Association with hearing loss and dementia in new article in The Lancet

Association with hearing loss and dementia in new article in The Lancet

The association between hearing loss and dementia was just one of the risk factors mentioned in the prestigious Lancet, a British scientific journal The Express reports. The Lancet Commission on dementia prevention mentioned nine risk factors in total which make up more than a third of the total risk factors associated with dementia. The others include high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, diabetes, depression, physical inactivity and social isolation. The last three of these are risk factors with untreated hearing loss so it makes sense they’re on the list. The association between hearing loss and dementia has been slowly getting more attention in the press and in scientific circles. Regular readers of the ear blog will already know that cutting-edge science has only recently begun researching this area to establish a direct link between the two. The British and Irish Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association were quoted in the port. “To our knowledge, no systematic reviews have been done for hearing loss and incident dementia”. The report continues, “recognition of hearing loss as a risk factor for dementia is relatively new and has not been included in previous calculations of PAF [population attributable fractions], nor has it been a priority in the management of those at risk of cognitive impairment”. Hearing loss and dementia – Cognitive Load As mentioned here before, the possible reasons why hearing loss could cause dementia are not yet understood. Plenty more research is needed before a direct link is made. Possible reasons include hearing loss burdening sufferers with “cognitive load”. This is where their brains expend too much “brain power” trying to hear what others are saying....
Barn owls’ hearing could hold the answer to hearing loss

Barn owls’ hearing could hold the answer to hearing loss

The humble barn owls’ hearing could hold the answer to hearing loss scientists have discovered. Originally reported by BBC news, the new discovery could unlock secrets to helping us heal our own ears after damage. Currently, humans don’t have the ability to heal our hearing once the cells inside our ears are damaged. Thi is either by age or by the multitude of noise sources that come with modern living. In the experiment, sounds were played to the owls to prompt them to fly to a perch to receive food. They found that even in the oldest owl at 23 years old, their hearing was still resistant to age-related hearing loss. George Klump is a researcher from the University of Oldenburg in Germany. “Birds can repair their ears like (humans) can repair a wound. Humans cannot re-grow the sensory cells of the ears but birds can do this”. Dr Stefan Heller of the Stanford University School of Medicine is a Professor of Otolaryngology. “To truly utilise this knowledge, we need to conduct comparative studies of birds and mammals that aim to find the differences in regenerative capacity, a topic that is actively pursued by a number of laboratories worldwide”. The animal kingdom may hold the answer Owls are not the only animals who could hold the keys to preventing or healing hearing loss. Mice have shown that age-related hearing loss could be prevented with exercise. This is yet to be demonstrated in humans, however. The tentacles of sea anemones contain cells that are similar to those in your ear. These cells are able to repair themselves. Figuring how they do this...
Anne Robinson writes about her hearing loss and hearing aids

Anne Robinson writes about her hearing loss and hearing aids

Anne Robinson writes about her hearing loss in the Daily Mail earlier this month. The Weakest Link and Watchdog star host, otherwise known as The Queen of Mean, had a lot to say about the history of hearing loss in her family and the warning she received from her grandmother to look out for it. Known more for her acerbic retorts and pithy comebacks, Robinson relayed her journey from ominous warning, to denial, to being happy with sporting her very own pair of high-end hearing aids. Robinson isn’t the first to speak up about her hearing loss. She joins Martin Kemp of Spandau Ballet, Louis Walsh of X-Factor fame, John Cleese from the unforgettable Monty Python and a string of musicians who made their mark in the 1980s. Talking of her childhood visits with her mother and brother to see her grandmother, Anne recalls her grandmother’s warning. “Deafness is a weakness in your father’s family. You need to be careful”. Her response, of course, is probably the same as anyone else who knows nothing about hearing loss. Reflecting on being told this, Robinson says “I had no idea then, or now, how to avoid becoming deaf. Any more than I know what to do when you see a sign saying ‘Weak Bridge’ just before you drive over it”. A familiar embarrassment Robinson admits to something every one of us has done whether we have hearing loss or not. When asked a question by the editor of The Times at a public event, “I did nothing but nod and smile. I could hear only mumbling. I came away dismayed”. Another common...
Belgian PM suffers hearing loss from gunshot – left with partial deafness and tinnitus

