Monday, June 25, 2012

Antibiotics That Kill Germs...NOT Your Hearing!

As we've mentioned before, certain antibiotics can cause hearing loss.  Commonly used antibiotics such as streptomycin, neomycin, kanamycin, and amikacin can cause damage to the hair cells in the inner ear and lead to hearing loss.  Research to create antibiotics that will kill drug resistant "superbugs" (bacteria that cannot be killed by commonly used antibiotics) without causing hearing loss has increased as the prevalence of "superbugs" has grown. 
Recently, a team from Switzerland, England, and the University of Michigan discovered a new approach to the development of antibiotics that promises to create drugs that can kill "superbugs" while also preserving hearing.  In this study, researchers detail how newer antibiotics such as apramycin show the ability to kill bacterial germs without causing hearing loss.  While research is ongoing, the possibility of high-powered antibiotics that can combat bacteria without damaging a person's ability to hear appears to be within reach!

For more information on what medications can cause hearing loss, visit ASHA's website.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

How Hearing Loss Impacts Memory, Learning, and Comprehension

Credible, new studies are showing how hearing loss negatively impacts an individual's ability to  learn new skills, comprehend information, and remember what is heard.  Age and degree of hearing loss appear to be two of the main factors in determining a person's cognitive and perceptive levels of functioning.  In fact, one study equivocates increasing an individual's hearing threshold by 25 dB to adding seven years to the individual's age.  Research conducted at Johns Hopkins University Center on Aging and Health has demonstrated that people with greater levels of age-related hearing loss also possess lower cognitive scores.  This study clearly demonstrated that hearing loss is independently associated with lower results on a standard cognitive test.  Because of this, people aged 60 and older are strongly encouraged to have their hearing evaluated regularly to avoid any hearing-loss-related cognitive decline.  Maximizing a hearing loss sufferer's remaining level of hearing is critical to learning new skills, memory, and information comprehension.

For more information on this research, click here!

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Is Hearing Loss Genetic?

It's estimated that nearly 90% of all children with hearing loss have parents with normal hearing.  However, genetics do play a role in both congenital hearing loss and hearing loss that occurs later in life.  Research shows that genetic factors cause more than 50% of all incidents of children born with hearing loss (View the ASHA article).  Other causes of congenital hearing loss include prenatal infections, prenatal illnesses, and maternal diabetes.

Some children inherit the tendency to develop hearing loss later in life.  Genetic research teaches us that if a child has one parent who carries a dominant genetic mutation for hearing loss (and typically exhibits hearing loss), each child has a 50% chance of having hearing loss.  If two parents have a recessive mutation for hearing loss (and typically normal hearing), each child has a 25% chance of having hearing loss.  For more information about hearing loss and genetics, visit the ASHA and CDC websites.

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Water Resistant Hearing Aids from Phonak

Phonak, one of the industry's leading hearing aid manufacturers, has introduced an entire line of water resistant hearing aids.  Phonak's M H20 series of  hearing aids (Naida, Ambra, Solana, Cassia, and Nios) feature a water, sweat, moisture, and dust resistant coating and sealant.  While these hearing aids are not waterproof (they cannot be submerged in water), the coating and sealant will protect the hearing aid's electronics from moisture, sweat, and dust.  Phonak's M H20 hearing aids are available in all technology levels for people with mild to severe hearing loss.  This line of hearing aid is ideal for anyone who seeks a durable hearing instrument that can be worn while performing recreational or occupational activities such as golfing or landscaping.  Don't hesitate to call Dr. Dungan or Dr. Barron to see if this style of hearing aid may be right for you.

For more information about Phonak M H20 line of hearing instruments, visit their website!