to contact Advanced Hearing Centers, (404) 943-900 for a free consultation.

Hearing Loss Symptoms

Title: Ten Common Hearing Loss Symptoms 

Hearing loss is a widespread condition, affecting nearly 50 million people in the United States. Changes in our hearing don’t typically occur all at once. Rather, hearing loss symptoms appear over time. Hearing loss is a gradual process that often impacts certain listening frequencies more than it affects others.

Do you or a loved one sometimes have a difficult time hearing?  Consider these questions:

 

  1. Are you embarrassed to talk openly about not being able to hear?
  2. Are you cutting out activities that you used to love because you cannot join in fully anymore?
  3. Is your inability to hear co-workers affecting your job performance?
  4. Do you have difficult hearing friends and family in noisy places like a restaurant?
  5. Are you feeling cut off from your young children or grandchildren because you cannot hear their high-pitched voices?
  6. Are family holidays a strain because so many people are talking at once?
  7. Do you frequently ask people to repeat themselves?
  8. Is there a ringing or buzzing in your ear?
  9. Do you often complain that people talking to you are mumbling?
  10. Are you having difficulties understanding people on the phone?

 

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, consider getting your hearing checked as soon as possible. Advanced Hearing Centers offers a free hearing consultation. Schedule your appointment by calling Kim, Alan or Lyn at (404) 943-0900.

Annual Hearing Test

Better Hearing Month – It’s time for your annual hearing test

Just as eye exams are a part of your routine health checks, it’s a good idea to get annual hearing tests, too — for these reasons:

Hearing loss is a natural part of the aging process and is sometimes so gradual you don’t notice it until it’s too late. An annual test will give you a good head start towards getting the care you need.

  • Your hearing changes as you age. By testing your hearing annually, your hearing professional can detect and measure those changes, and counsel you on the prevention methods or hearing solutions that are specific for your loss.
  • The majority of general practitioners don’t screen for hearing loss — so even if you have routine physical exams, chances are your hearing wasn’t given the attention it deserves.
  • Dedicated hearing professionals have the experience and state-of-the-art equipment needed to inspect your ear canal, accurately measure your hearing loss, assess your unique needs, and prescribe a solution that takes all this important and personalized information into account.

Free hearing tests all May

May is Better Hearing Month, making it the ideal time to schedule your annual hearing test with the hearing professionals at Advanced Hearing Centers Atlanta. To arrange for your free hearing test and consultation, contact us by filling out our Contact Us page and we will be in touch to schedule your free appointment.

Use it Or Lose It

Hearing Health and Prevention of Cognitive Decline

Hearing isn’t quite like riding a bike

Studies have shown that, on average, people will wait eight to ten years between first experiencing symptoms of hearing loss and finally seeking help. Unfortunately, during this timeframe, people fall into coping mechanisms. They ask people to repeat themselves, turn the TV up louder, or avoid places where hearing is more challenging. These behaviors are actually exacerbating the negative effects. That’s why early intervention is always recommended.

Early intervention prevents your brain from forgetting what to do

The ability to make instant association depends on repeatedly hearing a word. If you do not hear a word for a long period of time, difficulty connecting the sound to its meaning occurs. Over time, reduced stimulation to the brain can impair its ability to process sound and recognize speech. Once speech recognition deteriorates, it is only partially recoverable with hearing aids.

Early intervention slows cognitive decline and communication problems

Not being able to hear what’s going on around you contributes to reduced mental sharpness and communication abilities.

Early intervention improves the use of hearing aids

The earlier people begin to use hearing aids, the sooner they get comfortable wearing them, and the easier it is to maximize their advantage.

Take action this Better Hearing Month

Next month is Better Hearing Month — meaning now is a great time to be proactive about your hearing loss and seek treatment before its negative effects get worse. To arrange for a free hearing consultation, contact us by filling out our Contact Us page and we will be in touch to schedule your free appointment.

Teen Hearing Loss

Teens Suffering Hearing Loss at an Alarming Trend

Research indicates that young people today are losing their hearing faster than their parents and grandparents. In fact, nearly 1 in 5 teenagers have some hearing loss.

Researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston examined data collected from more than 4,600 12-to-19-year-olds in two ongoing federal surveys. The first covered 1988 to 1994, and the other 2005 to 2006.

The prevalence of hearing loss increased from 14.9 percent from 1988-94 to 19.5 during 2005-06, a rise of about 31 percent, the researchers reported to the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Some other interesting results from the survey:

  • High-frequency hearing loss was more common than that in low frequencies
  • Most of the time the loss was in one ear
  • Girls were much less likely than boys to have lost some hearing

While the study did not examine specific reasons for the increase in teens, most experts agree that it is due to listening to loud music for long stretches of time on MP3 players, iPods and other portable devices.

The issue received national attention in March 2013, when New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took up the cause as his latest public health crusade, announcing a $250,000 social media campaign to caution young people about the dangers of too loud music on personal listening devices.

How can adults encourage young people to listen more carefully to stop this alarming trend? One good tip is to use the 60/60 rule. Listen to music at 60 percent of the max volume and for only 60 minutes.

Hearing professionals also encourage people to wear hearing protection when they go to concerts. Inexpensive ear buds are available for as little as a $1 that can significantly reduce the amount of potentially damaging noise at a concert without affecting the musical experience.

Your Hearing Health Professionals

Why You Should Only Buy Hearing Aids From a Hearing Professional

Today’s hearing aids are precision instruments, utilizing advance digital technology that can and should be customized to fit your specific hearing loss and your unique lifestyle needs.

This is why the Better Hearing Institute, a non-profit center for hearing advocacy, published a consumer warning against “do-it-yourself hearing care,” writing,

“The process requires a complete in-person hearing assessment in a sound booth; the training and skills of a credentialed hearing healthcare professional in order to prescriptively fit the hearing aids using sophisticated computer programs; and appropriate in-person follow-up and counseling. This is not possible when consumers purchase one-size-fits-all hearing aids over the Internet or elsewhere.”

While the Internet is an increasingly convenient place to purchase many items, consumers should be cautious about purchasing their hearing aids online.  Any upfront cost savings will likely be used towards after purchase costs like maintenance, cleaning or reprogramming an aid, services that are included in the purchase at a hearing care professional.

An audiologist and ear doctor will ensure that you receive a proper evaluation and help prescribe the proper treatment for your loss. Your ears will be visually examined and you’ll be tested with state-of-the-art equipment to determine the type of hearing loss you have.

If it’s determined that hearing aids can help, your hearing professional will show you the best solutions to fit your unique needs and lifestyle.

 

If you think you may be suffering from hearing loss, don’t hesitate to contact Advanced Hearing Centers, 404-924-4510, today for a free hearing consultation.

New Study :Vitamin supplement successfully prevents noise-induced hearing loss

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy

Researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College and the Gladstone Institutes have found a way to prevent noise-induced hearing loss in a mouse using a simple chemical compound that is a precursor to vitamin B3. This discovery has important implications not only for preventing hearing loss, but also potentially for treating some aging-related conditions that are linked to the same protein.

Published today in Cell Metabolism, the researchers used the chemical nicotinamide riboside (NR) to protect the nerves that innervate the cochlea. The cochlea transmits sound information through these nerves to the spiral ganglion, which then passes along those messages to the brain. Exposure to loud noises damages the synapses connecting the nerves and the hair cells in the cochlea, resulting in noise-induced hearing loss.

The researchers set about trying to prevent this nerve damage by giving mice NR before or after exposing them to loud noises. NR was successful at preventing damage to the synaptic connections, avoiding both short-term and long-term hearing loss. What’s more, NR was equally effective regardless of whether it was given before or after the noise exposure.

“One of the major limitations in managing disorders of the inner ear, including hearing loss, is there are a very limited number of treatments options. This discovery identifies a unique pathway and a potential drug therapy to treat noise-induced hearing loss,” says Kevin Brown, MD, PhD, an associate professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and first author on the paper. Brown conducted the research while at Weill Cornell.

