Ear wax removal Amersham
Looking for ear wax removal in the Amersham area? Try the Chalfont hearing centre. If you are in need of expert advice for ear wax issues or you know you have ear wax issues, the Chalfont hearing centre have various ways they can remove it. The latest technique is using a small hoover type of machine. This very gently removes ear wax using Micro-Suction. Suction so small you can hardly feel it. Leon Cox the lead audiologist at Chalfont hearing and Henley Hearing clinic will advise you on which ear wax removal service he recommends. For many reasons ear syringing may not be the most appropriate method.
Ear wax removal Amersham
Sometimes ear wax removal can be called ear syringing. Chalfont hearing can do the traditional ear syringing technique if you prefer.
Wax appointments always available, please call reception.
Chalfont hearing news:
New Apple Watch Feature to Measure Noise Levels
The Chalfont hearing centre offers the very latest in hearing aids and hearing wearable connectivity.
The app, known as “Noise,” will periodically use the watch’s microphone to check sound levels, and will issue a warning if sound reaches or exceeds 90 decibels, according to Mic. Users will also be able to perform checks on demand as well.
The Mic article does note, however, that the Noise app will not measure sound levels when listening to music via headphones.
To read the article in its entirety, please click here.
Image: © Jair Fonseca – Dreamstime.com
Benefits of hearing aids
The Chalfont hearing Centre is a premier independent hearing company based in Little Chalfont Bucks. Leon Cox, the lead audiologist is here to help you diagnose your hearing symptoms along with other hearing issues such as possible ear wax blocking the ear canal. Ear wax can be easily dealt with by Micro-suction that gently hoovers out the ear wax cleanly and quickly.
If you need hearing aids
Hearing aids won’t make your hearing perfect, but they make sounds louder and clearer, reducing the impact hearing loss has on your life.
Hearing aids can:
- help you hear everyday sounds such as the doorbell and phone
- improve your ability to hear speech
- make you feel more confident when talking to people and make it easier for you to follow conversations in different environments
- help you to enjoy listening to music and the TV, at a volume that’s comfortable for those around you
But hearing aids only help if you still have some hearing left, so don’t put off getting help if your hearing is getting worse.
To book your appointment at the Chalfont hearing centre please call reception and speak with our receptionist.
Starkey hearing aids, Little Chalfont
We sell and dispense all types of hearing aids at the Chalfont hearing centre. One of the big guns is Starkey. Recently they announced a new innovation for their Live Ai hearing aids. It now comes with fall detection, meaning it will detect if you have a fall and if you are paired with your phone it will message up to 3 contacts that you have specified before hand.
Read the full press statement bellow for more info, or if you are interested in knowing more please pop in or make an appointment so we can walk you through the new hearing aid and it’s features.
Chalfont hearing news:
Starkey Releases World’s First Hearing Aid with Fall Detection and Alerts to Livio AI Users
Starkey Hearing Technologies, Eden Prairie, Minn, has released its new Fall Detection and Alert feature in Livio AI hearing aids to a limited number of hearing professionals, and plans to offer the feature to all dispensing professionals and their clients in late February, according to CTO Achin Bhowmik, PhD, in an interview with Hearing Review on Tuesday, December 18. Using integrated sensors, the Fall Detection and Alert feature is designed to automatically detect falls and send messages to as many as three contacts.
Fall detection sensors are currently implemented in all Livio AI devices as part of its standard hardware platform, and Starkey has been working on the Fall Alert feature to maximize its utility for end users prior to the system’s widespread implementation.
Falls are a massive public health problem, particularly for older adults. It’s estimated that injuries due to falls will account for $67.7 billion in public health spending by 2020, and according to the National Council on the Aging (NCOA) falls are currently responsible for an older adult being admitted to a US emergency room every 11 seconds. Additionally, people with hearing loss are particularly susceptible to falls. A Johns Hopkins study suggests that having hearing loss triples the risk of falls for people age 40 and older—and the findings hold up regardless of whether their hearing loss is moderate or severe.
