News

Studying Difficulties in Sound Localization

HHF partner Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech published briefings on three Emerging Research Grants (ERG) recipients’ projects that investigate Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD).

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CAPD causes one to have trouble with sound localization, specifically in their ability to isolate a sound source in social environments. Individuals with CAPD also have difficulty decoding the meaning of language, even though they do not necessarily have a hearing loss. CAPD occurs when the part of the brain that translates what the ear delivers does not function properly.

The individual works of ERG recipients Elizabeth McCullagh, Ph.D., Andrew Dimitrijevic, Ph.D., and Yoojin Chung, Ph.D. are summarized in the Clarke news piece.

Combined, their research efforts and related studies will lead the way to possible CAPD medical intervention, including that for children and cochlear implant recipients.

Read full piece from Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech here.

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Untreated Hearing Loss Puts Overall Health at Risk

Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) CEO Nadine Dehgan’s “Treating Hearing Health for Better Overall Health” was published online to My Prime Time News following its original print appearance in The American Legion’s December 2017 issue.

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The article details how the state of the inner ear impacts other critical functions, like the heart and the brain. Cited are the various conditions that can arise as a result of untreated hearing loss, including cardiovascular disease, dementia, diabetes,  depression, and falls. When the auditory system is functioning well, however, the risk for these ailments declines.

Additionally, hearing loss is also linked to other medical conditions and drugs. People with anemia are twice as likely to have hearing loss. According to Peter Steyger, Ph.D., a scientific adviser to HHF. Further, certain cancer-fighting chemotherapy drugs, such as cisplatin, may permanently harm hearing.

While the relationship between hearing health and overall health is always significant, the publicity of “Treating Hearing Health for Better Overall Health” is an especially timely and helpful follow-up to ERG recipient Harrison Lin, M.D.’s new findings concerning the gaps between self-reported hearing loss and patients evaluation and treatments for hearing loss, which appeared in this month’s issue of JAMA Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery.

Individuals who believe they may have a hearing loss are encouraged to consult an audiologist or ENT, and can learn more about the relationship between hearing health and overall health in the full article on My Prime Time News.

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HHF Launches Faces of Hearing Loss Campaign

Think of someone you know who has hearing loss. Who do you see?

You envision a relative, but you are not thinking of your 4-year-old niece. A neighbor comes to mind, but not the 32-year-old who lives across the street.

This is a trick question. Hearing loss—and related conditions like tinnitus, Ménière's disease, and hyperacusis—can affect anyone, anywhere. Hearing loss is your 4-year-old niece, your 32-year-old neighbor, your colleague in her mid-20s. Hearing loss affects every age, race, ethnicity, and gender.

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No one is immune from developing a hearing and balance disorder—and hearing loss has no single face. To refute common misconceptions that it only affects older adults, HHF has collected images of individuals living with a hearing condition to capture the diversity of its impact across the country. These are HHF’s “Faces of Hearing Loss.”

Participants shared their picture, current age, state of residence, type of hearing condition, and the age at onset or diagnosis. Among the tens of millions of Americans with hearing loss are an 11-year-old boy in Oregon, an 80-year-old woman living in Washington, and a 47-year-old man in North Dakota. These individuals may never meet, but “Faces of Hearing Loss” connects them through their shared experiences.

If you or a loved one has hearing loss, please consider participating in “Faces of Hearing Loss” by completing this brief form, sending in picture, and answering a few basic questions. If you are the parent of a child under 18, you may sign a release form on their behalf.

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Talk to Your Loved Ones About Hearing Loss, HHF Urges in Renew Magazine

Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) Board of Directors member Anil Lalwani, M.D. and Communications and Programs Manager Laura Friedman recently shared their expertise about untreated hearing loss and how to encourage a loved one—with compassion—to get help.

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The story, "Heart of Hearing," is found on page 26 in the latest issue of Renew, a publication of United Healthcare and AARP. 

“Regardless of age, type of hearing loss, or cause, if left untreated or undetected, hearing loss can have negative effects on your well-being,” says the Hearing Health Foundation’s Laura Friedman. “Untreated hearing loss can lead to numerous negative social, psychological, cognitive and health effects, and can seriously impact professional and personal life, at times leading to isolation and depression.” 

As the consequences of untreated hearing loss can be devastating, Anil Lalwani urges readers to offer encouragement to their loved ones with untreated hearing loss. 

“Often the individual with hearing loss is unaware of what they cannot hear,” explains Lalwani. Whether you think your loved one is aware of his or her potential hearing loss or not, it’s important to approach the topic lovingly."

Read the full piece in Renew magazine on page 26

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The Hearing Journey: What Matters to You?

By Laura Friedman

Participants used post-it notes to express their desired improvements to the hearing journey. Photo by Darcy Benson.

Participants used post-it notes to express their desired improvements to the hearing journey. Photo by Darcy Benson.

