Mining and Construction Workers Most Affected by Occupational Hearing Loss

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Elizabeth A. Masterson, PhD CPH
Dr. Masterson is an epidemiologist in the NIOSH Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies
CDC

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Masterson: Occupational hearing loss, primarily caused by high noise exposure, is the most common work-related illness in the United States. It is a permanent but entirely preventable condition. Researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, compared the prevalence of hearing impairment within nine industry sectors and the associated impact on quality of life for noise-exposed workers.

Hearing impairment is hearing loss that impacts day-to-day activities. The Mining sector had the highest prevalence of workers with any hearing impairment, and with moderate or worse impairment, followed by the Construction and Manufacturing sectors. Impact on quality of life was measured by calculating disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). DALYs represented the number of healthy years lost because of hearing impairment. This study found that 2.5 healthy years were lost each year for every 1,000 noise-exposed U.S. workers because of hearing impairment. These lost years of good health were shared among the 13% of workers with hearing impairment (about 130 workers out of each 1,000 workers). Mining, Construction and Manufacturing workers lost more healthy years than workers in other industry sectors (3.5, 3.1 and 2.7 healthy years lost, respectively, each year for every 1,000 workers). Mild impairment accounted for 52% of all healthy years lost and moderate impairment accounted for 27%. 

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Screening for Hearing Impairment: A critical issue in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Amir-Emamifar

Dr. Emamifar

Dr. Amir Emamifar, MD
Department of Rheumatology
Odense university Hospital
Svendborg Hospital, Denmark

Associate Professor Inger Marie Jensen Hansen, PhD, DMsci Department of Rheumatology, Odense university Hospital, Svendborg Hospital, Denmark. University of Southern Denmark.

Dr. Hansen

 

Associate Professor
Dr. Inger Marie Jensen Hansen, PhD, DMsci

Department of Rheumatology
Odense university Hospital
Svendborg Hospital
University of Southern Denmark

 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic, inflammatory disease that affects 1% of the general population. Apart from main articular manifestations, rheumatoid arthritis may involve other organs including heart, lung, skin, and eye. The auditory system can be affected during the course of the disease as well; however the association between rheumatoid arthritis and hearing impairment has not been clearly defined. It seems that hearing impairment in rheumatoid arthritis is a multifactorial disease affecting by environmental factors and disease and patient characteristics. We did a comprehensive review of all published data to reveal the potential link between rheumatoid arthritis and hearing impairment.

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Earplugs Reduce Hearing Loss From Loud Concerts

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof. dr. Wilko Grolman MD, PhD Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands. Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/wilko-grolman-73a4927

Prof. Grolman

Prof. dr. Wilko Grolman MD, PhD
Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery
Brain Center Rudolf Magnus,
University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/wilko-grolman-73a4927

 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Grolman: The importance of healthy hearing is extremely important for us humans. Decline in hearing will potentially affect not only our functional status but also our emotional and social health but also our economic status. It is impossible to imagine what the impact of losing one’s hearing ability is while still having a healthy hearing. Although many of us will eventually suffer from reduced hearing as part of the physiological effect of getting older, scientists are alarmed by the fact that hearing loss is on the rise and especially the number of youngsters that are affected is increasing.

The WHO in their report of March 2015 reveal some alarming statistics; 360 million people have disabling hearing loss. In the acquired hearing loss group, excessive noise from personal audio devices and concert and festival visits has gained importance. Occupational noise has long been recognized as a source of acquired hearing loss. The WHO recognizes that half of the hearing loss cases can be prevented by primary prevention. For the noise induced hearing loss category, it is important to reduce exposure to loud sounds by raising awareness about the risks, implement relevant legislation and to encourage the use of personal protective devices such as earplugs, noise-canceling earphones and headphones. Our previous systematic review of the effectiveness of wearing earplugs to music venues showed that there were only two studies on this subject of which only one was a randomized clinical trial but had a major different set-up.

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Greater the Hearing Loss, Greater the Risk of Death

Kevin J. Contrera, MPH MD Candidate Johns Hopkins School of MedicineMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kevin J. Contrera, MPH
MD Candidate
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Hearing impairment is common in older adults. The prevalence of clinically significant hearing loss doubles with every decade of life, affecting two-thirds of adults 70 years of age or older. Hearing loss has been shown to be associated with various negative cognitive, mental, and physical health outcomes.

In a nationally representative sample of 1,666 adults aged 70 years or older, moderate or greater hearing impairment was associated with a 54% increased risk of mortality. This was after we statistically took into account factors that could influence this association. Essentially, the worse the patient’s hearing loss, the greater the risk of death.

