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The Bend Oregon Hearing Tech Expo

Pacific Northwest Audiology had a full house in attendance at our Hearing Tech Expo on Wednesday, Feb 8, at the Mount Bachelor Village Conference Center.

Event Collage

Dr. Li began the day with a very well received talk on age-related hearing loss (her PhD thesis at the world renowned Karolinska Institutet in Sweden). The Doctor also reviewed new scientific studies which strongly linked untreated hearing loss and dementia. 

Dr. Odgear, also from Pacific Northwest Audiology, was the second batter, and he knocked it out of the ball park with his talk on hearing trends and the future of hearing tech. 

We convened for a hot lunch buffet, which consisted of Brisket of Beef Au Jus, baked beans, potato salad and a creamy coleslaw.  According to my polling, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the buffet!

We shook things up after lunch and reconvened in an adjacent room, which we had set up for interactive tech activities, led by Dr. Muto-Coleman from Resound. By the end of the session, everyone was able to put the pieces together…the past, present, and future of hearing tech.

Our next event will be the third week of May. Call Kat for early details at 541-678-5698

Age-related Hearing Loss (ARHL)

The ‘baby boom’ generation is aging. In 2009, people over 65 represented 12.9% of the population, but by 2030, they will be 19.3%. From the Administration on Aging, the number of Americans over 65 is expected to double between 2008 and 2030 to around 72 million.

Why should we be concerned? Because Hearing loss is the third most common chronic health condition among older adults! According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, hearing loss increases with age. Approximately one third of Americans between 65 and 74 and nearly half of those over 75 have hearing and communication problems.

What is Age-related Hearing Loss? ARHL is a gradual and progressive hearing loss that affects most people as they age. Due to the slow progression, adults with ARHL may not realize that their hearing and communication abilities are declining, or they may accept it as a normal part of aging.

ARHL has serious consequences for the elderly because it diminishes their ability to communicate and reduces their functional independence.

See the complete article on age-related hearing loss here

 

Age-Related Hearing Loss (ARHL)

Seeds of a Growing Problem

The population of the U.S. is getting older. According to the Administration on Aging, the aging ‘baby boom’ generation will produce a dramatic increase in the population through 2030. In 2009, people over 65 represented 12.9% of the population, but by 2030, they will represent 19.3%. The population over 65 is expected to double between 2008 and 2030 to a projected 72.1 million.

Why should we be concerned with an Aging Population? Because Hearing loss is the third most common chronic health condition among older adults! According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), 36 million Americans have impaired hearing, including 17% of our adult population. The occurrence of hearing loss increases with age. Approximately one third of Americans between 65 and 74 and nearly half of those over 75 have hearing and communication problems.

The Symptoms and Progress of ARHL

ARHL (also known as presbycusis) is a gradual and progressive hearing loss that affects most individuals as they age. Due to the slow progression, adults with ARHL may not realize that their hearing is diminishing …but if they do …they may accept it as normal aging. ARHL has a serious impact on the elderly because it diminishes their ability to communicate and reduces their functional independence. This limits their opportunities to participate effectively in their daily lives.

To those with ARHL, sounds often seem less clear and lower in volume. Muted murky sounds make it increasingly difficult to hear and understanding speech. Individuals with ARHL may experience several of the following:

  • The speech of others may seem mumbled or slurred.
  • It may become difficult to distinguish high-pitched sounds such as “s” and “th”.
  • Conversations become difficult to understand, especially when there is background noise.
  • A man’s voice may become easier to hear than the higher pitches of a woman’s voice.
  • Certain sounds may seem annoying or too loud.
  • Tinnitus (a ringing, roaring, or hissing sound in one or both ears) may develop.

Is ARHL the Same for Men and Women?

ARHL typically begins with high frequency hearing loss (degeneration of the hair cells lining the bottom of the Cochlea) and later affects the lower frequencies (apex of the Cochlea) as well. Paradoxically, several research studies indicate that while men develop high frequency hearing loss with age, women tend to have more problems discerning lower frequencies (250-1000Hz), possibly due to biologic factors such as hormones, or cardiovascular disease events (CVD) such as hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. While low-frequency hearing loss is related to CVD events in both genders, women tend to show this relationship more than men on audiograms. The figure (above) shows the gender reversal pattern, using average audiograms of 341 males and 346 females aged 50-89 years (Journal of the American Academy of Audiology (1993;4:42-49).

Although precise causes for this pattern require more research, the bottom line is that women with ARHL have more problems with low-pitched vowel sounds (o, a, ah, i, e), and men have more problems with high-pitched consonant sounds (d, t, sh, s, f, th). Since the softer high-pitched consonant sounds carry the meaning of speech, those (especially men) with pronounced high-frequency hearing loss often have problems understanding what is being said, especially in an environment with background noise.

About the Author

Dr. Li-Korotky is a nationally acclaimed research scientist and clinician, and the President of Pacific Northwest Audiology in Bend OR. The Doctor earned an MD with an emphasis in otology and otolaryngology, a PhD in audiology with a thesis on Age-Related Hearing Loss, and a Clinical Doctor of Audiology degree (AuD).

