Tag: risk

No Bones About It: Osteoporosis May Nearly Double Risk of Sudden Hearing Loss

What does osteoporosis, a potentially debilitating disease affecting some 10 million Americans and 2 million Canadians, have in common with conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, dementia, and other selected conditions? It can go hand in hand with hearing loss.

More specifically, at least one study links osteoporosis to a nearly doubled risk of sudden sensorineural hearing loss, a disease that can touch people of all ages around the globe but primarily affects those in their 50s and 60s.

What Is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by weakened bones that are more vulnerable to breakage. It occurs when the normal process of old bone being replaced by new bone slows down, putting the person at greater risk of serious problems such as hip, wrist, and spine fractures.

Though some osteoporosis risk factors such as gender, age, race, and family history canít be helped, a few preventive tactics can make a difference in keeping bones healthy, strong, and more resistant to becoming fragile, weak, and brittle:

  • Avoid tobacco use and excess drinking.
  • Adopt a regular exercise regimen approved by your doctor.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight, steering clear of too few or too many calories.
  • Eat healthfully, being sure to include protein, calcium, vitamin D, and other nutrients in your diet.

Does Osteoporosis Cause Sudden Hearing Loss?

Scientists arenít necessarily ready to say that osteoporosis actually causes sudden sensorineural hearing loss, but studies have long reported a relationship between the two. More recently, researchers in Taiwan sought to quantify the risk of sudden hearing loss in osteoporotic patients. They published their results in the June 2015 edition of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

The investigators, who studied a random representative sample of 1 million participants in Taiwanís National Health Insurance program, found that those with osteoporosis had a 1.76-fold risk of experiencing sudden sensorineural hearing loss. Patients at seemingly greatest risk: adults 50 and older, women, and ó possibly ó those with hypertension and osteoporosis.

QUICK FACTS ABOUT SUDDEN SENSORINEURAL HEARING LOSS

  • Relatively common and typically referred to as ìsudden deafnessî or ìSSHLî
  • Involves rapid hearing loss in an instant or over several days
  • Usually develops in one ear rather than both
  • May occur together with dizziness or ringing in the ears
  • Requires immediate help for greatest effectiveness of treatment
  • Common treatment includes steroid therapy, but some cases resolve on their own
  • Often has unknown cause, but common culprits include head injury, ototoxic drugs, infectious disease, circulation problems, thyroid disorders, and other selected conditions

What Can You Do?

Take good care of your bones ó and your ears. A causal relationship between osteoporosis and sudden sensorineural hearing loss might not yet be conclusive, but one thing is clear: If you or a loved one has osteoporosis or is experiencing listening difficulties, itís important to get a hearing check.

So donít wait. To stay atop your hearing health and help catch any potential changes or problems early, contact us to schedule a hearing evaluation today. Our caring team is here to help with all your listening needs!

Cognitive Decline is a Real Risk With Hearing Loss

Dementia a Real Risk With Hearing Loss

If you think of hearing loss as just an inconsequential part of getting older, you’re not alone.

The truth is, however, that the condition can strike even the youngest among us ó more than one in 1,000 babies screened has some form of hearing impairment, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data ó and it can trigger other health problems, too.

Take cognitive decline, for example, which can lead to Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Research has long pointed to links between hearing loss and reduced brain functioning over time, but the statistics may surprise you.

Consider these startling findings:

  • On average, seniors with hearing loss experience significantly reduced cognitive function 3.2 years before their normal-hearing counterparts.
  • Hearing-impaired seniors experience thinking and memory problems 30 to 40 percent faster than their normal-hearing counterparts.
  • Older adults with a hearing disability may lose over a cubic centimeter of brain tissue annually beyond normal shrinkage.
  • Those with hearing loss are two, three, or nearly five times as likely to develop dementia, depending on the severity of the hearing impairment.

So what’s the connection between hearing impairment and cognitive decline? It’s not completely clear how hearing loss, which is also associated with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other common public-health challenges, contributes to development of dementia.

What is clear, however, is the importance of regular hearing checkups to help stave off the threat of cognitive impairment. Tackling risk factors such as hearing loss earlier on could cut dementia cases by a third, according to a research collaborative led by UK psychiatry professor Gill Livingston and involving the Alzheimer’s Society, Alzheimer’s Research UK, and other individuals, institutions, and organizations.

As one of your most crucial senses for communication and perception, hearing not only helps you stay connected to the world but helps keep your brain sharp. Give your hearing health and overall wellness a hand by staying active, eating a diet rich in important nutrients, avoiding excess noise, and scheduling regular hearing checkups.


Munch to Better Hearing

Hearing power is brainpower, and some key foods can help! Certain vitamins and minerals can go a long way toward supporting your hearing wellness, according to HealthyHearing.com. In honor of National Nutrition Month in March, check out these examples:

  • Bananas

    These reliable delights are rich in potassium, an important mineral for regulating blood and tissue fluid levels ó including in the inner ear, which plays an important role in hearing and balance.

  • Broccoli

    This versatile vegetable with an edible stalk and green flowering head provides folate, which studies have linked to healthy outcomes such as decreased risk of hearing impairment among older men.

