Presentation at SCIC Gladesville 24thFeb 2019
Kunal Amalean, digital entrepreneur, is the co-founder of global start-up company Runway Kit and one of Sri Lanka’s first implant recipients. His first implant was at the age of nine and he had a second implant just two months ago. Please welcome Kunal.
Rediscovering Music is a unique program devised and presented by the Canberra Symphony Orchestra that offers especially engineered, interactive chamber music concerts for people with hearing loss, and who usually use hearing aids or implants. Music can sound quite different through these devices and people often need some rehabilitation to start to enjoy music again.
Rediscovering Music engages participants with a small number of related instruments in a mini-concert. Listening skills are practised with the use of familiar music, enabling listeners to really appreciate the instruments and the music. The program is curated by a qualified audiologist to ensure that each concert is tailored to the specific needs of the audience and that the program delivers maximum benefits to all participants. CSO is honoured to be able to assist audiences with hearing loss connect to the music that so many of us take for granted.
CICADA celebrated International Cochlear Implant Day on Sunday 24thFebruary (though the official date is 25thFebruary). It was a fantastic gathering of almost 200 people. Cochlear Ltd assisted with sponsorship for this event, cupcakes, a Coffee Cart and DARE the wonderful magician who roved around entertaining us with astounding tricks. RIDBC/SCIC staff came to the party with their valued help and CICADA would like to thank SCIC for the continued use of the premises at Gladesville, which are so well suited to holding these gatherings.
We had a number of other stalls to really add to our day and I am grateful to those who attended and shared their resources- MEDEL implant company, Deaf Society, Hear For You, Pauline Findlay with her book “Can You Feel It?” about a teenage girl with hearing loss, Andrew Stewart with his new business HEARING CONNECTIONS.
We began with some presentations in the Conference Room. Polly Templeton was there to do the live captions and Steve Pascoe generously offered his services to LIVE STREAM for us.
This was a FIRST for CICADA !! Steve captured the live presentation, which can be viewed on this link:
Our presentations were captured LIVE so there are a few typos in the captions that cannot be corrected.
Professor Cathy Birman spoke about the services of SCIC and Cochlear Ltd introduced us to a lovely young man, Kunal Amalean, from Sri Lanka, who has just celebrated 20 years with his implant. The surgery was performed by Prof Bill Gibson in Sri Lanka when Kunal was 9 years old. Kunal came to Sydney a couple of months ago to have bilateral surgery so he is still adjusting to the sound from his new implant.
March 2019 Joy Victory, managing editor, Healthy Hearing
Since I started working for Healthy Hearing this January, I’ve learned endless new things. Some weird: Did you know our ears and noses grow our entire lives? Some fascinating: Your ability to hear songbirds may be one of the first things you lose when you develop age-related hearing loss. (That alone is motivation for me to keep tabs on my hearing.)
Author Joy Victory getting prepped for her hearing test
But one topic rendered me a little skeptical: The notion that hearing requires effort and hearing loss exhausts the brain. It makes sense, of course, but I've always thought of hearing as akin to breathing or blinking—something we do constantly, yet passively. And then I took a hearing test at a local audiology clinic earlier this month. I had started the day shadowing audiologists and learning the ins and outs of testing and fitting—and now it was my turn in the hot seat.
Things started out fine as I sat in the sound-proof booth at Estes Audiology in Austin. With special earplugs squeezed into my ear canals, I began with a speech audiometry test. I felt confident as I repeated words like “comb, wave, dove.” Easy breezy, lemon squeezy, as my daughter likes to say.
But then it was time for the pure-tone test, which required pressing a button on a handheld wand every time I heard a beep-like sound. Even if I wasn’t sure I heard anything, I was still supposed to press the button, explained University of Texas audiology doctoral student Hanna Patel. A subsequent series of beeps started up, some loud, some faint, some…wait, was that a beep? Or was it my ears ringing? And before I could decide, I’d hear another beep and hastily press the wand button. Dang, I thought, I think I just missed one. Then I noticed my heart was beating harder, and suddenly I was finding myself mentally strained, trying to focus on the test, worried I couldn’t hear as well as I thought, and getting anxious at the thought of what sounds I’d been missing all these years. I held as still as possible so that any little sound—my hair, my breath—wouldn’t interfere with the testing.
Then the test ended, and I let out a big breath. Did I just bomb it? I wasn’t sure. We moved on to the next test, known as the hearing-in-noise-test. I listened to a recording of people speaking in a somewhat noisy room, repeating what I thought I heard the main speaker saying. With each sentence, the background noise got more raucous. Suddenly, I no longer heard sentences, only words. By the end of the test, I shrugged: All I could hear was a jumble of voices akin to what a school cafeteria sounds like on ice cream day. Hanna stepped back into the noise-proof room. And I noticed I was suddenly exhausted. “The hard part is over,” she assured me as she inserted a different set of earplugs to give for an immittance test. This time, I didn’t have to “do” anything; I could literally just sit there and stare at the wall as I let the device measure the strength of my “acoustic reflexes” and the health of my eardrums and middle ears.
The relief I felt made me realise my brain had worked hard as it went through the (painless, non-invasive) hearing test—even though the whole time I had been sitting nearly motionless in a comfortable chair, in a comfortable room. Oh, I thought, this is what people mean when they say hearing requires a lot of brainpower (or "cognitive load" in medical jargon). After all that self-imposed drama, I was relieved to find out I have normal hearing. And I gained a lot more empathy for people who have trouble hearing. When what you hear starts to diminish, your brain tries to compensate, and it will tire easily at the constant guessing game. No wonder people with hearing loss tend to shy away from noisy places.
