This week in Audicus blogs, find out about the latest news when it comes to topics in hearing health! The new year has brought many discoveries in terms of hearing loss prevention and the benefits of new hearing aids. Current developments in hearing loss research include:
Hearing Loss and Iron Deficiency Anemia
Researchers from Penn State University have found that there is a relation between iron deficiency anemia and instances of both sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss, screened in 305,339 patients age 21-90.
Conductive hearing loss is due to complications in the inner ear bones, whereas sensorineural hearing loss results from damage to the cochlea or nerve pathways leading from the inner ear to the brain.The scientists observed the medical records of the patients involved in the study to establish a link between iron deficiency anemia and the two types of hearing loss. Of the patients that had iron deficiency anemia, 3.4 percent were found to have both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss, a statistic that is higher than the prevalence of combined hearing loss found in the general public.
It is no surprise a person’s essential mineral levels can have an effect on their ability to hear, as previous studies have shown that foods like fish, fruits and vegetables can play a role in preventing hearing loss. Iron deficiency anemia is linked to a number of other illnesses, including chronic kidney disease.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss, Drug Dosage and Tuberculosis
Researchers from the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, have found a way to decrease the instances of hearing loss in tuberculosis patients receiving aminoglycoside treatment.
Aminoglycosides, a common treatment for tuberculosis, often times carry hearing loss as a potential side effect of use. Scientists have found a way to lower the dose of aminoglycosides used during treatment of tuberculosis while maintaining the maximum benefits of treatment. By carefully monitoring the resistance of bacteria to aminoglycosides, the researchers were able to pinpoint the extent to which they could lower their dosage while still eradicating the bacteria.
This new method of administering aminoglycosides has reduced incidences of hearing loss in patients from 40 percent to only 10 percent!
Hearing Loss Apps and NIOSH
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has announced a new app for iOS devices that can measure noise levels in the workplace and give workers an idea of when their sound environment is a threat to their hearing.
After the user clicks PLAY, the sound app stores the data collected from the user’s device and makes it available to download or share with managers, health staff and other employees. The app also gives the user access to information regarding hearing loss prevention and noise maintenance.
This new innovation was created to help industrial hygienists, occupational safety and health managers, and employees that are not provided with sound measurement devices. Roughly $242 million dollars are spent every year for hearing loss-related worker’s compensation.