Community | HearCare Connection Mission in Amman, Jordan

ReSound donated hearing aids to HearCare Connection, a non-profit hearing center providing care for low-income and under-served individuals, as a part of their recent mission trip to Amman, Jordan. During the mission trip, HearCare Connection visited three different refugee camps and fit hundreds of children and adults with hearing loss.

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“This young mother’s world has been quiet since five years ago when the hearing aid she shared with her three siblings broke. Because of ReSound’s support, she was able to hear her baby’s cry for the first time!”

The mission of HearCare Connection, Inc. is that no person be prevented from full participation in life due to hearing loss. As a result, they operate on a reduced fee, sliding scale basis to make hearing care affordable for all. They rely on support through grants, donations, corporate sponsorships and volunteers and utilize a unique “Circle of Giving” model which allows their patients to “give back” to the community through volunteer hours.

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“Words can’t convey how thankful we are for ReSound’s support, so we hope smiles can do the job…”

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Hearing Loss Around the World

iStock_000003138140_SmallThe World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 5% of the World’s population (360 million) has disabling hearing loss. Latin American and the Caribbean account for 9% of global hearing loss, but the highest prevalence is found in the Asia Pacific, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. About half of all cases of hearing loss worldwide are easily prevented or treated.

Untreated ear infections, particularly among children, are the leading cause of hearing loss in low-to-middle income countries. Vaccine-preventable infectious diseases such as rubella, meningitis, measles, or mumps also lead to hearing loss in these areas.

80% of deaf people live in low and middle-income countries. Childhood deafness is a significant global issue, affecting more than 62 million children younger than 15 years old – two-thirds of whom reside in developing countries.

Many countries lack trained health personnel, educational facilities, data and national plans to address the needs of those living with ear and hearing problems. The gap between need and services is greatest in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the Department of Prevention of Blindness and Deafness at WHO, fewer than one out of 40 people in developing countries who need a hearing aid have one.

WHO estimates that through immunizations, early identification and intervention programs, access to hearing aids and other medical treatments, over 50% of the burden of hearing loss in developing countries could be reduced or eliminated.

ReSound has donated hearing aids to a number of missions both domestically and internationally in countries that need help with treating hearing loss, particularly among children. Some of our recent missions include Guatemala City, Antigua (Guatemala), Malawi (Africa) and Honduras.

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ReSound Gives Sound to a Deserving Florida Teenager

It took just one phone call to remind Angela Waite, Audiologist at ENT Specialty Care Center at Physicians Regional in Naples, FL, why she does business with ReSound.

Dr. Angela Waite

Dr. Angela Waite

Alan Dimmitt, Founder of Liberty Youth Ranch in Bonita Springs called Angela requesting help for one of his residents – a 13-year-old girl who had lost her hearing aids and unfortunately didn’t have the means to replace them. Liberty Youth Ranch provides a permanent and loving environment for children who are in need of a home.

This girl had been without her hearing aids for nearly a week and already was falling behind in her school work. As soon as she hung up the phone with Alan, Angela made calls to three hearing aid manufacturers asking for help. She heard back from one – ReSound. Within two days, new hearing aids were delivered to Angela at no charge. “The hearing aids sent to me were not entry level devices, but premium hearing aids that worked with an iPhone!  ReSound went above and beyond to help my patient,” said Angela.

“When people ask me why I do business with ReSound, I can easily explain that it’s not just because of their advanced technology or excellent customer service, it’s also their willingness to go above and beyond to help me better serve my patients,” explained Angela.

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Posted in Noise & Feedback | 1 Comment

Tinnitus: An Injury that Rings True for Veterans

1411_WebBannerImage_652px_x_347pxAccording to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, tinnitus is the number one service-related injury among veterans, followed closely by hearing loss. And the problem isn’t going away. In fact, the Hearing Center of Excellence (HCE) recently stated that cases of hearing loss, tinnitus and auditory injury in the military continue to rise by as much as 13 to 18 percent annually.

So what is tinnitus? The word tinnitus comes from the Latin verb “to jingle” and is a sensation of noise originating inside the head and is typically only heard by the person affected.

Tinnitus can be as individual as you are. It can be:

  • A buzzing or ringing in the ears
  • A hissing or roaring sound
  • High-, low-, single- or multi-toned
  • Occasional or constant

The leading cause of tinnitus is overexposure to loud noises, however it can also be caused by accidents, ear infections, aging or stress. For veterans specifically, the repetitive sound of a machine gun or other loud noises of war can make them more susceptible to tinnitus.

It can be a devastating condition. For many veterans, tinnitus brings an often unwelcome reminder of war. When it is associated with a negative emotional response, it can make your brain pay more attention to the tinnitus. A cycle begins that affects your nervous system. Anxiety, sleep disturbance, depression and poor concentration can occur, all of which reinforce the vicious cycle.

Remember, if you’re a veteran suffering from tinnitus, you’re not alone. In fact, 45 million people in the United States are affected with tinnitus. But you don’t have to just live with it. Veteran’s hospitals across the country treat tinnitus and hearing loss. ReSound offers a selection of hearing aids through veteran’s hospitals including our newest technology, ReSound LiNX TSTM which offers natural sound, slim design and durable, water-resistant technology.

If you’re a veteran or know a veteran who is struggling with tinnitus or hearing loss, visit www.va.gov/directory/guide/home.asp to find a veteran’s hospital near you and schedule a hearing test. You can also visit www.resound.com/Veterans to learn more about tinnitus and its treatment.

Posted in Noise & Feedback | 1 Comment

Everyday Sounds and How They Affect Your Hearing

Did you know that sounds louder than 85 dB can permanently damage your hearing?  Of the roughly 40 million Americans suffering from hearing loss, 10 million can be attributed to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).  Loud noises can cause immediate hearing loss or gradually contribute to hearing loss over time.

 

1410_FB_LeavesRustling_403x403Below is a guide to understanding every-day sounds and their decibel levels.

Totally Safe

  • Leaves rustling (0 – 20 dB)
  • Normal conversation (50 dB)
  • Moderate rainfall (50 dB)
  • Dishwashers (50 dB)
  • Traffic (60 dB)
  • Vacuum cleaners (60 dB)

Dangerous Over 30 Minutes

  • Lawn mowers (90 dB)
  • Hair dryers (90 dB)
  • Motor cycles (90 dB)
  • Personal music players at full volume (100 dB)
  • Hand drill (100 dB)
  • Concerts (110 dB)
  • Car horns (110 dB)
  • Sporting events (110 dB)

Use Hearing Protection Or Avoid

  • Siren from emergency vehicle (120 dB)
  • Jack hammers (130 dB)
  • Fireworks (140 dB)
  • Jet engine (140 dB)
  • Custom car stereos at full volume (140 dB)
  • Gunshot (140 – 190 dB)

Protect your ears!

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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
Posted in Audiology Awareness, Audiology Trends, In The Media | Leave a comment