Abstract: Dementia and hearing loss are both prevalent in older people. Until relatively recently there was little appreciation of their possible interconnection in terms of cause, effect and relationship between the two conditions other than perhaps the dictum—”if you can’t hear it you can not remember it”. It has now become apparent that there is a more defined relationship in terms of possible causality or at least partial patho-physiological association which makes it more important to define hearing loss early on and address it as part of the strategy to decrease the risk of dementia.
Do not discount hearing loss as part of assessment of the range of cognitive impairment and dementia.
Look for appropriate strategies to address hearing loss in elders with early cognitive impairment who may shun standard hearings aids—use the simpler Pocketalker (R) which may fulfil the important goal of enhancing hearing and communication.
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Jerome D. Schein, PhD, Professor Emeritus, New York University, New York, NY, USA; Adjunct Professor, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB. Maurice H. Miller, PhD, Department of Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology Steinhardt School of Education, New York University, New York, NY, USA.
For persons whose hearing does not return in 60–90 days following idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (ISSNHL), audiologic rehabilitation should be provided. This article describes aspects of audiologic rehabilitation, including counselling, information about lifestyle changes, and techniques (such as amplification) for overcoming the communication handicap ISSNHL imposes. Advantages and limitations of various hearing aids are presented. Key words: audiology, counselling, hearing aids, otology, rehabilitation, sensorineural, hearing loss.
Christopher J. Danner, MD, Fellow Otology/Neurotology/Skull Base Surgery and Jeffery P. Harris, MD, PhD, Departmental Chairman, Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, University of California--San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA.
Multiple factors lead to the cause and progression of presbycusis or hearing loss secondary to increased age. Noise trauma, genetic predisposition and oxidative damage all have been implicated in its development. Tinnitus, a frequent side effect of hearing loss, often has its origin within the central auditory system. A classification scheme for hearing loss and treatment options for tinnitus are discussed. Key words: hearing loss, presbycusis, tinnitus, free radicals, central auditory system.
Among Seniors there is a High Prevalence of Hearing Loss but Low Incidence of Disclosure
Nadia Sandor, MSc
Audiologist, Mt. Sinai Hospital
Elderly listeners often have difficulties with their hearing in typical, everyday situations. For example, they may fail to hear faint sounds, especially in an area with a great deal of background noise. They may also have difficulty ascertaining the direction from which a sound is coming--for instance, determining whether the telephone is ringing in the kitchen or whether the ringing is coming from a television program.1 Finally, they may have trouble distinguishing between or understanding persons talking in a restaurant or at the dinner table. Moreover, these difficulties with hearing become more apparent and more debilitating when the listening environment is more complex (such as at a large noisy gathering in a highly reverberant room).1
Hearing loss starts as early as the third or fourth decade of life, and it is well known that both its incidence and prevalence increase with advancing age.2 Auditory deficits, which differ from hearing loss in that they encompass hearing threshold changes and changes in temporal and spectral resolution, also increase markedly with age, beginning in the fourth decade. Hearing loss has been identified as the most prevalent chronic disability among older adults, exceeded only by arthritis and hypertension.