Dietary habits and hearing

Rosenhall, U. et al. Dietary habits and hearing. International Journal of Audiology February 2015, Vol. 54, No. S1 , Pages S53-S56

Objective: Study groups from three age cohorts of 70–75 year-olds were investigated to search for possible correlations between dietary habits and auditory function.

Design: A cross-sectional, epidemiological study. Study sample: A total number of 524 people (275 women, 249 men) were recruited from three age cohorts. The study sample was representative of the general population. All participants answered a diet history and were tested with pure-tone audiometry. Eleven categories of food consumption were related to pure-tone averages of low-mid frequency hearing, and high frequency hearing.

Results: Two consistent correlations between diet and hearing were observed. One was a correlation between good hearing and a high consumption of fish in the male group. The other was a correlation between poor high frequency hearing and a high consumption of food rich in low molecular carbohydrates in both genders; a larger effect size was seen in females.

Conclusions: The study indicates that diet is important for aural health in aging. According to this study fish is beneficial to hearing, whereas consumption of “junk food”, rich in low molecular carbohydrates, is detrimental. Other correlations, e.g. between high consumption of antioxidants, were not demonstrated here, but cannot be excluded.

How to Build, and Keep, the Right Hearing Healthcare Team

Gina, S. How to Build, and Keep, the Right Hearing Healthcare Team. Hearing Journal February 2015 p 26-30

Team management

The process of recruiting, training, and retaining hearing healthcare staff members—whether they are audiologists, audiology assistants, or other office team members—seems to be equal parts science and art. It’s also one of the most important elements of running an audiology practice, especially in an age where private practices must compete with big-box stores and online hearing aid sales.

Positive experiences associated with acquired hearing loss, Ménière’s disease, and tinnitus: A review

Manchaiah, V et al. Positive experiences associated with acquired hearing loss, Ménière’s disease, and tinnitus: A review. International Journal of Audiology January 2015, Vol. 54, No. 1 , Pages 1-10

Objective: It is common to study and understand how various illness and disorders result in negative consequences. However, positive experiences have been reported in a range of disabling conditions including multiple sclerosis, heart disease, physical and sensory disabilities. This paper presents a literature review of studies that have explored positive experiences associated with acquired hearing loss, Ménière’s disease, and tinnitus.

Design: A review of the peer reviewed scientific literature. Study sample: A comprehensive search strategy identified 15 articles after applying inclusion criteria.

Results: A range of positive experiences have been reported by patients with hearing and balance disorders and by their significant others. Associations between demographic variables (e.g. age, gender), audiological variables (e.g. severity of the condition, duration) and the reported positive experiences are low. In Ménière’s disease, self-reported positive experiences can predict the impact of the condition. However, this phenomenon has not yet been demonstrated in relation to hearing loss and tinnitus.

Conclusions: Positive experiences associated with audio-vestibular disorders have been demonstrated. Further research is needed on the long-term benefits of the encouragement of such experiences and positive attitudes in persons with hearing loss, tinnitus, and imbalance

Dying to Be Heard: Hearing Healthcare at the End of Life

Shaw, G. Dying to Be Heard: Hearing Healthcare at the End of Life. Hearing Journal: January 2015 – Volume 68:Issue 1 – p 18,19,22

Good hearing healthcare is essential for people facing the end of life, and yet it often goes overlooked by care providers and families focused on the many other medical, financial, social, legal, and additional concerns that come up when someone is dying.

Parent-to-Parent Support for Parents With Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing: A Conceptual Framework

Henderson, R. et al. Parent-to-Parent Support for Parents With Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing: A Conceptual Framework. American Journal of Audiology, December 2014, Vol. 23, 437-448.

parent to parent support diagram

Background: Parent-to-parent support for parents with children who are deaf or hard of hearing (D/HH) is identified as an important component of Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) programs for children with hearing loss.

Purpose: The specific aim of this review was to identify the constructs and components of parent-to-parent support for parents of children who are D/HH.

Research Design: An extensive scoping literature review identified 39 peer-reviewed articles published from 2000 to 2014. Studies were selected and reviewed based on standardized procedures.

Results: Data were identified, extracted, and organized into libraries of thematic and descriptive content. A conceptual framework of parent-to-parent support for parents of children who are D/HH was developed and presented in a comprehensive, bidirectional informational graphic. The constructs and components of the conceptual framework are (a) well-being: parent, family, and child; (b) knowledge: advocacy, system navigation, and education; and (c) empowerment: confidence and competence.