Are you a Baby Boomer? Why it Matters!

So…What is a Baby Boomer?

If you were born during the Post–World War II baby boom between 1946 and 1964 you are part of the baby boom generation. More babies were born in 1946 than any previous year in the history of the United States. 3.4 million babies took their first breath in that year…a 20 percent increase over 1945. This was the beginning of the “baby boom.” Another 3.8 million babies were added in 1947; 3.9 million in 1952; and more than 4 million new babies were added each year from 1954 through 1964. By then, there were nearly 78 million “baby boomers” in the United States and they made up almost 40 percent of the nation’s population chong qi zhang peng.

How Boomers Differ From Previous Generations

The World War II generation often lived in the same house until they either died or were moved to a nursing home. Not so with the Baby Boom Population…they continue to explore new lifestyles in their retirement years used commercial inflatables for sale, as technological and medical advancements have provided them with many more alternatives in how and where they can spend their time. And time is on their side. A large percentage of the 78 million Americans who are classified as baby boomers are going to live anywhere from 10 to 25 years longer than their parents did. Those who reach retirement age now are often physically healthy enough to run marathons, build houses and start new businesses. All isn’t rosy though…read on…

Seeds of a Growing Problem

The population of the U.S. is getting older. According to the Administration on Aging, the aging ‘baby boom’ generation will cause a dramatic increase in the population through 2030. In 2009, people over 65 represented 12.9% of the population, but by 2030, they will represent 19.3%. The population over 65 is expected to double between 2008 and 2030 to a projected 72.1 million.

Why should we be concerned with aging Boomers? Because Hearing loss is the third most common chronic health condition among older adults! According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), 36 million Americans have impaired hearing, including 17% of our adult population. The occurrence of hearing loss increases with age. Approximately one third of Americans between 65 and 74 and nearly half of those over 75 have hearing and communication problems.

Boomers and Age-Related Hearing Loss

Baby Boomers are prone to develop Age-related hearing loss (ARHL)…a typically slow, progressive hearing loss that affects both ears equally. Due to the slow progression, adults with ARHL do not readily acknowledge their hearing loss, because they accept it as normal aging. This bad assumption often leads to undesirable results.

ARHL typically begins as high frequency hearing loss and later affects the lower frequencies. Paradoxically, several research studies indicate that while men develop high frequency hearing loss with age, women tend to have more problems with lower frequencies (250-1000Hz), possibly due to biologic factors such as hormones, or cardiovascular disease events (CVD) such as hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. While low-frequency hearing loss is related to CVD events in both genders, women tend to show this relationship more than men on audiograms (Figure, bottom).

Although precise causes for this pattern require more research, the bottom line is that women with ARHL have more problems with low-pitched vowel sounds (o, a, ah, i, e), and men have more problems with high-pitched consonant sounds (d, t, sh, s, f, th). Since the softer high-pitched consonant sounds carry the meaning of speech, those (especially men) with pronounced high-frequency hearing loss often have problems understanding what is being said, especially in an environment with background noise.

Consequences of Untreated ARHL

Hearing loss can lead to or enhance the effects of serious medical and emotional conditions, including cognitive disorders (Dementia and Alzheimer disease) and depression, according to a recent study from the National Institute of Aging.

Untreated hearing loss also leads to serious negative lifestyle changes, which often effect family, friends, and others. These changes include threats to personal safety; irritability; pessimism; anger; fatigue; tension; stress; isolation; withdrawal; and diminished overall health.

Summary and Treatment

Age Related Hearing loss…

  • is a natural and progressive part of aging
  • can be augmented by genetics …exposure to noise …chronic disease …ototoxicity
  • is the third most common chronic condition in older Americans after hypertension and arthritis
  • is strongly associated with functional decline and depression.
  • can slowly destroy the quality of your life
  • can be moderated by an early and accurate diagnosis and treatment …including:

What this means for Boomers

As a baby boomer,you will have more and healthier years to enjoy your retirement activities…don’t let a treatable condition like hearing loss put the brakes on your best years.

About the Author

Dr. Li-Korotky is a highly acclaimed research scientist and clinician. The Doctor is the President of Pacific Northwest Audiology (www.pnwaudiology.com) in Bend OR.

Tinnitus…The Assault on Quiet Moments

The following article will appear in the ‘Welcome to Hearing Health’ section of Bend Life magazine this coming June. Dr. Li-Korotky writes a monthly column for Bend Life.

Introduction

Tinnitus is the perception of sounds that have no external source.

The severity of tinnitus varies from an occasional awareness of a noise (e.g., ringing, hissing, buzzing, roaring, clicking, or rough sounds) in one or both ears, to an unbearable and incessant sound that drives some people to consider suicide. Tinnitus isn’t a single disease, but a symptom of an underlying condition. Tinnitus is not a ‘phantom sound’. There is real neural activity in your brain associated with tinnitus.

How Does Tinnitus Influence Quality of Life?