How Starkey Fall Detection and Alerts work. Starkey’s new Fall Detection system is said to have several benefits over existing stand-alone medical alert systems, which are typically attached to a lanyard around the neck. “The first key advantage is that a hearing aid is almost always in your ear during your active hours, making for one less thing to carry or remember. One of the major problems with medical alert systems is getting people to wear them,” says Bhowmik. “Second, we have two fall detection sensors [in binaural fittings] for the right side and the left side, whereas most fall detection systems have only one. And the way the two sensors are spaced apart and the way in which you hold your head, we can get better and more accurate results than neck-worn sensors designed to detect falls.”
According to Bhowmik, part of Starkey’s recent research has revolved around what constitutes an actual fall as opposed false-positives such as quick downward movements or even accidentally dropping the hearing aid. “If you take the hearing aid off your ear and drop it on the ground, you will not get a false-positive for falling with Livio AI,” says Bhowmik. “We have been working on [eliminating false-positives] for over a year. A good AI system is only as good as the data you train the system with. In this particular case, if the left hearing aid detects a fall, it immediately checks with the right hearing aid to see if the data matches what would indicate a fall for the system. Unless it detects a fall from the hearing aids in tandem for both the right and left sides of the head, the device will eliminate those non-fall events and false-positives.”
The hearing care professional will be able to activate Fall Detection and Alerts through an easy-to-use interface within the fitting software for Starkey’s Livio AI hearing aids. The user can then enter the Auto Alert contacts—up to three people who are to be alerted in the event of a fall within the Thrive Hearing App. When a fall is detected by the system, an audio prompt asks the user if they have fallen. He or she then has 60 seconds to provide an Event Cancellation and stop the outgoing Fall Alert messages from being sent to their designated contacts. If the hearing aid user has fallen and elects to send the Fall Alert message to his/her contacts, they receive confirmation when each contact has been successfully reached.
The system also allows for a Manual Alert which can be activated by simply pressing the hearing aid button, sending an alert for a fall or non-fall related event. “Maybe you didn’t fall, but instead just felt dizzy or were otherwise forced to sit down on the floor,” explains Bhowmik. “Obviously, this is not a fall. But you can still use the Manual Alert to get help when you need it. By tapping a button, you can send an automatic alert to your contacts, telling them you need assistance.”
This is just another step in the direction of making the hearing aid a multi-purpose, multi-functional device, according to Starkey.
To learn more about Starkey’s Livio AI you can visit: https://www.starkey.com/hearing-aids/technologies/livio-artificial-intelligence-hearing-aids
Latest digital hearing aids 2019- Bucks
Looking for information on how what hearing aids would suit you or what you need? Book an appointment with the Chalfont hearing centre and have a full spectrum hearing test done. Once the test has completed Leon Cox will sit with you and discuss the results. Once they results are know he will then go through what the different types of hearing aids (if any needed) are good for your hearing loss. There are many hearing aids available form many different manufacturers. The Chalfont hearing centre are an independent hearing centre, covering the whole of Bucks. We are not affiliated to any manufacturer so can offer you what you need rather to what we sell. We can access all the major manufactures hearing aids for you to choose from.
Chalfont Hearing News:
New Hear-it Report Documents Extraordinary Costs of Hearing Loss in EU
In the EU, untreated hearing loss costs 185 billion Euro–each year. –hear-it.org
A new scientific report, “Hearing Loss – Numbers and Costs”, concludes that untreated, disabling hearing loss costs 185 billion Euros (US$211 billion) in the EU each year. This represents 8,200 Euros (US$9335) each year per person with an untreated disabling hearing loss.
The detailed findings and conclusions in the report will be presented at a lunch debate at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, on the March 6 in connection with the WHO World Hearing Day on the 3rd of March.
The report was carried out for the non-profit organization, hear-it AISBL, by Professor Emerita Bridget Shield with the assistance of Professor Mark Atherton at Brunel University in London. In 2006, Professor Bridget Shield compiled the first report for hear-it AISBL, “Evaluation of the Social and Economic Costs of hearing Impairment.”
How they arrived at the 185 billion Euro figure. According to the report, lower quality of life due to disabling hearing loss costs the EU 130 billion Euros (US$148 billion) each year. Lost productivity in society due to a higher unemployment among people with a disabling hearing loss costs 55 billion Euros ($63 billion) each year in the EU. In total, this is 185 billion Euros. The cost does not cover extra health care costs caused by hearing loss. A disabling hearing loss is defined by the Global Burden of Disease research group (GBD) as a hearing loss of 35 dB or greater.