Recently, in October 2017, I represented Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) at a seminar that took place in Skodsborg, Denmark, where I and 30 other attendees from around the world were tasked with closely exploring and developing tactical strategies to better the patient experience when receiving audiological care.

The seminar conversations focused on person-centered care, a treatment model that focuses on the whole person, rather than just the ailment or condition experienced by the patient. The peer-reviewed Permanente Journal says that person-centered care is “based on accumulated knowledge of people, which provides the basis for better recognition of health problems and needs over time and facilitates appropriate care for these needs in the context of other needs.” Furthering this sentiment, the World Health Organization identifies empowerment, participation, the central role of the family, and an end to discrimination as the core values of person-centered care.

The two-day symposium was titled, “The Hearing Journey: What Matters to You?” The 31 attendees fell into one or more of the following groups: individuals with hearing loss, representatives from prominent consumer-driven associations for people with hearing loss, audiologists, and hearing healthcare thought leaders. The conference was hosted by the Ida Institute, a Denmark-based nonprofit that aims to better understand human dynamics associated with hearing loss.

The symposium participants pose as a group. Photo by Darcy Benson.

The symposium participants pose as a group. Photo by Darcy Benson.

One of the most eye-opening takeaways was recognizing that all those who are part of the care-cycle feel shared sentiments of frustration, poor communication, lack of access, and high costs. Addressing each of these hurdles from a variety of vantage points is key to bettering person-centered care and may not be limited to just audiological care, but rather medical care as whole.  

Exercises and projects resulted in several meaningful insights related to person-focused hearing healthcare. We spoke openly about stigma, barriers to rehabilitation, and the need for creating a “new narrative” for how we speak about hearing loss. Changing how we talk about hearing loss, such as how our current nomenclature addresses it as a loss or deficit, will hopefully play a role in changing social stigmas and taboos experienced by those who are hard of hearing, like myself.

HHF's Laura Friedman presents to the group with Paul Breckell, Chief Executive of Action on Hearing Loss. Photo by Darcy Benson.

HHF's Laura Friedman presents to the group with Paul Breckell, Chief Executive of Action on Hearing Loss. Photo by Darcy Benson.

All parties stressed the importance of including caregivers and family members in the rehabilitation process, and the need for a multidimensional model of care to address the psychological and emotional aspects of hearing care. This included developing a “human audiogram” to discuss diagnoses and their subsequent treatment options in more friendly terms that empowers the patient, rather than discouraging them. It was also advised that clinicians should be more cognizant that diagnoses are difficult for the patient to come to terms with and remember that the most successful patients want treatment, but that it may take time for them to feel motivated to take that next step. Follow-up appointments, rather than immediate discussion of treatment options, was a suggestion most agreed would serve the patient and clinician well.

I feel honored to had been afforded the opportunity to represent HHF at this important symposium and to meet and learn from fellow leaders in the hearing healthcare space. I look forward to working with Ida and my fellow attendees to develop and employ tangible tools and solutions to better a patient’s hearing journey both in and out the audiologist's office, as well as provided better resources to health care providers.

Laura Friedman is the Communications and Programs Manager of Hearing Health Foundation. Read her hearing loss story in the Spring 2016 issue of Hearing Health magazine.

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Idaho Seniors Receive Hearing Health Resources

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Idaho Senior News, the Gem State's oldest and largest publication for individuals 50+, printed hearing loss resources in its October 2017 edition. Authored by Hearing Health Foundation (HHF)'s Communications and Programs Manager Laura Friedman, the piece educates readers about hearing loss—the third most common health problem in the U.S.—noting that the condition is most common among older adults.

Left untreated in adults, hearing loss can "lead to considerable negative social, psychological, cognitive and health effects and can seriously impact professional and personal life, at times leading to isolation and depression," Laura writes. 

But there is good news. The most common form of hearing loss, noise-induced hearing loss, is preventable. "If you are in an environment where you have to shout to be heard, it is probably too loud."

Laura's full article, "Hear, Hear: All About Hearing Loss," is available in this PDF on the Idaho Senior News website on page 19

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5 Critical Facts About Hearing Protection

By Laura Friedman

October is National Protect Your Hearing Month. How many of these facts from Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) do you know?

Fact #1: Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is acquired from excessive noise

  • ~30 million U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels on the job

  • Nearly 1 in 5 American teenagers are expected to acquire hearing loss largely due to overexposure of loud sounds

  • 25% of Americans age 65-74 and nearly 50% of those 75+ have disabling hearing loss

  • Approximately two-thirds of service members and veterans have NIHL or tinnitus, or both

  • Many veterans also have processing disorders as a result of blast or high noise exposure

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Fact #2: NIHL is preventable. The measures needed to prevent NIHL are simple: “Walk, Block, and Turn. Walk away from the sound source, block your ears using ear plugs, and turn down the volume,” advises Nadine Dehgan, HHF’s CEO.

