Au.D Insights | “Get as much practical experience as you can”

image007Kimi Nina Møller, M.A., conducts testing and trials of hearing aids and accessories, writing the test plans and reports and presenting the results to colleagues. She also presents new research and new products at different conferences around the world, as well as doing training both internally for colleagues and externally for customers. She also teaches audiology at Copenhagen University to 4th year students.

How did you first become interested in a career in audiology?
When I finished university with a degree in both audiology and speech pathology, I was certain that I was going to be a children’s’ speech therapist. When I couldn’t find a job in that field, I applied for the job as audiologist at GN ReSound – just to give it a try.  After no more than two weeks in the job, I KNEW that this was the right place for me! I liked my assignments, I liked the patients that I worked with, I liked my colleagues and I liked the atmosphere in the company.

What has been most fulfilling about your career so far?
I have developed so much in the years I have been in this field – both in terms of the knowledge I now have, but also on the personal level, being more confident when presenting topics for a large audience.

Is there anything you would have done differently?
I would have studied audiology even harder at university had I known that this was the place that I belonged.

What tips do you have for current students or those considering a career in audiology?
Get as much practical experience as you can during your studies and visit different places that carry out audiological tasks to see the variety of work places the audiological world offers.

Posted in Global Audiology Monthly Column, Guest Bloggers, Student Outreach | Leave a comment

The Lowdown | Links Between Hearing Loss and Other Medical Conditions

How many times have you seen articles in the news about one medical condition being connected to another?  Hearing loss is no different. Based on recent studies, here is a list of the most significant medical implications of hearing loss.

Nurse Showing Patient Test Results On Digital Tablet

Sleep Apnea
New research presented at the American Thoracic Society’s 2014 International Conference found that people with sleep apnea may have a greater risk of hearing loss.[i] Potential reasons for this link may include adverse effects of sleep apnea on vascular supply to the cochlea via inflammation and vascular remodeling or noise trauma from snoring.

Smoking
A recent study published in the Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, found that smokers were 15.1% more likely to develop hearing loss, while passive smokers were 28% more likely to develop hearing loss than non-smokers.[ii] The researchers are unable to determine the exact reasons for why smoking and passive smoking increase the risk of hearing loss, but speculate that it could be due to toxins in tobacco smoke or smoking-related cardiovascular disease causing microvascular changes.

Diabetes
A recent study found that hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes as it is in those who don’t have the disease. Also, of the 86 million adults in the U.S. who have prediabetes, the rate of hearing loss is 30% higher than in those with normal blood glucose.[iii] The reasons for how diabetes is related to hearing loss are unknown. It’s possible that the high blood glucose levels associated with diabetes cause damage to the small blood vessels in the inner ear, similar to the way in which diabetes can damage the eyes and the kidneys.

Dementia & Alzheimer’s
Hearing loss may increase the risk of cognitive problems and dementia, according to a 2013 John Hopkins University Study.[iv] They also conducted a 2011 study focusing only on dementia, whereby they monitored the cognitive health of 639 people who were mentally sharp when the study began. The researchers tested the volunteers’ mental abilities regularly, following most for about 12 years, and some for as long as 18 years. The results were striking: The worse the initial hearing loss, the more likely the person was to develop dementia.  Researchers say that there are plausible reasons for why hearing loss might lead to dementia — the brain’s hearing centers are very close to the regions where Alzheimer’s first starts.

Brain Shrinkage
Although the brain becomes smaller with age, the shrinkage seems to be fast-tracked in older adults with hearing loss, according to the results of a study by researchers from Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging.[v] The report revealed that those with impaired hearing lost more than an additional cubic centimeter of brain tissue each year compared with those with normal hearing. Those with impaired hearing also had significantly more shrinkage in particular regions, including the superior, middle and inferior temporal gyri, brain structures responsible for processing sound and speech. The study also gives some urgency to treating hearing loss rather than ignoring it, saying it should be treated before these brain structural changes take place.

Heart Disease
In a study published in The Laryngoscope, researchers found that audiogram patterns correlate strongly with cerebrovascular and peripheral arterial disease and may represent a screening test for those at risk. The authors of a study published in the American Journal of Audiology concluded that impaired cardiovascular health negatively affects both the peripheral and central auditory system.[vi]

Obesity
Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) recently published study results demonstrating that a higher body mass index (BMI) and larger waist circumference are each associated with higher risk of hearing loss in women. The researchers found that when compared with women with BMI of less than 25, the risk for hearing loss was 17% higher for women with a BMI of 30 to 34, 22% higher for women with a BMI of 35 to 39, and 25% higher for women with a BMI of 40+.[vii]

Depression
Hearing-impaired adults are more likely to be depressed than those with excellent hearing – and than those who are fully deaf -according to a large U.S. survey.[viii] Higher rates of depression were most common in middle-aged women. More than 11% of people with some hearing problems scored as having moderate to severe depression, compared to 6% of people with good or excellent hearing.

