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The View from Tomorrow

This was a wildly successful event …87 registered…15 on standby…engaging speakers, a highly responsive audience, and dancing during the breaks!

PNWA and Phonak Hampton 7.20.16

What we learned…

  • Tomorrow’s hearing technology is available today!
  • Hearing loss no longer means the end of a good life!
  • Hearing loss is no longer stigmatized!
  • Hearing technology is cool…even desirable!
  • Hearing care options have never been better!

What is the View from Tomorrow?

  • Streaming audio from HDTV, iOS, Android, and other devises
  • Connecting without wires to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch
  • Controlling hearing aid settings with a smart phone
  • Communicating in any environment
  • Using Apps to enrich our hearing
  • And much more!

We still have special promotional deals from this event, and we are preregistering for future events…call 541-678-5698

Look for our Open House at the end of August…more to follow!

Hearing Loss Linked to Dementia

A Cautionary Tale

Mounting evidence has established a  strong link between untreated hearing loss and diminished cognitive function, including dementia. Studies also link untreated hearing loss to other medical and emotional problems, including depression.

This is a cautionary tale, but a light shines brightly to guide our passage away from danger: Hearing Loss Can End Badly—but we have options!

First, the bad news. Mounting evidence has established a strong link between untreated hearing loss (HL) and diminished cognitive function, accelerated mental decline, rapid rates of brain tissue loss, and other disabling conditions, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. People who don’t hear well tend to withdraw from social activities, and that can lead to depression and early mortality.

The link between HL and dementia is reinforced by statistical and brain scan studies from hearing and social neuroscience research, and backed by compelling theories for how HL promotes dementia.

Dr. Frank Lin from John Hopkins Medicine has identified three primary pathways to dementia and other bad health outcomes:

  1. HL increases the cognitive load on the brain. Struggling to understand speech causes the brain to focus on sound processing at the expense of memory, thinking, and learning processes. Robbing Peter to pay Paul leads to a cascade of bad consequences, leaving seniors vulnerable to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
  2. Even mild HL hastens brain tissue loss, and seniors with untreated hearing problems are much more susceptible to brain tissue loss and other unwanted brain structural changes than seniors with normal hearing. This is significant because the brain tissue loss occurs where memory and sensory integration are processed, causing a negative feedback loop that leaves seniors vulnerable to dementia.
  3. People who can’t hear well tend to avoid social engagement. This puts them at a higher risk for becoming socially isolated, lonely, and depressed—and that exposes them to a perfect storm for developing dementia and early death.

Now the good news: new research just published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society by researchers at the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research in Bordeaux, France found that hearing aids reduce the threat of accelerated cognitive decline. The Bordeaux study revealed that elderly people with HL who used hearing aids were spared the augmented levels of cognitive decline suffered by others with HL who didn’t use hearing aids.

Social neuroscience research found similar results

Dr. Cacioppo is the Director of the Center for Cognitive & Social Neuroscience and Chair of the Social Psychology Program at the University of Chicago. Decades of research inform the doctor that we are social by design. That means we are hard wired to connect with others. In fact, our need for social interaction is as fundamental as our need for food and water because the consequent social behaviors helped us survive & reproduce.

Highlights from social neuroscience research:

  • Socially connected people are more likely to have good physical health and psychological well-being.
  • People with strong social networks generally live longer. They also have lower rates of anxiety and depression.
  • Forming strong social bonds creates a positive feedback loop of social, emotional and physical well-being.
  • Conversely, lack of social bonding often contributes to a negative feedback loop of isolation, deep loneliness, and antisocial behavior, often leading to bad health outcomes for aging adults, including depression and dementia!

But you can’t connect with people if you can’t hear them, so it is vitally important that hearing and communication problems aren’t keeping you from a socially rewarding life.The bottom line? Hearing empowers social health and social health empower life!

