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Friday, July 28, 2017

Researchers have found that prolonged or recent noise exposure is not consistently associated with an increased risk of hearing loss among those aged 12-19 based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 1988 to 2010 (JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2017 [Epub ahead of print]). They analyzed the audiometric measurements of 7,036 survey participants in this study; and while there was an overall rise in exposure to loud noise or music through headphones 24 hours prior to audiometric testing, they discovered that the prevalence of hearing loss has dropped to 15.2 percent in 2009-2010, compared with 17 and 22.5 percent in the 1988-1994 and 2007-2008 surveys respectively. The authors concluded that there was no association between noise-induced threshold shift and noise exposures and that their findings call into question previous conclusions that increasing noise exposure is responsible for increasing levels of pediatric hearing loss.

​One of the authors, Dylan Chan, MD, PhD, spoke to the New York Times about the study and attributed the decrease in prevalence to behavioral changes such as avoiding noise and wearing volume-limiting headphones designed for children. "I hope people don't take this as an excuse to say noise-induced hearing loss is not a problem, so we can go back to listening to headphones at full volume," he said. 


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Researchers found that hearing loss, hospitalizations, and decreases in verbal fluency are associated with cognitive decline. These findings were presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) in London earlier this month.

A University of Wisconsin study that included 783 middle-aged adults in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer's Prevention (WRAP)—a registry of adults with a maternal history of Alzheimer's disease—found that 9.2 percent of the participants reported having hearing loss at baseline. These participants performed worse on cognitive tests four years after baseline assessment than those who did not report any hearing loss. They also had more than doubled risk of developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in five years. Based on this prospective cohort study, researchers concluded that hearing loss may not only be a risk factor for MCI, but its identification and treatment may also help detect and manage MCI earlier, thereby reducing future cases of Alzheimer's.

The study, entitled "Self-Reported Hearing Loss, Cognitive Performance, and Risk of MCI: Findings from the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer's Prevention," was presented last July 17.

In another University of Wisconsin study, researchers found that changes in speech such as increases in the use of non-specific language (more pronouns), hesitations, and fillers were associated with early onset of MCI. In this study, researchers analyzed two speech samples taken two years apart from 264 middle-aged adults enrolled in the WRAP. Those who had early MCI were found to have reduced verbal fluency that declined faster based on the samples collected.

Other risk factors of cognitive impairment were also discussed at AAIC, including those posed by unplanned visits to emergency units. Bryan James, PhD, of the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center at Rush University Medical Center explained that emergency or urgent hospital visits, as opposed to planned visits, are associated with significant acceleration (about 60 percent) of mental decline in older adults.

Author information: Noah Glenn


Friday, July 21, 2017

Earwax MD.jpgEosera (http://eosera.com/) is partnering with Oaktree Products, a wholesale supplier of clinical supplies to hearing health care professionals, to bring Earwax MD to audiologists, otolaryngologists, and hearing instrument specialists. Oaktree Products will carry two versions of Earwax MD—a 2-ounce bottle for in-office use and a smaller one for health care professionals to resell to their patients. Bob Kemp, CEO of Oaktree Products, said they're very excited to represent a groundbreaking product like Earwax MD. "Historically, earwax softening agents have been formulated with carbamide peroxide," Kemp said. "These products, like Debrox, usually require several days to produce results. The ability to soften and remove wax in minutes will make cerumen removal in the clinic so much easier and more efficient."


Earwax MD is also available through other distributors, including Warner Tech and ADCO Hearing, and to patients on Amazon. CVS stores will also begin carrying Earwax MD in August. 


Monday, July 17, 2017

The U.S. House of Representatives passed by voice vote the Over-the-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aid Act that would create a new class of hearing aids that that could be sold over the counter without the need for prescription this week. Under the new legislation, the regulations for OTC hearing aids would have to provide reasonable assurances of safety and efficacy, establish output limits and labeling requirements, and describe requirements for the sale of hearing aids in-person, by mail, online, without prescription. State and local governments may also not establish or continue in-effect requirements specifically applicable to hearing products that are not identical to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements and that restrict or interfere with servicing or sale of OTC hearing aids. The bill also dictates that the FDA must update and finalize its draft guidance on hearing products, and they must clarify which products are medical devices.

The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act, which drew widespread bipartisan support, will proceed to a floor vote at the Senate. While the Senate has not announced a timeline for holding a vote on the bill, organizations like the Academy of Doctors of Audiology are confident that the bill will pass and become law this year. "ADA anticipates that this legislation will be enacted in 2017, and views it as an opportunity for audiologists to provide valuable services to more of the 80 percent of American adults with hearing loss who don't currently seek treatment," the academy said in a press release. ADA also stressed the important of awareness, and pointed to a rece​nt survey conducted by The Hearing Journal ​that showed the lack of information and apprehension among some audiologists about the proposed changes in the future of hearing aid delivery. 

 


Friday, July 7, 2017

iHear.jpg

iHear Medical (http://www.ihearmedical.com/) launches Eva, a new hearing aid specifically designed to fit women's ears and hearing loss patterns. Women generally have smaller ears, and hearing aids designed for men might feel bulky and uncomfortable. Eva is slim and compact, and is offered with smaller ear accessories for a close and secure fit to the eardrum, accommodating women with an active lifestyle. With Eva, loud sounds above 85 dB are reduced for a comfortable listening experience in a noisy environment, and annoying ambient noises are suppressed. Eva also automatically enhances males and female speech, even in challenging listening situations.

Eva can be personalized at home with online tools, but it can also be shipped pre-customized if audiograms are submitted with an order. Eva was made available for online order on July 1 for $299 each, and orders will begin shipping July 15.