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Friday, January 6, 2017

A new study found that sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss are associated with iron deficiency anemia (JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2016). Of the 305,339 patients aged 21 to 90 in the study, 4,807 (1.6%) had hearing loss and 2,274 (0.7%) had iron deficiency anemia. Researchers from the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center used logistic regression analysis to confirm that there are increased odds of sensorineural hearing loss (82%) and combined hearing loss among people with iron deficiency. This retrospective cohort study included data from Jan. 1, 2011 to Oct. 1, 2015.

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Lead author Kathleen M. Schieffer, a doctoral candidate at Pennsylvania State University, emphasized in an interview with the New York Times that this study did not prove a causal relationship between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, only an association. "I would not recommend that anyone take iron supplements prophylactically without consulting a physician."​


Friday, December 23, 2016

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A recent study found regular use (defined as two days or more per week) of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) and acetaminophen for six years or more is associated with an increased risk of hearing loss in women, and the magnitude of the risk heightens with increasing frequency of use (Am J Epidemiol. 2016. [Epub ahead of print]). Researchers from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Vanderbilt University, and Brigham and Women's Hospital examined data from 55,850 women, 33 percent (18,663) of whom reported some level of hearing loss. More specifically, ibuprofen and paracetamol, but not aspirin, are linked to hearing loss in this study.​

It is important to note that this cohort study did not establish a causal relationship between long-term analgesic use and hearing loss. An article in response to the research in PubMed Health's Behind the Headlines added that hearing loss in this study was self-reported and subject to diagnostic uncertainty. However, this study does serve as a reminder that regular use of analgesics could have health consequences over time. 


Thursday, December 8, 2016

The U.S. Food and Drug A​dministration said it would not enforce the requirement that people who are 18 years old and older to receive a medical evaluation or sign a waiver before purchasing hearing aids in a new guidance document published this week. The guidance, which is in effect immediately, applies to class I air-conduction and class II wireless air-conduction hearing aids, but not bone-conduction hearing aids. The FDA will continue to enforce the medical evaluation requirement for prospective hearing aid users under 18.​

The change came after the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) study cited FDA's "Condition for Sale" regulation as a potential barrier to the availability and accessibility of hearing aids. This new guidance closely follows NAS's recommendation that the medical evaluation requirement be removed for adults. FDA also intends to consider implementing PCAST's recommendation to "approve [a] class of hearing aids for over-the-counter (OTC) sale, without the requirement for consultation with a credentialed dispenser." 


Monday, November 28, 2016

Kazusaku Kamiya, MD, PhD, and his colleagues replicated cochlear cells that could potentially be used to replace faulty ones in patients with hearing loss caused by mutation of the Gap Junction Beta 2 (GJB2) gene (Stem Cell Reports. 2016). The researchers from Jutendo University in Tokyo, Japan, produced induced pluripotent stem cells aimed at correcting this inherited condition, which causes disruption of gap junction plaques in the cochlea and leads to profound sensorineural hearing loss. They demonstrated in a mouse model that the stem-cell-derived gap junction cells were functional for forming gap junction intercellular communication networks and transient ion species typical of the developing cochlea. The authors of the study hoped the in vitrol models could be used to develop inner-ear therapies and drug screening that target GJB2-related hearing loss.  

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Figure. Schematic of In Vitro iPSC Differentiation into Functional iCx26GJCs and Disease Model Cells for GJB2-Related Hearing Loss​

​Approximately one in 1,000 children has severe hearing loss at birth or during early childhood, with about half of the cases attributable to genetic causes. Mutation of the GJB2 gene is the most common cause of hereditary hearing loss worldwide and accounts for up to 50 percent of non-syndromic sensorineural hearing loss cases in some populations.


Friday, November 18, 2016

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Persistence Market Research (http://www.persistencemarketresearch.com/) forecasts the global hearing aids market will continue to grow and reach $10.91 billion by 2024, with North America leading with over $4,600 million in market revenue as the most attractive regional market. The third-platform research firm's report cites favorable reimbursement policies, gradual increase in disposable income, increasing global geriatric population, and an increase in the prevalence of hearing impairment as the driving forces behind the hearing aids market growth. ​

Among product types, behind-the-ear hearing aids are anticipated to be the highest contributor to the global market by the end of 2016, followed by receiver-in-the-ear hearing aids. Digital hearing aids, however, are expected to be the fastest growing and most attractive segment from now to 2024, generating over $2,700 million in estimates. For the end-user market, audiology clinics will dominate the highest percentage gain in market share over the next eight years.   

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