See our Brochure on Hearing Loss and Dementia, here

 

Breaking News - Hearing Aids prevent Dementia study

 

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

 

Hearing Loss and Cardiovascular Disease Linked

This article discusses the link between hearing loss and cardiovascular disease, and underscores a growing role for audiologists

Introduction: A growing body of research is showing a significant correlation between cardiovascular disease and low-frequency hearing loss. These studies 1) underscore the advantage of obtaining a baseline hearing exam and, 2) indicate a growing need for Audiologists and Physicians to work in partnership for the best health outcome of patients.

Early Studies: Most of the early studies focus on the consequences of decreased blood supply due to cardiovascular disease, and the resulting negative effects on the blood vessel health of the inner ear. The inner ear is studied because it is loaded with blood vessels and extremely sensitive to blood supply, so abnormalities show up here before they can be found elsewhere. These studies indicate that a healthy cardiovascular system promotes healthy hearing, but inadequate blood supply and resulting damage to the blood vessels of the inner ear can contribute to hearing loss.

New Research: A two-part study, Audiometric Pattern as a Predictor of Cardiovascular Status: Development of a Model for Assessment of Risk, suggests that low-frequency hearing loss could be a marker for cardiovascular disease rather than a result of the disease. This study also indicates that low-frequency audiometric patterns (observed on sensitive audiological equipment) can be used to determine the probability and risk for cardiovascular events and cerebrovascular disease such as stroke and transient ischemic attacks (compromised blood supply in the brain). An underlying premise of the study is that vascular aspects (decreased blood supply) of cardiovascular disease show up as abnormalities in the condition of inner ear blood supply before they are revealed in the heart, brain, arteries, kidneys, or eyes, due to the inner ear’s extreme sensitivity to blood supply.

Key findings in this study indicate that low-frequency hearing loss could be an early indicator of cerebrovascular disease (an indicator of stroke potential) or a predictor for ongoing or developing cardiovascular disease. Findings were presented in 2009 at a Combined Otolaryngology Spring Meeting by David R. Friedland, MD, PhD. and published in The Laryngoscope (119:473-486, 2009).

Dr. Friedland summed up the important potential application of the study: “We propose that low-frequency hearing loss is a marker for cardiovascular disease rather than the other way around. Low-frequency hearing loss would thus represent a potential predictor of impending cardiovascular events or underlying disease. We suggest that clinicians may use the audiogram as a sensitive and reproducible screen for cardiovascular compromise”.

Conclusions: Considering the strength of the evidence, researchers conclude that patients with an audiogram pattern of low-frequency hearing loss present a higher risk for cardiovascular events, and that appropriate referrals may be necessary, especially if they have NO history of vascular disease.

Audiologists commonly refer patients to Physicians when they suspect medical problems. These studies (and others) should promote a call to action for physicians to refer more patients to Audiologists when they suspect hearing loss. Many Audiologists have Doctor of Audiology (AuD) credentials, significant medical knowledge, and the advanced diagnostic equipment necessary to uncover the potential for underlying medical conditions. In any case, these and other studies suggest an increasing role for Audiologists to support the overall health of patients.

About the Author: Dr. Ha-Sheng Li-Korotky is the President and co-founder of Pacific Northwest Audiology (www.pnwaudiology.com), based in Bend, Oregon (see back inside cover). The Doctor is a nationally acclaimed clinician and research scientist, with AuD, PhD, and MD credentials and more than 100 scientific publications.

Diabetes and Hearing Loss

Introduction

We’ve discussed the links between untreated hearing loss and a variety of debilitating medical and emotional conditions, including dementia, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease. Given the overwhelming evidence…we felt it was important to reveal that untreated hearing loss is more than an inconvenience, but will eventually damage your physical, emotional, and social health, while causing disturbing effects on your relationships with loved ones, family, and friends. This article will discuss the link between diabetes and hearing loss.

