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  • 04/06/17--18:26: Survey on Hearing Aids
  • Thu, 04/06/2017

    Hearing aids are the primary clinical tool used for managing hearing loss. Feedback is needed regarding negative side effects of hearing aid use in adults. The survey takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.

    Take the survey.


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    Mon, 04/24/2017

    On Friday June 9, 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will host a public dissemination meeting for the report Hearing Health Care for Adults: Priorities for Improving Access and Affordability at the Keck Center in Washington, DC. The meeting will begin at 9:00 am Eastern and last until approximately 3:30 pm Eastern.

    Please use the link below to register to attend the meeting in person or via WebEx. The agenda is available at the linkbelow and also on the meeting page.

    CART and hearing loop services will be provided at this meeting.

    If you would like to be removed from this email list or have questions regarding this meeting please email hearing@nas.edu.

    Register for the Meeting  ||   Download Agenda [PDF]


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    Thu, 05/18/2017

    U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire submitted this column to The Eagle-Tribune published on May 7, 2017:

    Older Americans deserve a high quality of life, with opportunities to stay active and engaged. 

    Unfortunately, age-related hearing loss can present obstacles to social interaction and challenges in daily life. When you experience hearing loss, everything from going to the movies to talking on the phone or chatting with loved ones can become a burden. And hearing loss is linked with negative health outcomes, including dementia. 

    For those who experience mild to moderate hearing loss, these negative impacts could be prevented with the assistance of hearing aids. Yet, for far too many Americans, the combination of stigma and high costs keep them from using the hearing aids they need. 

    Research has shown that nearly 30 million Americans experience age-related hearing loss, which includes nearly half of all adults in their seventies. But, largely due to high costs, only 14 percent of those who are living with hearing loss use assistive hearing technologies. 

    Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids, and even when hearing aids are covered by private insurance as is required in New Hampshire, seniors can still be stuck with bills totaling thousands of dollars. One survey found that the average out-of-pocket cost for hearing aids nationwide is $2,400.

    Read the whole article.


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    Thu, 05/18/2017

    We are a nation divided:  Democrats versus Republicans, Red States versus Blue States. On countless major issues, consensus seems impossible.  But there is one thing that members of the Congress apparently can agree on: Hearing aids are too darned expensive.

    At $2,500 apiece, hearing aids are beyond the reach of many Americans --- especially seniors who are most likely to need them (among people 70 and older, two-thirds have a hearing loss affecting their daily conversation).  The cost of hearing aids is not covered by Medicare, or by most insurance companies.  But hearing loss has serious health consequences:  research has shown that it is associated with isolation, depression, and the risk of developing dementia. Only one in five people with a hearing loss uses a hearing aid. If hearing aids were widely available, the potential benefits to societal health and well-being are immense.

    Read the whole article.


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    Tue, 05/23/2017

    There are 48 million people with hearing loss in America, and up to 85 percent of people who could benefit from a hearing aid don't use one. To solve the problem, lawmakers are considering a less expensive, over-the-counter option.

    Story aired May 22 on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt.

    Watch video
     


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    Mon, 07/31/2017

    LM Labs just posted a new project that you might be interested in!

    At CES 2017, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) Foundation, IBM and Local Motors launched an initiative to make Olli, Local Motors’ autonomous cognitive bus, the world’s most accessible transportation vehicle, #AccessibleOlli. Over the past few months, we have held several workshops, hackathons and other outreach events to develop a better understanding of the transportation requirements for people of all ages and abilities.

    Now it is time to take the next step - a call to action to join the #AccessibleOlli Challenge: Autonomous for All of Us. We need YOU to join the action. Give us your ideas to take Olli to the next level. You might be a technology company, industrial designer, fabricator, software developer or engineer. Or you might be a city planner, transit authority professional or public transportation rider that has an awe-inspiring idea to make Olli more accessible. So think small things, think big things, just make sure to think these things out loud in our Challenge. Olli is on the drawing board. Your input will help improve the rider experience, making it accessible for all.