The researchers chose NR because it is a precursor to the chemical compound nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), which had previously been shown by Dr. Brown and co-senior author Samie Jaffrey, MD, PhD, to protect cochlea nerve cells from injury. However, NAD+ is an unstable compound, calling into question whether it could be used out of the petri dish and in a live animal. That led the scientists to use NR instead.

Methods for synthesizing NR were recently developed by Anthony Sauve, PhD, a professor of pharmacology at Weill Cornell and co-author of the study. This resulted in quantities of NR that were sufficient to test in animals.

“NR gets into cells very readily and can be absorbed when you take it orally. It has all the properties that you would expect in a medicine that could be administered to people,” said Dr. Jaffrey, a professor of pharmacology at Weill Cornell.

Beyond just preventing hearing loss, the researchers think the results may have broader applications because of the underlying way NR protects nerve cells. The scientists showed that NR and NAD+ prevent hearing loss by increasing the activity of the protein sirtuin 3 (SIRT3), which is critically involved in the function of mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cell.

The researchers hypothesized that it was this enhancement of SIRT3 that was behind the protective properties of NR. To test this, they manipulated SIRT3 levels independently of NR to see if they could still prevent noise-induced hearing loss by administering NR. Sure enough, deleting the SIRT3 gene in mice abolished any of the protective properties of NR. The researchers also showed that a new strain of mice, generated in the lab of co-senior author Eric Verdin, MD, at the Gladstone Institutes and engineered to express high levels of SIRT3, were inherently resistant to noise-induced hearing loss, even without administration of NR.

SIRT3 decreases naturally as we age, which could partially explain aging-related hearing loss. Additionally, some individuals carry different versions of the SIRT3 genes that result in reduced enzyme activity, which may make them more susceptible to noise-induced hearing loss.

Dr. Verdin, an investigator at the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, says, “The success of this study suggests that targeting SIRT3 using NR could be a viable target for treating all sorts of aging-related disorders–not only hearing loss but also metabolic syndromes like obesity, pulmonary hypertension, and even diabetes.”

 http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141202123840.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29

 

Surprising Ways We Are Damaging Our Hearing

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy

According to the Hearing Health Foundation, about 28 million Americans between ages 20 and 69 have some hearing loss due to loud noises at work or play. “Potentially, noises that are 85 decibels (dB) and louder can cause permanent hearing loss, especially as exposure times increase,” says Rachel A. Raphael, MA, CCC-A, an audiologist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. Here are some suprising ways we damage our hearing.

  1. Hairdryers. “The noise from hairdryers can exceed 100 dBs,” says Raphael. If you have to use one, hold it as far away from your ear as possible and operate it at its lowest—the quietest—speed. Pick a low dB model: Some manufacturers list the dB number on the packaging. Clean the filter often as well: dirt forces the motor to run less efficiently and more noisily.
  2. Lawn mowers. Lawn mowers can make a nasty racket, up to 106 db. When you’re mowing, wear protective ear devices such as earplugs or earmuffs, or both, says Raphael: “Protective hearing devices range from over-the-counter types of roll up or flanged [ridged] plugs to custom-fit earplugs.” You can also buy a quiet lawnmower: Reel mowers are the quietest (and good exercise), and electric mowers are less noisy than gas ones.
  3. Viagra—and other medications. “A possible side effect of taking Viagra [sildenafil] is hearing loss,” says Raphael. Drugs with names that end in mycin such a Gentamycin, sometimes used in cancer treatment, can also harm hair cells. Pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil,) and aspirin are all associated with hearing loss. Using ibuprofen daily, increased the risk of hearing loss in women under age 50 by 48 percent. Ask your doctor to give you a baseline hearing test before taking these drugs and have your ears retested every six month to a year. If your hearing is stable, test every two years or immediately if you notice a hearing change.
  4.  Earwax. Packed wax can hinder hearing. An ear, nose, and throat doctor can clear your ears of wax, or you can use a syringe kit available at drugstores or online. “Never use Q-tips, except to clean outer ear curves,” says Raphael: “You may push the wax in deeper or puncture an eardrum.” You can also clean by pouring a capful of hydrogen peroxidein each ear, as long as your eardrums are not perforated. Let sit for 30 seconds, then rinse out with water.
  5. Smoking. According to a 2011 study at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, exposure to tobacco smoke almost doubles the risk of hearing loss in adolescents. An earlier study of almost 4000 people published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that smokers were nearly 70 percent more likely to suffer hearing loss than non-smokers
  6. Loud music.Hardly surprising, but key to realize, say Raphael: “Music played loudly through ear buds can cause permanent hearing loss over time. The painless damage is often not noticed until it is too late. If others can hear the music playing out of your ear buds, it’s too loud.” An MP3 player is 105 dB at its maximum sound: The Hearing Health Foundation suggests that people listen at that level for no more than 15 minutes at a stretch.
  7. Diabetes. According to a 2013 review of 13 studies involving more than 20,000 adults at the Niigata University Faculty of Medicine in Niigata, Japan, researchers found that people with diabetes were twice as likely to have hearing loss as those without diabetes. Although researchers can’t explain the correlation, some medications diabetics take such as diuretics, drugs that increase urine ou put, could affect hearing. Their recommendation: If you have diabetes, get your hearing tested.

