Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Teenage Girls Hearing Loss, It's Rising

While boys have traditionally been more likely to suffer from noise-induced hearing loss, a study set to be published in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics suggests that teenage girls are rapidly closing the gap.According to Daniel J. DeNoon of WebMD Health News, the study shows that, between 2005 and 2008, 16.7% of girls and 17.7% of boys suffered from hearing loss by the age of 19. Those figures represent a slight decrease in hearing loss among teenage males, they also mark a 5% increase in hearing loss in teenage females, DeNoon reports.Elisabeth Henderson of Harvard Medical School (HMS) and her colleagues also discovered that the percentage of teens who reported listening to loud music within a 24 hour period had increased from 20 percent in the late 1980s/early 1990s to 35 percent more recently, according to Alison McCook of Reuters Health. That would seem to suggest that MP3 players may be at least partially to blame.

However, Dr. Peter Rabinowitz of Yale University told McCook that it was too early to tell whether or not portable music players were to blame. "This study does not totally prove that loud music is causing hearing damage in kids," he said, adding that the increased percentage of teens losing their hearing was cause for concern and that the medical community "should be doing something to prevent it."A total of 4,310 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 participated in the study. Each of the subjects completed audiometric testing during National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys in 1988–1994 and 2005–2006, according to Henderson and colleagues.Along with Henderson, Dr. Marcia A. Testa of the Harvard School of Public Health Department of Biostatistics and Dr. Christopher Hartnick of the HMS Department of Otolaryngology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, are credited as co-authors of the paper, which is entitled "Prevalence of Noise-Induced Hearing-Threshold Shifts and Hearing Loss Among US Youths."

For more information on noise-induced hearing loss visit the  U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Buying Hearing Aids Online

Be careful when purchasing hearing aids online or via mail order. By working with an audiologist, you are getting professional expertise and service including a thorough evaluation, accurate and precise hearing aid fitting, referral for medical treatment if and when necessary, one-on-one instruction in how to use the hearing aid, follow-up care and support, repair services and rehabilitation services.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Does your hearing aid fit well? Consumer Reports Survey.

A hearing aid fitting doesn't necessarily mean how comfortable it fits in your ear but rather does it amplify sounds correctly. Where you have your hearing aid fitted can make all the difference as to how well your hearing aid performs. You can buy the most expensive hearing aid but if it is not properly fitted it's not worth much. Consumer reports had followed a dozen actual patients for six months as they shopped for and used hearing aids, conducted a national survey of 1,100 people who had bought a hearing aid in the past three years, and lab-tested the features of 44 hearing aids. They found that most (2/3) of the patients had their hearing aids misfitted: They either amplified too much or too little.Many paid too much as well and were not informed about the capabilities of their hearing aids. These are just some of the reasons why finding a quality audiologist is so important. When looking for hearing aids, Houston has a great audiologist: Dr. Nagel.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Different types of hearing aids

Are all hearing aids the same? No they are certainly not. Here is a listing of the different types you will find:

In-the-canal (ITC) and completely-in-the-canal (CIC) aids:These aids are contained in a tiny case that fits partly or completely into the ear canal. They are the smallest aids available and offer some cosmetic and listening advantages.