    Going beyond ramps and rails, we want to really push the envelope of what it means to be accessible for all by utilizing the latest AI innovations and IoT technologies together with deeper integration with IBM Watson. We are not content just to meet accessible compliance standards; rather our goal is to create the most accessible, personalized transportation experience while changing the way that people interact with mobility.

    With 15 prizes awarded in 5 categories, each focusing on different areas of accessibility, there is plenty of room to go deep with your ideas, showcase your innovative solutions and win big!

    So let’s get creating and make #AccessibleOlli Autonomous For All Of Us!


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    Fri, 09/01/2017

    Because many of you work with personnel who directly interact with residents, or with personnel who help in recovery efforts, the CDC is sharing a few documents that can be directly shared with affected people and recovery workers. These documents will help people avoid illness and injury from mold, improper use of generators, and other post-storm hazards:

    Please see the following links for information on how to stay safe after a hurricane:

    Returning Home

    Stay Safe & Healthy After the Storm

    Protecting Your Loved Ones

    CDC also advises workers and volunteers to read the CDC website on worker safety following storms and floods: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/emres/flood.html. This page provides additional links that inform workers on how to protect against many different types of hazards that might occur following a hurricane.

    Many of you serve clients who speak Spanish. Please see the links below for Spanish-language hurricane communication resources:

    En Español

    English

    Huracanes y otras tormentas tropicales:
    https://www.cdc.gov/es/disasters/hurricanes/index.html

    Hurricanes and Other Tropical Storms:
    https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/index.html

    Antes de un huracán:
    https://www.cdc.gov/es/disasters/hurricanes/before.html

    Before a Hurricane:
    https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/before.html

    Durante un huracán:
    https://www.cdc.gov/es/disasters/hurricanes/during.html

    During a Hurricane:
    https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/during.html

    Después de un huracán:
    https://www.cdc.gov/es/disasters/hurricanes/after.html

    After a Hurricane:
    https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/after.html

    Asegúrese de que los alimentos y el agua se puedan consumir sin correr riesgo:
    https://www.cdc.gov/es/disasters/hurricanes/foodwater.html

    Keep Food and Water Safe After a Disaster or Emergency:
    https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/foodwater/facts.html

    Manténgase a salvo después de un huracán:
    https://www.cdc.gov/es/disasters/hurricanes/be-safe-after.html

    Be Safe After a Hurricane:
    https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/be-safe-after.html

    Limpie su casa:
    https://www.cdc.gov/es/disasters/hurricanes/cleanup-home.html

    Clean Up Your Home:
    https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/cleanup-home.html

    Más recursos para las familias:
    https://www.cdc.gov/es/disasters/hurricanes/more-resources.html

    More Resources for Families:
    https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/more-resources.html

    Información para profesionales y trabajadores de respuesta a emergencias:
    https://www.cdc.gov/es/disasters/hurricanes/info-hcp-workers.html

    Information for Professionals and Response Workers:
    https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/info-hcp-workers.html

    Información de seguridad para trabajadores de respuesta a emergencias y de limpieza:
    https://www.cdc.gov/es/disasters/hurricanes/workers.html

    Safety Information for Response and Cleanup Workers:
    https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/workers.html

    Información de seguridad para los profesionales de la salud:
    https://www.cdc.gov/es/disasters/hurricanes/hcp.html

    Safety Information for Health Care Professionals:
    https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/hcp.html

    Anuncios de servicio público (PSA): https://www.cdc.gov/es/disasters/hurricanes/psa.html

    Public Service Announcements (PSAs): https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/psa.html

     


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    Wed, 09/20/2017

    By Malcolm Ritter
    Associated Press

    Matt Garlock has trouble making out what his friends say in loud bars, but when he got a hearing test, the result was normal. Recent research may have found an explanation for problems like his, something called "hidden hearing loss."