Depending on the severity, tinnitus can promote a wide range of negative lifestyle effects, including fatigue, stress, sleep difficulties, trouble concentrating, memory problems, depression, anxiety, and irritability. It can also interfere with hearing and cause emotional distress. In extreme cases, tinnitus can fuel depression and thoughts of suicide.

Who Gets Tinnitus?

The American Tinnitus Association estimates that more than 50 million Americans have some degree of tinnitus problems, and approximately 12 million people having symptoms severe enough to seek medical care. Tinnitus is a significant reality for 27% of those between the ages of 65 and 84, and 4 out of ten tinnitus sufferers experience tinnitus most of the day. Tinnitus is the most common service-connected disability among U.S. veterans.

What Causes Tinnitus?

According to the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), noise exposure (including hazardous levels of industrial, recreational, or military noise) is the largest cause of tinnitus. Other conditions linked to tinnitus include ear injuries, cardiovascular disease, age-related hearing loss, wax build-up in the ear canal, medications harmful to the ear (aspirin, certain antibiotics, loop diuretics, chemotherapy), ear or sinus infections, misaligned jaw joints (TMJ), head and neck trauma, Meniere’s disease, or an abnormal growth of bone of the middle ear. In rare cases, slow-growing tumors on auditory, vestibular, or facial nerves can cause tinnitus.

How is Tinnitus Evaluated?

If you are having trouble with tinnitus, visit a well-qualified audiologist. The audiologist will conduct a comprehensive assessment and advise you of the most effective management options to alleviate the symptoms of your tinnitus.

A full tinnitus assessment takes 1.5-2 hours and includes 1) a detailed case history to determine how the tinnitus is affecting you as a person, 2) a comprehensive hearing assessment to determine the characteristics and possible causes of your tinnitus, 3) Tinnitus pitch-, intensity-, and loudness-matching tests to help the audiologist counsel you effectively during the treatment phase, 4) measurement of your sensitivity to noise masking, and 5) recommendations for managing your tinnitus. If audiometric tests suggest an underlying medical condition such as an acoustic neuroma (a benign, slow growing tumor along the hearing nerve), the audiologist will refer you to an ENT physician.

Can Tinnitus be Treated?

Treatments generally focus on counseling to reduce (manage) negative emotions and reactions to tinnitus, utilizing sound therapy, relaxation, and stress-reduction techniques. Hearing aids may be helpful for people who have hearing loss along with tinnitus. It is important to note that there are no current treatments that will eliminate tinnitus with any consistency, and no drugs have been approved specifically for the treatment of the condition. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs may be used to treat conditions that coexist with tinnitus, such as anxiety and depression.

About the Author:

Dr. Ha-Sheng Li-Korotky is a Gold-level Professional member of the American Tinnitus Association, and the President of Pacific Northwest Audiology, based in Bend, Oregon. The Doctor is a nationally acclaimed clinician and research scientist, with AuD, PhD, and MD credentials and more than 100 scientific publications. Pacific Northwest Audiology offers a full spectrum of Tinnitus evaluation and management services.

Dr. Li-Korotky Talks at Lions Club

Dr. Li-Korotky, AuD, PhD, MD, was a guest speaker at the Crooked River Ranch Lions Club Community Appreciation Evening on April 29…at the Ranch Chapel at Crooked River Ranch in Terrebonne, Oregon. The event was in support of the Lions’ Sight and Hearing mission.

The Doctor talked about her experiences growing up in China during the Cultural Revolution, and then spoke about Age-Related Hearing Loss…the topic of her PhD Thesis. Dr. Li-Korotky was a “barefoot Doctor” for two years during this period, taking care of the medical needs of country-side villagers. This experience sparked her interest in medicine and eventually lead to an MD degree from Henan Medical University, in Henan, China.

This was an active evening with a very engaged audience…full of questions, answers, and discussion. No one left early and no one fell asleep!

Pacific Northwest Audiology wishes to thank the Lions Club for inviting us to share in their Community Appreciation evening. Also…thanks for the hospitality and help. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience!

A Featured Article by Dr. Li-Korotky: Age-related Hearing Loss: Quality of Care For Quality of Life.

This is a summary of an article that was recently featured in a Special Issue of The Gerontologist on Baby Boomers.

Age-related hearing loss (ARHL) symptoms include progressive deterioration of auditory sensitivity, loss of the auditory sensory cells, and deterioration of central processing. ARHL is the third most prevalent chronic condition inflatable boxing ring in older Americans, after hypertension and arthritis, and is a leading cause of adult hearing handicaps in the United States. The prevalence of ARHL is expected to rise for the next several decades as aging Baby Boomer dominate the general population. Nevertheless, ARHL remains an often undetected, underestimated, and neglected condition in the geriatric population due to the slow development of the disease. If left untreated, the impact of ARHL on patients, family, friends, companions, and society would be significant. The purpose of this review is to raise the awareness of ARHL, to update our current understanding of ARHL with a focus on age-related deficits in auditory and cognitive processing of speech, and to explore strategies for prevention, identification, amplification, and aural rehabilitation. The ultimate goal is to improve the quality of hearing health care and the overall quality of life of the Baby Boomer generation.

The full article can be found here