Conclusion: The findings from this scoping review led to the development of a structured conceptual framework of parent-to-parent support for parents of children who are D/HH. The conceptual framework provides an important opportunity to explore and clearly define the vital contribution of parents in EHDI programs.

New study: long-term benefit of newborn hearing screening

Pimperton H, et al. The impact of universal newborn hearing screening on long-term literacy outcomes: a prospective cohort study. Archives of disease in childhood. 2014 Nov 25

Results of a new study carried out in the UK show that detecting hearing impairment (HI), and intervening at a critical early stage, can make a lifelong difference in literacy outcomes and development. The researchers from the University of Southampton and King’s College London carried out a prospective cohort study of a population sample of children with permanent childhood hearing impairment (PCHI) followed up for 17 years since birth. The study included 114 teenagers: 76 with PCHI and 38 with normal hearing.

Results showed that the early and late confirmed HI groups had mean reading comprehension zscores that were 0.63 and 1.74 SDs below the mean reading z-score in the normal hearing comparison group. Teenagers who had their hearing impairment confirmed early (by nine months) had significantly higher adjusted mean z-scores than the later confirmed teenagers for reading comprehension and reading summarization.

Long-term follow-up in this study showed that the benefits of confirming hearing loss early, in terms of reading comprehension, increase during the teenage years. According to the authors, the results of the study strengthen the case for universal newborn hearing screening programs that lead to early confirmation of permanent hearing loss.

Assisting Older Persons with Adjusting to Hearing Aids.

Lane KR, et al. Assisting Older Persons With Adjusting to Hearing Aids. Clinical Nursing Research 2014 Dec 17

This intervention study tested the feasibility and initial effect of Hearing Aid Reintroduction (HEAR) to assist persons aged 70 to 85 years adjust to hearing aids. Following this 30-day intervention, hearing aid use increased between 1 and 8 hr per day with 50% of participants able to wear them for at least 4 hr. Hearing aid satisfaction improved from not satisfied to satisfied overall.

The study demonstrated that HEAR is feasible and could improve hearing aid use of a substantial number of older persons who had previously failed to adjust to their hearing aids and had given up. However, further testing among a larger and more diverse population is needed to better understand the effectiveness and sustainability of the intervention.

Increased risk of injury in tinnitus patients

Cantley LF, et al. Does tinnitus, hearing asymmetry, or hearing loss predispose to occupational injury risk? International Journal of Audiology 2014 Dec 30:1-7;

Results of a new study provide further evidence that tinnitus combined with high-frequency hearing loss may represent an important safety hazard to workers, especially in noisy environments.

Researchers from Yale’s Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program (Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, USA) recently published the results of their study in the International Journal of Audiology. The study included more than 8800 workers employed at six aluminum manufacturing plants between 2003 to 2008.

The aim was to carry out a retrospective analysis of the relative contributions of tinnitus, asymmetrical hearing loss, low-frequency hearing loss, and high-frequency hearing loss to acute injury risk. The study adjusted for ambient noise exposure and for other known predictors of injury risk.

Results showed that there is a 25% increased risk of acute injury and a subset of serious acute injuries among workers with a history of tinnitus in conjunction with high-frequency hearing loss. Low-frequency hearing loss was found to be potentially associated with minor, less serious injury risk. No evidence was found that asymmetry contributes to this risk. The authors mention already established links between tinnitus and sleep disturbance, fatigue, and distraction.

In their conclusion, the researchers point to the importance of carefully examining the communication needs of hearing-impaired workers and workers with tinnitus who are exposed to workplace noise. They also recommend that more studies be conducted to assess relationships between tinnitus, hearing loss, and injury risk.

Launch of guidance booklet

Best practice guide document

The Health and Social Care Board have launched a new guidance booklet for GPs and their staff, ‘Best Practice Guidance: Creating accessible primary care services for people with sensory loss’ on how to put in place practical solutions to ensure people using the surgery, who have a hearing loss or a sight loss, can receive equal access to care.

Copies of the GP guidance are available here

Select Committee report on Access to Work

The Work and Pensions Select Committee has released its report into Access to Work which highlights the problems deaf people have experienced in getting adequate support through the scheme. The report specifically mentions how reductions to BSL support have had a detrimental impact on deaf people.

The report makes a number of recommendations for how the scheme could be strengthened in the future, including the need to ensure that there is more engagement and consultation with scheme users, improvements to training so that staff are better informed about the needs of scheme users and changes to make the scheme more accessible, such as the introduction of an online application system.

View the full report, Improving Access to Work for disabled people here