In Europe as a whole—including non-EU countries—untreated, disabling hearing loss costs 216 billion Euros (US$246 billion) each year, says the researchers.
Chalfont hearing centre for all 2019 hearing aids
The report documents that the use of hearing aids and other hearing solutions improves health and increases quality of life. It also documents that people with an untreated, disabling hearing loss are at greater risk of social isolation, depression, cognitive decline and dementia, while people who treat their hearing loss do not experience a higher risk than people without hearing loss.
There are 34.4 million people with a disabling hearing loss (35 dB or greater) in the EU. More than 22.6 million are not treated for their disabling hearing loss as only around 1 in 3 in Europe with a disabling hearing loss use hearing aids or other hearing solutions. This is more than the combined population of Austria, Finland, Ireland, and Lithuania. With a steadily aging population who live longer and with an earlier onset of hearing loss due to increased noise exposure, this growth will increase even further in the years to come, warns Hear-it.
Chalfont hearing centre for all 2019 hearing aids
A meta study. The report, “Hearing Loss–Numbers and Costs”, is a meta study which has analyzed and compared hundreds of scientific studies and papers in the last two decades about the prevalence and the consequences of hearing loss and the use and benefits of hearing aids, according to the organization.
“The scientific report clearly demonstrates that untreated hearing loss is a major health issue and that untreated hearing loss has a huge economic and social impact on our society,” said Secretary General Kim Ruberg, hear-it AISBL, on the organization’s website. “It also documents that checking your hearing and treating hearing loss pays, both for the individual and for society.”
Check your hearing. World Hearing Day is held by the WHO on the 3rd of March each year to raise awareness of how to prevent deafness and hearing loss and promote ear and hearing care across the world. The theme for World Hearing Day 2019 is “Check your hearing”.
Chalfont hearing centre for all 2019 hearing aids
“If you think you might have a hearing loss, my best advice is to get your hearing checked,” says Ruberg. “You can start by checking your hearing using the WHO “Check your hearing” app, or test your hearing online at www.hear-it.org. But if you suspect that you have hearing problems my best advice is that you get a real hearing test carried out by a hearing professional,” says Ruberg.
Cheapest hearing aids Buckinghamshire?
The latest hearing aids in Buckinghamshire
We may not be the cheapest hearing aids in Buckinghamshire, but we are very competitive and an independent small family owned company. Your ears deserve the best, we are the best in the Chalfont and Bucks area (according to our receptionist).
Unlike the larger high street companies, when you visit us you will be seen by the same person each time! This make a huge difference for your treatment and dispensing. Consistency is key when it comes to ear health. We don’t have the buying power of the major companies but we are pretty close. We offer what the majors don’t. We offer one to one ongoing treatment and advice with the same person who you will get to know and we will get to know you. For most of our clients we are almost family as we know each other so well.
If you feel like you need advice before you buy a new hearing aid or a set of hearing aids we are happy to trial these so you are 100% happy before you purchase. Please ask our receptionist or Leon Cox our lead audiologist for more info.
We are committed to make sure you are happy and content with your hearing aids, so always here to make sure you get the best from them and us. We will always try and fit you in as soon as possible if you are in need to see us urgently.
Ear wax removal Bucks
We also conduct ear wax removal using Micro-suction, and the traditional water irrigation technique, along with hearing test, hearing batteries and hearing aid repairs.
Hearing loss in Bucks
The Chalfont hearing centre for hearing issues, is a private hearing company based in Chalfont, Buckinghamshire. Leon Cox, the lead audiologist can help with all matters relating to hearing issues & ear wax removal, also the latest hearing instruments (Hearing aids) and conducts hearing tests. Book ahead for a comprehensive hearing test and discussion on your hearing heath after the hearing test result.
If you are suffering with hearing loss and suspect that ear wax maybe the issue, Leon Cox will conduct either Micro-suction or use the traditional water ear irrigation technique. Microsuction is painless and is the latest way to remove stubborn ear wax from your ear canal.
