Page 31 - Scene Magazine September 2023 48-09
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   For Your Health
BY HANNA KLINGAMAN, AU.D. CCC-A, Battle Creek Hearing Services
   Did you know people wait an aver- age of seven years from the time they notice a hearing problem to the time they seek help for a hearing loss? Ap- proximately 48 million Americans have hearing loss, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America.
Cardiovascular diseases and disor- ders that can put a person at risk for au- ditory dysfunction include hypertension, ischemic heart disease, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and stroke. Having one or more of these conditions is not uncommon in an older adult population seeking hearing health care.2
in order for the cognitive system in
the brain to do its job, it relies on a high-quality signal coming from the auditory periphery. When the signal getting to the brain is distorted the brain applies more resources to figure that out. The brain struggles and the cogni- tive system is impacted, which may in turn impact memory, comprehension, and misleading test outcomes. 3
Communication is one of the most important aspects of a person’s life,
and we know hearing loss can have detrimental effects. A study recently found that the prevalence of hearing loss was less than 10% for people of
50 years, 20% for people of 60 years, more than 40% for people of 70 years, and more than 50% for people of 80 years. Hearing loss is often observed
in combination with other (chronic) diseases. Chronic conditions often occur in combination; and multimorbidity,
Diabetes can be associated with other comorbid conditions, such as peripheral neuropathy, cardiovascular disease, or kidney disease, which is in turn putting patients at risk for hearing loss.2
Multiple studies have shown that seeking early treatment for hearing loss can in turn help to combat or slow down the effects of other health conditions. Healthy hearing is important. En- courage your loved ones to have their hearing tested, to attend their doctor’s appointments, and to engage in social situations. A healthy YOU is important!
the coexistence of two or more chronic conditions, is common in older people.1
Cognitive functions such as memo- ry, attention, and processing speed play an integral role in hearing and process- ing auditory information. A person with unmanaged or untreated hearing loss will have a greater likelihood of cogni- tive decline. Research has shown that because of hearing loss, you get signal distortion traveling up the VIIIth cranial nerve to the brain, and this can cause increased cognitive load, fatigue, poor memory, poor auditory scene analysis, difficulty focusing your attention, and poor mental health.2
Hanna Klingaman, Au.D. CCC-A, can be reached at Battle Creek Hearing Services in Battle Creek at (269) 979- 6455. For more details visit battle-
The most common comorbid conditions associated with hearing
loss include cardiovascular diseases, high cholesterol, Rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, kidney disease, cognitive decline (including dementia), and depression.2 This is proof that while maintaining hearing health is important for communication, it is also important for maintaining overall health. This
is one reason why a good audiologist will ask you about your comorbid conditions and lifestyle factors at your appointments.
A person with age-related hearing and vision loss combined are likely to have poorer quality of life, anxiety and clinical depression, and risk of devel- oping depression. Older patients who have hearing loss, and who report vision impairment or with documentation
of vision impairment in their medical records, are at risk for increased anxiety and decreased mental health.2
1 Besser, J., Stropahl, M., Urry, E., & Laun- er, S. (2018). Comorbidities of hearing loss and the implications of multimor- bidity for audiological care. Hearing Research, 369, 3-14.
The following are only a few of the ways in which comorbid conditions and hearing loss can be affected:
As stated by Dr. Brent Edwards,
3 Edwards, B. (2014, July). Starkey Research Series: how hearing loss and hearing aids affect cognitive ability. Au- diologyOnline, Article 12832: Retrieved from:
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Better Hearing, Better Health
2 Hall III, J.W. (2021). 20Q: Promoting healthy hearing over the lifespan – con- sidering comorbidities. AudiologyOnline, Article 28060. Available at www.audiolo-
    Our Friendly Knowledgeable Staff Will Help You Make An Informed Decision! Certified Audiologists:
• Paja Dickenson, MA, CCC-A
• Hanna Klingaman, Au.D, CCC-A
• Margaret Larson, Au.D, CCC-A
3566 Capital Ave SW • Battle Creek (One Mile South Of 1-94)
                             300 Meadow Run Drive Suite 3 • Hastings, MI

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