Hearing Screening

New Genes Identified in Hearing Loss Patients

A new study was recently published in The American Journal of Human Genetics which has identified 44 genes that are linked to age-related hearing loss. This is helping to give a clearer picture of how hearing loss develops and potential treatments for it.

In the study, researchers from King's College London and UCL looked at genes from over 250,000 participants aged 40-69 years to see which genes were associated with people who had reported having, or not having, hearing problems on the questionnaire. 44 genes were identified to be linked with hearing loss.

By the age of 65, one-third of people are affected by some degree of hearing loss. This can lead to social isolation and various disabling conditions and has been identified as a risk factor for dementia. The findings of this new study may allow researchers to determine how hearing loss develops as we age and may identify potential targets for new therapies and treatments.

Co-lead author of the study Professor Frances Williams said, "We now know that very many genes are involved in the loss of hearing as we age. This study has identified a few genes that we already know cause deafness in children, but it has also revealed lots of additional novel genes [that] point to new biological pathways in hearing."

The next steps in this research are to understand how each identified gene influences the auditory pathway in order to provide opportunities to develop new treatments.

Learn more about the study here and be sure to sign up for a complimentary consultation at Hearing Health Associates.

It's Audiology Awareness Month!

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October is Audiology Awareness Month. This month is dedicated to spreading awareness about the services audiologists provide as well as why you might consider hearing protection or treatment.

In celebration of Audiology Awareness Month, here is a list of facts you may not have known around the topic of audiology and hearing:

  • 1 billion people are at risk for hearing loss due to unsafe personal use of portable music devices. In fact, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, around 37 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss already.

  • Audiologists treat people of all ages, not just older individuals. Half of those individuals with hearing loss are younger than age 65 and should seek treatment for hearing loss.

  • Audiologists don’t just offer hearing aids as treatment. Audiologists can provide personalized treatment and services to people suffering from a variety of conditions like dizziness/balance issues or tinnitus and also can offer hearing screenings and protection to prevent hearing loss (if you haven’t begun experiencing any yet).

  • If your child isn’t performing well in school or having issues paying attention, it could be due to hearing loss. 60% of childhood hearing loss is due to preventable causes and can be treated by an audiologist.

Celebrate National Audiology Awareness Month with us and sign up for a complimentary screening at Hearing Health Associates. Our audiologists can help with both preventative care and hearing loss treatment.

September is Healthy Aging Month

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The month of September is Healthy Aging Month. This is a great time to be thinking about some practices and habits you can implement in your life to help your health in the long run. Here are some of our recommendations:

  • Pick up a new exercise or physical activity. Exercises like yoga and swimming are relaxing, low-impact, and fun. Plus you’ll relieve stress and release endorphins, both of which are great for your mental health.

  • Get regular checkups for your hearing and more. Wearing hearing aids, should you need them, can help reduce the risk of falls, reduce the risk of depression, ward off mental decline and conditions like dementia, and keep you socially active. Sign up for your complimentary hearing screening with Hearing Health here. Don’t forget about regular dental, physical, and eyesight checkups as well.

  • Meet more people, more often. An attributing factor to living a longer, happier life is your social life. Volunteer, join clubs, take a class on a subject you’re interested in, or take someone you already know out for lunch/dinner.

  • Be positive. This is the most important tip on this list! Always strive to think positive and take positive actions and steps in your life. In the long run, you will live happier, healthier, and longer because of it.

Have any other tips? Share them with us on Facebook.

Your Back-to-School Hearing Health Checklist

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With back-to-school season heading your direction, we’re sure you have gathered many lists of supplies, like notebooks, pencils, and crayons that your child needs for school. While those are important for your child to learn their best, it’s also important that you consider what your child may need to either prevent hearing loss or help if they are already experiencing it.

Here is a quick list of some hearing health supplies for your child’s return to school:

  1. Written instructions/notebook with important information. If your child is already experiencing some hearing loss, wears a cochlear implant, or has a hearing aid, it can be vital to provide teachers and faculty/administrators with instructions on how your child’s device works and what to do in case it stops working. You can also provide instructions for ways to communicate with your child in case of emergencies – especially if you aren’t able to reach the school in time – or request specific seating for your child in the classroom.