News originaly taken from the Hearing Review
Hearing Technology Manufacturers Call for EU Response to Hearing Loss
The British and Irish Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (BIHIMA) works closely with its European counterpart the European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (EHIMA), and has supported their recent efforts to raise awareness of hearing loss with EU policymakers, the trade association announced. EHIMA submitted a parliamentary question to the European Commission in July, which has recently received a response from ministers.
The question, which was signed by the Austrian MEP Heinz K. Becker, can be read in full here. The question points to a widening gap between people that self-report hearing loss and the smaller proportion that receive treatment and/or wear devices; this “suboptimal use” of devices is estimated to cost the EU over EUR 500 billion (about USD $583.73 billion) annually. Citing the European Pillar of Social Rights—principles 16 and 17 which cover health care and the inclusion of people with disabilities—the question asks how the Commission can support best practices like early screenings, community education about the benefits of hearing devices, and research related to prevention and treatment strategies for hearing loss.
The European Commission published its answer on August 24, pointing to its efforts to develop the Best Practice Portal, a website described as a “one-stop shop” for best practices in a number of public health initiatives related to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals developed by the United Nations. In particular, the website aims to meet goal 3.4, “to reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being, by one-third.” Additionally, the Commission’s 7th Framework Program for Research (FP7) as well as Horizon 2020—an EU research and innovation program—have funded research on the auditory system, screening standards, hearing devices, diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss-related diseases, and sign language. Further, the Commission states they have proposed a EUR 7.7 billion (USD about $9 billion) health budget for Horizon Europe 2020, focusing on initiatives related to lifelong health, rare diseases, and health care technologies, among other things. To further facilitate hearing-related funding, the Commission said, “Horizon Europe will be open to research proposals on hearing loss, including prevention and rehabilitation and innovative treatments.”
According to BIHIMA’s announcement, the Commission’s response is considered a positive exchange of information. Further, they state, BIHIMA’s European hearing manufacturing partners are encouraged that a greater understanding of hearing loss is being fostered among European policymakers.
“BIHIMA stand fully behind our European partners, EHIMA, in their effort to draw much-needed attention to hearing loss and we applaud this initiative to influence EU decision-making,” said Chairman Paul Surridge.
BIHIMA and EHIMA are together committed to the work of improving the lives of people with hearing loss through promoting greater access to hearing technology.
Source: BIHIMA, EHIMA, European Commission
How long will a fully charged hearing aid last
How long should the hearing aid battery last after a full charge, and how does Bluetooth affect this?
The Chalfont hearing centre is a premier independent hearing company based in Chalfont Buckinghamshire. We supply all manufacturers hearing aid batteries and conduct hearing tests. Microsuction ear wax removal is our speciality here and we also still use the traditional technique of water ear irrigation if you prefer. Hearing aid batteries can be bought over the counter or we can post them to you if this is easier.
This Weeks blog is about the hearing aid battery and how long these should last from a full charge.
Original story by the Hearing review
Chalfont hearing Blog:
How long should the hearing aid battery last after a full charge, and how does Bluetooth affect this
Q: How long should the battery last after a full charge? How much does Bluetooth activity affect this?
A: This is a great and very important question. Battery life is dependent on several factors including the amount of capacity of the battery, how fast the hearing aid drains the current, and the wear behaviors and habits of the user.
I like to use the example of an automobile. How many gallons of gas does the fuel tank hold or, for hearing aid batteries, how many mAh capacity is in the battery? How many miles per gallon does the car use or how many mA does the battery drain both when streaming and not streaming? And, finally, is the car driven on the highway or in the city and is the air conditioner on or off? Or, for hearing aids, how many hours per day does the hearing aid stream? Does the hearing aid use 2.4 GHz streaming or does it is use NFMI with an intermediate device that has its own battery? And, what features are turned on or off on the hearing aid?
The Chalfont Hearing Centre for ear wax removal in Bucks
Please note a factor we have learned in our electronics’ lab. Not all hearing aids are the same. Some 2.4 GHz products have current drains averaging 4.8-5.0 mA when streaming while other 2.4 GHz products using lower power Bluetooth will drain the battery at 3.0-3.4 mA while streaming. Some 2.4 GHz products when not streaming may have battery drains of 1.8-2.0 mA, while some of the newer products with bilateral beam-forming may drain the battery at 2.3-2.5 mA when not streaming.
