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Spotlight:  Hearing & Balance in the News

July 13, 2021

Hearing Loss Tied to Decline in Physical Functioning

Older adults with hearing impairment tend to have poorer physical function, less walking endurance, and faster declines in physical function compared to those with normal hearing.  Read more.

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Medscape Medical News

New York, New York

April 5, 2021

Emergency Preparedness for Individuals with Hearing Loss

In Maryland, Severe Weather Awareness Week 2021 is April 5th through 9th.  In addition to a regular emergency kit, families and individuals with hearing loss should consider extra items.  Read more.

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Rocket Hearing & Balance

La Plata, Maryland

August 16, 2021

Health Check: 
Why Do We Get Dizzy?

Many people in their lifetime experience a sudden feeling of dizziness, be it head spinning, light-headedness, a floating sensation, or a loss of balance.        Read more.

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The Conversation

Boston, Massachusetts 

 

Hearing Loss Tied to Decline in Physical Functioning

Medscape Medical News | New York, New York

Posted here July 13, 2021

Published June 30, 2021

Older adults with hearing impairment tend to have poorer physical function, less walking endurance, and faster declines in physical function compared with older adults with normal hearing, according to a study published online in JAMA Network Open.

Hearing loss is associated with slower gait and, in particular, worse balance, the data suggest.

"Because hearing impairment is amenable to prevention and management, it potentially serves as a target for interventions to slow physical decline with aging," the researchers said.

However, hearing impairment was not significantly associated with the chair stand test results. The researchers note that chair stands may rely more on strength, whereas balance and gait speed may rely more on coordination and movement.

The team also found that people with worse hearing tended to walk a shorter distance during the 2-minute walk test. Compared with participants with normal hearing, participants with moderate hearing impairment walked 2.81 meters less and those with severe hearing impairment walked 5.31 meters less on average, after adjustment for variables including age, sex, and health conditions.

Participants with hearing impairment also tended to have faster declines in physical function over time.

Various mechanisms could explain associations between hearing and physical function, the authors said. For example, an underlying condition such as cardiovascular disease might affect both hearing and physical function. Damage to the inner ear could affect vestibular and auditory systems at the same time. In addition, hearing impairment may relate to cognition, depression, or social isolation, which could influence physical activity.

To read more about this study, click here.

 

Emergency Preparedness for Families and Individuals with Hearing Loss

Rocket Hearing & Balance | La Plata, Maryland

Posted April 5, 2021

April showers bring May flowers--and sometimes severe weather in Maryland.  Preparedness, or being ready before an emergency situation, can help keep families, individuals, and businesses safe from harm in the event of adverse weather events.

 

In addition to standard emergency kits, families and individuals with hearing loss should consider items specifically for continuation of communication during a challenging event.

  • Extra hearing aid batteries for standard hearing aids.

  • Power bank for rechargeable devices and accessories.

  • Notepad and pen

 

A standard emergency kit includes many different items.   A 3-day supply is suggested for evacuation kits and a 2-week supply is suggested for shelter-in-place kits.

  • Water.  One gallon per person, per day. 

  • Food.  Non-perishable, easy to prepare meals.

  • Can opener.

  • Matches.

  • Flashlights.

  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio.

  • Extra batteries.

  • First aid kit.

  • Medications (7 days supply) and any related medical items.

  • Multi-purpose tool.

  • Duct tape.

  • Scissors.

  • Whistle.

  • Personal hygiene and sanitation items.

  • Towels.

  • Copies of personal documents, such as medication lists, pertinent medical history, family/emergency contact information, and identification.

  • Extra cash.

  • Emergency blankets.

  • Area map.

  • Baby and/or pet supplies, as needed.

 

For further information, visit these sources:

 

Health Check:  Why Do We Get Dizzy?

The Conversation  |  Boston, Massachusetts 

Posted here August 16, 2021

Published October 31, 2016

It is estimated 30% of the general population have experienced moderate to severe dizziness at least once in their lifetime, and nearly 2% of adults seek medical attention annually for a new symptom of moderate to severe dizziness or vertigo.

The prevalence of symptoms of dizziness is particularly high among older people, with between 10% and 30% thought to suffer. Dizziness can be extremely distressing and physically debilitating and can markedly impair quality of life. In older people, in particular, experiencing dizziness makes the sufferer twice as likely to report disability, worsening of depressive symptoms, reduced participation in social activities, poor health and falls.

People generally find it hard to describe their dizziness symptoms and use vague terms such as floating, spinning, unsteadiness and giddiness. This imprecise symptom description is a major reason why dizziness is complex to assess and treat.

Doctors describe it as a feeling of altered orientation in space and classify it into four main subtypes:

  1. unsteadiness caused by leg weakness and impaired sensation

  2. dizziness from severe anxiety

  3. light-headedness

  4. vertigo

To read more, click here.