health

Is Hearing Loss Genetic?

Posted on June 26, 2017. Filed under: health, hearing education, hearing loss |

Do you ever catch yourself asking people to repeat themselves? Do you find yourself having difficulties while hearing what people have to say? Well, it may be possible that you are suffering from some type of hearing loss.

While you ask yourself “how can that be?” it is important to note that according to the Hearing Loss Association of America, about 20 percent of Americans report some sort of hearing impairment. That’s 48 million people in the U.S. alone, many of who may have been born with a genetic defect.
Genetic hearing loss can occur either in one or both ears, and is often a common reason as to why many people suffer from hearing impairments. It can either be present from birth or the symptoms can start appearing later in life.

Genetic hearing loss can be divided as follows:

1. Progressive hearing loss: in this case, the person experiences some minor difficulties when it first appears. But these little issues get worse with the years. At first, you may just think that turning the volume up, or asking people to repeat themselves, is enough; but the issue gets bigger and bigger as the years pass by. One day, turning the music up won’t do it.

2. Non-progressive hearing loss: in this case, the intensity of deafness remains the same regardless of time. A person who experiences this kind of hearing impairment can have some degree of certainty about their condition, since their deafness should remain at the same level as to when it was first detected.

3. Syndromic hearing loss: in this case, deafness is the result of another clinical problem, i.e., it’s a side effect of another condition. This form of hearing loss accounts for as much as 30% of the cases, with over 400 syndromes that are known to cause some degree of impairment. Some of them are: Usher syndrome, Stickler syndrome, Waardenburg syndrome and Alport’s syndrome.

4. Non-syndromic hearing loss: in this case, deafness is not caused by another condition, i.e., the genetic defect only affects hearing. This form of deafness accounts for the remaining 70% of the cases, with recessive genes being responsible most of the time.
If you remember school well, you know that genes carry the information that makes us who we are. They play a key role in defining our physical traits and our health. So, if we get defective genes from our parents, a health problem, such as deafness, can be the result.

That’s why we would like to give you a brief explanation of the four types of non-syndromic hearing loss:
a) Autosomal Dominant: in this case, one of the parents suffers from hearing loss. And the gene that causes the impairment is passed on to the offspring. There is a 50% chance that the offspring will suffer from some form of deafness.

b) Autosomal Recessive: in this case, both parents enjoy normal hearing levels, but they carry a recessive deafness gene. There is a 25% chance that the child will suffer from some form of hearing loss.

c) X-linked: in this case, it is the mother who carries the recessive gene in one of her X chromosomes. This particular type is more likely to affect men rather than women. If a woman inherits a defective X chromosome, the other one will usually compensate for the defect.

d) Mitochondrial: in this case, it is the mother again who passes the gene on to the child. The father cannot pass the gene on because sperm does not have mitochondria in it. Therefore, this type of hearing loss can only be inherited from the mitochondria that is present in the mother’s eggs.
If you would like more information on genetic hearing loss or you feel like you may be suffering from hearing loss, contact Dr. Joseph K. Durán at New Generation Hearing Centers today.

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Better Living Through Science: the Amazing Technology Behind the Latest Oticon Opn Hearing Aids

Posted on February 24, 2017. Filed under: health, hearing education, hearing loss, hearing products, news |

New Generation Hearing Centers is excited to announce that we now carry Oticon Opn™ hearing aids.

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These incredible devices have recently received prestigious awards in two different categories – Tech for a Better World and Wearable Technologies – at the 2017 CES Innovation Awards in Las Vegas. That’s because Oticon Opn hearing aids contain groundbreaking features that are truly changing the landscape of hearing aid technology. Read on to get a taste of what these small, but powerful devices can really do.