In-the-ear (ITE) aids: All parts of the aid are contained in a shell that fills in the outer part of the ear. These aids are larger than canal aids and, for some people, may be easier to handle than smaller aids.
Behind-the-ear (BTE) aids: All parts of the aid are contained in a small plastic case that rests behind the ear. The case is connected to an earmold by a piece of clear tubing. This style is often chosen for young children for safety and growth reasons.
Behind-the-ear aid: open fitting: A small plastic case rests behind the ear, and a very fine clear tube runs into the ear canal. Inside the ear canal, a small, soft silicone dome or a molded, highly vented acrylic tip holds the tube in place. These aids offer cosmetic and listening advantages and are used typically for adults.
Receiver-in-canal aids: These aids look very similar to the behind-the-ear hearing aid with a unique difference: the speaker of the hearing aid is placed inside the ear canal, and thin electrical wires replace the acoustic tube of the BTE aid. These aids also offer cosmetic and listening advantages and are typically used for adults.
Extended wear hearing aids: These aids are devices that are nonsurgically placed in the ear canal by an audiologist. They are worn up to several months at a time without removal. The devices are made of soft material designed to fit the curves of the ear. They are worn continuously and then replaced with a new device. They are very useful for active individuals because their design protects against moisture and earwax, and they can be worn while exercising, showering, etc.
The majority of hearing aids sold today are canal hearing aids and in-the-ear hearing aids. The behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid is the most commonly recommended aid for infants and young children (see below for explanation); however, many adults now wear the open fit style of BTE.
There are also special hearing aids built to handle very specific types of hearing loss. For example, a bone conduction hearing aid uses a headband and a bone vibrator for individuals who have no ear canal or outer ear. These devices bypass the outer and middle ear and directly stimulate the cochlea. A relatively new innovation is the osseointegrated hearing aid (bone anchored), which is implanted in the skull. This device has three parts: a titanium implant, an external abutment, and a detachable sound processor.
Middle ear implants are hearing systems implanted in the space behind the eardrum that mechanically vibrate the middle ear structures. This device has two parts: an external portion and an implanted portion.
There are also hearing aids called CROS aids that route sounds coming to one ear over to the other ear. These devices are for use by individuals who have no hearing in one ear. In special cases, hearing aids can be built into glasses for individuals who need that type of fitting.
Given the many innovations, there are hearing aids available that can accommodate virtually any kind of hearing loss!

For more info go to ASHA.ORG

ASHA Reminds You: Enjoy Your MP3's but Use Them Carefully

With many consumers wishing for and expected to receive electronics for gifts this holiday season, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is reminding the public about the potential risks of noise-induced hearing loss and a negative impact on communication development that can happen from the misuse or overuse of various types of devices.

“By no means are we saying that that the public shouldn't buy or have the electronics that are so popular” ASHA President Tommie L. Robinson, Jr, Ph.D., CCC-SLP says. “Rather, it's all about awareness and usage. There are ways to use them that are not only safer and healthier, but also contribute to a person's ability to enjoy the electronics their whole life.”
In the case of listening to MP3 players, ASHA recommends the following hearing protection steps:
  •     Turn down the volume. A good rule to follow is do not turn the volume past the 50% mark. (If you can hear a person's music from their earbuds or headphones, the volume is turned up too loud.)
  •     Take listening breaks. Don't listen to audio devices for longer than one hour at a time.
  •     Adults need to model good behavior. Wear hearing protection such as ear plugs in nosy environments.
  •     Take the Buds Pledge from the http://www.listentoyourbuds.org website.
  •     Find a local certified audiologist for guidance on hearing protection and care through ASHA's online resource ProSearch (http://www.asha.org/findpro/).

A January 2010 report from the Kaiser Family Foundation study showed that young people between ages 8-18 spend more than 7 hours daily using various forms of entertainment media including televisions, computers, video games, iPods, and cell phones. . The study also found that ownership of personal audio devices such as iPods and MP3 players among children increased from 18 to 76 percent in just the past 5 years.
The consequences of a hearing loss can be devastating, especially for a child. In fact, studies show that even a mild hearing loss due to excessive noise can lead to delays in speech and language development, affecting a student's ability to pay attention in the classroom. Exposure to loud noise has also been linked to numerous physiological changes, sleep difficulties, digestive problems, delayed emotional development, stress related disorders, behavioral problems, body fatigue, and possible immunological effects.
Meanwhile, ASHA is concerned that overuse of entertainment media could reduce opportunities for language interactions and reading and writing. For example, children need practice using words and interacting with adults and peers. Thus, if they spend excessive amounts of time with such media, it “may adversely affect language development because these children are not receiving the language models and play interactions upon which further language acquisition is built.” (Beyond Baby Talk: From Sounds to Sentences, A Parent's Complete Guide to Language Development (2001))

Read more: at Bezinga

Beware of Noisy Toys for Child Hearing Health

Many people are unaware of toys that are so loud, they could be a potential cause for hearing loss.Hearing loss develops over time and it's important to protect children from developing hearing disabilities down the road by keeping the following list in mind

