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Which Client Is At An Increased Risk For Hearing Loss

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Unilateral Versus Bilateral Hearing Loss: One Ear Or Two

Hunters warned of hearing loss that could increase risk for dementia

The most common causes of hearing loss, such as age-related hearing loss, tend to affect both ears. However, this is often unequal, with the hearing loss of the ears differing from one another. Some people will have hearing aids fitted to just one ear, whereas others will choose to aid both ears.

Loss of hearing in just one ear is sometimes called single-sided deafness or hearing loss. Being deaf in one ear presents particular challenges:

  • It affects directional hearing – that is, the ability to work out which direction sound is coming from. This is also called spatial hearing. If you have normal hearing, you use the time difference in a sound arriving at each ear and the difference in loudness between two ears, to work out where a sound is coming from and how far away it is. If you have significant hearing loss in just one ear this makes it much harder to localise a sound. For example, hearing someone call you outside or hearing whether a car is coming when you are about to cross the road.
  • When a sound is coming from your affected side, your head gets in the way of the sound getting to your good ear – the head shadow effect. This is particularly noticeable with higher-pitched sounds such as the c, f, p, s, t, ch and sh sounds, making it harder to discriminate between some words. This is why people with single-sided hearing loss have problems hearing speech when there is background noise, even when the hearing is normal in their other ear.

What Healthcare Providers Diagnose And Treat Hearing Loss

If you suspect hearing loss, you may see an:

  • Audiologist: These specialists conduct hearing exams and hearing needs assessments to discuss your unique listening and communication needs. They help with determining the appropriate hearing devices, which often include hearing aids, in addition to other types of hearing device technology . Most audiologists have doctorates in audiology . Audiologists are not medical doctors.
  • Hearing aid specialist: These specialists pass a state exam and receive state licenses to conduct hearing tests. They can fit you for hearing aids.
  • Otolaryngologist: These medical doctors are also known as ear, nose and throat specialists. They prescribe medications and perform surgeries to treat ear problems and hearing loss.

Audiologists or hearing aid specialists often work with otolaryngologists. As a team, they can address all your hearing issues to help improve your hearing.

Stem Cell Transplant And Gene Therapy

A 2005 study achieved successful regrowth of cochlea cells in guinea pigs. However, the regrowth of cochlear hair cells does not imply the restoration of hearing sensitivity, as the sensory cells may or may not make connections with neurons that carry the signals from hair cells to the brain. A 2008 study has shown that gene therapy targeting Atoh1 can cause hair cell growth and attract neuronal processes in embryonic mice. Some hope that a similar treatment will one day ameliorate hearing loss in humans.

Recent research, reported in 2012 achieved growth of cochlear nerve cells resulting in hearing improvements in gerbils, using stem cells. Also reported in 2013 was regrowth of hair cells in deaf adult mice using a drug intervention resulting in hearing improvement. The Hearing Health Foundation in the US has embarked on a project called the Hearing Restoration Project. Also Action on Hearing Loss in the UK is also aiming to restore hearing.

Researchers reported in 2015 that genetically deaf mice which were treated with TMC1 gene therapy recovered some of their hearing. In 2017, additional studies were performed to treat Usher syndrome and here, a recombinant adeno-associated virus seemed to outperform the older vectors.

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Tylenol Advil May Increase Risk Of Hearing Loss

September 17, 2012 Many people use painkillers, but new research suggests that using high amounts for long periods of time could increase your risk of hearing loss. Researchers are warning that using high amounts of Tylenol or Advil is associated with an increased risk of hearing loss in women. Their findings are published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

The study found the following risks:

  • Using Advil 2-3 days per week increased the risk of hearing loss by 13%. Using it 4-5 days per week increased the risk by 21%. Using it more than 6 days per week increased the risk by 24%.
  • Using Tylenol 2-3 times per week had an 11% increased risk of hearing loss. Using it 4-5 days per week increased the risk by 21%.
  • The researchers did not link aspirin to hearing loss.

