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Now Hear This: Your Web Guide to Hearing Information

The world moves pretty fast, and the world of hearing health moves, well, it moves at the speed of sound. So keeping up with the latest in hearing health news can be time-consuming. Thats why weve created Now Hear This, a one-stop collection of the news of the day from hearing professionals, hearing device manufacturers, researchers, hearing aid users or those thinking about hearing aids, and others in the hearing science community.

Is This Another Reason to Think Twice About Hormone Therapy?

Women experiencing menopause have turned to hormone replacement therapy to alleviate the unpleasant symptoms associated with this mid-life change in body chemistry. Symptoms can range from mood swings and the night sweats to fatigue and aches and pains where there were no aches or pains before.

In a report from HealthDay, Amanda Gardner writes that Researchers have confirmed priorfindings that postmenopausal women taking progesterone as part of hormone replacement therapy experienced greater hearing loss than women taking estrogen alone or no hormones at all.

UK Vets Go to the Front of the Line

In the UK, more than 100,000 ex-servicemen and women have hearing problems and some of them have been waiting for more than two years for hearing devices. In fact, only 10% of these military veterans have hearing aids, and the Royal National Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing believes that these people should move to the front of the line. They effectively sacrificed their hearing for their country, stated Dr. John Low, RNID.

Belgian Researchers Identify Hearing Loss Gene

Is hearing loss predetermined by our genetic code? Well, according to Belgian researchers, theyve identified the gene responsible for the development of otosclerosis, the single-most common cause of hearing loss, affecting one in every 250 people.

Otosclerosis is a condition in which abnormal bone growth in the middle ear prevents sound waves from reaching the inner ear for processing and delivery to the brain for interpretation. Researchers and hearing health professionals have long believed that otosclerosis was the result of both environmental and genetic factors. However, this latest research may demonstrate that the common condition is hereditary.

Untreated Hearing Loss and Its Impact on Quality of Life

The National Council on the Aging released a massive report, entitled The Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss in Older Persons, that showed untreated hearing loss affects more than the person with the hearing impairment.

The study examined hearing aid wearers, seniors with a diagnosed hearing impairment and their family members and friends. A total of 2,304 individuals with hearing impairment responded to the survey and almost as many significant others 2,090 responded, indicating that the problems associated with untreated hearing loss affect those who live and interact with those who actually experience some degree of hearing loss.

The study revealed that untreated hearing loss could lead to a number of quality of life issues including: depression, anxiety, paranoia, self-imposed isolation, insecurity and emotional turmoil. But it doesnt have to be this way.

Dutch Study Shows Folic Acid May Slow Hearing Loss

Folic acid, part of the vitamin B family (B9), has been shown to deliver many health benefits including a lowered risk for heart attack and stroke. Also called folate, the nutrient is found in enriched grain products (flour, cereal, etc.), leafy green vegetables, and legumes like lentils and chickpeas. One-half of test participants were given 800 micrograms of folate each day. Thats approximately one-half the amount theyd receive in a multi-vitamin each day. The other half of the test subjects received a placebo.

The three-year study showed that those who received the folate (rather than a placebo) experienced less low-frequency hearing loss than their study counterparts.

Canadian Researchers Say No to Steroids as Treatment for Sudden Hearing Loss

Steroids have been in the news of late, rocking the sports world and creating sensational reports of roid rage in athletes who use steroids to bulk up muscle mass. Unfortunately, the unrestricted, unprescribed use of steroids has numerous negative consequences to good health.

However, when used under a physicians care, steroids are prescribed to treat inflammation, joint pain and other health conditions within the human body. And over the past decade, steroids have been used to treat sudden hearing loss.

The Canadian study examined data from 21 studies conducted over the past two decades to determine if steroids did improve hearing in patients who experienced sudden hearing loss due to noise trauma or disease, and found no correlation between the prescribed use of steroids and improvement in hearing ability.

Hearing Loss In Young Children

Todays youngsters are exposed to more noise than any previous generation thanks to MP3 players and toys that emit sound bursts in excess of 95 decibels about the loudness of a chainsaw according to a recent study released by researchers at the University of Florida.

According to UF Doctor of Audiology, Michelle Colburn, "If you take what we can listen to safely for eight hours, and you only increase that sound by five decibels, then you can only listen to it [safely] for four hours. Turn it up another five decibels and it goes down to two hours. So every time a sound goes up by five decibels, which isn't a lot, the amount of time you can safely listen to it cuts in half."

Yet, todays youngsters travel with their families to NASCAR races, rock concerts and loud spectator sports more and more, exposing these children to louder, more dangerous levels of sound at an earlier age.

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