Today, cognitive impairment and ADRD are major global public health and social concerns as the population of older adults rises around the world. By 2050, more than 152 million people will be affected by these conditions. That’s why many countries, including the United States, see the prevention of ADRD as a key public health priority and are studying programs to help stem these diseases.
One way to prevent cognitive impairment and ADRD is to treat the problems that raise the risk for developing them. Two of these risk factors are hearing and vision loss. Currently, about 60 percent of people aged 70 years or older are affected by hearing loss, 40 percent are affected by vision loss, and 23 percent of older adults have both vision and hearing loss. Some studies have suggested that having both hearing and vision loss may be linked to poorer cognitive function or to a faster rate of cognitive decline.
This is a little off the beaten path for me, but I thought any information on brain function is useful information. The following is from Science Daily.
A cochlear implant is an electronic device capable of restoring hearing in a profoundly deaf person by directly stimulating the nerve endings in the inner ear. This technology enables people who have become deaf to be able to communicate orally again, even by telephone, and children born deaf to learn to speak and to benefit from normal schooling. However, results can be extremely variable, with implants having only little benefit for some patients, without any means of predicting failure based only on purely clinical factors. Using data from brain imaging techniques that enable visualizing the brain’s activity, a neuroscientist at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and a Parisian ENT surgeon have managed to decipher brain reorganization processes at work when people start to lose their hearing, and thus predict the success or failure of a cochlear implant among people who have become profoundly deaf in their adult life. The results of this research may be found in Nature Communications.
I turned 77 in January and while I generally enjoy what I consider to be robust good health, I nonetheless occupy an old and aging body. Sometimes I miss stuff people say, particularly when there is background noise.
“Could you repeat that?” The reason you may have to say something twice when talking to older family members may not be because of their hearing. Researchers at the University of Maryland (UMD) have determined that something is going on in the brains of typical older adults that causes them to struggle to follow speech amidst background noise, even when their hearing would be considered normal on a clinical assessment.
In an interdisciplinary study published by the Journal of Neurophysiology, researchers Samira Anderson, Jonathan Z. Simon, and Alessandro Presacco found that adults aged 61–73 with normal hearing scored significantly worse on speech understanding in noisy environments than adults aged 18–30 with normal hearing. The researchers are all associated with the UMD’s Brain and Behavior Initiative. Continue reading →
Hearing loss is common, according to Pamela Fiebig, AuD, Audiologist Northwestern University Dept of Otolaryngology/Audiology. Speaking before Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Healthy Transitions Program®, Ms. Fiebig offered the following statistics:
Some 10 million Americans report significant hearing loss. Of those 10 million, four million are over age 65. That is 40 percent, or two out of five seniors. There are five million in the age group 18 to 64 years. Into the teen years, hearing loss percentages are negligible. Up to the end of the teenage years, hearing loss onset increases to barely double digits. But, starting at the age of 20 and reaching to age 39 some 20 percent of the female population and 32 percent of the males start to experience problems with their hearing. Men seem to suffer more than women and Ms. Fiebig reckoned that this was a result of manufacturing and industrial workplace noise which would be decreasing as less manufacturing was being done here.
Some indications that your may be having hearing difficulties is that you need to turn up the TV during shows, but commercials sound fine. Likewise, does it sound like a lot of people you hear mumble? Unclear speach is an early sign of hearing beginning to fail.
So, seniors are very vulnerable to hearing loss, but it reaches down as low as the 20s.
She recommended having basic audiology tested with modern equipment that includes air-conduction evaluating outer to inner ear conditions. There is also bone conduction which evaluates the inner ear and finally, word recognition testing is done. Continue reading →
Are you having difficulty understanding words in a conversation, or turning up the volume on your TV, or asking people to repeat themselves when speaking to you, or even avoiding conversations and social gatherings?
If so, you are likely suffering from hearing loss. Up to one third of those between the ages of 65 to 75 and one half of those over 75, have some degree of hearing loss.
Hearing loss can occur for a number of reasons:
– Prolonged exposure to loud noise which damages the very sensitive inner ear nerves.
– Earwax which can build up in the ear canal and form a physical barrier blocking sound waves from the inner ear.
– Ruptured eardrum from exposure to an explosive noise, from infection, or from damage such as sticking something in your ear, most commonly a Q-tip.
There are various risk factors leading to hearing loss including: