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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!


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.

Important Factors for a Long, Healthy Life

Thanks to Healthy Aging Month, the aging experts at Assisted Living Services, Inc. (ALS) in Connecticut have offered tips on the top three ways seniors can stay smart, safe and independent.

"Physical, cognitive and environmental factors have the greatest impact on quality of life as we age," said Ron D'Aquila, RN, President and Co-Founder of ALS. "Preventative measures can delay or avoid illness, injury and premature decline."

D'Aquila suggests a healthy eating plan (you should still adhere to any necessary dietary restrictions). Reducing or eliminating sugar intake can help with inflammation and iron-rich foods such as spinach, beans, dried fruit and meats will help increase energy and avoid iron deficiency.

In addition to an annual physical, D'Aquila urges regular exams to maintain sight, hearing and oral health. Untreated hearing loss is linked to impaired memory and dementia, anxiety, avoidance of social situations and increased risk to personal safety. You should schedule a hearing test at the first signs of hearing trouble.

D'Aquila recommends at least three hours of exercise each week to maintain functional fitness. Specific exercises that can improve balance and leg strength are heel, toe and leg lifts. Additionally, practice walking heel to toe, standing up from a sitting position without using hands and do wall push-ups. Exercise helps improve emotional and cognitive health as well. Other great activities to boost brain power are skill games, puzzles, and new learning opportunities.

Sign up for a complimentary hearing screening here or read more of this article here.