    Scientists have been finding evidence that loud noise — from rock concerts, leaf blowers, power tools and the like — damages our hearing in a previously unsuspected way. It may not be immediately noticeable, and it does not show up in standard hearing tests.

    But over time, Harvard researcher M. Charles Liberman says, it can rob our ability to understand conversation in a noisy setting. It may also help explain why people have more trouble doing that as they age. And it may lead to persistent ringing in the ears.

    The bottom line: "Noise is more dangerous than we thought."

    His work has been done almost exclusively in animals. Nobody knows how much it explains hearing loss in people or how widespread it may be in the population. But he and others are already working on potential treatments.

    To understand Liberman's research, it helps to know just how we hear. When sound enters our ears, it's picked up by so-called hair cells. They convert sound waves to signals that are carried by nerves to the brain. People can lose hair cells for a number of reasons — from loud noise or some drugs, or simple aging — and our hearing degrades as those sensors are lost. That loss is what is picked up by a standard test called an audiogram that measures how soft a noise we can hear in a quiet environment.

    Liberman's work suggests that there's another kind of damage that doesn't kill off hair cells, but which leads to experiences like Garlock's.

    A 29-year-old systems engineer who lives near Boston, Garlock is a veteran of rock concerts.

    "You come home and you get that ringing in your ears that lasts for a few days and then it goes away," he said.

    But after he went to Las Vegas for a friend's birthday, and visited a couple of dance clubs, it didn't go away. So he had the audiogram done, in 2015, and his score was normal.

    Last fall, he came across a news story about a study co-authored by Liberman. It was a follow-up to Libermans' earlier work that suggests loud noise damages the delicate connections between hair cells and the nerves that carry the hearing signal to the brain.

    The news story said this can cause not only persistent ringing in the ears, but also a lingering difficulty in understanding conversations in background noise. After the Vegas trip, Garlock sensed he had that problem himself.

    "I notice myself leaning in and asking people to repeat themselves, but I don't notice anybody else doing that," he said.

    Garlock emailed one of Liberman's colleagues and volunteered for any follow-up studies.

    It's hard to be sure that Garlock's situation can be explained by the research. But the seeming contradiction of hearing problems in people with perfect hearing tests has puzzled experts for years, says Robert Fifer of the University of Miami's Mailman Center for Child Development.

    He's seen it in Air Force personnel who worked around airplanes and in a few music-blasting adolescents.

    "We didn't have a really good explanation for it," said Fifer, who's an official of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

    But the work by Liberman and others helps solve the mystery, he said.

    The connections between hair cells are called synapses, and a given hair cell has many of them. Animal studies suggest you could lose more than half of your synapses without any effect on how you score on an audiogram.

    But it turns out, Liberman says, that losing enough synapses erodes the message the nerves deliver to the brain, wiping out details that are crucial for sifting conversation out from background noise. It's as if there's a big Jumbotron showing a picture, he says, but as more and more of its bulbs go black, it gets harder and harder to realize what the picture shows.

    The study Garlock noticed is one of the few explorations of the idea in people. Researchers rounded up 34 college students between ages 18 and 41 who had normal scores on a standard hearing test. The volunteers were designated high-risk or low-risk for hidden hearing loss, based on what they said about their past exposure to loud noise and what steps they took to protect their hearing,

    The higher-risk group reported more difficulty understanding speech in noisy situations, and they scored more poorly on a lab test of that ability. They also showed evidence of reduced function for hearing-related nerves.

    It's a small study that must be repeated, Liberman says, but it adds to evidence for the idea.

    One encouraging indication from the animal studies is that a drug might be able to spur nerves to regrow the lost synapses, said Liberman, who holds a financial stake in a company that is trying to develop such treatments.

    In the meantime, he says, the work lends a new urgency to the standard advice about protecting the ears in loud places.

    "It isn't awesome to have your ears ringing. It's telling you (that) you did some damage," he said.

    Liberman's own hearing scores are pretty good, but at age 65, he sometimes can't understand his kids in a loud setting. He figures some of that may be from his years of handyman chores, like using a belt sander or a table saw.

