Category Archives: Aging

Hearing Aids: Over-The-Counter vs Prescription

Hearing aids are not one-size-fits all. “While OTC devices may help many people with mild or moderate hearing loss, they might not be appropriate for all types of hearing loss,” says Dr. Naples.

Harvard Health Publishing – A change in FDA regulations has cleared the way for over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids. What does this mean for you if you’re among the approximately 48 million Americans with some degree of hearing loss? We asked Dr. James Naples, assistant professor of otolaryngology/head and neck surgery at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, to help explain potential pros and cons.

The basics: Hearing aids versus amplification products

There are various types of hearing aids that largely work in the same way. Whether the style is behind the ear or in the ear canal, they amplify sounds to make them louder. They also help filter out certain types of noise. “All hearing aids use a combination of signal processing and directional microphones to filter out some unwanted noise and to improve our ability to hear sounds,” says Dr. Naples.

Don’t confuse prescription or OTC hearing aids with personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) sold at most drug stores. Such products merely amplify nearby sounds. They’re not tailored to an individual’s hearing loss, and aren’t regulated by the FDA or intended to treat hearing loss.

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COMMENTARY:

Humans and their mammalian cousins have lost the ability to regenerate the hair cells in the inner ear. In preindustrial society(how could they know?) people apparently didn’t lose hearing as they aged. However, in the Industrial Age, the prevalence of noise has been increasing along with our power consumption,  and loss of hearing consequently occurs along with Aging.

High frequency loss is the most prominent, and this leads to inability to hear consonants, and have more difficulty with the voices of children and women which tend to be of a higher frequency. The ability of young people to hear high frequencies better than older people has led to various ringtones and songs favoring high frequencies, which the children can hear and older people cannot.

There are a number of things that can add to this hearing loss, such as chronic exposure to loud sounds (such as rock concerts), exposure to drugs that damage hearing, such as certain antibiotics and even aspirin. Otosclerosis and repeated middle ear infections can also accentuate the problem by interfering with sound conduction.

Ringing in the ears, tinnitus, is also associated with accelerated hearing loss.

I have had tinnitus for a long time, and at the age of 90, I have definite hearing loss. Even a couple of decades ago my high frequency loss was quite demonstrable by audiogram. I am resisting the temptation to get it corrected, since the louder sounds from the device would probably gradually reduce my baseline hearing ability. Also  I am now forced to pay strict attention when listening to people. This may slow down the tendency of older people to have a greater difficulty in “decoding” the  spoken word, due to decreased brain processing.

With the passage of a new law permitting people to access hearing aids without a prescription, the price of hearing aids is bound to go down, another reason for waiting.

If you are considering getting a hearing aid, an audiologist would prepare one that is tuned to your specific hearing loss.

The best is none too good.

—Dr. C.

Heart Health: When You Should Take Daily Aspirin

When should you take daily aspirin?

If you’ve had a heart attack or stroke: Taking a low-dose aspirin a day is an important part of your treatment. It can help you prevent another heart attack or stroke.

If you haven’t had a heart attack or stroke: Taking an aspirin a day may prevent heart attack or stroke, but it can also cause bleeding. Talk with your health care team about the risks and benefits of aspirin for you. In general, don’t take a daily aspirin if you are 60 or older and don’t have heart disease.

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Vitamin D: Lower Levels Increase Dementia Risks

Low vitamin D levels were linked with an increased risk of both dementia and stroke over the following 11 years. Based on this observational study, people with low vitamin D levels were found to have a 54% greater chance of developing dementia compared with people whose levels were normal.

A study published online April 22, 2022, by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests vitamin D deficiency may raise risk for dementia and stroke.

The study analyzed more than 294,000 people (most of them women over 60) living in the United Kingdom. Using blood tests on all participants and neuroimaging tools on about 34,000, researchers looked for associations between vitamin D levels and risks of dementia and stroke. A normal blood vitamin D level was defined as at least 50 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L); a deficiency was defined as less than 25 nmol/L.

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Aging: ‘Healthy Longevity’ Journal – November 2022

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Inside the November 2022 Issue:

Research & review on #Alzheimers, global burden of benign prostatic hyperplasia, #WHO def of vitality capacity, IPD meta on social connection & #cognition, #oralhealth for older people & more.


Hope on the horizon for Alzheimer’s disease treatment?

Social connectedness and cognitive decline

Time to take oral health seriously