Fact #3: Musicians are 57% more likely to experience tinnitus and are almost four times more likely to develop NIHL than the general public. Sound onstage can reach up to 110 decibels (dB), the equivalent of a jackhammer. Prolonged exposure to loud noise causes hair cells of the inner ear to be damaged, leading to permanent hearing loss.

Fact #4: A portable listening device at maximum volume (105 dB) is louder than heavy city traffic, drills, noisy subway platform and equal to a table saw. Blasting the volume in earbuds hurts hearing. It is estimated that 20% of teenagers, an age group that frequently uses portable listening devices, will suffer from hearing loss from overexposure to noise.

Fact #5: Steps to identify and prevent hearing loss should begin at birth. In 1993, only 5% of newborns were tested for hearing loss at birth. Thanks to HHF’s instrumental role in passing Universal Newborn Hearing Screening legislation, today that number is 97%. Early detection and intervention helps diminish or even eliminate negative impacts of undetected hearing loss on social, academic and emotional development in children with hearing loss.

Receive updates on life-changing hearing research and resources by subscribing to HHF's free quarterly magazine and e-newsletter.

 
 
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In the Midst of Numerous Natural Disasters, HHF's Emergency Preparation Guide Makes Headlines

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HHF Communications and Program Manager's Laura Friedman's "Guide For Preparing For Emergencies When You Have Hearing Loss" recently made headlines in PRNewswire and many national news outlets.

As this year's vicious hurricane season carries on and, just yesterday, the effects of Mexico's devastating hurricane were felt in California, emergency preparation plans for individuals with hearing loss remain more critical than ever.

View the full press release, here.

 

 

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That Annoying Ringing in Your Ears Has a Name: Tinnitus

HHF's communications and programs manager, Laura Friedman, shared her knowledge of tinnitus treatments with Boomer in "Have You Heard? That Annoying Ringing in Your Ears has a Name: Tinnitus."

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There are currently no permanent solutions to cure this constant, unexplained noise, but the efforts of HHF's Hearing Restoration Project, an international scientific consortium working collaboratively in search of a biological cure for hearing loss, may produce one.

"One of the more interesting experimental treatment possibilities for tinnitus is reported by Laura Friedman...Since hair cell loss in the Corti (the organ containing sensory hair cells required for hearing) leads to hearing reduction, missing hairs may cause persistent imbalances in the auditory nerve, resulting in tinnitus. To address this possibility, the HHF’s Hearing Restoration Project is working to discover factors that would allow new human hair cells to be regenerated and restored in the Corti, or to convert non-sensory cells into hair cells."

Read the full article from Boomer, here.

 

 

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Welcome to HHF's New Website!

By Nadine Dehgan, CEO, Hearing Health Foundation

Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) proudly introduced a new website today, August 2. The contemporary design features an engaging storytelling format, clear calls to action, and mobile responsiveness, all of which will enable HHF to better serve and communicate with constituents.

Take a look around to familiarize yourself with HHF’s new virtual headquarters. Below are the site’s most exciting improvements:

Simplified Navigation Bar
We reduced our primary navigation bar to just six categories inspired by user analytics from our old website. Choose from About, How to Help, Research, News, Resources, and Hearing Loss. Between the home page and these six key sections, you will find everything you need.

Streamlined Donation & Partnership Hub
How to Help lists every single action that you can take to advance cures and treatments for hearing loss, tinnitus, and related conditions. The options shown here apply to both individual contributors and corporate partners.

Mobile-Friendliness
Did you ever visit the old HearingHealthFoundation.org on your cell phone? If you did, you probably quickly abandoned the page, frustrated by small text and the need to zoom in and out. Our new website fits perfectly on your smartphone or tablet. Try it!

Consolidation of Research Programs
The Research page provides information on our programs, Emerging Research Grants (ERG), Hearing Restoration Project (RFP), and, the newest, Ménière's Disease Grants (MRG), to keep you informed of our critical investigative work. The reorganization of the Research Programs will also more efficiently attract talented scientists who are researching cures and treatments.

Centralized E-Newsletter and Hearing Health Magazine Registration
Subscribing to HHF is no longer a two-step process. Conveniently opt into to our e-newsletter and free print magazine with fewer clicks on the Subscribe page. The modification will increase viewership and, therefore, hearing health awareness.

More Social Sharing Options
Share useful educational resources or inspiring blog posts with your friends and family seamlessly. Every page includes a sharing sidebar from which you can quickly send information through social media or email.

Ad Space
The new website is more customizable than the previous, allowing for greater advertising capacity. As a result, more organizations will be able to contribute to HHF’s life-changing research and education programs and show commitment to the many Americans with hearing loss, tinnitus, and related conditions.

We welcome your feedback about the new website in the comments section.

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