Supporting older people with hearing loss in care settings

This guide has been produced to help staff working in longer-term care settings provide high-quality care and support to older people with hearing loss. It is written for care home managers | Action on Hearing Loss

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Image source: actiononhearingloss.org.uk

The guide covers the following:

  • The need to support older people with hearing loss
  • Identifying and checking for hearing loss
  • Improving hearing aid use and management
  • Meeting residents’ communication needs
  • Providing assistive listening devices
  • Managing tinnitus
  • Managing ear wax
  • Appointing Hearing Loss Champions
  • Meeting the requirements of the CQC Inspection Framework

Full document: Guidance for supporting older people with hearing loss in care settings: A guide for managers and staff

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Updates on Unilateral Hearing Loss

The Hearing Journal has published an update on unilateral hearing loss. It is based on the Unilateral Hearing Loss in Children Conference 2017, which featured current research presented by many of the foremost experts on Unilateral Hearing Loss (UHL). 

close-up-18753_1280Highlights include :

  • Can we Predict Outcomes of Children with UHL?
  • UHL in the Real World
  • Supporting the Whole Child

It can be read here 

Smith, J. & Wolfe, J. |The Hearing JournalFebruary 2018 | Vol. 71 |2 |  p. 18 -20|

doi: 10.1097/01.HJ.0000530648.17182.22

It can be downloaded here 

Audiology waiting times December 2017

NHS Digital has published the latest waiting times for non-consultant led treatment for audiology patients who were treated during the month and patients waiting to start treatment at the end of the month.

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Data are shown at provider organisation and commissioner level, from NHS Trusts, NHS Foundation Trusts and Independent Sector Organisations.

They are available here

There is an accompanying press release

Further statistics can be found on the Direct Access Audiology Data webpage 

Tinnitus Week

Tinnitus Week takes place from 5-11 February 2018 and is an international awareness initiative led by a group of organisations, including the British Tinnitus Association, American Tinnitus Association, Tinnitus Hub and the Tinnitus Research Initiative.

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The aim of the week is to raise awareness of the condition, which affects approximately 1 in 10 of the population. The British Tinnitus Association campaign for the week will focus on children and young people.

The ‘Kids Talk Tinnitus’ campaign will engage with children, parents and schools to raise awareness of tinnitus amongst young people and drive the use of relevant support and resources. These can be found at www.tinnitus.org.uk/Pages/Category/tinnitus-in-children.

A new website has been set up, as a central resource collecting all the initiatives which will be taking place in 2018. This website can be found at www.tinnitusweek.com.

Find out more about Tinnitus Week  here.

Majority of UK parents are unaware children can have tinnitus

A survey by the British Tinnitus Association (BTA)  found just under a third of UK parents (32%) think children under the age of 10 can have tinnitus; and just 37% think it can affect children aged 10 to 16

Research commissioned by the BTA has revealed the worrying statistic, which the charity says reinforces the misconception that the hearing condition only affects older people.

The research also revealed many parents are unaware of the common signs of the hearing condition in children, such as anxiety or difficulty concentrating.
To help tackle the problem, the charity has created guidance for both parents and teachers:

  • Tinnitus: A Parents Guide:
    Includes the signs and symptoms to look out for, as well as advice on the best places to get help and support if parents suspect their child has tinnitus
  • Tinnitus: A Teachers Guide:
    Provides practical steps for use in the classroom.

Full BTA Press release here

Children with cochlear implant learn words faster than hearing children

Researchers have found that deaf children with a cochlear implant learn words even faster than those with normal hearing | Scientific Reports | via ScienceDaily

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A current study at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences has revealed that when deaf children get their cochlear implants, they learn words faster than those with normal hearing. Consequently, they build up certain word pools faster.

The reason for this finding could be that children with cochlear implants are older when they are first exposed to spoken language. Those with normal hearing learn aspects of language, such as the rhythm and melody of their mother tongue, from birth and even in the womb. In deaf children, this only starts at the time of their cochlear replacement, at the age of around one to four years. By this time certain brain structures necessary for language acquisition are already well developed.

Full story at ScienceDaily

Full reference: Vavatzanidis, N. K. et al. | Establishing a mental lexicon with cochlear implants: an ERP study with young children |Scientific Reports, 2018; 8 (1)

When the eyes move, the eardrums move, too

The eyes and ears team up to interpret the sights and sounds around us | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences | Story via ScienceDaily

Simply moving the eyes triggers the eardrums to move too, even in the absence of sound, says a new study by neuroscientists. The findings provide new insight into how the brain coordinates what we see and what we hear. It may also lead to new understanding of hearing disorders, such as difficulty following a conversation in a crowded room.

The researchers found that keeping the head still but shifting the eyes to one side or the other sparks vibrations in the eardrums, even in the absence of any sounds.

Surprisingly, these eardrum vibrations start slightly before the eyes move, indicating that motion in the ears and the eyes are controlled by the same motor commands deep within the brain.

Full story at ScienceDaily

Full reference: Gruters, K. G. et al. | The eardrums move when the eyes move: A multisensory effect on the mechanics of hearing | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences |  published ahead of print January 23, 2018