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June 20, 2017 London Audiology Blog

I promise to stop blogging about hearing loss and health very soon. However,
it’s such an important topic and we audiologists want to get the message out
there that more people need to get their hearing tested!

 

Many people never think about the fact that certain medications can damage the
ear resulting in hearing loss, tinnitus and vestibular (balance) disorders.
These drugs are ototoxic.

 

Tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears) is often the first sign of damage to
the auditory system.

 

Medication induced hearing loss ranges from mild to profound and can be
temporary or permanent.

 

Up to 33% of adult patients have been reported to experience Ototoxicity while
taking amino glycoside antibiotics, with a 3% chance of the damage being
permanent.

 

There is a strong link between cancer treatments and hearing loss. Certain
chemotherapy medications can cause hearing loss. The chemotherapy agent,
cisplatin, for example causes Ototoxicity in as a many as 50% of patients.

Approximately 60% of children receiving platinum based chemotherapy
experience hearing loss.

 

Obviously, life saving medications are necessary. However, the ototoxic effects
can be minimized. A baseline hearing test should be performed before starting
potential ototoxic medications. Monitoring during treatment can let physicians
know at the first sign of damage and if appropriate the medication or its dosage
can be modified before damage is permanent.

 

In cases where the damage is permanent, the audiologist can propose treatment
plans to manage the hearing loss and/or tinnitus. Audiologists should be an
integral member of the team helping to improve the quality of life during and
after treatment.



People with hearing loss are more prone to falls. This is a serious public
health concern especially for seniors. Even a mild hearing loss triples the
risk of falls. As amount of hearing loss increases so does the risk of falling.

 

There are 3 factors at play here.

 

1. The vestibular system, which helps us keep our balance is connected to the
cochlea, the inner ear.  Many factors that cause damage to the inner ear may cause damage to the
vestibular system as well.

 

2. Another idea is that our hearing helps us know where we are in space. As we walk
through a room, we hear our footsteps and that helps us know where the floor is! As
we walk through a doorway or near a wall the sounds we make change and tell us that
something is nearby. When we put our coffee cup down, that little clunk tells our
brain that the table is right in front of us. It all helps us orient ourselves in
our environment. Decreased hearing limits our access to these auditory cues.certain
warning signals may not be heard making tripping and falling more likely.

 

3. People with hearing loss may have a greater risk of falling due to an increase
in cognitive load needed for listening. This means that people with hearing loss are
using so much brain power just trying to figure out what someone is saying that they
have little energy left over to maintain balance. (See my blog “Help Me, I’m in a
Snowstorm! for more discussion on this topic.)

 

The good news! Studies show that people with normal hearing have better balance
and walk faster on a treadmill than people with hearing loss. However, after
fitting these hearing impaired subjects with hearing aids and after an acclimatization period
their walking speed and balance improved. Wow! Who knew that wearing hearing
aids helps our balance!




On May 12 we will have a special Mother’s Day event. What better gift can we give our mothers than taking care of her hearing health? If your mother is having some hearing concerns, please bring her in for a hearing test. Even if she doesn’t have concerns but has never had her hearing tested, she should have a baseline test. Everyone over 50 years should have their hearing tested.

 

We launched our 2000 Ears Campaign to raise awareness about the importance of hearing screening for hearing health. We aim to test 1000 people (that’s 2000 ears!) in 2017. So please come in on Friday, May 12, and bring your mother!

 

2000 Ears Flyer 2017



ID-10044374A healthy heart is associated with healthy ears. Studies show that a healthy cardiovascular system has a positive effect on hearing. The inner ear is very sensitive to blood flow. Inadequate blood flow in the inner ear contributes to hearing loss. However, poor blood circulation can also cause damage to the central auditory pathways in the brain.

 

Some patients with heart disease or vascular problems also hear pulsatile tinnitus (rythmic pulsing in time with the heartbeat.)

 

High blood pressure can also cause damage to the inner ear leading to hearing loss.

 

The good news is there are several things we can all do to stay healthy. Eat right and exercise are very important! Don’t smoke. The risk of hearing loss increases by 15% in persistent smokers. If you do have heart issues, have your hearing tested and monitor your hearing over time. If you have never had a hearing test, get a baseline by age 50 years.



