San Marcos — Audibel is proud to announce that Randy Schoenborn, owner of NewSound Hearing Aid Centers, was honored with the “So the World May Hear” award for his strong support of the Starkey Hearing Foundation. Audibel, a leading hearing technology company, presented the awards at the Audibel Summit held in Minneapolis, Minn., in June.
“I feel very honored to receive this award,” Schoenborn said. “I am proud to be able to work with the Starkey Hearing Foundation and support their important efforts to provide better hearing throughout the world.”
Schoenborn has participated in missions for the Starkey Hearing Foundation in Dallas, Israel, New Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Kathmandu, Mexico and various other destinations. He has been a generous supporter of their mission to provide better hearing throughout the world. He also was awarded the So the World May Hear Award in 2008.
NewSound Hearing Aid Centers provides a variety of hearing care services including hearing evaluations, video ear inspections, hearing instrument fittings, and hearing aid repairs. With more than 50 locations in Central and Southern Texas, NewSound provides patients with a number of convenient options to find out more about their hearing health. For more information or to set up an appointment with NewSound, call toll-free (877) 55-SOUND or visit newsoundhearing.com.
Audibel is a network of hearing healthcare professionals with more than 1,000 locations throughout the United States. Headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minn., the company prides itself on providing outstanding service and the highest quality technology to patients. For more information about Audibel, visit audibel.com.
Washington, DC, November 29, 2011 — Nearly thirty million Americans—almost twice as many as previously believed—suffer from persistent, chronic tinnitus, according to a new study by the Better Hearing Institute (BHI). That’s about ten percent of the U.S. population. And for people ages 65 to 84, that number jumps to almost 27 percent. Notably, the study also found that many tinnitus sufferers reported that their hearing aids significantly helped them with their tinnitus.
For many who suffer from it, tinnitus can be a source of endless torment and a continual drain on quality-of-life. Often referred to as “ringing in the ears,” tinnitus is the perception of a sound that has no external source. Tinnitus sufferers commonly describe the noise as a ringing, humming, buzzing, and/or cricket-like. Tinnitus can be constant or intermittent. And it can be heard in one ear, both ears, or in the head.
According to the BHI study, four in ten people experience their tinnitus more than 80 percent of the time; slightly more than one in four describe their tinnitus as loud; and about one in five describe their tinnitus as disabling or nearly disabling. Tinnitus is now the number one service-connected disability of returning military personnel from Iraq and Afghanistan. There currently is no known cure for tinnitus.
“The good news is there are effective therapies available to help people cope,” said Sergei Kochkin, PhD, BHI’s Executive Director and co-author of the study. “In particular, we found that a variety of sound therapies and/or hearing aids in conjunction with counseling can help. In fact, 43.5 percent of survey respondents with tinnitus were helped at least mildly with hearing aids. And 3 out of 10 were helped moderately-to-substantially. For those whose audiologists used best practices in fitting hearing aids, that figure jumped to 50 percent.”
According to the study, people with tinnitus report that it most often affects their ability to hear (39%), concentrate (26%), and sleep (20%). Yet for many, tinnitus is even more pervasive. Twelve percent of respondents—or 3.6 million people when extrapolated to the general population—say their tinnitus affects leisure activities, social life, personal relationships, and emotional or mental health. Seven percent of respondents—or an estimated 2.1 million people nationwide—indicate that tinnitus affects their ability to work.
“Persistent, chronic tinnitus is a highly intrusive, increasingly common condition that can interfere with a person’s cognition, ability to interact with family and friends, and basic life functions,” said Jennifer Born, study co-author and Director of Public Affairs at the American Tinnitus Association (ATA). “Much progress is still needed in understanding tinnitus and finding a cure. But the results of this study are highly encouraging and prove that many tinnitus sufferers can experience relief and improved quality of life by using hearing aids in conjunction with counseling.”