The key is to know your products and know your patient’s listening habits. This is critical to good counseling.
Q: Is the life of the hearing aid circuit reduced as a result of using the rechargeable system? It did happen when [a previous model of hearing aid] were rechargeable.
A: The ZPower Rechargeable System has been thoroughly evaluated by the hearing aid manufacturers and there is no indication that the system will have a negative effect on the life of the hearing aid circuit. The ZPower silver-zinc battery is designed to mimic the performance of traditional zinc-air batteries and is transparent to the DSP of the hearing aids. Extensive studies of hearing aids using the ZPower System also show the system including the ZPower silver-zinc batteries have no impact on the electrophysiologic performance of the hearing aids. Therefore, the ZPower System will not have a negative impact on the hearing aid circuitry or performance.
Previous Q & A’s
Q: What’s a realistic time frame for a rechargeable hearing aid battery to last?
A: Rechargeable silver-zinc batteries last about a year. They are removeable and therefore easily replaced. It is recommended that rechargeable silver-zinc batteries are replaced once a year by a hearing care professional.
Li-ion batteries are sealed within the hearing aid, and are usually removable only by the hearing aid manufacturer. They last approximately 4 to 5 years.
Q: What would happen if my patient accidentally places their hearing aids in the charger while they have zinc air batteries in them?
A: When the hearing aids are put on the charger, the charger will check to see what type of battery is in the hearing aid. If the charger detects a disposable zinc air battery, the lights on the charger will turn red. If the charger detects a silver-zinc battery, the lights on the charger will start blinking green; once the battery is fully charged, the lights will turn solid green.
Ear wax removal Chalfont,Bucks
Q: Can my patients overcharge a ZPower battery if they leave it in the charger for too long?
A: The batteries will not overcharge if left in the charger. It is a best practice to put the hearing aids back on the charger when the hearing aids are not being worn during the day. This will keep the hearing aids turned off and the batteries charged. For long-term storage, if batteries will not be used for over 2 weeks, the rechargeable batteries should be removed from the hearing aids and stored in a location where they will not touch each other or other metal objects.
Q: What happens when the silver-zinc rechargeable battery is getting low on power?
A: The hearing aid wearer will hear the low battery warning. Once the low-battery warning occurs or once a hearing aid shuts off due to a low battery condition, the battery door should not be opened and closed to reboot the hearing aid. Rebooting after the low battery warning can override the smart circuitry in the battery door into believing it has a traditional disposable battery installed and, although the hearing aid will continue to work for a short period, it may over-discharge the battery. If a low-battery warning from the hearing aids is received, the hearing aids should be placed in the charging base for charging or the batteries should be replaced with non-rechargeable batteries. The rechargeable batteries should not be stored with metal objects such as keys or coins.
Q: How often should the batteries be charged?
A: The batteries should be fully charged every night. Once the hearing aids are finished charging, the indicator lights turn from blinking green to solid green. A full charge may take up to 7 hours—the charge time varies based on how much the battery was depleted during the day. Do not try to extend battery life by charging every other day, as this increases the chances of depleting the battery. A fully depleted battery will take longer to charge and may not fully charge in time for next use.
Q: What happens if the hearing aid wearer forgets to charge the battery at night?
A: They can use a disposable zinc-air battery until it is convenient to re-charge the batteries—ideally the rechargeable batteries should be charged the next night. The rechargeable silver-zinc batteries are a gold color, so they will not be mixed up with zinc-air disposable batteries. The rechargeable batteries should be stored in a safe place and should not be stored with metal objects such as keys or coins.
GN Hearing and Google Partner to Enable Direct Streaming from Android Devices to Hearing Aids
GN Hearing and Google have announced a new technology partnership that will reportedly make GN Hearing the first manufacturer to enable a full spectrum of direct audio streaming from Android devices to hearing aids. In a future Android release, direct streaming may also become available for ReSound LiNX Quattro™ and Beltone Amaze™ hearing aid users.
“According to the World Health Organization, around 466 million peopleworldwide have disabling hearing loss,” said Seang Chau, vice president of engineering at Google. “This number is expected to increase to 900 million people by the year 2050. Google is working with GN Hearing to create a new open specification for hearing aid streaming support on future versions of Android devices.”