The researchers based their conclusions on an analysis of data from 62,261 women between 31 and 48 years old. The women were tracked for the next 14 years, between 1995 to 2009. About 10,000 women reported hearing loss during the course of the study.

The study does not prove cause and effect. It is possible that the women had an underlying condition that required treatment with Tylenol or Advil, which may have also contributed to their hearing loss.

However, the researchers did present a possible mechanism by which the drugs could cause hearing loss, especially at high doses. According to Dr. Sharon G. Curhan, M.D., of the Brigham and Womans Hospital Channing Division of Network Medicine:

Impact Of Hearing Loss For Adults

Hearing loss can INCREASE dementia risk by 17%: Straining ...

Early Versus Late Onset

It is important at the outset to distinguish between adults who have experienced an early onset of severe or profound hearing loss and adults whose hearing loss was acquired later in life. When hearing loss occurs at an early age , there is an impact on the development of spoken language, on reading ability and educational attainment, and, ultimately, on employability . These persons are usually considered , and a good number may use or a similar sign system as their preferred mode of communication. When hearing loss occurs after the development of spoken language, and particularly when it occurs slowly, as it does in aging or as the result of prolonged noise exposure, there is a loss of functional hearing ability, but other cognitive skills and competencies are not greatly affected. The terms hard-of-hearing and late deafened are often used to describe these individuals. In the sections that follow, we examine the impact of hearing loss in adults, with only occasional reference to etiology or time of onset. Nevertheless, each issue or research finding has greater relevance for one of these groups than for the other.

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Healthy Aging And Cognitive Changes

Age, as they say, brings wisdom, and many cognitive abilities are honed throughout our lives. Wisdom and creativity continue to the end of life. Daily occupational and social functioning is not impaired by normal aging. Most aspects of language ability remain strong, and some offer compensatory choices that can offset other declines . However, even healthy aging is often accompanied by cognitive changes. Long-term memory may decline. The rate at which new information is learned can be slower, and older adults often have a greater need for repetition of new information. Examples of specific cognitive abilities important to auditory communication include processing speed, working memory, and executive function. Each of these abilities is necessary to communication.

Processing speed allows the listener to take in, evaluate, and assign meaning to a rapidly changing acoustic signal. Because the typical speech rate is approximately four syllables per second, listeners are taking in more than 240 chunks of phonemic information per minute. While processing lags, the conversation has moved on, and older listeners with hearing loss sometimes report feeling fatigued with attempts to keep up.

Insurers Reported Strong Results For The First Half Of 2021 But Theres No Letup In Hard Market Conditions

Read through our latest Marketplace Insight The Gap Between Hearing and Seeing, and see what we can expect for next years market conditions, tips to keep you better prepared, and year-end results from insurers.

Click here to view and download the new Marketplace Insights:

After more than two years into the hard market cycle there are finally some indicators that the end may be in sight. A majority of Canadian property and casualty insurance companies posted excellent results for the first half of 2021 due to very strong growth in underwriting income combined with a reprieve in claims activity.

On the one hand, there is the good news customers and their brokers have been hearing from insurance companies in recent months about a return to profitability necessary for the market to soften. The overall combined ratio for Canadas predominantly commercial insurers was 79.3% for the first half of 2021, a stunning drop of more than 26 points from an unprofitable 106% for the same period one year prior. Direct written premium for these insurers rose to more than $7.5 billion, an increase of over 15% compared to the first half of 2020.

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Three Key Takeaways For Your Clinical Practice From Julia Sarant:

Initial results from a small sample* suggest that:

  • Clients who come into your clinic with greater hearing loss, greater age and less education are more likely to have poorer cognitive function.
  • Cognitive function in older adults with hearing loss who use hearing instruments can not only remain stable, but can improve significantly over time.
  • More frequent use of hearing instruments is associated with greater improvements in cognitive function.
  • *Based on a small sample of participants who have been observed for only an 18 month period. Follow up with a larger sample and for a longer period of time is needed to confirm these results. Results from this follow-up study are not yet available.

