Volume 11, Issue 2
Editor- Trish Kaminski
Notes from the Editor
So sad to see summer go…seems like it takes forever to get here and then it’s gone in a blink of the eye! Hope you all get a chance to really enjoy the warm sunshine before it’s gone!
For those of you that start Christmas shopping early – don’t forget that we are planning on doing the gift drive for the elderly and the children at the women’s shelter again this year! Let’s do all that we can to make their holidays bright!
We will be celebrating our 10th anniversary on August 29th!! To celebrate this milestone, you are all invited to our office for a patient appreciation day on Friday, August 26th from 1pm-5pm for some brats, cold drinks and cake. We will have a tent set up in the parking lot. Here’s the ‘catch’ – we need your RSVP no later than Monday, August 22nd to be sure we have enough for everyone!! We will also be holding a raffle for a very nice prize! This milestone would not be possible without YOU and this is our opportunity to express that appreciation. Please come join the fun!
Hearing Impairment Linked To Type 2 Diabetes
A review of studies of possible linkages between Type 2 diabetes and hearing impairment concludes there is compelling evidence that diabetes can damage the auditory system, and that clinicians should include hearing testing in managing Type 2 diabetes. The survey results were published in an article titled, “Type 2 Diabetes and Hearing Impairment” in the journal, Current Diabetes Reports.
Elizabeth Helzner, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the School of Public Health at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, said, “An association between diabetes and hearing impairment in human subjects has been shown in many, but not all, studies. Direct comparison of these studies is complicated due to a lack of consistency in defining hearing impairment and other factors.”
“However, the association between diabetes and hearing impairment tends to be stronger in studies that included younger participants, perhaps because in older samples, other causes of age-related hearing impairment may mask the contribution of diabetes to the impairment. This factor in itself lends weight to the notion that Type 2 diabetes can damage hearing.”
Dr. Helzner and her co-author note in the article that the epidemiologic study of the relationship between diabetes and hearing impairment is relatively new. They add that well-designed longitudinal studies are necessary in order to explore whether patients with diabetes are at increased risk of early-onset hearing impairment, and whether the progression of hearing impairment varies based on diabetes status, as well as disease management factors, after taking other known contributors to hearing sensitivity into account.
Hearing impairment is one of the most pervasive disabling conditions, affecting 16.1 % of adults in the United States. Two thirds of adults have clinically significant hearing impairment by age 70. Hearing impairment has been associated with social isolation and depression, cognitive decline and incident dementia, a higher propensity for falls and hospitalizations, and increased mortality.
A thoughtful gift….
For those of you with hearing instruments or have family or friends with hearing instruments… a Dry & Store is the perfect gift to assist in keeping those hearing instruments working at their best. We have them in stock!
To minimize the risk of misplacing and/or losing your hearing instruments – make sure that whenever you take them out to always put them in the same safe spot – NEVER put them loose in your pocket or wrap them up in a tissue – always keep them out of reach of pets and small children.
To get about 10 – 15 extra hours of life out of your batteries – let the new battery sit for at least two minutes with the sticker off before putting it in the hearing aid.
Forty years ago, in her teens, she told her parents that she wasn’t as ‘spacey’ as people thought. She was sent to an Audiologist who informed her that she had a mild hearing loss and added, “you may need these in college,” showing her bulky, ugly hearing aids, to which she politely said “no, thanks.”.
Five years later she had a sore throat. She asked her doctor if that might be affecting her hearing. Once again she was given a hearing test. This time she was told that the loss was serious and would likely worsen over time. She got hearing aids. They had a hard plastic shell that filled the ears and stuck out a tad. They were uncomfortable and whistled from feedback, but still, with them she could hear, so she wore them.
She hated those ugly hearing aids. She kept her hair long. She did not want to talk about her disability unless SHE brought it up first.
Over time, her hearing worsened so that even with the aids she struggled. She wasn’t shy about telling people that she was having difficulty hearing them, but it was awkward to interrupt conversations to ask people to speak up. If she did, they would talk louder for a word or two and then revert back to their normal speaking voice.
She started to fake it when she couldn’t hear. Early on with her hearing loss she could hear well enough to fill in the blanks so she thought that she could still continue that. But as her hearing declined, she couldn’t catch up. She’d miss half a sentence and nod in agreement, or she’d think that she understood something, only to find out later that she had misheard.
And, like many people with hearing loss, she found that it was so much easier to talk than to listen. She would dominate a conversation, or come across as rude because she missed the verbal clues signaling when to enter and end an interaction. Fortunately, she was self-aware enough to recognize that this was happening. She no longer cared if people saw the hearing aids, in fact, she hoped that if they did, they would help her out. As the hearing loss continued to worsen she switched to powerful behind-the-ear devices…… and cut her hair short!
The ability to engage in conversation and be part of groups declined. She felt socially inept. She often misheard others and talked off-topic. She came across as rude, or scatterbrained. But she discovered that the more open she was about her hearing loss, the less her behavior was misunderstood.
There really is no stigma associated with wearing hearing aids. Rather it is the glitches in communication that causes people to judge. In the years since starting to wear hearing aids, much has changed. Look around – these days, half of the people you see walking down the street have some sort of electronic device in their ear!
The people who have a hard time believing that there is no stigma seem to be the ones WITH hearing loss. A friend of mine has always hidden her disability because she worried that being open about it would impact how people perceive her at her job. She’s a high-level manager at a world renowned research lab.
Recently a woman joined her team. At the very first meeting this new woman announced to everyone that she wore hearing aids and there were likely going to be times during communication that she would need help. No one even blinked! These are people used to working with technology.
Hearing aids are not beautiful fashion accessories but they are not a billboard announcing that you have a problem either.
Hearing aids are just that – aids to help one hear better and not miss out on life! Life without hearing aids is what brings limitations. Stigma? Nope!
Hearing Health Magazine, Spring 2016Kim, Su7202Kim, Suk (574) 850-672
Use the sticker from the new batteries as markers on your calendar. This will help you keep track of just how long a battery lasts for you!
Brian Wilson: The Beach Boys mastermind has been partially deaf in his right ear for the majority of his life.
Eric Clapton: The legendary guitar player rocked out too many nights next to ear-shattering amps; Clapton is now partially deaf, though he’s not sure in which ear.
Pete Townshend: The Who’s guitarist once played a concert that held the world record for being the loudest for ten years. He is now almost deaf.
Neil Young: The music legend made the album Harvest Moon because he wanted softer sounds, which helped him deal with tinnitus.
Ozzy Osbourne: Heavy metal isn’t easy on the ears, and the Black Sabbath front man and reality show star has hearing loss to prove it.
Phil Collins: The singer gave up music in 2011 for medical reasons, including his hearing health. Collins found his hearing ability has diminished over the years of his career and so he chose to walk away from performing.