Exposure to extreme noise is the leading cause of tinnitus, and people with tinnitus almost always have accompanying hearing loss, according to the study authors. In fact, the study found that respondents with more severe hearing loss were more likely to have tinnitus. Yet, more than a third (39%) of people with hearing loss do not seek help specifically because they have tinnitus.
“What surprised us was the large number of people—13 million—who reported tinnitus but no hearing loss,” said Kochkin. “It’s very likely that these individuals were aware of their tinnitus but not their hearing loss—which would indicate that the population with hearing loss is much larger than previously believed.”
As baby boomers age, people listen to portable music players at high volumes, and more soldiers return from combat, the incidence of both hearing loss and tinnitus is expected to grow.
“Unfortunately, relatively few people seek help for their tinnitus,” said Richard Tyler, PhD, study co-author, professor in both the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery and the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, and editor of three books on tinnitus, including The Consumer Handbook on Tinnitus. “We need to raise awareness that effective therapies to help tinnitus sufferers are available. Many audiologists have attended a ‘tinnitus management’ seminar I organize each September, and I know there are many experienced tinnitus health professionals ready to help and offer a full evaluation. They can help identify treatment strategies most likely to offer relief. In particular, they will be able to determine if hearing aids can help.”
The study findings, were published in the November issue of Hearing Review. The findings were derived from a nationwide survey of 46,000 households. It is the largest study of its kind.
How Hearing Aids Help
In addition to improving hearing and communication, hearing aids amplify background sound, so the loudness or prominence of the tinnitus is reduced. Simply taking the focus off the tinnitus means relief for many people. Hearing aids also reduce the stress associated with intensive listening by improving communication, which in turn help relieve tinnitus symptoms.
Published on Better Hearing Institute
And the greater the loss, the greater the risk, the study suggested.
“This work suggests that there is a strong predictive association between hearing loss as an adult and the likelihood of developing cognitive decline with aging,” said study lead author Dr. Luigi Ferrucci, chief of the U.S. National Institute on Aging’s Longitudinal Studies Section, as well as director of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging.
Ferrucci and his colleagues report their findings in the February issue of the journal Archives of Neurology.
The authors noted that by the middle of the century, about 100 million men and women worldwide (about one in 85) will be affected by dementia.
The researchers’ investigation into the potential association between hearing loss and dementia focused on 639 men and women between the ages of 36 and 90, none of whom had dementia at the start of the study in 1990.
Cognitive and hearing tests were conducted over a four-year period, followed by patient tracking through 2008 (for an average of about 12 years) to monitor for signs of dementia and/or Alzheimer’s.
The researchers noted that 125 study participants were diagnosed with “mild” hearing loss, while another 53 had “moderate” loss, and six had “severe” loss.
Ultimately, 58 patients were diagnosed with dementia, of whom 37 had Alzheimer’s disease.
By cross-referencing their data, the researchers found that mild hearing loss was linked to a slight increase in dementia risk, but the risk increased noticeably among those with moderate and severe hearing loss.
For participants 60 and older, more than 36 percent of dementia risk was linked to hearing loss, the study said.
The worse the hearing loss, the worse the risk for Alzheimer’s as well. For every additional loss of 10 decibels of hearing capacity, Alzheimer’s risk appeared to go up by 20 percent, the researchers said.
The authors suggested that if further studies confirm the findings, this could lead to the development of new strategies to try to reduce dementia risk. For example, the finding theoretically suggests that efforts to correct hearing loss by means of hearing aids and surgery could potentially cut back on dementia risk.
“But as a scientist I cannot yet say that curing hearing loss will prevent dementia,” Ferrucci said. “We have now opened a window on this association. But there is still a lot of work to be done before we can be sure there is actually a causal relationship.”
Dr. Richard B. Lipton, vice chair of neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, called the new study an “interesting” exploration that is predicated on “the widespread notion that chronological age may not be the best measure of biological age.”
“Some people have suggested that the most powerful risk factor that we know of for Alzheimer’s is age itself,” he noted. “The older you are the more likely you are to develop the disease. And we know that risk doubles every five years after the age of 65,” Lipton added.