 

Connectivity

Perhaps the coolest feature of the Oticon Opn line of hearing aids is their connectivity. They are the world’s first hearing aids that are WiFi-enabled and Bluetooth capable, allowing them to connect directly to the internet. Using the Oticon ON app – which can be downloaded to your smartphone – you can connect your hearing aid to any smart device, including laptops, TVs, phones, and even smoke detectors, doorbells or alarm clocks.
This means that you can stream sound directly from your devices into your ears. Want to watch a movie or listen to an album? No problem. Want to make sure you don’t miss your alarm in the morning, forget a calendar appointment, or fail to notice that your phone battery is low? The Oticon ON app capatible with the Oticon Opn allows you to set audio notifications for all of those things, which can be sent directly to your in-ear device, ensuring that you’ll always hear them.

 

Next Level Performance

Hey, connectivity isn’t everything. Maybe you’re a not a very tech-savvy person, and you just want a great hearing aid. The Oticon Opn is still a fantastic choice. It delivers several performance features you can’t find anywhere else.
For instance, traditional hearing aids pick up on only one sound – like someone talking – and suppress other sounds, in order to help you focus on what you want to hear. This has the disadvantage of canceling out environmental sounds you might actually want to hear, like background music or traffic noise. Oticon’s groundbreaking Multiple Speaker Access Technology (MSAT) uses multiple speakers to deliver access to a complete, 360-degree range of hearing.

However that doesn’t mean you’ll be drowned in noise. The technology is sufficiently advanced to automatically detect and analyze different sounds, even in noisy environments, to help figure out what you might like to hear. It can reduce noise even between words when you’re having a conversation, and provide you with a balanced hearing experience.

The Opn line also has the fastest processing speed of any hearing aid available. That means it picks up and cancels noise faster than other hearing aids in the market.

 

Expanded Hearing Support

 What if you have more serious hearing loss than the average person? The Oticon Opn family of hearing aids actually comes in three different models: Opn 1, Opn 2, and Opn 3. These three models represent different performance levels, suitable for different levels of hearing loss, for a personalized experience. They can be fitted up to 105 dB of hearing loss, meaning that even people with severe or profound hearing loss can experience the benefits from these forward-thinking devices.

The Oticon Opn hearing aids are now available at New Generation Hearing Centers. To find out more information about the Oticon Opn line, visit us at miamihearingaids.com or give us a call today at 305-551-7222.

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How Alzheimer’s and Depression are Linked to Hearing Loss

Posted on February 16, 2017. Filed under: health, Hear the World, hearing education, hearing health, hearing loss, news | Tags: , , , , , |

Senior Woman Comforting Depressed Husband Sitting On Bench

There are at least 38 million people who suffer from hearing loss throughout America. Many senior citizens expect to lose their hearing over time but few know that it could increase the chances for depression and even increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, hearing loss can influence every aspect of an individual’s life ranging from decreased social interaction to the unwanted symptoms of depression over a period of time.

However, dedicated scientists at Johns Hopkins University noticed patterns and similar traits from these conditions and wanted to take a closer look to examine how Alzheimer’s, depression and hearing loss are associated.

These scientists have determined that symptoms of these three conditions overlap and negatively influence one another. Essentially, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia very closely mimic the symptoms of hearing loss, which can further the symptoms of depression felt by sufferers. When an individual suffers from hearing loss, they are more susceptible to social isolation, a decline in thinking skills and even cognitive impairment.

The Link Between Hearing Loss and Dementia

It has been proven that processing auditory information, like speech, uses a large portion of the brain as sound sends signals to the primary auditory cortex of the brain. When an individual suffers from hearing loss, the brain activity gradually lessens, which causes a reduction of gray matter over time. As such, the brain begins to shrink when certain parts are not used much like how muscles react if they are not used on a regular basis.

The researchers at Johns Hopkins University discovered that the more severe the hearing loss is in an individual, the more likely they were to develop dementia. The amount of hearing loss an individual suffers from can actually cause an increase in dementia because the brain is not stimulated enough. When you combine the amount of time an individual suffers from each of these symptoms, this can cause a real change in an individual’s life.

How Hearing Loss and Dementia Influence Depression

Hearing loss can cause depression due to isolation, withdrawal from social activities and negatively impact the way individuals process auditory information. The combination of hearing loss and dementia increases the amount of mental confusion experienced from day to day. In fact, the symptoms of hearing loss and dementia are often overlooked, which leads to deeper episodes of stress and depression.