[i] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/21/sleep-apnea-hearing-loss_n_5332750.html
[ii] http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/277516.php
[iii] http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/seniors/diabetes-and-hearing-loss.html
[iv] http://www.aarp.org/health/brain-health/info-07-2013/hearing-loss-linked-to-dementia.html
[v] http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/hearing_loss_linked_to_accelerated_brain_tissue_loss_
[vi] http://www.betterhearing.org/news/heart-disease-and-hearing-loss-linked-so-get-your-hearing-checked-world-heart-day-bhi-advises
[vii] http://healthhub.brighamandwomens.org/obesity-and-waist-circumference-linked-to-hearing-loss-risk
[viii] http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/11/us-especially-for-women-idUSBREA2A1UE20140311
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What to Expect | Visiting a Hearing Healthcare Professional for the First Time

2013.01.11_ReSoundPremierHearing-0074Your first visit to a hearing healthcare professional can be daunting but a hearing exam is a simple, painless way to find out if you’re experiencing hearing loss. In most cases, the results are instantaneous – you’ll quickly discover the type of hearing loss you have and the treatments available to you.

Here is a step-by-step guide on what to expect:

Lifestyle Consultation

Before jumping into the physical exam, your hearing healthcare professional will ask you a series of questions to gain a greater understanding about your lifestyle and specific needs. He or she will probably ask about your general health, as well as your motivation for coming in for a hearing evaluation.

Physical Exam

The hearing healthcare professional will examine your ear canal and ear drum using a special light, called an otoscope, to look for physical clues about your hearing health.

Hearing Test

You will be asked to listen to a series of tones while wearing headphones to evaluate your hearing at difference frequencies and volumes.  The headphones are connected to an audiometer which sends tones at various frequencies to one ear at a time. You will be asked to signal by raising your hand or pressing a button when you hear each tone. You will also be asked to respond to the lowest level that you can hear which determines your hearing thresholds.

Subtests

Your hearing evaluation may include additional tests such as speech audiometry and bone conduction. During the speed audiometry test, your hearing healthcare professional will read lists of words to you and you will be asked to repeat what you hear.  During the bone conduction test, vibrating tuning forks will be placed in contact with your head. This test helps to identify problems in the inner ear.

Audiogram

During the hearing test, the hearing healthcare professional will plot points on a graph, called an audiogram, based on your responses to each tone. Once your hearing test is complete, he/she will use this audiogram to explain the findings of your hearing test and propose treatment options.

For more information, visit our website.

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How Does Hearing Loss Affect Men vs. Women?

1410_HearingLoss_menvswomenAccording to a study conducted by John Hopkins University, men are five and a half times more likely than women to develop hearing loss as they age, starting as young as 20. Out of the 28 million Americans with hearing loss, over 60% of them are men.

Experts say that this difference in hearing is due to environmental factors, as men are more likely to suffer from noise-induced hearing loss in the workplace. Men are also less likely to wear hearing protection in noisy situations.

A study published by the American Journal of Medicine also found that regular use of aspirin, acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs increased the risk of hearing loss in adult men younger than 60.

After the age of 80, the prevalence of hearing loss in men and women evens out. That being said, there are still notable differences between the two sexes in regard to how they are affected by hearing loss. Women lose hearing in the lower frequencies first, meaning they have more trouble understanding vowels. Men, on the other hand, lose hearing in the higher frequencies, meaning they have more problems understanding consonants.

A report by ABC News concludes, “Men are more likely to need hearing aids, but women are more likely to wear them.”

References:

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ReSound helps Oklahoma mother repay the doctor who saved her son’s life

Like any mom, Courtney Allen would do anything for her 14-month-old son, Caysen. Thankfully, her son’s doctor was willing to do the same.

When Caysen was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome; only the right half of his heart properly pumped blood. While in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at The Children’s Hospital at St. Francis in Tulsa, OK, Caysen’s vitals crashed. Dr. Andrea (Andi) Nagelschneider, the Pediatric Resident on duty that night, saved his life.