The Problem

People with diabetes may have a higher risk of developing hearing problems than those without the disease. This is because sustained high blood glucose levels from uncontrolled diabetes can eventually damage the small blood vessels of the body…resulting in eye, kidney, and nerve diseases. Since hearing depends on these small blood vessels and nerves, researchers are increasingly convinced that diabetes can cause ear damage and hearing loss.

The Evidence

A 2008 study, using National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey results, found a higher prevalence of hearing damage among diabetics (21%) than non-diabetics (9%). The degree of hearing loss ranged from mild to moderate, was generally difficult to detect without a hearing test, but inflicted substantial limitations on communicating. The strongest association between diabetes and hearing loss was noted in younger survey respondents (those less than 60 years old). This is important because hearing loss in this age group is uncommon, suggesting a connection between the diabetes and hearing loss. These findings imply that people with diabetes are much more likely to have hearing problems than those without diabetes, and the increased risk of hearing loss for those with diabetes doesn’t appear to be related to other common causes of hearing damage.

Another study, The Link between Diabetes and Hearing Loss, showed that diabetes affects one in five veterans receiving care at the Veterans Administration. The findings from this study show a link between diabetes, hearing loss and auditory brainstem function, and recommend that patients with diabetes should be screened for hearing loss.

Combining the results of 13 previous studies (including the two referenced above), Japanese researchers found that hearing loss was twice as common among people with diabetes compared to those without, and the effects of older age couldn’t explain the results. The research, published online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, are based on research involving more than 20,000 people from the United States, Asia, Australia and Brazil. All but one study found an association between diabetes and a higher risk of hearing problems. Neither age nor exposure to a noisy workplace could explain the association between diabetes and hearing loss, according to Chika Horikawa, a dietitian at Niigata University in Japan, who led the analysis of the 13 studies.

Still another study, Risk of developing sudden sensorineural hearing loss in diabetic patients: a population-based cohort study, published in Ontology & Neurology in December 2012 and involving more than 52,000 individuals, found that diabetes significantly increases a person’s risk of developing sensorineural hearing loss…a form of hearing loss associated with damage to the inner ear.

Implications

A growing body of research indicates that poor blood sugar control damages blood vessels and nerves throughout the body, and this blood vessel deterioration could explain why people with diabetes (especially younger people less than 60 years old) have more diabetes-related hearing problems than older populations. The research provides strong reasons for people with diabetes and symptoms of hearing loss, especially those under 60, to seek testing and possible treatment.

About the Author

Dr. Ha-Sheng Li-Korotky is the President and co-founder of Pacific Northwest Audiology (www.pnwaudiology.com), 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.

The World In Your Hearing Aids!

The World

The days of uncool hearing aids are gone!

and the stigma of hearing loss is settling quickly into the dust of the past. That is because Apple, the symbol of cool consumer electronics, is working with hearing aid manufacturers to pair hearing aids with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch through Bluetooth wireless technology. That’s right…no wires…cool!

But what if you don’t use an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch?

Don’t worry! Similar technology can, or soon will achieve the same results with other operating systems, including Android and Windows. Whether it’s streaming audio from Skype calls, a TV, MP3 player, smart phone, or other computing device, or connecting directly to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you can bring the world to your hearing aids…and that is cool!

How is this new technology changing everything?

Control! Traditional hearing aids offered limited user control because the electronics and buttons were restricted to hearing aids the size of a kidney bean. But that has changed with wireless connectivity, which allows hearing aid functions to be managed…without wires…by smart phones and other devices. Cool!

What does this mean to consumers?

Among other things, wireless connections allow users to view battery status, locate their hearing aids, change the settings of their hearing aids, and quickly apply an audiologist’s environmental presets when they enter different acoustic locations. With user controls outside the hearing aids, consumers can also listen to directions from a GPS while driving, participate in phone conversations, listen to music, and use a growing list of additional functions from iOS, Android, and Windows apps. Cool!

The Bottom line?

  • Wireless connections let users adjust their hearing aid settings with a smart phone
  • Connectivity provides apps to improve the lives of people with hearing loss
  • Hearing aids are becoming desirable, even for those who don’t need them
  • The stigma of hearing loss is gone…the future is filled with better hearing opportunities
  • This is very very cool!

