March 2018 Daily Telegraph
After almost 60 years, the Royal Institute of Deaf and Blind Children is relocating from its site at North Rocks which just been listed for sale through expressions of interest. The prime 12.6ha estate located across the road from a shopping centre, primary and high school, could make the charity in excess of $200m, to be used to create an endowment to fund long term activities. The not-for-profit group are set to move most of their services and educational facilities to an ‘Australian Hearing Hub’ located at Macquarie University that also includes Cochlear Limited. “It is a really wonderful precinct that really keeps Australia at the forefront of hearing health and hearing services, and of course, we are bringing the vision services to it as well,’’ said RIDBC chief executive Chris Rehn. “It is so compelling and exciting to be part of a bigger precinct focusing on lifting that Australian bar so when we considered rebuilding here, we couldn’t ignore the exciting development that were happening on the campus at Macquarie University.’’
Read more: Royal Institute of Deaf and Blind Children to sell estate for $200m profit
March 2018 AAPMedianet
To commemorate World Hearing Day and ensure a better future for all Australians at risk of developing dementia or hearing loss, Dementia Australia has released information to help understand the link between the two conditions. Executive Director Client Services Susan McCarthy said while hearing loss is one of the most common conditions affecting older adults, it is important to seek assistance as soon as you can as the earlier hearing loss is diagnosed and treated, the greater the impact of hearing interventions. It is also important to seek assistance because hearing health is related to brain health. “We know from a growing field of medical research that a decline in memory and thinking capabilities occurs approximately 40% faster in people with hearing loss than in those with perfect hearing,” Ms McCarthy said. “While these statistics are worrying, they offer hope that if we manage to diagnose and treat hearing loss earlier, we may help lower the risk of dementia.
“It’s important to note that not everyone who has hearing loss will develop dementia. It is also important to be aware of lifestyle factors such as eating healthy, mental and physical exercise and keeping socially active that may reduce your risk of developing dementia, as well as undertaking preventative health management of hearing loss.”
Researchers suggest the following theories could contribute towards the link between hearing loss and dementia
- the social isolation experienced by those with hearing loss could contribute to a decline in mental abilities;
- dementia and hearing loss could have similar causes and involve joint processes;
- cognitive overload – the brain becomes run down because it has to work harder to decode and process sounds; and
- hearing loss might affect brain structure, causing mental health decline.
The help sheet can be used to inform people about the associated risks and risk reduction strategies that can be adopted to reduce the likelihood of hearing loss and potentially reduce the likelihood of developing dementia. To download the help sheet visit www.dementia.org.au/files/helpsheets/Helpsheet-OtherInformation04-HearingLoss_english.pdf
Dementia Australia is the national peak body for people, of all ages, living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers. It provides advocacy, support services, education and information. An estimated 425,000 people have dementia in Australia. This number is projected to reach more than 1.1 million by 2056. Dementia Australia is the new voice of Alzheimer’s Australia. When talking or writing about dementia please refer to Dementia-Friendly Language Guidelines.
March 2018 YourStory.com
Cochlear designs, manufactures and delivers hearing implants and is committed to providing children who suffer hearing loss with the best hearing experience. Former Australian cricketer Brett Lee is Cochlear’s global ambassador.
For World Hearing Day, Cochlear launched Hearing Matters, a campaign to spread awareness about hearing loss in India, especially educating parents about the importance of screening newborns for hearing loss. A survey by Cochlear India and First Moms Club in New Delhi found that 84.1 percent mothers believe that children should be tested for hearing loss at birth, but only 38.9 percent actually had their child screened.
Mothers are aware of the need to get their children tested for hearing impairment, but do not know what they must do about it. Reports show that five to six out of 1000 newborns are hard of hearing, but they are not identified till irreversible damage has already been done.
Brett Lee says, “All too often, we take little things for granted such as how much hearing matters. It was a big wake up call for me when my son was diagnosed with hearing loss at the young age of five. We were fortunate enough to restore his hearing, but what about the millions of children who suffer with the condition every day? Early screening for hearing loss can ensure that children are diagnosed and treated early, allowing them to grow up into well-adjusted adults.”
Cochlear quotes that five percent of the world’s population has disabling hearing loss. Of them, 91 percent are adults and nine percent are children. Fifty percent of hearing loss is preventable through immunising children against diseases like measles, meningitis, rubella and mumps, healthy ear and hearing care habits, and effective treatment of ear infections.
“A cochlear implant is a medical device that mimics the natural hearing function of the inner ear. Unlike hearing aids, which amplify sound, cochlear implants bypass the damaged part of the inner ear and send electrical signals that provide hearing, directly to the hearing nerve. Cochlear implants may be a good solution for people with moderate to profound hearing loss in one or both ears who no longer get much or any benefit from hearing aids,” reads the Hearing Matters webpage.
Ananya Nakra received an implant when she was two-and-a-half years old. Over the next 11 years of her life, she has actively participated in dance, arts, and sports in school, and says that she can even sit at the back of her classroom and hear everything! Nahum Rajkumar’s mother cannot stop gushing about the implant that her son had when he was four years old. “Soon after the implant was switched on, he could hear and imitate high frequency sounds! Even a sound like ‘shhh’ – which is very important when it comes to language,” she says.
Brett Lee: I am passionate about raising hearing loss awareness in India. I have been visiting this wonderful country for the last two decades and it is my second home. Through “Hearing Matters,” we aim to bring focus to hearing health and the importance of early intervention. Around 32 million children across the globe suffer some form of hearing loss and India has a big population of this. We want to encourage every parent to get their child’s hearing tested and offer support for parents about potential treatments for hearing loss. This World Hearing Day, I hope we can raise awareness of hearing loss through the “Hearing Matters” campaign to help more children hear what the world has to offer.
It has been such a wonderful learning experience to interact with those who’ve received cochlear implants in India. I have travelled extensively across this wonderful country and met hundreds of cochlear implant recipients across cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Chandigarh, Kochi, Trivandrum, Kozhikode, and Guwahati over the last few years. Each story is so powerful in its own way – so many adults and children who struggled with hearing loss now rejoice at the little sounds in life, such as the sound of their families laughing, the birds chirping or the rain beating against their window. Many have gone on to chase their dreams and it fills me with so much hope. With greater awareness, I’m convinced that we can reach more people, tackle hearing loss on multiple fronts and eventually bring down the numbers, globally and in India.
Early screening for hearing loss, particularly at birth is so important and Kerala’s efforts to push for universal newborn hearing screening are a great start! India must now try to make this a nationwide effort.