  • Tomatoes

    These juicy fruits ó easy to grow and delicious cooked in a sauce or served raw ó offer magnesium, which, combined with vitamins A, C, and E, help thwart noise-induced hearing loss.

  • Dark-Meat Chicken

    This flavorful part of the bird ó along with other foods such as beef, oysters, and legumes ó delivers zinc, which supports the immune system and may help fight tinnitus or ringing in the ears.


Sources:
Johns Hopkins Medicine. Hearing Loss Accelerates Brain Function Decline in Older Adults. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/hearing_loss_accelerates_brain_function_decline_in_older_adults. Accessed Feb. 5, 2018.
Johns Hopkins Medicine. Hearing Loss Linked to Accelerated Brain Tissue Loss. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/hearing_loss_linked_to_accelerated_brain_tissue_loss_. Accessed Feb. 5, 2018.
The JAMA Network | JAMA Neurology. Hearing Loss and Incident Dementia. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/fullarticle/802291. Accessed Feb. 5, 2018.
U.S. National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health. A Prospective Study of Vitamin Intake and the Risk of Hearing Loss in Men. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2853884/. Accessed Feb. 5, 2018.
U.S. National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health. Free Radical Scavengers Vitamins A, C, and E Plus Magnesium Reduce Noise Trauma. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1950331/. Accessed Feb. 5, 2018.
U.S. National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health. The Role of Zinc in the Treatment of Tinnitus. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12544035. Accessed Feb. 5, 2018.

Hearing Loss – Are You At Risk?

One commonly asked question that we encounter at Advanced Hearing Care is “What causes hearing loss?”  There are many answers to this question, and the list of risk factors for hearing loss is by no means exhaustive.  The most common causes of hearing loss are long-term exposure to noise, heredity and genetic factors, certain medicines and life-saving medical treatments, infections and illnesses, and the natural aging process.

Noise Exposure

Sound levels of 85 decibles can damage your hearing.

Anytime the ear is exposed to noise levels of 85dB or more for more than an hour, damage to the cilia in the cochlea can occur, causing some degree of hearing loss. The louder the noise level, the less exposure time is required for permanent damage. These levels of noise can be found in many places, including factories, professional sporting events, concerts, noisy restaurants, and while mowing the lawn. Preventing hearing loss in these situations can be as simple as wearing a pair of disposable foam earplugs to reduce the amount of noise to which the cochlea is exposed. These kinds of ear plugs are readily available and are very inexpensive, especially when compared to treating hearing loss caused by noise exposure.

Heredity and Genetics

Hearing loss can sometimes simply be part of a person’s genetic makeup, especially when there is a strong family history of hearing loss that cannot be attributed to other factors. Hearing loss can also be a symptom or result of other genetic and congenital conditions, such as atresia.

Ototoxic Medications

Sometimes, in order to provide life-saving treatment of very serious conditions and illnesses, a doctor will order a treatment regimen that can include medications that are damaging to the inner ear and the cochlea. These drugs include gentamicin or other aminoglycoside antibiotics, loop diuretics, chemotherapeutics containing platinum, and other medications that contain heavy concentrations of heavy metals or quinine. Normally, these medications also have various other side-effects that are unpleasant, but the benefit of potentially saving the patient’s life far outweighs any associated risks. If you are a patient receiving some of these treatments, please discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor.

Infections and Illnesses

A person with a longstanding history of ear infections, injuries to the inner ear, or who has had illnesses with prolonged high fevers may be at a higher risk for hearing loss than someone whose ear history is relatively unremarkable. Some such illnesses are meningitis, Meniere’s syndrom, sickle cell anemia or other vascular system diseases, kidney disease, mumps, rubella, and other bacterial infections. Acoustic neuromas or other tumors on or near the hearing and balance nerves, as well as cholesteatomas and growths near the ossicular bones of the middle ear, are also common risk factors for hearing loss.

Presbycusis, or Age-Related Hearing Loss

Perhaps the single most common cause of hearing loss is a phenomenon of the natural aging process. This is technically called presbycusis. As with other parts of our body, advancing age leads to degradation of the nerve cells in the brain and inner ear. Slowed cognitive function can also be associated with age-related hearing loss. Presbycusis can affect anyone, regardless of their relative history of infections or noise exposure. Even someone who has never been exposed to loud noise and who never had a single ear infection can potentially have a hearing loss as bad as someone who worked in a factory all of their lives or had persistent infections at any point in time. Presbycusis is a progressive hearing loss, meaning that it gets worse as time goes by, making yearly hearing screenings a crucial part of general wellness care for the elderly.

Most often, hearing loss is a permanent disability. In most cases, there is no treatment that can regenerate the nerve endings in the cochlea. However, this does not mean that there is no hope for people who suffer from hearing loss. Modern hearing aids and all of their advanced features have come a long way in providing help for hearing loss, eliminating the frustration of trying to compensate for hearing loss on one’s own. Hearing help has never been so sophisticated, so easy wear, and so readily available. Call us today to discuss your options. Our AudigyCertified™ professionals will help you understand the exact nature and extent of your hearing difficulties and can help you pursue a treatment solution that meets your lifestyle and listening needs. Don’t wait until it’s too late to hear what you’ve been missing! Call today and reintroduce yourself to a world of sound!