    For more information about the association between hearing loss and cognition you can read the following article in The Lancet.

    Do you like the article?

    Psychosocial Impact Of Hearing Loss

    Self-Reported Hearing Loss Linked to Increased Risk of Dementia

    Perspectives of the Deaf Community

    The community is defined as an entity that shares the common goals of its members and works toward these goals . These goals include, for example, telecommunications and entertainment access, captioning, sign language and oral interpreting, and accommodations in the work setting. For the most part, the deaf community comprises individuals who have been deaf from birth or early in life . Some of these individuals prefer oral communication but see themselves as part of the deaf community. Most are deaf individuals who rely on some form of signed communication or and identify with Culture. These individuals value American Sign Language as their language, and they tend to devalue speech when they interact with each other. Socialization with other deaf persons is strongly emphasized, particularly through local, state, and national associations, sports leagues, deaf clubs, religious settings, and Deaf festivals .

    Psychosocial Adjustment and Hearing Loss

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    Tips For Caring For Someone With Oral Health Problems

    Maintaining a high standard of oral health can become increasingly difficult as you grow older. When caring for an older person, its important to make sure they continue to look after their oral health.

    Help them do this by making sure they:

    • visit the dentist as recommended for their dental condition and age to check for dental disease and more serious diseases of the mouth
    • tell the dentist about any general health problems and medications they are taking as this may affect their dental health and treatment
    • brush their teeth twice a day, especially after meals, and use dental floss to remove plaque which causes gum disease
    • use a fluoride or sensitive toothpaste
    • eat a healthy, balanced diet and avoid sweet foods and drinks between meals
    • clean their mouth and/or dentures well each day and have both checked regularly by the dentist.

    Hearing Loss In America

    About 29 million Americans have a hearing impairment, the researchers report.

    âPopulation-based epidemiological prevalence estimates range from 20.6% in adults aged 48 to 59 years to 90% in adults older than 80 years,â write study researcher Scott D. Nash, MS, of the University of Wisconsin, and colleagues. âThe severity of this condition has been shown to be associated with a poorer quality of life, communication difficulties, impaired activities of daily living, dementia, and cognitive dysfunction.â

    The researchers also write that hearing impairment may be somewhat preventable if found early enough.

    The study, published online, will appear in the May print issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery.

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    That Makes Sense Are There Other Factors That Play A Part

    Communication difficulties, lack of stimulation, and subsequent isolation and loneliness caused by hearing loss could also lead to cognitive decline. This theory is supported by research that has shown that while having a limited social network increases the risk of dementia, having a high level of social engagement can significantly reduce this risk. Hearing loss is also associated with depression, and depression is thought to be a risk factor for dementia. There is also evidence of a decrease in brain volume in people with hearing loss, which may play a role in cognitive decline. In summary, there appear to be multiple potential mechanisms for the hearing-cognition relationship, including neuropathic degeneration, sensory degradation/deprivation, increased cognitive load, social isolation and depression.

    Coverage Tip: Employment Practices Liability

    Diabetes increases the risk of hearing loss

    With vaccines for COVID-19 now widely available and case counts dropping throughout most of the country, many employers are now implementing vaccination mandates for their employees while winding down work-from-home arrangements. Consequences of this shift may include disciplinary action, forced layoffs and even termination of employees that refuse to comply with mandates. Enforcement of these policies is inevitably leading to actions against employers for discrimination or wrongful termination, embroiling employers in potentially costly litigation.

    As part of a comprehensive risk management strategy, business owners may want to consider employment practices liability coverage as part of their overall insurance program. Premium and retention will reflect the level of risk and uncertainty brought on by COVID in your workplace. Contact your Iridium Risk representative to discuss your EPL risks and how this coverage can respond to them.

