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Hearing and Health

Hearing Loss and Dementia Linked in Study

Seniors with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia over time than those who retain their hearing, a study by Johns Hopkins and National Institute on Aging researchers suggests. The findings, the researchers say, could lead to new ways to combat dementia, a condition that affects millions of people worldwide and carries heavy societal burdens.

Although the reason for the link between the two conditions is unknown, the investigators suggest that a common pathology may underlie both or that the strain of decoding sounds over the years may overwhelm the brains of people with hearing loss, leaving them more vulnerable to dementia. They also speculate that hearing loss could lead to dementia by making individuals more socially isolated, a known risk factor for dementia and other cognitive disorders.

Whatever the cause, the scientists report, their finding may offer a starting point for interventions — even as simple as hearing aids — that could delay or prevent dementia by improving patients’ hearing. For more information regarding hearing loss and dementia you can click here.

Pain Relievers Increase Hearing Loss Risk

Headache? Back pain? At the first sign of pain, you might reach for a pain-relieving medicine to sooth your bodily woes. Analgesics are the most frequently employed medications in the United States and are commonly used to treat a variety of medical conditions. But although popping a pill may make the pain go away, it may also do some damage to your ears.

According to a study by researchers at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), women who took ibuprofen or acetaminophen two or more days per week had an increased risk of hearing loss. The more often a woman took either of these medications, the higher her risk for hearing loss. Also, the link between these medicines and hearing loss tended to be greater in women younger than 50 years old, especially for those who took ibuprofen six or seven days per week. The study was published in the Sept. 15 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology. This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and by Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. For more information regarding Hearing Loss and Pain Relievers you can click here

Hearing Loss Is Common in People with Diabetes

Hearing loss is about twice as common in adults with diabetes compared to those who do not have the disease, according to a new study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"Hearing loss may be an under-recognized complication of diabetes. As diabetes becomes more common, the disease may become a more significant contributor to hearing loss," said senior author Catherine Cowie, Ph.D., of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), who suggested that people with diabetes should consider having their hearing tested. "Our study found a strong and consistent link between hearing impairment and diabetes using a number of different outcomes."

The researchers discovered the higher rate of hearing loss in those with diabetes after analyzing the results of hearing tests given to a nationally representative sample of adults in the United States. The test measured participants’ ability to hear low, middle, and high frequency sounds in both ears. The link between diabetes and hearing loss was evident across all frequencies, with a stronger association in the high frequency range. Mild or greater hearing impairment of low- or mid-frequency sounds in the worse ear was about 21 percent in 399 adults with diabetes compared to about 9 percent in 4,741 adults without diabetes. For high frequency sounds, mild or greater hearing impairment in the worse ear was 54 percent in those with diabetes compared to 32 percent in those who did not have the disease. For more information on Hearing Loss and Diabetes please click here

Study Links Sudden Hearing Loss to Stroke

In the summer, 2008, the American Heart Association published a recap of an extensive study that establishes a relationship between sudden hearing loss, more easily called and stroke. This condition is marked, obviously, with the sudden onset of hearing loss, as in one day you hear fine and a week later you can’t hear the TV anymore. So, were not talking about the slow, gradual hearing loss associated with the aging process. This is different. You hear. Then you don’t. 

The study showed a clear relationship between the onset of sudden hearing loss and stroke. Published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, this important study suggests that sudden loss of hearing might be an early sign of vulnerability to stroke, foreshadowing an actual stroke by as much as two years. The study, which took place over five years, tracked 1,423 patients who had been hospitalized for unexplained, acute, sudden hearing loss. The group reporting severe hearing loss was over 150% more likely to experience a stroke within two years of the hearing loss when compared to a control group. 

Sudden loss of hearing is a scary thing and often comes without any known cause. If you experience a sudden, acute loss of hearing, visit your physician or nearest medical center as soon as possible for treatment. Although there is no standard protocol in treating sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSNHL), the majority of physicians treat with steroids. If you do experience SSNHL, ensure your physician tests you for stroke risk. Remember, there’s a 150% increase in risk of stroke within that patient group that experienced sudden hearing loss. For more information regarding Sudden Hearing Loss and Stroke, click here

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