This week in Audicus blogs, find out about the latest news when it comes to hearing loss causes and preventative measures.
Have you ever wondered about the everyday habits that can put you at risk for hearing loss? New developments in hearing health are released on a daily basis and this week’s set of topics ranges from teeth grinding to electrode implants! News updates regarding hearing loss include:
Tracking Tinnitus in the Brain
Tinnitus, a ringing or buzzing sensation in the ear, is a widespread condition that affects one in five people.
Researchers from Newcastle University and the University of Iowa have created a new method to analyze tinnitus. They observed the brain patterns of a single patient that had already been fitted with electrodes for detecting epileptic fits.
The invasive procedure to secure electrodes to the patient would not have been done solely to detect tinnitus, but since the individual already had the electrodes in place to monitor epilepsy, researchers were also able to monitor changes in brain activity during intensities of tinnitus.
What they found is that tinnitus results activity over a large portion of the brain, triggering not only the majority of the auditory cortex but also different sections of the brain. Playing a sound that resembled the patient’s tinnitus resulted in a relatively tiny part of the brain lighting up, compared to the actual tinnitus itself. Finding out the specific regions of the brain that correspond to tinnitus can not only give us a better idea of what tinnitus actually is but can also allow for more effective and less invasive forms of treatment.
Weak Bones and Hearing Loss
A new study from the Chi Mei Medical Center in Taiwan found that there is a correlation between osteoporosis and temporary hearing loss. The researchers examined 10,000 cases of people with osteoporosis between the years 1999 and 2008, comparing them to a sample size of 32,000 individuals that did not experience hearing loss.
Individuals with osteoporosis had a risk factor for hearing loss that was more than 75% higher than those without the bone condition. However, most subjects that received treatment for hearing loss experienced some form of recovery. Both hearing loss and osteoporosis are conditions that can increase with age.
Bruxism and Hearing Loss
You may not immediately think of your teeth when listing potential causes of hearing loss, but even these can be a risk factor when it comes to your ears.
Excessive teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a habit that is normally triggered by stress. Bruxism can result in temporomandibular joint disorders, or TMJs, which are conditions that usually result in pain or stiffness of the jaw.
Normally, teeth grinding occurs during sleep and may cause hearing loss by triggering muscle spasms in the inner ear. Other possible sources that may increase your risk of hearing loss include benign tumors, viruses, obesity and kidney diseases. Be sure to make regular checkup appointments with your doctor to detect any conditions that may lead to secondary, seemingly unrelated illnesses.