March 27, 2017 London Audiology Blog

Let’s keep talking about health. However, we will pause a bit with important information for all of us who have contact with hearing aids, whether they are our own, or someone else’s.

 

We see signs posted everywhere and we often hear about how important hand hygiene is to prevent the transmission of bacteria and viruses. Did you know this is also true for hearing aids? Think about the number of things we come into contact with on a daily basis in and out of our homes. Everytime we shake hands, touch a doorknob, or touch money, we are tranferrring germs. Did you know that some bacteria can live for days on a hard surface?

 

Using an alcohol based hand rub, or soap and water remains the most effective way to prevent and control the spread of these germs. To avoid transferring any kind of bacteria to your hearing aids, it is important to wash your hands before and after touching them.  And don’t forget to wipe down surfaces in contact with hearing aids.  It is also a good idea to replace your cleaning tools every 6 months.

 

Please drop in anytime to replace your hearing aid cleaning tools.



March 10, 2017 London Audiology Blog

In the last blog I talked about hearing loss and depression. Another common mental health issue associated with hearing loss is anxiety. It seems the more severe the hearing loss the more anxious some people become. It may be related to the person’s concern about their ability to manage their hearing loss.

 

Grief is another mental health issue which sometimes results from hearing loss. People born with hearing loss tend to not go through this process, as hearing loss is simply part of life.  But, someone who had normal hearing and is suddenly or slowly progressivley experiencing hearing loss, often has to go through the grieving process. Someone in the grief process is often very reluctant to seek help or follow the advice of their audiologist to wear hearing aids.

 

People with hearing loss also report higher levels of fatigue. (see my blog “Help Me I’m in a Snowstorm!”) The greater effort required for listening with a hearing loss saps a person’s energy level. Many people report hearing better in the morning than at night as they get tired by the end of the day. Reduced alertness and impaired memory may both result from all the extra brain processing that is needed to just understand what people are saying.



February 3, 2017 London Audiology Blog

There are many health conditions associated with hearing loss.  Mental well being, for example, is strongly linked to hearing health. As hearing loss can interfere with communication, this can sever social connections. Human beings are social by nature. When people lose their social connections they lose an important link to the world. This leads to social pain and sometimes feelings of rejection, which triggers the same neural pathways as physical pain.

 

There is a strong relationship between untreated hearing loss and depression. This is likely precipitated by withdrawal and social isolation. The good news is that other studies show that wearing hearing aids reduces depression. One study showed that 36% of patients who began to wear their hearing aids experienced improved overall mental health and 34% reported increased social engagement.



January 23, 2017 London Audiology Blog

London Audiology Consultants is very excited to announce our 2000 EARS Campaign for 2017.  We are committed to raising awareness of the importance of hearing.

 

Our goal is to test 1000 people (that’s 2000 ears!)  We need your help to achieve this!  Please encourage your friends and family to come in and get a baseline hearing test.

 

When we reach our goal we will donate $1,000.00 to the local Men’s Mission.

 

So please be a part of this great initiative.

 

Throughout the year you can look on our website to follow our progress.



January 9, 2017 London Audiology Blog

Studies show a link between untreated hearing loss and depression. Hearing impaired people who do not wear hearing aids are 50% more likely to suffer from sadness and depression than those who do wear their hearing aids. This was found in a study of more than 2,300 subjects.

 

Other studies have shown that as untreated hearing loss gets worse the risk of cognitive issues, like dementia, increases.

 

Researchers suggest not being able to function socially is an important factor. People who have difficulty communicating in social settings tend to avoid them and stay home. They also noted that anger, frustration and anxiety are commonly found among the unaided hearing impaired population.

 

People usually wait an average of 6 years from the onset of hearing loss to seek medical treatment. Those between 20 and 69 years of age are even more unlikely to seek treatment than those over 70 years of age.

 

Its never too early or too late to have a hearing test. To help raise awareness about the importance of hearing testing, London Audiology Consultants has launched our “2000 Ears Campaign!”  More details next time!


London Audiology
London Audiology Consultants is an independent Hearing Health Care clinic established in 1985 by co-owners and audiologists Margaret Brac and Catherine Moore.

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