“But some 90-year-olds are in nursing homes, while others are on the golf course. So here we have the notion that hearing loss may be a kind of biological, rather than chronological, measure of aging. In other words, an indication that someone is not actually aging all that well,” he said.
“Another idea is that hearing loss might result from damage to nerve cells,” Lipton added. “That means damage to the hearing organ and inner ear structure called the cochlea, and the hair cells that pick up the pattern of vibration that the sound produces in the ear. And if there’s damage to the neurons that mediate hearing, that may be a kind of marker for similar damage to nerve cells involved in memory and higher cognition,” he explained.
“And then a third possibility is that there’s a lot of evidence that hearing loss is very socially isolating, just as there’s a lot of evidence that cognitive engagement protects against dementia. And that would mean that the loss of cognitive stimulation could itself contribute to the risk for Alzheimer’s,” Lipton said.
Published on Better Hearing Institute
The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is warning consumers of the inherent risks associated with purchasing over-the-counter, one-size-fits-all hearing aids instead of consulting a hearing healthcare professional. Hearing loss is sometimes the symptom of a serious underlying medical problem. All 50 states require that consumers use a credentialed hearing care professional to purchase hearing aids.
BHI also points out that hearing devices that are purchased over-the-counter or Internet without the consultation of a hearing healthcare professional may result in the devices not being accurately customized to the specific hearing needs of the individual.
“Today’s state-of-the-art hearing aids should be programmed to the individual’s specific hearing loss requirements in order to provide good levels of benefit and customer satisfaction,” says Sergei Kochkin, BHI’s Executive Director. “The process requires a complete in-person hearing assessment in a sound booth, the training and skills of a credentialed hearing healthcare professional in order to prescriptively fit the hearing aids using sophisticated computer programs, and appropriate in-person follow-up and counseling. This is not possible when consumers purchase one-size-fits-all hearing aids over the Internet or elsewhere.”
Extensive research shows that individualized hearing health assessments and fittings programmed specific to the needs of the hearing aid user provide the best chance for optimal hearing enhancement and customer satisfaction.
“The best advice BHI can give anyone purchasing a hearing aid is to find a state credentialed hearing healthcare professional and to communicate openly during the evaluation, fitting and trial period to increase the likelihood that you are receiving the best possible benefit from your hearing aids,” says Kochkin. “It will make a tremendous difference in your ability to hear and in your quality of life.”
BHI has published a comprehensive consumer guide entitled, “Your Guide to Buying Hearing Aids.” (See www.betterhearing.org under hearing loss treatment.) The guidelines give confidence to first-time hearing aid buyers by providing a detailed, step-by-step explanation of what to expect, ask, and look for when selecting and visiting a hearing healthcare professional and purchasing a hearing aid.
BHI also has published, “Your Guide to Financial Assistance for Hearing Aids,” the first comprehensive guide on how people can obtain financial assistance to purchase hearing aids.
More About Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids
The number of Americans with hearing loss has grown to more than 34 million—roughly 11 percent of the U.S. population. Over the past generation, hearing loss among Americans has increased at a rate of 160 percent of U.S. population growth and is one of the most commonly unaddressed health conditions in America today.
Numerous studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a wide range of physical and emotional conditions, including impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks, reduced alertness, increased risk of personal safety, irritability, negativism, anger, fatigue, tension, stress, depression, and diminished psychological and overall health.
But the vast majority of people with hearing loss can benefit from hearing aids. In fact, eight out of ten hearing aid users report improvements in their quality of life, according to a survey by BHI of more than 2,000 consumers.
Advances in digital technology have dramatically improved hearing aids in recent years, making them smaller with better sound quality. Designs are modern, sleek, and discreet. Clarity, greater directionality, better speech audibility in a variety of environments, better cell phone compatibility, less whistling and feedback than hearing aids of the past, and greater ruggedness for active lifestyles are common features.