    "I wear earplugs when I mow the lawn now."

     


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    Tue, 10/10/2017

    Noise-induced hearing loss is preventable, so be sure to protect your hearing when you are in a noisy environment such as a concert or sports stadium. How loud is too loud? Take a look at this infographic.

    Looking for hearing protection that looks cool too? Check out OTOGEAR. During National Protect Your Hearing Month, OTOGEAR will be donating a portion of profits to HLAA. Thank you, OTOGEAR!

    Get your hearing checked by an audiologist, especially if you find yourself turning the volume up on the TV, or have trouble in meetings or on conference calls. A hearing test is generally covered by insurance.

    To find an audiologist visit:

    Helpful Links:

    Should I See an Audiologist?                       
    Patient Information Handout by ASHA

    Do You Know How to Recognize Hearing Loss?        
    Quiz for recognizing hearing loss by AARP

    Loud Noise Can Cause Hearing Loss           
    Recognize early signs of hearing loss from loud noise and take steps to protect your hearing from the CDC National Center for Environmental Health. Includes shareable media.

    Vital Signs: Too Loud! For Too Long!                      
    Includes CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a graphic fact sheet and website, a media release, and social media tools. Most of the materials are available in English and Spanish.     

    Protect your hearing because noise-induced hearing loss is completely preventable but at this point, there is no cure.

     

     


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    Fri, 10/20/2017

    Experts don’t know exactly why hearing aids are still so costly, except that companies continue to invest in improvements, and fees usually cover the services of a highly trained audiologist.

    Cost reductions can’t come soon enough for those who depend on hearing aids. Barbara Kelley, executive director of the Hearing Loss Association of America, said her office gets a handful of calls every day from people needing help paying for hearing aids. The association refers them to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Medicaid or foundations like the Lions Club, depending on their military status and where they live. “It’s still really tough,” she said. Medicare does not cover the cost of hearing aids, though there’s a bill before Congress that would require such coverage.

    Read the whole article originally posted on The New York Times.


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    Mon, 11/13/2017

    Approximately one in every ten Americans will experience some form of tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, which occurs when you perceive sounds without sounds being present in the environment. For those affected with tinnitus, assistance for treatment may be sought.

    The Hear-Ring Lab in the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, Hofstra University is conducting a study to evaluate the sources of information sought by individuals with tinnitus.

    Participants who qualify for and complete the survey will receive a $10 Amazon gift card mailed to their address.

    If you have tinnitus and would like to participate, please take the Tinnitus Survey.


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    Mon, 11/20/2017

    In their October Open Meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released an Order to update its requirements for hearing aid compatibility and volume control on wireline and wireless telephones.

    In their news release regarding this new rule, the FCC said, “Under the Hearing Aid Compatibility Act, the Commission is required to establish rules that ensure access by people with hearing loss to telephones manufactured or imported for use in the United States. With today’s action, the Commission continues its efforts to ensure that tens of millions of Americans with hearing loss have access to and can benefit from critical and modern communication technologies and services.”

    This Order:

    • adopts a revised volume control standard for wireline handsets to provide a more accurate measurement of voice amplification
       
    • implements a provision of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act to apply all of the Commission’s hearing aid compatibility requirements to wireline telephones used with advanced communication services, including phones used with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services
       
    • requires, within three years, that all wireless handsets newly certified as hearing aid compatible must include volume control suitable for consumers with hearing loss
       
    • reminds manufacturers and service providers of existing outreach obligations to ensure that consumers are informed about the availability of hearing aid compatible phones.

    More information on existing FCC hearing aid compatibility rules is available on the FCC website.

    For more information, please contact Susan Bahr, Disability Rights Office, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, at 202-418-0573 or Susan.Bahr@fcc.gov. For those using videophones and who are fluent in American Sign Language (ASL), you may call the ASL Consumer Support Line at 844-43-2275.