Caysen's doctor Andi

Dr. Andi Nagelschneider

Over the course of Caysen’s stay, Dr. Andi and Courtney became close. Eventually, Dr. Andi confessed that she felt self-conscious about her big, bulky hearing aids and that she always wore her hair down to cover them. She explained her frustration that sometimes her hearing aids made it hard for her to properly communicate with her patients – especially over the phone. She had heard of ReSound LiNX™ but she couldn’t afford them.

Caysen & Andi

Caysen & Dr. Andi

“Dr. Andi had saved my son’s life. I had to help her get these hearing aids. There was no way around it,” said Courtney. So, Courtney submitted a request to the ReSound Gives Sound philanthropy program on Dr. Andi’s behalf.

“Dreams really do come true,” exclaimed Dr. Andi. “And I can finally wear my hair up too,” she added.

Andi's old hearing aids and her new ReSound LiNX

Dr. Andi’s old hearing aids and her new ReSound LiNX

ReSound is pleased to have played a small part in this story of generosity.

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“They’re the first thing I put in in the morning and the last thing I take out at night.”

Ben & Pat

“I wear them all the time,” says Ben Merrill about his ReSound LiNX™ hearing aids.

Ben, a 71-year-old retired Information Systems Director, began noticing the signs of hearing loss back in 2008.  Whenever he and his wife, Pat, watched TV, he had a hard time understanding what was being said and often had to ask her to repeat it. After a visit to his Audiologist, he was fit with his first pair of hearing aids. Unfortunately, even after numerous adjustments he still struggled to hear the TV and eventually abandoned wearing his hearing aids completely.

At the end of 2013, Ben had an appointment with his new Audiologist, Debra Hamila of Scottsdale Ear, Nose and Throat, who recommended he try something new and different – ReSound LiNX. Ben immediately noticed a difference. “I just love my hearing aids and the wireless functionality they provide,” said Ben. He paired his new hearing aids with the ReSound Unite™ TV streamer, and he could now hear every word from his favorite TV programs without needing a neck-worn device. “I can now mute the TV for the sake of those around me, but still listen on my own through my hearing aids. Even when I’ve left the room, I can hear the TV just as clearly as if I were sitting right in front of it,” says Ben.

“I’m very pleased with my ReSound LiNX hearing aids, not only for their wireless connectivity options but also for the clear, natural sound they provide…and that is why you won’t find me awake without them,” concludes Ben.

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“My patients were calling me to ask about ReSound LiNX!”

Stefan Harris

Stefan Harris

Stefan Harris knows about hearing aids. Not only is he a Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist at Alaska Center for Ear, Nose & Throat in Anchorage, he has 46 years  of experience wearing super power hearing aids. He also knows about the “marketing mumbo jumbo” that is often used to describe them, so he was “not easily convinced” when his ReSound sales rep called about ReSound LiNX™.

Then, his phone started ringing. Patients called with requests to try ReSound LiNX, and Stefan called his ReSound sales rep back and signed up for training. He admits that he rolled his eyes when he learned that the hearing aid, partnered with an ultra-power receiver, could accommodate a severe-to-profound hearing loss like his own. After the presentation, he reluctantly agreed to try on a binaural pair of ReSound LiNX hearing aids. Despite his hearing loss, it had been years since Stefan wore a hearing aid in his right ear. Doing so made it hard to hear anything in his left ear when a place got noisy. “ReSound LiNX provided me with both clarity and power,” said Stefan, something he hadn’t experienced before.

In the days that followed, Stefan was able to test ReSound LiNX with iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch® devices. “ReSound LiNX is a superb hearing aid first. The Apple connection only solidified my positive feelings for the device,” said Harris. In fact, he was so impressed with ReSound LiNX’s connectivity that he also purchased the Unite TV streamer and Mini Mic 2 – wireless accessories for ReSound LiNX. “I couldn’t believe that the Unite companion accessories didn’t require me to wear a neck-worn looping device,” Stefan later remarked.

“Users with severe-to-profound hearing losses make up such a small portion of the total hearing aid market so often times their needs get placed on the back burner when it comes to developing new technology. It’s very impressive that ReSound included the ultra-power receiver with the initial launch of ReSound LiNX,” Stefan stated.

With all the positive, Stefan still has one complaint: “Now, I guess I have to buy an iPhone. This technology is just too phenomenal!”

ReSound never tires of hearing success stories (and “complaints”!) like Stefan’s. Recently, our newest super power hearing aid, ReSound ENZO debuted, providing those with severe-to-profound hearing loss the chance at power, clarity and Made for iPhone capabilities all in one device. Visit www.resound.com/enzo  to learn more.

Apple, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries

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