According to the joint announcement, users will be able to connect and monitor their hearing aids without using an intermediate device for streaming from Android phones and tablets to their hearing aids.
“We are honored to partner with Google for this important development, which will enable direct streaming for even more hearing aid users through their Android devices,” said Anders Hedegaard, CEO, GN Hearing. “This is another example of how GN Hearing relentlessly strives to drive innovation forward by developing new products and solutions with unique benefits for hearing aid users and audiologists around the world.”
Google has published the new hearing aid specification for Android smartphones available here: Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids (ASHA) on Bluetooth Low Energy Connection-Oriented Channels.
The Chalfont hearing centre is the place where you will find the very latest in digital hearing tech. If you need hearing aids, streaming devices or ear wax removal we do it all. Hearing loss in no longer a condition that is not treatable.
Source: GN Hearing, Google
The best hearing tests in Bucks is at the Chalfont hearing centre.
The latest news from the Chalfont hearing centre, Bucks:
Original story by The Hearing Review
Phonak Wins Three Red Dot Product Design Awards
Phonak, a global provider of hearing aids and wireless communication solutions, has been honored with three international Red Dot Awards for excellence in product design, the company announced. The product award winners include: Virto B-Titanium, said to be “the world’s first” mainstream titanium custom hearing aid; Audéo B-Direct, a Bluetooth®* hearing aid that is designed to directly connect to both a cell phone** and TV; and EasyView Otoblock, a product for hearing care professionals that is designed to allow for deeper ear impressions. The winners were celebrated at the Red Dot Gala earlier this month in Essen, Germany.
“Three Red Dot Award winners in one year is proof of what happens when you combine Phonak’s dedication to superior product design with a neverending quest to push the limits of innovation,” said Thomas Lang, senior vice president at Phonak. “Receiving honors for the Virto B-Titanium and EasyView Otoblock is a tribute to the amount of research and development Phonak devotes to producing the most cosmetically appealing and highest quality custom products on the market. Meanwhile, the awards for the revolutionary Audéo B-Direct keep on adding up!”
According to Phonak, the Virto B-Titanium is “the world’s first mainstream” custom hearing aid made of premium medical-grade titanium. It was designed to combine the benefits of titanium including superior strength and an extra light weight with the latest in 3D printing technology.
With the Audéo B-Direct, hearing aid wearers can answer or reject a phone call and talk completely hands-free by pressing the push button on their hearing aid. Meanwhile, the optional TV Connector uses proprietary AirStream™ technology to help connect wearers to their favorite TV programming for an immersive audio experience.
The EasyView Otoblock is designed to give hearing care professionals the ability to take deeper ear impressions by allowing “full visualization” of the eardrum, according to the company. Made from the seal of a Phonak Lyric™, the EasyView Otoblock attaches to existing otoscopes and speculas and is designed to provide better vision and light during Otoblock placement. It’s compatible with standard impression-making materials and stays on the impression during the scanning process, according to the company’s announcement. This may result in an average of 6mm more canal length information.
“I want to congratulate the award winners sincerely on their wonderful success in the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2018,” said Professor Dr Peter Zec, founder and CEO of the Red Dot Award. “Success in the competition is proof of the good design quality of the products and once again shows that companies are on the right path. When I speak about good design, I am referring to more than just an attractive product. All of the products are characterized by outstanding functionality. This demonstrates that the designers have understood their clients and their needs.”
For an inside look into the people behind Phonak’s Red Dot Award-winning products, visit:
* Bluetooth is a registered trademark owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc; Android™ is a trademark owned by Google, Inc
** with Bluetooth® 4.2 wireless technology and most older Bluetooth phones.
Depression and Hearing Loss
Depression and its connection to hearing loss seems pretty logical and self-evident, especially if you’re a dispensing professional who experiences daily the difference that amplification can make in a person’s life. In fact, many clinicians find themselves explaining the connection as follows: a person’s hearing loss and related communication problems can lead to gaffes and social faux pas; leading to embarrassment, anxiety, and loss of self-esteem; leading to gradual withdrawal from social situations and physical activity; leading to social isolation and loneliness; and eventually bringing them down the path to depression.