 http://shrewsbury.wickedlocal.com/article/20140531/NEWS/305319969/12450/LIFESTYLE

Introducing a Premium Hearing Aid for your iPhone

iPhone Halo Hearing Aid

This week Starkey is officially releasing the Halo aid and TruLink technology that allows you to wirelessly link and control your hearing aid with your iOS device (Android coming soon).  The device represents the latest generation of integrated devices and effectively eliminates the need for other costly intermediary technology (if you already have a smartphone of course).

With the Halo you can map your frequent locations to preferred programming modes, stream your iPhone’s audio output to your aid, use your iPhone as a wireless microphone, and improve feedback and background noise reduction.

Being a Medical Practice Partner of Starkey’s we have had early access to the devices and can’t wait to begin delivery of these devices to our patients.

[youtube height=”HEIGHT” width=”WIDTH”]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eSe3riseqY[/youtube]

Modern Treatment for Tinnitus

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy

Tinnitus is a ringing in the ears that can be a symptom of several conditions of the ear. These conditions can include can include simple temporary issues like infections and ear wax, or may be related to inner ear or nerve damage that is permanent.  Tens of millions of Americans experience tinnitus, most of which are only minimally bothered.  However about 1 in 4 patients are bothered enough by tinnitus that it can impact social interactions, sleep, and cause mood disturbance.  Tinnitus can be a strong trigger for depression and anxiety, and leads to reduced quality of life.

Tinnitus is a noise only experienced by the patient – we have no definitive test for tinnitus.  The perceived noise is generated in deep within the brain’s auditory centers.  Typically tinnitus goes hand-in-hand with sensory hearing loss, but not always!

Our principles of tinnitus treatment include first improving any hearing loss, evaluating for concurrent musculoskeletal and psychological conditions, and finally considering Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT).  If tinnitus is severe enough you may be recommended to get a medical evaluation by one of our specialized physicians (Otolaryngologists) as well.

TRT is a process that uses hearing devices to transmit a controlled and modulated noise back to the auditory system in order to promote long-term suppression within the brain’s auditory centers.  This uses principles of neural plasticity in the neural pathways.  The character of the modulated sound is programmed in part by the patient, and is then transformed by complex mathematical algorithms based on decades of hearing research.

In the past some providers have treated tinnitus essentially like a pure psychological illness, offering expensive “talk therapy” and specialized two week away-from-home courses (“tinnitus camp”).  This older treatment helped a few patients but for most they simply were expensive and further worsened the stigma of tinnitus as a patient-caused problem.

Our philosophy is much more practical and  useful to the majority of patients with bothersome tinnitus.  No away-from-home course is needed, and we don’t even own a talking couch!  We have a number of affordable devices backed by peer-reviewed science that alleviate tinnitus by using technology to direct neural plasticity.