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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

February 3, 2021

Brain Region's Role in Planning Movement in Response to Sounds

A new study provides evidence that neurons in a part of the frontal lobe may play a role in planning body movements, but only when those movements are in response to auditory stimuli.  Read more.

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Hearing Health & Technology Matters

Tucson, Arizona

 

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:

 

Study Reveals Brain Region’s Previously Unknown Role in Planning Movements Exclusively in Response to Sounds

Hearing Health & Technology Matters  |  Tucson, Arizona

Posted here February 3, 2021

Published January 16, 2021

A new study published in the journal Scientific Reports, provides evidence that neurons in the middle frontal gyrus — a part of the brain’s frontal lobe — may play a role in planning body movements, but only when those movements are in response to auditory stimuli.

The findings represent what could be a previously unknown function for this part of the brain and could provide a new target for researchers developing assistive devices for both movement and hearing disorders.

The work was part of the BrainGate clinical trial, which studies a tiny investigational implant capable of recording information directly from the brain and using that information to drive the movement of computer cursors or even robotic prosthetic devices.

“One of the opportunities afforded by the BrainGate clinical trial is that at the same time as we’re working toward helping people with paralysis, we’re also learning new things about the human brain,”  said Dr. Leigh Hochberg, a neurologist, professor of engineering at Brown University and director of the trial and BrainGate consortium. “This finding turned out to be a complete surprise, which is exciting.”

To read more, click here.