hearing loss

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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Start the New Year with New Ears: Why be left out of the conversation?

Posted on December 28, 2016. Filed under: hearing loss, hearing products |

hearing-loss-facts

Hearing is so essential to enjoying our everyday lives. Without it, conversations are awkward, music is dull and the laughter at family gatherings is muffled.

You may have noticed some of the above symptoms of hearing loss at your family gatherings over the holidays. Perhaps you found it difficult to make out what a grandchild was saying to you at Thanksgiving dinner, or you had to frequently ask people to repeat themselves. It can be as frustrating for our families and friends as it can be for those of us with hearing loss.

Why leave yourself out of the conversation? You don’t have to go through life hearing as if you have a set of earmuffs on your ears. Here are some reasons to finally get that hearing aid you’ve been putting off so long:

  1. Improved family life. Gael Hannan at Hearing Health Matters said one of the top reasons to get good hearing aids is to improve your family life. She said, “Relatives and friends will start listening to you again when it’s clear that you’re now hearing them. It’s not a person’s hearing loss that irritates family members, but the unwillingness to admit their loss and do something about it.”In addition, Hannan said your social life will improve when you get good hearing aids. “You’ll be able to converse better in noisy situations,” she said. Crowded gatherings of family and friends often produce a din of conversation and noise that can make it extra difficult for those of us with hearing loss to zero in on what someone is saying to us. A good set of hearing aids will remove that issue.

    One source said your spouse will be relieved that he or she doesn’t have to serve as your interpreter anymore, and grandkids won’t have to put up with you saying “What?” hundreds of times.

  2. Be fully engaged in life, everywhere. This piece from the New York Times said hearing-impaired patients would often live with hearing loss for seven to 10 years before seeing an audiologist and getting hearing aids. The article quoted Dr. Linda S. Remensnyder, who said, “The Number One thing I get from patients is ‘I hear what I want to hear.’ What they don’t understand is that in order to be fully engaged in life, you have to be fully engaged everywhere.”Good hearing can help us be more engaged in life, whether we’re paying for groceries, ordering food at a restaurant, or playing with our grandchildren. Dr. Eric Hagberg was quoted in the same NYT article, where he said, “I tell patients who deny they have a problem, even after testing, to go home and pay attention to every time they say, ‘What?’ or they miss the punchline on TV or ask people to repeat something. They usually come back in a week,” at which point, he said, they’re ready for a hearing aid. They realize they are not fully engaged in life.
  3. Improved memory — and hearing — retention. For years, researchers have studied the link between hearing loss and dementia. This study examined the relationship and found that hearing loss is independently associated with incident all-cause dementia. It said further study was warranted to determine whether hearing loss is a marker for early-stage dementia or is a modifiable risk factor. The New York Times article linked above said with severe hearing loss, the risk of dementia can be five times as high.Beyond that, the NYT article said those who delay getting hearing aids may be making it worse on themselves. This goes along with the “If you don’t use it, you lose it” idea, according to one doctor the Times That doctor related the case of a nurse who, at age 90, has lived alone without auditory stimulation for years. “She doesn’t understand 50% of the words, and I can’t reverse that now,” the doctor said.
  4. Improved balance. Our quality of life is improved by our ability to stay mobile. But according to a study quoted by The Daily Mail, even mild hearing loss can result in a threefold increased risk of falling. The article said researchers suggested the brain may not be able to focus on balance and taking steady steps when it is struggling with hearing.The study reportedly said those with a 25-decibel hearing loss — classified as “mild” — were nearly three times more likely to have a medical history of falling, and every 10-decibel loss after that point increased by 1.4 times the likelihood of falling. The findings reportedly held true regardless of race, gender, age and other demographic information.

    Improved hearing could improve our ability to be mobile and confident in our movements, which has health benefits in addition to the social benefits of being more active with our family and friends.

If you’ve noticed you’re having difficulty hearing, don’t put off hearing aids another year. Make 2017 the year you get your New Ears for the New Year.

Image Source: National Institutes of Health

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Study Suggests Hearing Loss Could Be Reversible

Posted on September 9, 2016. Filed under: hearing loss, news |

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Is hearing loss reversible?

Although it may be treatable with hearing aids and other devices, the answer to the much-asked question of whether hearing loss can be cured has always been a definitive “no”.

Why is that? Well, much hearing loss is caused by damaged hair cells in the ear. Our hearing works, in part, by having lots of tiny hair cells detect and conduct sound to the auditory nerve, which carries sound signals to the brain. When exposed to loud noises, however, these cells become damaged or die, leading to hearing loss. The more hair cells that are damaged, the less hearing you have. So far, no one has discovered any way to repair or replace these cells.

But a new study undertaken by Dutch company, Audion Therapeutics is muddying the waters in the best possible way. This study has found that it may be possible, in the future, to regrow new hair cells.  The doctors who oversaw the study got the idea from reading a report about a trial run of a new dementia drug. The drug, which involved a molecule called a “notch inhibitor”, had side effects that the researchers thought might be perfect for treating hearing loss. Now the company has shown that this molecule can grow new hair cells in laboratory settings. They hope to use the findings to develop a foam that could be applied to the ear and then grow back lost hair cells, restoring hearing naturally and permanently.

This study is not the first recent study to suggest that hearing damage might be treated more successfully in the future. Two years ago, a study completed at Stanford by the Stanford Initiative to Cure Hearing Loss (SICHL) found that a certain medication might be effective in limiting the damage to the inner ear caused by exposure to noise. However, the researchers then said that they needed to find a way to regrow hair cells in order to make their medication effective. The new study by Audion may be exactly what the Stanford researchers need.

All this is exciting news, but don’t throw away your hearing aids just yet – the treatment may take many years to develop. It is still in the planning phase, and will take a long time and many clinical trials before they are sure that it is both safe and effective in humans.

In the meantime, people looking for help with hearing loss can still contact New Generation Hearing Centers for quick and compassionate treatment with the most cutting-edge technology available in hearing aids.

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