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Posted on Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Seven Surprising Things About Hearing Loss

Physician laughs on learning some surprising things about hearing loss.

Millions of Americans confront hearing loss every day. Hearing loss can be sudden or gradual and can be mild or severe. Although many things about hearing loss are well known and understood by audiologists, there are still some surprising facts that have only recently been discovered.

1. Diabetes and Hearing Loss: If you have diabetes, know or are related to someone with diabetes, you are probably familiar with the damage the disease can do to the circulatory system including the heart. What you might not know is that the same glucose overload that destroys other parts of the body can and does diminish hearing. Learn More
2. Hearing Loss Cure: It’s been repeated so many times, it seems set in stone—once damaged the hair cells inside the inner ear cannot grow back. Startling new research is challenging the long held belief that humans, unlike birds and amphibians, cannot regenerate hair cells. By transplanting stem cells and coaxing them to behave like the hair cells of the inner ear researchers have been able to restore, in varying degrees, hearing in mice. Learn More
3. Music Might Improve Hearing: Music can help refine your ability to listen and therefore fine tune skills when it comes to hearing loss. Dubbed the Musician Effect, doctors have discovered brains are better at converting sounds and neurological processes are healthier when a person has had musical training. This exciting news has positive implications for preserving hearing as people age , because the exact things that listening and playing music refines—timing, pitch, understanding speech in noise, can weaken with age. This loss of ability to focus in on a specific sound, say someone talking in a noisy restaurant, is one of the reasons that many people stop going out once they develop a hearing loss.
4. Hearing Loss Hormone: People with hearing loss may be short on aldosterone a hormone. Researchers have linked a hormone called aldosterone to the quality of people's hearing as they age. This hormone plays crucial roles within the body. It regulates kidney function and is key for signaling two essential chemicals in the nervous system, potassium and sodium. According to recent studies, the more aldosterone hormone a person has in their bloodstream, the better their hearing and the less of the hormone, the worse their hearing. Learn More
6. Mental Decline: An increase in mental decline is now associated with hearing loss. Though the exact cause of this mental decline is unknown it’s thought that it might have something to do with lack of auditory stimulation that causes parts of the brain to atrophy or with the forced isolation that comes from not treating hearing loss.
7. Unexpected Falls: People with hearing loss are more likely to suffer a bad fall. This may be due to a cognitive overload—a situation where the brain has to struggle to compensate for the ears and this added stresses causes a mental exhaustion that prohibits the mind from fulfilling its functions as related to balance. According to a study by Johns Hopkins and funded by the National Institute of Health, untreated hearing loss leads to an increased likelihood of falls. Even people with mild hearing loss were shown to have a greater chance of losing their balance. HERE to download our free hearing health guide!

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