But this avoidance strategy can backfire, clinic co-founder and audiologist Dr. Soriya Estes told me. Over time, avoiding sounds and noise means your auditory nerve doesn’t have to work as hard. Research is now showing how this can likely add up to an increased risk of dementia—when you don’t talk and listen to speech as vigorously as you used to, it’s a lot easier to forget not just what the words sound like, but also what they mean. “It really is use it or lose it,’” Dr. Estes explained. “The auditory nerve needs to be stimulated.” Her challenge as a clinician, she said, is helping people realise this. Because most hearing loss occurs very slowly, people may not even realise just how bad their hearing has gotten—instead, the songbirds seem to slowly disappear, the falling leaves no longer rustle like they once did and people seemingly refuse to speak as clearly as they once did. The early changes are so subtle many people don't stop to think: Has the world changed, or has my hearing?
The best way to find out? A hearing test. You'll suffer through a few awkward minutes of beeping sounds and strange voices, but then you'll get your answer: The songbirds are still there, and it's time to hear them again.
Have you ever been interested in how the Cochlear Implant devices are made?
This is your chance to have a tour at Sydney Cochlear Headquarters on every Friday during the month of March in celebration of World Hearing Awareness Month.
Here at last is our 2018 revision of the "Hearing Loss and Hearing Solutions - A Guide" that we have published in PDF format for the enjoyment of users. Our original version was reviewed very favourably and attracted a lot of viewers.
You can view/download it from this link: Hearing Loss and Hearing Resources - A Guide (91 pages, 2.4 MB size).
Here are some of the professional comments about our new 2018 version.
Overall Reactions to Second Edition:
Monica Bray (Cochlear): I’ve just discovered the wonderful Hearing Guide. It's an awesome resource.
Jade Parr (Advanced Bionics): What a great resource.
Roberta Marino (Fiona Stanley Hospital) with permission:
I really enjoyed reading the guide! It's brilliant. So comprehensive, easy to read and relatable. I'm really impressed with the level of detail and can only imagine the hours you've spent researching new updates. The guide will positively impact so many people including professionals. I can see it being so useful for instance, at our hospital when new medicos have a rotation in the Ear, Nose and Throat Department or when we have new Audiology students in our Department who are new to implant devices. Again - well done! It's fantastic there's people like you who are so pro-active and care enough to put in the hundreds of hours required to develop such a useful and thorough guide.
Overall Reactions to First Edition:
Margaret Anderson: It's going to be a great resource for consumers and all sorts of people. Well done for tackling it!
Marie-Louise Hekel: Congratulations on this most thorough publication. You have done a splendid job. It would be a very valuable resource, not only for hearing impaired people, but professional audiologists in particular.
Roberta Marino: I think you’ve done a brilliant job. You really have a great understanding of how the different devices can be applied. If you don’t mind, when the product is finished, I’d like to pass it on to training ENT’s at the major teaching hospitals here in Perth and also the upcoming Audiology students.
Sarah McCullough (Advanced Bionics): Well done on all your hard work
Linda Ballam-Davies (Cochlear): It looks great and you've done a top job.
Jan 2019 EurekAlert
Hearing loss affects tens of millions of Americans and its global prevalence is expected to grow as the world's population ages. A new study led by investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital adds to a growing body of evidence that hearing loss is associated with higher risk of cognitive decline. These findings suggest that hearing loss may help identify individuals at greater risk of cognitive decline and could provide insights for earlier intervention and prevention. "Dementia is a substantial public health challenge that continues to grow. There is no cure, and effective treatments to prevent progression or reverse the course of dementia are lacking," said lead author Sharon Curhan, MD, MSc, a physician and epidemiologist in the Channing Division for Network Medicine at the Brigham. "Our findings show that hearing loss is associated with new onset of subjective cognitive concerns which may be indicative of early stage changes in cognition. These findings may help identify individuals at greater risk of cognitive decline."
Curhan and colleagues conducted an eight-year longitudinal study among 10,107 men aged ≥62 years in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HFPS). They assessed subjective cognitive function (SCF) scores based on responses to a six-item questionnaire administered in 2008, 2012 and 2016. SCF decline was defined as a new report of at least one SCF concern during follow-up.
The team found that hearing loss was associated with higher risk of subjective cognitive decline. Compared with men with no hearing loss, the relative risk of cognitive decline was 30 percent higher among men with mild hearing loss, 42 percent higher among men with moderate hearing loss, and 54 percent higher among men with severe hearing loss but who did not use hearing aids.
Researchers were interested to see if hearing aids might modify risk. Although they found that among men with severe hearing loss who used hearing aids, the risk of cognitive decline was somewhat less (37 percent higher), it was not statistically significantly different from the risk among those who did not use hearing aids. The authors note that this may have been due to limited power or could suggest that if a difference truly exists, the magnitude of the effect may be modest.
The authors also note that the study was limited to predominantly older white male health professionals. This allowed for greater control of variability but further studies in additional populations would be helpful. In addition, the study relies on self-reported hearing loss and subjective measures of cognitive function. In the future, the team plans to investigate the relationships between self-reported hearing loss, change in audiometric hearing thresholds, and changes in cognition in women using several different assessment measures. "Whether there is a temporal association between hearing loss and cognitive decline and whether this relation is causal remains unclear," said Curhan. "We plan to conduct further longitudinal studies of the relation of hearing loss and cognition in women and in younger populations, which will be informative."