hearing education

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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October is National Protect Your Hearing Month

Posted on October 6, 2016. Filed under: hearing education |

National hearing monthDid you know that October is National Protect Your Hearing Month and National Audiology Awareness Month? These official, recognized months were designated by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) to help raise awareness about noise-induced hearing loss, the only known kind of preventable hearing loss. In conjunction with the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), the NIDCD hopes to help spread the word about the importance of protecting your hearing from loud noises you may encounter everyday: construction work, traffic, music playing through your headphones, and all the different kinds of loud noises people in many different professions are exposed to as a result of their jobs.

Noise-induced hearing loss is permanent and can build over time. In fact, a 2010 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that as much as 16% of teenagers already report some hearing loss caused by exposure to loud noise. This hearing loss will not go away and could get worse as the teenagers age if they don’t take precautions in the future. Since it’s an audiologist’s job to evaluate, diagnose, and treat hearing disorders, audiologists are particularly interested in helping the public understand the ways they can protect their hearing from this very common and preventable cause of hearing loss. (That’s why October is also National Audiology Awareness Month – many people do not even know what an audiologist does.)

The most fundamental three steps recommended to protect your hearing are:

  1. Lower the volume – If you can control the level of noise around you, like from televisions or stereos, turn the volume down to where you can also hear other noises in the room.
  2. Move away – If you can’t control how loud something is, put some distance between you and the noise. The farther away you are from the noise, the less likely it is to damage your hearing.
  3. Wear protection – Try earplugs or earmuffs if you can’t leave a noisy place.

Sometimes, you may not even realize just how loud some noises can be, especially if you are used to them. For instance, the sound of a lawn mower while mowing can be dangerous after long or repeated exposure. It’s a good idea to wear earplugs when mowing or using power tools. Even a loud blender can be damaging if you use it often enough. For more information on the decibel level (loudness level) of common noises, see this free publication or this family-friendly website.

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Caffeine and Hearing Loss

Posted on August 19, 2016. Filed under: hearing education, news |

Can coffee impact your hearing?

Bad news for coffee lovers. A new study done by scientists at McGill University in Canada has linked coffee and hearing loss. The study focused on a particular kind of hearing loss called noise-induced hearing loss. According to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), about 15% of Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have this kind of hearing loss, which is caused by frequent exposure to loud noise, either at work or during leisure activities (like concert-going). When the body is exposed to loud noises, it has a natural ability to recover its hearing capacity within about 72 hours. However, if the damage was severe enough, the noise-induced hearing loss may be permanent.

McGill’s study involved three groups of guinea pigs, two of which were given the equivalent of one cup of coffee every day for 15 days, and one of which not given any coffee. Then, one group of the caffeinated guinea pigs and one group of non-caffeinated guinea pigs were exposed to one hour of loud noises (in the 110 decibel range) one two separate days about a week apart.

As it turned out, of the two groups which were exposed to the loud noises, the group that was not given the coffee had recovered their hearing almost completely seven days later. By contrast, the group that was given coffee did not recover a lot of their hearing range. The study authors concluded that caffeine consumption, even in small doses like a single cup of coffee a day, can reduce the body’s ability to recover from noise-induced hearing loss. Since 54% of Americans drink coffee every day, this puts a lot of us at risk for the most common kind of hearing loss there is.

The good news is that noise-induced hearing loss is the only kind of hearing loss that is directly and completely preventable. Simply understanding what noises are dangerous (anything above 85 decibels, or about the loudness of a hammer or a vacuum cleaner) and avoiding them, or wearing earplugs or other ear protection during exposure to such loud noises, will prevent any noise-induced damage.

For more on the different types of hearing loss and what can or cannot be prevented, check out our blog called the 4 Types of Hearing Loss.

 

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