Founded in 1973, BHI conducts research and engages in hearing health education with the goal of helping people with hearing loss benefit from proper treatment. For more information on hearing loss, visit www.betterhearing.org. To take the BHI Quick Hearing Check, visit www.hearingcheck.org. To participate in the discussion forum, visit www.betterhearing.org, click on “Discussion Forum,” and go to “Welcome!” to register.
Published on Better Hearing Institute
Minneapolis, MN, April 11, 2011 — (Starkey Hearing Foundation) — Last night’s April 10, 2011 episode of NBC’s “The Celebrity Apprentice” featured a check presentation in the amount of $1,000,000 to Bill Austin, Chief Executive Officer of Starkey Laboratories and Founder of the Starkey Hearing Foundation. The presentation was made on behalf of the show and Donald Trump, Host and Executive Producer of “The Celebrity Apprentice”, by Marlee Matlin, cast member and Leader of Team A.S.A.P.
“Our Foundation was built on the mission to reconnect individuals to their families, communities and the world through hearing, and these monies will go a long way in fulfilling that mission and increasing our capacity to give better hearing to those that need it the most” said Austin. “We are extremely grateful to our long-time friend Marlee, for making us her charity of choice on this season’s ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’, and for working so hard with her team to raise the most for any charity in the show’s history.”
The donation received from “The Celebrity Apprentice” will be utilized to fund Starkey hearing missions throughout 2011 in order to provide more adults and children in need with free hearing devices. Currently there are Starkey Hearing Missions planned for this spring in Colombia, Haiti, Mexico, Israel and New York City. According to the Starkey Hearing Foundation, the $1,000,000 will provide much needed funding for the Foundation to get closer to its goal of one million free hearing aids in this decade.
The goal of the Starkey Hearing Foundation is to change the social consciousness of hearing and hearing health care, while providing the gift of hearing to those who need it. The monies donated to the Foundation during “The Celebrity Apprentice” were part of a record-breaking $1.6 million raised for charity during a single nonfinale episode. The show’s two teams were assigned the task of creating and selling their own works of art for charity. Marlee and Team A.S.A.P. raised $986,000, with $14,000 generously added by Donald Trump while in the boardroom.
“I am proud of Team A.S.A.P. and what we achieved with this fundraising task,” said Matlin. “I have witnessed their life changing work, and with more than 63 million children worldwide affected by hearing loss, I look forward raising even more attention and money to help meet the needs of deaf and hard of hearing children who are waiting for the gift of hearing that Starkey does an amazing job of providing year after year.”
In addition to her support for the Foundation on this season’s “The Celebrity Apprentice”, Matlin has joined the Starkey Hearing Foundation on five hearing missions, three in the U.S. and two international, including most recently in Kenya (Nairobi), as part of a 24-day tour throughout the continent where more than 20,000 hearing devices were given to children and adults in need.
About The Starkey Hearing Foundation
The Starkey Hearing Foundation is striving to change the social consciousness of hearing and hearing loss prevention. Hearing loss affects one in 10 Americans, and 63 million children worldwide, yet many do not have access to the hearing devices that can help correct that disability. The Foundation has a yearly goal of giving more than 100,000 hearing aids through hearing missions in countries stretching from the U.S. to Vietnam. Since 2000, the Foundation has supplied nearly 498,000 hearing aids to people in need and is striving to achieve its goal of distributing over one million free hearing aids in this decade. In addition to giving the gift of hearing, the Foundation partners with Best Buy and the GRAMMY Foundation to promote ‘safe hearing’ and hearing loss prevention among teens and young people, through its national program, SoundMatters™.
In addition, the Starkey Hearing Foundation recently launched the Listen Carefully campaign to spread the word among young people and adults to protect their hearing by lowering the volume – a simple solution with longterm impact. The Listen Carefully campaign kicked off with a series of public service ads sending a clear message – “your hearing is fragile, so don’t listen loudly, listen carefully.” The campaign will also include digital media activities and the Starkey Hearing Foundation Listen Carefully Sweepstakes with recording artist and actress Miley Cyrus, who is also appearing in some of campaign ads.
