Surprisingly, only 1 out of 5 people who would benefit from using amplification actually use devices. Not surprisingly, one of the top reasons for not using devices is the stigma that using a hearing aid is something that the old or elderly do.
Of course, like the rest of our body parts, the ear does not work as efficiently as we age. But, aging is not the only cause of hearing loss. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) provided statistics that show about 26 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have high frequency hearing loss due to exposure to loud noises at work or in leisure activities.
Knowledge and research of tinnitus has advanced to a point where we now have evidence based treatment options that address patients’ reactions to tinnitus. “It is important to distinguish treating tinnitus perception, and treating reactions to tinnitus. Even though there is no cure at this time, there are lots of approaches to helping with the reactions.” Often treating the reactions to the tinnitus in turn decreases the annoyance and prevalence of the tinnitus.
Parker and Castle Rock Centers for Audiology now offer multiple clinically proven and FDA cleared treatment devices to help patients with their tinnitus. These devices all use different approaches to sound therapy and habituation to provide patients with relief.
October is Family Health Month!
Healthy families begin with the parents setting good examples. Not only does the example of a parent smoking increase the chances of the children smoking, but it also increases their chances of having hearing loss as teenagers.
New York University School of Medicine gathered cotinine blood levels; a byproduct of nicotine that forms when people are exposed to tobacco, for over 1,500 adolescents aged 12 to 19. These same subjects also had their hearing tested.
The study found that the teens that had been exposed to secondhand smoke had double the risk of hearing loss. The higher the cotinine levels the greater the risk of significant hearing loss. Those with the highest cotinine levels had nearly triple the risk of hearing loss.
For Better Hearing Month we’d like to confront the reasons why talking about hearing loss is difficult. Even Doctors find the subject difficult to bring up…but why? The answer stems from two very unfortunate realities:
People tend to become very defensive when “accused” of having a hearing loss.
It’s no secret that people view hearing loss as a sign of aging, which makes them terrified of the solution…”hearing aids”. Many view “hearing aids” as a prosthetic rather than as a discreet solution to a common problem.
As technology advances we are seeing amazing things out of hearing instruments and their accessories. Many years ago, when I was a graduate student, a fellow student comment that it would be cool if patients could get cell phone calls through their hearing instruments. As a young and naïve practitioner I thought he was crazy. I didn’t have a cell phone and I didn’t know any hearing impaired people that had cell phones. Why would someone always want to carry a phone with them? Fast forward a quick decade and it seems I was grossly wrong and he was completely right!