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    Tips: How To Talk With Someone With Hearing Loss

    Here are some tips you can use when talking with someone who has a hearing problem:

    • In a group, include people with hearing loss in the conversation.
    • Find a quiet place to talk to help reduce background noise, especially in restaurants and at social gatherings.
    • Stand in good lighting and use facial expressions or gestures to give clues.
    • Face the person and speak clearly. Maintain eye contact.
    • Speak a little more loudly than normal, but dont shout. Try to speak slowly, but naturally.
    • Speak at a reasonable speed.
    • Do not hide your mouth, eat, or chew gum while speaking.
    • Repeat yourself if necessary, using different words.
    • Try to make sure only one person talks at a time.
    • Be patient. Stay positive and relaxed.
    • Ask how you can help.

    Hearing And Cognitive Health

    Studies have shown that older adults with hearing loss have a greater risk of developing dementia than older adults with normal hearing. Cognitive abilities decline faster in older adults with hearing loss than in older adults with normal hearing. Treating hearing problems may be important for cognitive health. See Whats the Connection Between Hearing and Cognitive Health?

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    The Risk Of Hearing Loss To Teachers

    There is no denying that schools are noisy. Bells ringing, excited children slamming lockers, these are sounds teaches and school staff experience daily. Just like any other noisy work environment, people who work in these conditions can be at risk of hearing loss. In fact, research suggests that teachers and school staff are at an increased risk for occupational noise-induced hearing loss.

    Teachers are in many ways essential workers, they shape our childrens future. But, facts are facts, children and schools are loud. Hearing loss amongst teachers can begin at a much younger age than other diagnosed occupational noise-induced hearing loss. Teachers under 40 report a higher rate of difficulty hearing than that of other professionals. Music teachers are amongst the most vulnerable to early hearing loss. If you ever complained about having to learn the recorder in primary school, imagine how your teacher must have felt. Being exposed to the noises of hundreds of children butchering the instrument can cause much more damage than just a headache. All jokes aside, teachers are encouraged to seek regular hearing checks, starting much earlier than most other professionals. The extended exposure to occupational noise increases the likelihood that many teachers will experience noise-induced hearing loss during their career.

    Read more about noise-induced hearing loss here:

    Your Latest Research Is Looking At Hearing Loss And Its Relationship To Cognitive Decline Can You Tell Us More About Why Cognitive Decline Is Such A Hot Topic

    Hearing loss, balance and the increased risk of falls

    Cognitive decline increases in prevalence with age. In older people, cognitive decline may reflect broader health issues such as depression, anxiety, poor cardiovascular health or poor nutrition, or signal the onset of dementia. After age 65 years, the risk of developing dementia is doubled every 5 years, with 3-12% of people aged 70-80 years affected, and 25-35% of people older than 85 years affected. In 2010 there were 35.5 million people worldwide living with dementia. By 2030, that number is predicted to increase to 65.7 million, and by 2050 to 141 million. Dementia is now the 7th leading cause of death.

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    United States And International Statistics

    Hearing loss occurs in approximately 5-10 per 1000 children in the United States. Roughly 1-3 in 1000 children are born with profound hearing loss, and 3-5 in 1000 are born with mild-to-moderate hearing loss that may affect language acquisition unless hearing, language, or both are aided. The prevalence of hearing loss requiring intervention among graduates from neonatal intensive care units is 1-4%. Acquired hearing loss in children may add another 10-20% to these numbers.

    The prevalence of hearing loss in adolescents aged 12-19 years appears to be increasing in the United States. A 2010 study found that this increase in prevalence was approximately one third greater from 2005 to 2006 than from 1988 to 1994. Interestingly, significant hearing loss was particularly increased, to the point where approximately 1 in 20 adolescents has this type of hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss contributes substantially to the increased incidence of hearing loss in adolescents.

    Data from the United States Census show that almost 3% of the population in the workforce reports having some hearing loss, including CHL, SNHL, or mixed loss.

    Worldwide, SNHL occurs in 9-27 per 1000 children.

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