For more information on the Starkey Hearing Foundation, including the Listen Carefully campaign, visit www.starkeyhearingfoundation.org.
Published on Starkey Hearing Foundation
(USA TODAY) — When New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees brought his son out on the field to glory in his team’s Super Bowl win, 1-year-old Baylen sported hearing-protective earmuffs. Divya Kumar spent much of a recent Disney on Ice show with her hands covering her 2-year-old’s ears to protect her from the “disturbing” volume. Tom Kirvin always carries earplugs for his 8-year-old son because the sound in movies can be “outrageous. In some theaters, they’re so loud it’s kind of chest-rattling,” the San Francisco dad says.
All those loud sounds are annoying, even painful sometimes and can bring children to tears. But they may not be dangerous.
“I can be very confident that it’s not hurting their ears,” says Brian Fligor, director of diagnostic audiology at Children’s Hospital in Boston. For little Baylen, “more likely than not it was more of a comfort issue.”
Still, parents shouldn’t be complacent: Many sounds do damage children’s hearing, and it’s important to know the difference.
Hearing loss from loud or sustained noises is caused by destruction of the cilia, tiny hairlike projections that sprout from sound receptor cells in the ear. Loud or prolonged noise can shear off or break the cilia so there’s nothing left to detect the sound.
Fligor has done sound testing at New England Patriots games and found the noise levels to reach 100 decibels, with a sustained roar of around 85. That’s just one decibel below the maximum acceptable level for a worker to be exposed to for eight hours a day, says Andrew Oxenham, a professor at the University of Minnesota who studies auditory cognition. According to federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules, “if you’re exposed to 86 decibels all day, you should be OK.”
There’s an inverse relationship between intensity and length of exposure when it comes to hearing loss. Even a short exposure to intense noise can cause damage; long-term exposure to less intense noise can as well.
“If you are exposed to a fairly loud noise, say at 90 decibels, for hours, you can develop a hearing loss. If you’re exposed to something like a gunshot at 140 decibels, that only takes a matter of seconds,” says Susan Norton, chief of audiology at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Takes 10 years or 2 seconds
People vary in their susceptibility to noise-induced hearing loss, says Norton. “Someone can be exposed once and have a whopping hearing loss, and some people can hunt for years and not be that much affected.” The problem is, there’s no way to predict who’s going to be susceptible until their hearing is damaged.
What’s really dangerous for children and teens is “listening to high-level sounds for very sustained lengths of time, day after day,” Fligor says. Young people with lawn-mowing businesses who don’t wear earplugs or those who work on the farm around loud farm equipment are at risk.
As far as music played through earphones goes, the real danger is prolonged exposure to high-intensity noise. Not too many kids have actual damage from using iPods, Fligor says, “but it can develop over the course of five or 10 years of heavy use.”
Listeners tend also to inch up the volume if they’re wearing headsets for long periods of time. It’s “a vicious cycle,” Norton says. As the cilia in the ears become fatigued, the music seems softer. “So you turn it louder,” and the whole cycle starts again, she says. The answer is to “give your ears a rest” so they can get back to normal.
Don’t skip vaccines, stick things in ears
One seldom-considered danger to children’s hearing is the reluctance of some parents to vaccinate. Meningitis, rubella and mumps were all major causes of hearing loss in children before vaccines became available. Now “we have seen kids who have gotten meningitis because they haven’t been immunized against it,” and in some, that leads to hearing loss, Norton says.
“Most of the parents today weren’t alive when there were large epidemics of measles or mumps or meningitis,” she says. “They don’t know the dangers.”
The other major preventable cause of hearing loss is kids sticking objects in their ears. “I’ve seen kids who have stuck Q-tips through their eardrum,” Norton says. “Nobody thinks it’s going to happen, but it can.”
Common sense is the best guide for parents, she says. “Anything an adult should wear ear protection for, a child should. If they’re going to be mowing the lawn, if they’re using a leaf blower, certainly any kind of tools like that.”
By Elizabeth Weise published on USA TODAY