Researchers were also able to observe and identify how closely hearing loss is related to depression. As time goes on, individuals may suffer from longer periods of depression and loss of communication, which negatively effects normal brain stimulation. What is most disturbing about how these conditions are associated is that mild cognitive problems and hearing loss is becoming increasingly accepted over time.

Without further observation, symptoms of all conditions may grow worse over time. The studies on these three conditions shows that without adequate brain stimulation, an individual is more prone to feel hopeless and isolated. Not only is hearing one of our most valued senses but without being able to hear and communicate effectively, the brain becomes weaker and unable to function optimally.

If you seem to be losing your hearing or have a loved one suffering from hearing loss, don’t hesitate to contact New Generation Hearing. Dr. Joseph K. Durán and Yvette Durán Someillán empathize with their patients and understand how hearing loss, when untreated, can lead to other health related problems. Give them a call today at (305) 551-7222.

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How to clean your ears

Posted on January 17, 2017. Filed under: health, news |

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Image: National Institutes of Health

Have you ever paid attention to the fine print on a box of cotton swabs? If so, you may have rolled your eyes at the part that cautions you not to insert cotton swabs into your ear canal.

But according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology (AAO), you should heed that warning. Here’s what the group of ear, nose, and throat doctors had to say about cleaning your ears:

“Good intentions to keep ears clean may weaken the ability to hear. The ear is a delicate and intricate body part, including the skin of the ear canal and the eardrum. Therefore, special care should be given to this part of the body. Start by discontinuing the habit of inserting cotton-tipped applicators or other objects into the ear canals.”

Having said that, it’s important to note that earwax does serve a vital purpose. It helps keep your ear canals clean and has lubricating and antibacterial properties, according to the AAO. The group said putting cotton swabs into the ear canal could actually harm your ability to hear because it can result in earwax becoming impacted in the ear canal near the eardrum, or it could even result in perforation of the eardrum if you insert the cotton swab too deep into the ear canal.

So how can you keep your ears clean without risking these negative outcomes of using cotton swabs? Here are three easy methods.

  1. The oil method: This method of cleaning your ears involves putting an almost minuscule amount of baby oil or mineral oil into your ear canal — just a drop or two. The oil will soften any earwax buildup and allow it to more easily exit the ear, making it easy to remove when you bathe or wash your face by using a warm wash rag on the exterior of the ear. Hydrogen peroxide, glycerin, or carbamide peroxide may also prove effective at helping soften earwax.
  2. The warm-water irrigation method: In this method, you warm some water or saline (salt water) to body temperature — 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or at least pretty close. You then use a syringe to get the warm water into the ear canal, flushing it repeatedly. The reason you should use body-temperature water is to prevent possible dizziness that can result when too-cold water is injected into the ear. Use caution not to place the syringe too deep into the ear canal when irrigating.
  3. The vacuum method: This method can be performed safely at home using a number of consumer-grade devices such as this one, or you can visit your otologist — fancy-speak for ear doctor — periodically to have your ears checked for any buildup of wax.

A further note about earwax: In most individuals, ear wax will work its way out of the ear canal thanks largely to movement of the jaw. Chewing is particularly effective at causing the ear canals to move, encouraging wax to move out. But there are exceptions to every rule, and this is no different. Some people may have particularly narrow ear canals or other physical characteristics that make it more difficult for earwax to come out naturally. Using the above methods after seeking the advice of your ear doctor can certainly help, however.

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Four easy exercises for seniors

Posted on December 20, 2016. Filed under: health | Tags: |

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Have you ever heard the saying, “If you don’t use it, you lose it?”

That saying is often applied to things like paid vacation days or perishable foods. But it also applies to our bodies. As we age, it becomes more important to maintain a healthy level of activity to keep our muscles and bones strong and our joints flexible.