2010 Ten Noisiest Toys
  1. Bell Riderz Block Blaster  from Bell Sports, Inc. - 129.2 dB
  2. Cars Shake ‘N Go Ramone from Mattel, Inc. -.119.5 dB
  3. Transformers Optimus Prime Cyber Sword from Hasbro - 110.1 dB
  4. True Heroes Sonic Battle Blasters from Geoffrey, LLC - 110 dB
  5. CAT Mini Mover from Toy State Intl Ltd. - 104.8 dB
  6. Rocket Boost Iron Man 2 from  Hasbro - 103.2 dB
  7. Road Rippers Rush & Rescue Fire Truck from Toy State Intl Ltd.-101.6 dB
  8. Interaction Morris from Learning Curve Brands, Inc. - 98.7 dB
  9. Proto Bat-Bot Figure from Mattel, Inc. - 98.6 dB
  10. CAT Honk & Rumble Wheel from Toy State Intl Ltd. - 96.6 dB
(Courtesy of the Sight and Hearing Association. View and print the 2010 Noisy Toys List.)

FDA & Hearing Aids

Having trouble hearing? Over 35 million children and adults in the United States have some degree of hearing loss. Hearing loss can have a negative effect on communication, relationships, school/work performance, and emotional well-being. However, hearing loss doesn't have to restrict your daily activities. Properly fitted hearing aids and aural rehabilitation techniques can help in many listening situations. Aural rehabilitation helps a person focus on adjusting to their hearing loss and the use of their hearing aids. It also explores assistive devices to help improve communication. Hearing aids for both ears are typically the norm for most hearing impaired people, but some may need only one hearing aid.
This site provides general information on hearing aids, types of hearing loss, different types and styles of hearing aids, how to get a hearing aid, benefits and safety of hearing aids, hearing aids and cell phones, other products and procedures to improve hearing, and a checklist of steps to remember and consider before purchasing a hearing aids.
This site also includes information on the difference between hearing aids and sound amplifiers that amplify environmental sounds for consumers with no hearing loss. FDA regulates hearing aids, which are intended to compensate for hearing loss. On the other hand, FDA does not consider sound amplifiers to be medical devices when labeled for recreational or other use by individuals with normal hearing. However, certain safety regulations related to sound output levels still apply to these products.
This site provides general information on hearing aids and is not intended to provide medical advice. If you have questions about your health, the best source of information is your hearing health care professional.

iPhone hearing app works like a hearing aid

Have a hearing disability? There is an app for that! No kidding:UC Irvine researchers are preparing to release EarTrumpet − an iPhone hearing-assistance application that lets users tailor the way that sounds are enhanced.

Other hearing-aid applications simply make sound louder at all frequencies,’ said Dr Hamid Djalilian, director of otology, neurotology and skull-base surgery at UC Irvine Medical Center. ’We wanted [ours] to work just like a hearing aid, where one can choose which pitches to amplify. People usually have high-pitch hearing loss and don’t need to amplify low-pitch sounds.’
Allowing the user to adjust pitch volumes, however, led to another challenge. ’Most people don’t know which pitches need amplification or by how much. So we added a hearing test that permits the user to identify and then fine tune just the pitches where there is hearing loss,’ he said. Commercial hearing aids rely on audiologists to adjust the pitch amplification.

Starkey Hearing foundation honors Leslie Neilson

The Starkey Hearing Foundation distributes more than 100,000 hearing aids annually. They have announced efforts to recognize actor Leslie Nielsen.
The Foundation is accepting public donations in honor of Nielsen, whose efforts in support of the organization helped improve those with hearing disabilities. 

You can make a secure donation in the Lelie's name by clicking on the “In Honor of” button at the bottom of the Starkey Hearing Foundation’s website, www.starkeyhearingfoundation.org/donate.php. The Foundation allows Facebook fans to make donations in Nielsen’s name. To become a fan of the organization on Facebook and donate, visit www.facebook.com/StarkeyHearing

Houston Hearing Aids and Hearing Health

The Center for Audiology is the best place for  hearing aids in  Houston and getting your hearing tested. Dr. Nagel and her staff are the most caring professionals around and you won't find a better audiologist in Houston. Their office offers hearing testing for people of all ages including children. They offer the most competitive pricing on hearing aids and can assure you of the best possible experience with the new hearing aids they fit for you.
The Center for Audiology is located at 19 E. Briar Hollow Lane, Suite 270, Houston, TX 77027.

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