  2. Hearing aid/cochlear implant accessories. Provide your child’s teacher with extra batteries, a dry kit, and cord clips for your child’s device, as well as instructions on how these items work. This will ensure there is already a backup plan in case anything happens to your child’s device during the school day.

  3. Noise cancelling headphones. To prevent hearing loss, you should discuss noise and music level with your child before they use their music devices. However, you can also make sure they wear noise cancelling headphones, instead of earbuds, in order to protect their hearing from elevated conversations and road noise while riding the bus. Your child can also wear these in other scenarios, like recess or music class if the environment is too loud.

  4. Hearing protection for sports. If your child is at the age to participate in contact sports or recess outside, you may want to get them ear protection for those times. A strong blow to the ear from a ball, hand, or other object can cause permanent damage to their ear drum and, ultimately, hearing loss. Wearing the proper protection can help prevent this from happening. If your child also participates in swimming during school hours, consider swimming ear plugs.

Be sure to speak with your child’s teachers often to ensure their devices have been working properly in the classroom and to make sure they’re in the best learning environment with respect to their hearing health.

Click here for more information on protecting your child’s hearing and here for signs of childhood hearing loss. If you believe your child may be experiencing hearing loss, sign your child up for a free hearing screening.

National Audiology Awareness Month

How is your hearing? That’s the question the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) wants you to focus on this month.

The AAA established October as National Audiology Awareness Month to encourage people to remember how important your hearing is to your daily life, along with encouraging hearing screenings and hearing protection.

The statistics on hearing loss are shocking, with 36 million Americans suffering from some degree of hearing loss. Even more staggering is the average amount of time a person with hearing loss waits to seek treatment after noticing a problem - between seven to 10 years. In that time, hearing can not only worsen significantly, but can cause a variety of health and psychological problems, such as depression, social isolation and balance disorders.

Take this month to focus on your hearing. Schedule an appointment with an audiologist to get a hearing screening. If you notice signs of hearing loss in someone close to you, our most recent blog post focused on how to start that conversation.

How To Start A Conversation About Hearing Loss

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Hearing loss is frustrating on all accounts. It can be annoying to have to consistently repeat yourself; and, it’s also frustrating to be the one asking for the repeat. As a friend or family member of someone suffering from hearing loss, you probably find yourself wanting to blurt out, “you need hearing aids!” But, because this is such a sensitive topic, it’s better to take the sensitive approach.

Here are a few ways to start that conversation.

  1. Approach the person in a private setting. A group setting will most likely lead to embarrassment, which could have adverse effects on the conversation.

  2. Start by asking if they’ve noticed signs of hearing loss. Feel free to review our questionnaire with them. They may be relieved to have someone to talk to. If they deny there is an issue, (gently) provide examples of situations you’ve noticed that caused you concern.

  3. Explain that hearing loss can lead to social isolation, depression, balance disorders, and even dementia. Also, explain that hearing loss is often irreversible, and the longer you wait, the more damage that is done.

  4. Do your research beforehand, and present one or two options for audiologists in their area. Explain that the first step is just a hearing test.

  5. Help them understand what to expect during the first visit with the audiologist.

  6. End on a positive and encouraging note! Discuss how improved hearing will impact their life.

Complimentary Hearing Screening at Waynesboro Library

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Join Us!

Monday, September 24

2 PM - 5:30 PM

Waynesboro Public Library
600 South Wayne Ave
Waynesboro, VA 22980

Dr. Tammy Garber will be offering complimentary hearing screenings this month at the Waynesboro Public Library. No appointment is necessary; stop by anytime to have your hearing checked, or to discuss questions or concerns with her.

Hearing Loss May…

  • Make it difficult to converse on the telephone

  • Make you feel tired or taxed after a gathering or meeting

  • Limit or hamper your personal or social life

  • Cause you to ask people to repeat themselves

  • Result in stress or anxiety

  • Make you feel isolated from friends, family or co-workers

  • Cause you to have difficulty understanding women's and children's voices

  • Cause others to complain that you turn up the TV too loud

Hearing loss has been linked with many health issues, including depression, social isolation, dementia, tinnitus, and balance disorders. Please don’t delay if you or someone you know may be experiencing symptoms of hearing loss. Once it occurs, the majority of hearing loss is irreversible.

If you can’t make it to this event but are interested in getting your hearing checked, call us at 434-326-4535 to schedule an in-office complimentary screening.