MAY 2012 CHAPTER NEWSLETTER
: Patty Cortez, email:
Tom VanArman; email:
: Donna Penman Assistive Technology: Don Groff, email:
: Diana Bender, email:
, and Don Groff
Meeting Schedule: 1st Monday of each Month, except January, February, July and August: William Jeanes Library, 4051 Joshua Road, Lafayette Hill, PA 19444 Time: 6:00 – 7:45 p.m.
Prevalence of Hearing Loss
The prevalence of hearing loss in adults 65 to 74 years old is lower now than it was 40 years ago, according to a study published in the May 2012 issue of
that younger adults are hearing much better than their grandparents did at their age.
The new study, funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), analyzed audiometric data collected from 1999 to 2006 and compared them to similar data for adults 65 to 74 years of age that were collected 40 years earlier from the period from 1959 to 1962.
Hearing impairment in adults in this age group dropped from 48% in 1959 to 1962 to 36% in 1999 to 2006. Thus, the rate of hearing impairment for adults who are currently 65 to 74 years old is 25% better than it was for adults of the same age 40 years ago.
“It’s difficult to explain why this decrease in hearing impairment occurred, since the two age groups we looked at were born in the decades circa 1890 and 1930,” said Howard Hoffman, NIDCD epidemiologist and lead author of the paper. “They became adults before the general availability of antibiotics to treat childhood ear infections or the widespread introduction of vaccines, which have since greatly reduced the incidence of common childhood diseases such as measles and mumps that may result in permanent hearing loss.”
The researchers suggest that the improvement may owe less to advances in medical treatments, and more to incremental advances made in public health, such as sanitation and safer and healthier foods, education, and transportation.
In addition, the improvement may be due to safer working conditions, fewer noisy jobs, more use of hearing protection, less smoking, better control of infectious diseases, and, more recently, improved control of diabetes and other cardiovascular risk factors.
The Hearing Review, May 17, 2012
Latest Deafness Research
A new understanding about how the inner ear processes sound could some day improve how hearing aids and prosthetic devices are designed to help people with profound hearing loss hear better in noisy places. “Sound can be divided into fast and slow components, and today’s cochlear implants provide only the slow varying components that help people with profound hearing loss hear conversations in quiet rooms, but don’t allow them to hear as well in busy restaurants,” said Michael G. Heinz, an associate professor of speech, language and hearing sciences who specializes in auditory neuroscience. “It has been thought that the fast varying sound components – which can’t be provided with current cochlear implant technology – help to hear in noisy environments. Evidence for this idea has come from listening experiments that were interpreted based on the assumption that the fast and slow sound components could be separated within the ear.
“But, perhaps cochlear implants are not delivering all of the useful information with their current stimulation strategies,” Swaminathan says. “At this time, their design focuses on the slowly varying components in the acoustic waveform rather than what the slowly varying components look like in the neural responses of normal-hearing ears.”
“The key distinction in our results is that it was the neural slow-fluctuation cues that were shown to be important rather than the acoustic slow-component cues that cochlear implants provide,” said Heinz, who also has a joint appointment in biomedical engineering. “This may sound like the same thing, but the slow neural components include the effects of fast to slow conversions that occur within the normal-hearing cochlea but do not occur in the damaged ears of cochlear implant patients. These results are promising because they provide insight into a possible way to provide the useful information from fast acoustic cues using the slow fluctuations that existing cochlear implant technology can provide.”
Research will continue to study our understanding of speech perception in noise, as well as how these findings can be used to improve cochlear implants.
May 6, 2012 Health Hearing
12th Annual Eastern PA Regional Picnic July 15
Montco and GenX HLAA Chapters are teaming up to sponsor the 12th annual HLAA Southeastern Regional Picnic on Sunday July 15th at Ridley Creek State Park. The picnic will be held at our traditional site in Pavilion 11B and will be held rain or shine. For those who have never been to the picnic before, the pavilion roof provides cover in case of rain. Patty and Melissa Pardo-Bunte, the GenX chapter president, will be in touch with you to let you know how to register, so watch your email inboxes for more information.
Quote of the Month
“Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens.”
Next Meeting: Annual Dessert Social
Our next meeting will feature our annual dessert/finger food social. Come and discuss your vacation plans with other chapter members, and find out what others are planning to do this summer.
Contributions of a dessert or a finger food item of your choice would be greatly appreciated.
Patty will provide the paper goods, utensils, lemonade, and iced tea. Please let Patty know what you plan to bring so she can avoid having people bringing the same dish.
Please join us for our next meeting which will be held on
June 4, 2012
beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the newly renovated Jeanes Library.