Pacific Northwest Audiology Is Leading The Way

Connection productsWhether it’s streaming audio from Skype calls, a TV, MP3 player, smart phone, or other computing device, or connecting directly to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch…we have a solution just for you.

Our Special Holiday Gift through December

  • A special discount and risk free trial for you to sample the future of connectivity
  • Free home support to get you connected with our products
  • We will bring the world to your hearing aids!

 We Bring the WorldThe World in your hearing aids!

Whether it’s streaming video and audio from your TV, phone, or computing devices, or connecting directly to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch…we have a solution just for you.

Hearing Loss and Dementia

The Problem

An increasing number of independent scientific studies are showing strong evidence that hearing loss is more than just a nuisance of aging. The message is disturbing: people who experience hearing loss as they age may also have a significantly higher risk of developing cognitive disorders, including dementia. Cognitive function is an intellectual process that allows us to become aware of, perceive, or comprehend ideas. It involves all aspects of perception, thinking, reasoning, and memory.

The Evidence

A 2011 study (Hearing Loss and Incident dementia) was conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore in partnership with the National Institute on Aging. Dr. Frank Lin and others found that older adults with hearing loss were more likely to develop cognitive problems than others who retained normal hearing as they aged, and the risk of developing dementia increased with the degree of hearing loss. The study found that people with severe hearing loss were five times more likely to develop cognitive problems, and even mild hearing loss doubled the risk for serious cognitive impairment Las Vegas.

In a follow-up study (Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline in Older Adults, 2013) Dr. Lin and colleagues substantiated that older adults with hearing loss were more likely to develop thinking and memory problems than older adults with normal hearing, and the degree of cognitive degeneration was directly related to the amount of hearing loss. The study found that cognitive capabilities for those with hearing loss declined 30 to 40 percent faster than they did for a group with normal hearing. According to Dr. Lin, The results of the study should prompt an effort to make age-related hearing loss a public health priority.

Other studies indicate that hearing loss accelerates atrophy in auditory areas of the brain, making it more difficult for older adults to comprehend speech. “Your hearing ability directly affects how the brain processes sounds, including speech,” says Dr. Jonathon Peelle, PhD, research associate in the Department of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania. “Preserving your hearing doesn’t only protect your ears, but also helps your brain perform at its best.”

Pathways to Dementia

Although the studies could not determine a direct link from hearing loss to cognitive degeneration, researchers proposed several pathways that could lead from hearing loss to dementia, and these are summarized in the figure. The first pathway (gold arrows) is known as “cognitive load.” As hearing loss progresses, the brain must devote greater resources to auditory processing (speech and sound) at the detriment of thinking and memory. Another pathway (blue arrows) leads from hearing loss to social isolation, prompted by increasing communication difficulties. Social isolation has been well established in previous research as a risk factor for cognitive decline. A third pathway (green arrows) is known as auditory deprivation. When the hearing nerves and regions of the brain responsible for hearing are deprived of sound, they atrophy, a process that can accelerate the onset of dementia. An argument could be made that some other, yet-to-be-determined physiologic factor may serve as a common cause for both hearing loss and dementia, but many researchers agree that there is strong evidence to support a causative link from hearing loss to significant cognitive decline in older adults.

Epilogue

Although we don’t have clear evidence that hearing aids, cochlear implants and other rehabilitative measures will reduce or prevent cognitive degeneration, many clinical researchers are convinced that these interventions improve the lives of their patients. As Dr. Lin noted, “they are able to engage again: they
are no longer isolated.”  So…there are no downsides to treatment…but there may be serious downsides to letting hearing loss go full course!

 

Can Diabetes Cause Hearing Loss?