Belgian PM suffers hearing loss from gunshot – left with partial deafness and tinnitus

The Belgian prime minister, Charles Michel, had a nasty shock last week after he suffered a hearing loss from gunshot. The PM was attending what should have been a fairly uneventful opening for a 20km run in Brussels. Unfortunately, it appears he was standing just a little too close to Princess Astrid who fired a gun to mark the beginning of the race. Clearly Mr Michel was not aware a gunshot can be anywhere from 140-190 decibels depending on how close you are to the source. That’s anywhere from fireworks up close to a jet engine. The daughter of the king The PM appeared to grimace as the daughter of Philippe, the Belgian King, fired the shot on a Sunday. At first he laughed it off so as not to cause any embarrassment for the Royals. However, Mr Michel had his entire schedule cleared after a medical examination of his ears the day after. Ringing in the ears after an especially loud noise or event is quite common and a sign that permanent hearing loss has happened. His office gave a statement saying “The prime minister must follow a number of treatments within 48 hours after the incident”. They also said they expected him to receive more treatment for the rest of the week. His spokesman said Mr Michel was suffering from partial deafness and tinnitus. This shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s advised you give your hearing a rest for 24 hours after any very loud noises or events such as music concerts or festivals that leave any ringing in the ears. Had he been a bit more mindful...
Hearing loss, sports and summer: where to protect yourself in 2017

Hearing loss, sports and summer: where to protect yourself in 2017

Hearing loss, sports and summer are not words you usually hear in the same sentence but with Summer finally upon us, it’s time to get out and enjoy our favourites sports. If you’re lucky enough to be able to attend any sports events in person this Summer, be sure to protect your hearing. Below are three sports to look forward to over the coming months and also where you should where hearing protection like ear muffs or ear plugs. Football If you were lucky enough to be able to see Arsenal beat Chelsea to win the FA Cup then we hope you had proper hearing protection. There aren’t many sports with an atmosphere as electric as football but with that atmosphere comes a lot of ear damaging noise. England have an action-packed football season this summer playing Scotland for the World Cup qualifiers on Saturday 10th June and former world champions France on Tuesday 13th June. Just try and stay away from any vuvuzelas… Rugby The summer is going to have a lot of Rugby both this month and the next. England are playing Argentina next Saturday on the 10th June. The British and Irish Lions are playing New Zealand later this month and if that wasn’t enough, twice again in July. If you’re lucky enough to see any of these, expect not just big players but a big crowd too. Protecting your hearing certainly won’t stop England scoring that extra try and you’ll be able to preserve your hearing when it happens. Cricket Certainly not the first sport you think of when you think of loud sports but...
See the emotional moment couple hear for first time after 12 years of marriage

See the emotional moment couple hear for first time after 12 years of marriage

A deaf couple hear for the first time after 12 years of marriage a video by the University of Southampton shows. Both Helen and Neil Robinson have been deaf since birth after both their mothers contracted Rubella during pregnancy. The video shows the two having their cochlear implants turned on for the first time. Cochlear implants work by having electrodes inserted under the skull via surgery. The implants were provided by the Southampton University Audiology Implant Service (USAIS). They have fitted over a thousand hearing devices over the last 27 years. Neil and Helen were the first couple to ever use the service for cochlear implants. The surgery was carried out at Nuffield Health Wessex Hospital in Eastleigh, Hampshire by Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon Tim Mitchell. The couple live near Salisbury in Wiltshire and Neil is a proud Assistant Curate at Salisbury Cathedral. Cochlear implants Getting a cochlear implant can be a big decision as the surgery involves inserting electrodes directly into the brain. In this case, 16 electrodes were inserted into Helen and Neil’s brains. One part of the implants sits under the skull and the other sits outside the skull. The two are joined via a magnet. Helen spent two years trying to convince Neil to try the surgery with her. The emotion in the video is overwhelming for him as he’s immediately overcome while he tries to fight back tears. It goes on to show the couple getting used to their newfound sense of the world as the clinic helps them develop their hearing. Neil talks about hearing the birds sing for the first time....

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