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Spotlight:  Hearing & Balance in the News

Melancholy

June 15, 2023

Approximately 40% of migraine patients have some accompanying vestibular syndrome involving disruption in their balance ability.  Read more.

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Vestibular Disorders Associaton

Portland, Oregon

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June 15, 2023

Hyperacusis:  Tips and Tricks for Abnormal Sensitivity to Sound

Many vestibular patients experience hyperacusis, a rare hearing disorder where normal sounds are perceived as uncomfortable or unbearably loud.  

Read more.

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Vestibular Disorders Association

Portland, Oregon

Senior Man

July 17, 2023

Older Adults with Hearing Loss are at Higher Risk for Depression

The results of a study investigating the connection between hearing loss and depression found that older adults with some degree of hearing loss were 47% more likely to feel depressed.  Read more.

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The Hearing Review

Overland Park, Kansas

Article 1

Knowledge is Power:  Vestibular Migraine

Vestibular Disorders Association  |  Portland, Oregon

Posted here June 15, 2023

Migraine is one of the most debilitating chronic disorders in the United States. It is almost as prevalent as hypertension (high blood pressure) and is more common than asthma and diabetes mellitus. More importantly, migraine strikes people during what are expected to be their most productive years: between ages 20 and 40 for most women, with a slightly higher age range for men.

Despite better diagnostic capabilities and efforts to improve public awareness and education, it is estimated that approximately 50% of migraineurs go undiagnosed or mismanaged to this day. Many self-treat, or are treated inappropriately for sinus or other non-migrainous types of headache.

Often described as “sick headache,” migraine is typically characterized by unilateral onset of head pain, severe progressive intensity of pain, throbbing or pounding, and interference with the person’s routine activities. Accompanying symptoms of photophobia (sensitivity to light) or phonosensitivity (intolerance to noise), as well as nausea and/or vomiting, are common, and often leads to the inability to perform daily tasks.

Patients with migraine associated vertigo (MAV) are often seen by audiologists and vestibular rehabilitation therapists for evaluation and treatment. These specialists are frequently consulted to help support a diagnosis of MAV.

 

To learn more about triggers for migraine, recognition of symptoms, evaluation, and treatment, follow this link to VeDA’s website.

Article 2

Hyperacusis:  Tips and Tricks for Abnormal
Sensitivity to Sound

Vestibular Disorders Association  |  Portland, Oregon

Posted here June 15, 2023

Published May 2, 2023

Many vestibular patients experience hyperacusis, and it can quickly become the most debilitating symptom for them as they continue their daily lives. However, as with every hurdle in the road of being a vestibular patient, there are always some tricks and tips from fellow patients and healthcare professionals to make life more easily lived and activities of daily living (ADLs) possible. 

According to Dr. Eric Botswisk, an audiologist and Clinical Coordinator with St Luke’s University Health Network, the recommended journey for those with suspected hyperacusis should include seeing an ENT and an audiologist to schedule a hearing test. 

What can become harmful when experiencing hyperacusis is sound avoidance and the over use of ear plugs. While ear plugs or ear muffs can help decrease bothersome levels of sound, using them all the time will “reinforce the brain’s avoidance of sound and cause a snowball effect,” according to Dr. Botswick. It is more effective to graduate through different sounds and understand that tolerance levels will build if the patient is not avoiding the sound stimuli. This process is called habituation. 

 

For further information regarding tools and resources, follow this link to visit VeDA’s website.

Article 3

Older Adults with Hearing Loss are at Higher Risk for Depression

The Hearing Review  |  Overland Park, Kansas

Posted here July 17, 2023

Published April 2019

The results of a study investigating the connection between hearing loss and depression found that older adults with some form of hearing loss were 47% more likely to also have depression symptoms, according to an article in Reuters. 

Originally published in The Gerontologist, the research review looked at 35 previous studies encompassing 147, 148 participants, who were at least 60 years old.

“We know that older adults with hearing loss often withdraw from social occasions, like family events because they have trouble understanding others in noisy situations, which can lead to emotional and social loneliness,” lead study author Blake Lawrence of the Ear Science Institute Australia, in Subiaco, and the University of Western Australia in Crawley, was quoted as saying in Reuters. 

Additionally, the article goes on to add that the brain may work harder to interpret sound from a weaker auditory signal, draining resources needed to maintain working memory or other cognitive functions. A weaker signal may also cause the “reorganization” of neural pathways, potentially changing the way depression is regulated in the brain.

In a new white paper produced by The Hearing Review and sponsored by Hamilton CapTel, “Depression, Hearing Loss, and Treatment with Hearing Aids,” audiologist and educator Victor Bray, PhD, reviews previous landmark studies as well as more recent research into the complex relationship between hearing loss and depression. The paper helps identify patient populations who might benefit most from hearing devices. Additionally, Dr Bray’s webinar “Depression, Hearing Loss, and Treatment with Hearing Aids,” discusses the risk factors for depression among people with hearing loss as well as why hearing care providers should screen for depression when risk factors are present.

Original Paper: Lawrence BJ, Jayakody DMP, Bennett RJ, Eikelboom RH, Gasson N, Friedland PL. Hearing loss and depression in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Gerontologist. 2019:1-19. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnz009

 

Source: Reuters, The Hearing Review, The Gerontologist

The full article can be found here.

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