Introduction

In previous articles we discussed the links between untreated hearing loss and a variety of debilitating medical and emotional conditions, including dementia, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease. Given the overwhelming evidence…we felt it was important to reveal that untreated hearing loss is more than an inconvenience, but will eventually damage your physical, emotional, and social health, while causing disturbing effects on your relationships with loved ones, family, and friends. This article will discuss the link between existing medical conditions and hearing loss; in particular, the link between diabetes and hearing loss.

The Problem

People with diabetes may have a higher risk of developing hearing problems than those without the disease. This is because sustained high blood glucose levels from uncontrolled diabetes can eventually damage the small blood vessels of the body…resulting in eye, kidney, and nerve diseases. Since hearing depends on these small blood vessels and nerves, researchers are increasingly convinced that diabetes can cause ear damage and hearing loss.

The Evidence

A 2008 study, using National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey results, found a higher prevalence of hearing damage among diabetics (21%) than non-diabetics (9%). The degree of hearing loss ranged from mild to moderate, was generally difficult to detect without a hearing test, but inflicted substantial limitations on communicating. The strongest association between diabetes and hearing loss was noted in younger survey respondents (those less than 60 years old). This is important because hearing loss in this age group is uncommon, suggesting a connection between the diabetes and hearing loss. These findings imply that people with diabetes are much more likely to have hearing problems than those without diabetes, and the increased risk of hearing loss for those with diabetes doesn’t appear to be related to other common causes of hearing damage.

Another study, The Link between Diabetes and Hearing Loss, showed that diabetes affects one in five veterans receiving care at the Veterans Administration. The findings from this study show a link between diabetes, hearing loss and auditory brainstem function, and recommend that patients with diabetes should be screened for hearing loss.

Combining the results of 13 previous studies (including the two referenced above), Japanese researchers found that hearing loss was twice as common among people with diabetes compared to those without, and the effects of older age couldn’t explain the results. The research, published online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, are based on research involving more than 20,000 people from the United States, Asia, Australia and Brazil. All but one study found an association between diabetes and a higher risk of hearing problems. Neither age nor exposure to a noisy workplace could explain the association between diabetes and hearing loss, according to Chika Horikawa, a dietitian at Niigata University in Japan, who led the analysis of the 13 studies.

Still another study, Risk of developing sudden sensorineural hearing loss in diabetic patients: a population-based cohort study, published in Ontology & Neurology in December 2012 and involving more than 52,000 individuals, found that diabetes significantly increases a person’s risk of developing sensorineural hearing loss…a form of hearing loss associated with damage to the inner ear.

Implications

A growing body of research indicates that poor blood sugar control damages blood vessels and nerves throughout the body, and this blood vessel deterioration could explain why people with diabetes (especially younger people less than 60 years old) have more diabetes-related hearing problems than older populations. The research provides strong reasons for people with diabetes and symptoms of hearing loss, especially those under 60, to seek testing and possible treatment.

About the Author

Dr. Ha-Sheng Li-Korotky is the President and co-founder of Pacific Northwest Audiology (www.pnwaudiology.com), 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.

Fall Design & Outdoor Living Show in Bend OR

Pacific Northwest Audiology was an exhibitor at the Central Oregon Builders Association Remodeling Design & Outdoor Living Show at the Athletic Club of Bend, Oregon on September 21-22. The show had hundreds of vendors and thousands of attendees…making this year’s event a huge success.

The show provided a great opportunity for Dr. Li-Korotky to interact with and answer questions for hundreds of people about every conceivable aspect of hearing health…including hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), Meniere’s disease (balance disorder), hearing aids and assistive listening technology tropical inflatable water slide.

Our congratulations to Ron Robbel (left) the winner of our drawing for Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones. The winning card was pulled out of a well mixed box late Sunday afternoon by our next door neighbor at the show, Brent Olsen, the President of Sales of VACUFLO, seen above, with Dr. Li-Korotky.

The photos show Dr. Li-Korotky (Audiologist) and Stephanie Roberts (Front Desk Manager) interacting with interested (and interesting) people.

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.