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Today’s Hearing Research Offers Hope for the Future

Scientists. They’re just like us: always looking for ways to help people hear and live their best. It starts with uncovering the mysteries of hearing loss, which can require a lot of resources. That’s why we love seeing important research initiatives get the funding needed to move forward.

Check out these three exciting developments:

AUDITORY PROCESSING

Can stress early in life affect children’s ability to make sense of what they hear? A $2.3 million grant awarded by the U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders at the National Institutes of Health will help Northeast Ohio Medical University explore just that. The funding will help power an investigation into the role of early-life stress on auditory processing — especially among children with conductive hearing loss. Per the school’s website, the research in part “will provide a focus for future experiments to determine how best to remediate these perceptual problems in children.”

HEARING LOSS AND TINNITUS

Certain chemotherapy drugs can be life-saving for patients but potentially harmful to the ears. A $5.7 million U.S. National Cancer Institute grant will help researcher Lois B. Travis, M.D., Sc.D., at the Indiana University School of Medicine continue an ongoing investigation. The study, aimed to “evaluate long-term health outcomes for cancer patients who receive platinum-based chemotherapies,” may help provide some important answers regarding potential links between the cancer treatment and conditions such as hearing loss and tinnitus. It eventually could help experts identify not only those at greater risk of the harmful side effects but also ways to reduce such risks.

HEARING HEALTH & COVID-19

Amid increasing reports of potential links between COVID-19 and hearing loss, the U.K.’s University of Manchester is taking a deeper look. With support from donors, the school’s Manchester Centre for Audiology and Deafness is exploring the disease’s long-term effect on hearing ability among adults. More than 10% of respondents treated for COVID-19 had reported tinnitus or decreased hearing in a previous study by one of the investigators. We look forward to seeing the outcomes of the current research, which might offer additional solutions for protecting and preserving hearing health.


Did you know? Today’s better-hearing solutions are a testament to the tireless research that has helped make them possible. Discover the benefits firsthand by scheduling a hearing evaluation with our highly trained team. We can’t wait to see you!

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How Does a Pandemic Affect Noise Pollution? | The Apple Hearing Study

In this first-of-its-kind study, researchers set out to see how the sound levels we’re exposed to in our day-to-day lives can impact health.

We live in a noisy world. Dr. Richard Neitzel, of the University of Michigan, knows this only too well. In November 2019, his team at Michigan, along with a team at Apple Inc., set out on a two-year mission to measure some of the health effects of our noisy planet.

What they got was an unprecedented collection of information that answered an impossible-to-anticipate question — how does a pandemic affect noise pollution?


The Apple Hearing Study

 

The noise pollution problem

Around 1.1 billion young people worldwide are at risk of hearing loss simply because of their recreational habits. Occupational noise exposure affects up to 25% of American and 15% of Canadian workers. Plus, there’s traffic, daily construction in major cities, and a host of other sources of constant noise.

All this unwanted sound affects more than your hearing. It can disturb sleep, worsen patient outcomes in hospitals, even affect schoolchildren’s cognitive abilities. That’s on top of the already well-established effects hearing loss has on overall health.

In the face of this public health challenge, wouldn’t it be handy to measure just how much noise we’re all exposed to?

This is where Dr. Neitzel and his team come in.


The study

In this first-of-its-kind, two-year study, volunteers downloaded the Apple Research app to their iPhone. Headphone and sound-exposure data were regularly collected from their iPhone and Apple Watch (if applicable). The aim of the study was to measure how the sound levels we’re exposed to in our day-to-day lives impact hearing, cardiovascular health, and stress levels.

The COVID-19 Connection

A few months into the COVID-19 pandemic, they realized they had a unique, timely, privacy-centric opportunity: They could harvest data from their Apple Hearing Study to measure how social distancing affected sound-exposure levels.

They selected four states based on geographic and cultural diversity — California, Florida, New York, and Texas — and compared the data from two time periods. The first was January 8 to February 21, reflecting pre-COVID-19 conditions. The second period began for each state when that state first issued its social-distancing recommendations, and ended April 22, soon before the first states began loosening restrictions. They ended up with over half a million daily noise level measurements from almost 6,000 participants.

The Surprising Results

They published their findings in the journal Environmental Research Letters. Their analysis revealed that, compared to the pre-COVID-19 time period, daily average noise exposure was cut nearly in half during the social-distancing period, from just over 73 decibels to around 70.5 decibels.

One important piece of this decrease is the sound level at which it happened — 70 decibels. That’s well above the point at which noise can affect heart health, hypertension, and brainpower.

At those decibels, cutting sound exposure in half can have meaningful health benefits. In the words of the authors, “[T]he COVID-related reduction in sound exposures among study participants likely represents a meaningful reduction in overall risk of sound-related health effects.”

A Noisy World

The unforeseen — a pandemic — resulted in nearly halved noise levels, but you don’t have to wait for such extreme circumstances to take charge of your sound-exposure levels. From specialty earplugs to hearing devices, there are simple ways to take charge of how much noise you’re willing to put up with.

Contact us today to learn more about options for curbing noise pollution, regardless of the social-distancing situation you find yourself in!

COVID-19 (AKA Coronavirus) Response: Coronavirus Update

Our office is open! 

Appointments are preferred as we are limited people in the office and our waiting area.  Walk-ins are limited.

Curbside clean and checks are still available for those who do not want to come in.  Call our receptionist from the parking lot and we will meet the patient at their car.  Masks are required to enter our office. Hand sanitizer is readily provided to each patient at the reception desk.

We ask that family wait outside and that only one companion be allowed for hearing evaluations.

Hearing aid clean and checks and battery and supply purchases will be curbside.  Please call 918-333-9992 when you arrive and our receptionist will come out to assist you.

Rooms, chairs, surfaces and equipment will be sanitized in between patients.  We are allowing extra time between patient appointments to ensure that all aspects of our office are properly sanitized.  Please be patient with us during this time.  

We’re taking precautions to help minimize the spread of Coronavirus. You can find more information about what we’re doing on our website here.

We’re taking precautions to help minimize the spread of Coronavirus. You can find more information about what we’re doing on our website here.

There is no higher priority for Advanced Hearing Care than the health and well-being of our patients and employees. We are closely following guidance on COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the https://www.ok.gov/health/ to stay on top of all developments. We fully recognize that many of the population we serve are among the most vulnerable to diseases like COVID-19 and the flu.

In accordance with interim guidance from the CDC, we are also taking the following additional measures to further strengthen our protocols and safeguard our patients’ health:

  • If you are feeling under the weather or are experiencing a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, we would ask that you call and reschedule your appointment so as not to put other patients at risk. You could also see if a healthy loved one could bring your hearing aids to the office for a cleaning. We recommend reviewing guidelines from the CDC on preventing illness.
  • Dropping in can create a crowd in our waiting rooms. If an underlying condition or your age makes you more vulnerable to COVID-19, we urge you to avoid dropping in and instead call to schedule a time to get your hearing aids cleaned and checked. We will do our absolute best to get you on the schedule as soon as possible. You could also see if a healthy loved one could bring your hearing aids to the office for a cleaning.
  • We have instructed providers and staff to stay home if they are sick. If your provider becomes ill, we will ask them to stay home, and we sincerely apologize if this means we need to reschedule your appointment!
  • If you need additional accommodations, please don’t hesitate to call our office to discuss.
  • We understand the importance of hearing at your best, especially in this time, when communication is so critical. If there are any updates, we will post on our website and social media.

    If you are having problems with your hearing aids and feel you cannot come in right away, please call and we’ll see whether we can help you over the phone. Please feel free to call with any questions — we are always happy to hear from our patients.