While this is probably an adequate description for some cases, a recent webinar1 by Victor Bray, PhD, associate professor and former dean of Salus University’s Osborne College of Audiology, points to more recent scientific literature that paints a far more complex picture of hearing loss and its association with depression—one we all should be aware of. The utility of hearing aids, cochlear implants, and assistive devices is made no less important by this complexity; however, it’s vital to understand who might be most at risk for depression in your patient population, how best to administer simple screening tools (ie, the PHQ-2 or PHQ-9), and why it’s important to refer patients to a medical doctor or psychologist, when indicated.
Depression, also known as major depressive disorder (MDD), is present in 5-10% of the general population (up to 40% in some groups), and is a serious medical illness that negatively affects feelings, thoughts, and actions. The primary risk factors for depression are co-morbid chronic medical conditions (hearing loss is a pervasive chronic condition, especially among seniors) and recent stressful events. And, as with cognitive decline and dementia—the subject of my editorial last month—the stakes in treating depression are high for society and healthcare professionals. As Hsu and colleagues (2016) pointed out:
Depression is a common mental disorder, which affects 350 million people in the world. Unipolar depressive disorders and adult-onset hearing loss, the most common neuropsychiatric conditions, and sense organ disorder, respectively, are the first and second leading nonfatal causes of year loss due to disability among adults in high-income countries.2
Several of the studies reviewed by Dr Bray tend to suggest that the odds ratio for acquiring depression increases by a factor of about two if you have untreated hearing loss. However, a lot of the studies also show that a variety of chronic illnesses—ranging from cirrhosis to diabetes mellitus—can be associated with depression, so there could be some underlying neurophysiological common cause in hearing loss and other health problems that hasn’t been discovered yet. Dr Bray also looks at some very intriguing research about how dual-sensory loss (ie, hearing and vision loss) and sudden sensorineural hearing loss (particularly among young people) can greatly increase the risk for depression, as well as studies that are shedding light on how treated hearing loss might positively affect those suffering from anxiety, loneliness, and depression.
As Dr Bray explains, the linkage of hearing loss to depression could come from both a social (downstream) effect, as described at the beginning of this article, and a biological/neurological (upstream) effect, as proposed in a model by Rutherford et al.3 If that were the case, an effective treatment plan could involve therapy and/or medication from a psychologist, in coordination with a hearing device and/or auditory and cognitive retraining from a hearing care professional.
Dr Bray’s webinar was sponsored by Hamilton CapTel, and the company also sponsored an exceptionally interesting and well-viewed webinar last year about hearing loss and associated co-morbidities (including depression) by Harvey Abrams, PhD.4,5 When viewed together, they put an exclamation point on the fact that hearing loss isn’t just about the ears, it’s about health, the brain, quality of life, healthy aging, and so much more—while underscoring the crucial role of the hearing care professional in general healthcare.
To see Dr Bray’s webinar, visit https://bit.ly/2Lpt4AW.
Citation for this article: Strom KE. Depression and hearing loss. Hearing Review. 2018;25(8):6.
1. Bray V. Depression, hearing loss, and treatment with hearing aids [Webinar]. July 13, 2018. Available at: http://www.hearingreview.com/2018/07/new-webinar-depression-hearing-loss-treatment-hearing-aids
2. Hsu W-T, Hsu C-C, Wen M-H, et al. Increased risk of depression in patients with acquired sensory hearing loss: A 12-year follow-up study. Medicine. 2016;95(44):e5312.
3. Rutherford BR, Brewster K, Golub JS, Kim AH, Roose SP. Sensation and psychiatry: Linking age-related hearing loss to late-life depression and cognitive decline. Am J Psychiatry. 2017;175(3):215-224.
4. Abrams H. Hearing loss and associated comorbidities: What do we know [Webinar]? May 31, 2017. Available at: http://www.hearingreview.com/2017/05/new-webinar-hearing-loss-associated-comorbidities-know/
5. Abrams H. Hearing loss and associated comorbidities: What do we know? Hearing Review. 2017;24(12):32-35. Available at: http://www.hearingreview.com/2017/11/hearing-loss-associated-comorbidities-know/