With that in mind, here are four easy exercises designed to help us keep our stamina, strength and range of motion:

  1. The Daily Walk

Perhaps the most important exercise that anyone — of any age — can do is an “endurance exercise.”  These are also known as cardiovascular exercises; walking is among the easiest for most of us to work into our daily routines.

Other cardio exercises include jogging, swimming and bicycling. These exercises primarily increase your heart rate and make you breathe harder. But how do you know when you’re doing enough? According to the National Institutes on Health (NIH) National Institute on Aging, if you can talk without any trouble, you’re not working hard enough, but if you can’t talk at all, you’re working too hard. NIH recommends at least 30 minutes of this level of cardiovascular activity per day.

It’s easy to think cardiovascular exercise is different from strength-building exercises (see below), but both build muscle. Cardiovascular exercise just builds the most important muscle: the heart.

  1. The Step-Over

This is a great way to work on strengthening our legs, hips and core muscles, which help us maintain our balance and confidence. As described at SeniorPlanet, the exercise goes something like this:

  • First, stand with your feet close together and your hands on your hips. If balance is a concern, it’s OK to hang onto a countertop or the back of a sturdy chair.
  • Next, lift your right leg up to the side
  • Finally, bring your right leg down, as if you just stepped over a large suitcase

Repeat the exercise, but next time, raise the left leg.

Strengthening exercises like this one build muscle mass, making it easier for us to do things like lift groceries or grandchildren. Former U.S. Surgeon General, David Satcher said strength exercises are essential to helping us maintain dignity and independence as we age.

“Essential to staying strong and vital during older adulthood is participation in regular strengthening exercises, which help to prevent osteoporosis and frailty by stimulating the growth of muscle and bone,” Satcher said. “Feeling physically strong also promotes mental and emotional health. Strength training exercises are easy to learn, and have been proven safe and effective through years of thorough research.”

Other strengthening exercises you might want to try include wall pushups — like doing a traditional pushup, only against a wall instead of the floor — and toe stands, where you repeatedly raise yourself up on your tip-toes while holding onto a sturdy support such as a kitchen chair. While it is easy to think of lifting weights or using complicated gym equipment when it comes to strengthening exercises, those things are not a requirement for improving the strength and function of our muscles.

  1. The Sleeping Flamingo

While the Step-Over (see above) is both a strengthening and, partially, a balance exercise, the Sleeping Flamingo is an exercise focused almost totally on improving the muscles that help us maintain our balance. This is an important consideration as we age.

Doing the Sleeping Flamingo is as simple as standing on one leg. Like the Step-Over, you may wish to hold onto a sturdy kitchen chair or countertop while doing this exercise, and that’s OK. According to the National Institute on Aging, this exercise should lead you to improved balance such that, after you’ve established a routine of doing it, you’ll eventually be able to do it without holding on to a balance aid.

Other balance-improving exercises you may want to try include walking heel-to-toe, a balance walk, and Tai Chi.

Improving our balance can help us avoid falls, which is a leading cause of injury among older Americans.

  1. The Sky-Toe Stretch

This exercise is one of several stretch exercises that are good for seniors like us.

To do it, you start by laying on the floor on your back. After you’re in position:

  • Bend your left knee and place your left foot flat on the floor
  • Raise your right leg with your knee slightly bent
  • Keep raising your right leg until you can grab it with your hands. Make sure to keep your head and shoulders flat on the floor.
  • Grab your right leg and gently pull it toward your body until you feel a stretching sensation.
  • Hold steady in this position for 30 seconds if you can, and repeat the exercise three to five times.

Be sure to repeat this exercise for the left leg, too.

The National Institute on Aging has a whole range of stretching exercises for you to consider adding to your routine.

Stretching exercises help us maintain flexibility, improving our freedom of movement when doing everyday things such as getting dressed or reaching for things. Maintaining our range of motion also decreases the likelihood we will suffer muscle or joint injury from doing one of those routine things.

As with any exercise regimen, always consult with your doctor before trying any of the above exercises.

Here’s to a New Year and a healthier us!

Image courtesy of National Institutes on Health/National Institute on Aging.

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