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Thursday
Dec132018

Hearing loss is a risk factor for premature death

A new study links hearing loss with an increased risk for mortality before the age of 75 due to cardiovascular disease. Researchers at the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health found that mortality among those with hearing loss is elevated, particularly among men and women younger than age 75 and those who are divorced or separated. However, mortality risk was diminished in adults with a well-hearing partner. This is the first study to investigate the combined effects of hearing loss with partnership, parental status, and increased mortality risk. The findings are published in the journal Social Science and Medicine.

"Old age greatly increases the risk for hearing loss," said Vegard Skirbekk, PhD, Columbia Aging Center faculty member and professor of Population and Family Health at the Mailman School of Public Health. "Therefore, as the population ages, we are seeing increasing numbers of people with hearing loss. At the same time, there are greater numbers of adults living without a partner--putting people with hearing loss at an increased risk for death."

Deaths related to cancer and injuries or as a result of injuries were not affected by hearing loss, although accident-related mortality was higher among the hearing impaired who lacked partners or children. "This may be due to a greater fatality from traffic-related incidents, for instance, as family members otherwise may have helped to prevent many of these deaths through warnings or preventive action," said Bo Engdahl of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, and first author.

Hearing loss is the fourth leading cause of disability. Strongly age dependent, it increases from approximately one percent among those aged 40 to 44 up to 50 percent in women and 62 percent in men aged 80 to 84. Continue reading

Source: EurekAlert, December 12, 2018

Thursday
Dec062018

Music supports the auditory skills of hearing-impaired children

Researchers at University of Helsinki, Finland, and University College London have found evidence that children with hearing impairment and cochlear implants can benefit from hobbies involving music and especially singing.

The results published in Music Perception show that the auditory skills of hearing impaired children are connected to the amount of singing and music in their everyday lives.

In the study, University lecturer of logopedics Ritva Torppa, PhD, from University of Helsinki measured auditory skills, perception of speech in noise, singing skills, and brain responses to changes in musical sounds in children with cochlear implants. Some children took part in regular singing and other musical activities while others did not.

"Hearing impaired children with cochlear implants who sing regularly have better perception of speech in noise compared to children who don't sing. This is an important skill in day care or school where children discuss and receive instructions in noisy conditions," Torppa points out.

Researchers at University of Helsinki, Finland, and University College London have found evidence that children with hearing impairment and cochlear implants can benefit from hobbies involving music and especially singing.


The results published in Music Perception show that the auditory skills of hearing impaired children are connected to the amount of singing and music in their everyday lives.


In the study, University lecturer of logopedics Ritva Torppa, PhD, from University of Helsinki measured auditory skills, perception of speech in noise, singing skills, and brain responses to changes in musical sounds in children with cochlear implants. Some children took part in regular singing and other musical activities while others did not.


"Hearing impaired children with cochlear implants who sing regularly have better perception of speech in noise compared to children who don't sing. This is an important skill in day care or school where children discuss and receive instructions in noisy conditions," Torppa points out. Continue reading

Source: EurekAlert, November 27, 2018 (retrieved December 6, 2018)

Monday
Nov262018

Survey reveals how we use music as a possible sleep aid

Respondents believe music stimulates sleep, blocks internal, external sleep disruptors

Sleep loss is a widespread problem with serious physical and economic consequences, and music might serve as a cheap, non-pharmaceutical sleep aid. However, there is a lack of systematic data on how widely it is used, why people opt for music as a sleep aid, or what music works. To address this gap in knowledge, Trahan and colleagues investigated music as a sleep aid within the general public via an online survey that scored musicality, sleep habits, and open-text responses on what music helps sleep and why.

Many individuals use music in the hope that it fights sleep difficulties, according to a study published November 14 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Tabitha Trahan of the University of Sheffield, UK, and colleagues. As described by the authors, this is the first online survey on the use of music as a sleep aid in the general population.


In total, 62% of the 651 respondents reported that they use music to help them sleep, describing 14 musical genres comprising 545 artists. Even respondents who don't suffer from sleep disorders use music in their everyday lives to help improve the quality of their sleep experiences, and younger people with higher musical engagement are significantly more likely to use music to aid sleep. Respondents believe that music both stimulates sleep and blocks an internal or external stimulus that would otherwise disrupt sleep.


The study relied on self-reported answers and could only investigate respondents' beliefs about how music helped them sleep, rather than drawing conclusions about music's physiological and psychological effects. The participants also self-selected for the study, so it may have been biased towards music users. Nonetheless, the study provides initial evidence that many people use diverse types of music in the belief that it helps them sleep.


The authors add: "The largest ever survey of everyday use of music for sleep reveals multiple pathways to effect that go far beyond relaxation; these include auditory masking, habit, passion for music, and mental distraction. This work offers new understanding into the complex motivations that drive people to reach for music as a sleep aid and the reasons why so many find it effective."

Friday
Nov162018

Untreated hearing loss associated with increased risk of hospitalization, other health conditions

More than 38 million adults in the United States experience hearing loss; however, fewer than 20 percent report using hearing aids. In one study, researchers examined health care use and costs over 10 years among about 4,700 adults 50 and older with and without untreated hearing loss who were included in a health insurance database.

Researchers report untreated hearing loss was associated with more hospitalizations, increased risk of 30-day hospital readmission, increased risk of emergency department visits and longer hospital stays. Over a 10-year period, people with untreated hearing loss incurred an average of $22,000 more in health care costs than people without hearing loss. Continue reading

Source: EurekAlert, November 8, 2018 (retrieved November 16, 2018)

Friday
Nov162018

Patients with untreated hearing loss incur higher health care costs over time

Longitudinal study of claims data shows that older adults with untreated hearing loss generated an average of 46 percent more in total health care costs over 10 years versus those who don't have hearing loss

 

According to Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, older adults with untreated hearing loss incur substantially higher total health care costs compared to those who don't have hearing loss--an average of 46 percent, totaling $22,434 per person over a decade. This is one of the largest studies to look at this issue, following many individuals for a full 10 years. The project was done in collaboration with AARP, University of California San Francisco and OptumLabs.

 

The differences between the two groups were evident as early as two years after diagnosis. Compared to the patients without hearing loss, patients with the condition generated nearly 26 percent more in total health care costs within two years, a gap that widened to 46 percent by 10 years, amounting to $22,434 per individual ($20,403 incurred by the health plan, $2,030 by the individual in out-of-pocket costs). The study did not include patients with hearing loss who had evidence of hearing aid use. Continue reading


Source: EurekAlert, November 8, 2018 (retrieved November 16, 2018)