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Chronic Loud Noise Exposure Raises Risk of Heart Disease

Wenqi Gan, MD, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health University of Kentucky College of Public Health Lexington, KY 40536MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Wenqi Gan, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health
University of Kentucky College of Public Health
Lexington, KY 40536


Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Wenqi Gan: In epidemiologic studies on health effects of noise exposure, community noise is typically assessed using noise prediction models, occupational noise is assessed using self-reports or historical records. These methods are able to estimate community noise exposure in residential areas and occupational noise exposure in the workplace; however, these methods are not able to accurately reflect actual personal noise exposure in the home and workplace. The lack of personal noise exposure information is a major limitation of previous studies, which could cause underestimations of the true health effects of noise exposure. Bilateral high-frequency hearing loss, an objective indicator for long-term exposure to loud noise, may be used to investigate health effects of noise exposure.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Wenqi Gan: This study includes 5223 people aged 20-69 years who participated in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2004. Compared with people with normal high-frequency hearing, people with bilateral high-frequency hearing loss were approximately two times more likely to have coronary heart disease. This association was particularly striking for people who were chronically exposed to loud noise in the workplace or leisure time. For example, for currently employed workers with occupational noise exposure history, the possibility of having coronary heart disease increased more than four times. This study confirms that chronic exposure to loud noise is associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease.

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Osteoporosis May Increase Risk of Hearing Loss

Dr. Kai-Jen Tien MD Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine Chi Mei Medical Center, Tainan, TaiwanMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Kai-Jen Tien MD
Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine
Chi Mei Medical Center, Tainan, Taiwan

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Previous studies investigating the relationship between osteoporosis and sudden sensorineural hearing loss were rare. Most of the studies were of small sample size, or cross-sectional designs and their results were inconclusive. Our population-based study found an approximately 1.76-fold increase in the incidence of sensorineural hearing loss for patients with osteoporosis compared with the comparison group.Patients with more severe osteoporosis may have a higher risk of SSNHL than patients with osteoporosis of milder severity.

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Cochlear Implants May Improve Cognition in Elderly Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Isabelle Mosnier, MD, Praticien Hospitalier ORL

Otologie, Implants Auditifs et Chirurgie de la Base du Crâne
Centre Référent Implant Cochléaire Adulte d’Ile de France
Centre Maladies Rares Surdité Génétique de l’adulte
et Neurofibromatose de type 2
Groupe Hospitalier de la PITIE-SALPETRIERE
Paris

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Mosnier: Association between hearing impairment and cognitive decline has been established; however, the impact on cognition through cochlear implantation in profoundly deaf elderly patients is not known. The focus was to determine the impact of hearing rehabilitation including cochlear implant on cognitive functions, in addition to the influence of cognitive factors on cochlear implant outcomes over time.

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Cochlear Implants Work Equally Well In Younger and Older Patients

Margaret T. Dillon, AuD University of North Carolina School of MedicineMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Margaret T. Dillon, AuD

University of North Carolina School of Medicine

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Dillon: The goal of this study was to evaluate whether age at revision cochlear implantation influences post-revision speech perception performance. A cochlear implant is an implantable auditory prosthesis that aims to provide sound to patients with certain degrees of hearing loss, by converting and transmitting the acoustic sound into electric stimulation. Research has shown cochlear implant recipients experience improved speech perception in quiet and noise as compared to preoperative performance with conventional amplification (ie, hearing aids). There is variability in postoperative performance. Understanding the cause or causes of this variability is the primary goal of a number of research studies. One suspected indicator for this variability is advanced age at the time of surgery.

Though the incidence of revision cochlear implantation is low, it may be warranted when the internal device is no longer functional or not functioning optimally. We reviewed the pre-revision and post-revision speech perception performance of younger (< 65 years of age) and older (> 65 years of age) adult cochlear implant recipients. There was no difference between the post-revision speech perception performance between the two groups.

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HIV+ Adults May Have Poorer Hearing

dr-peter-torre Dr. Peter Torre III PhD Associate Professor, Audiology Director, Recreational Noise Exposure and Hearing Lab San Diego State UniversityMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Peter Torre III PhD
Associate Professor, Audiology
Director, Recreational Noise Exposure and Hearing Lab
San Diego State University


Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Torre: The primary purpose of our study was to evaluate hearing sensitivity in HIV+ and HIV- adults. And subsequently, in HIV+ adults only, to examine whether HIV disease variables or treatment was associated with hearing sensitivity.

The main findings were that HIV+ adult had poorer hearing for both the lower and higher frequencies compared with HIV- adults, although we did not find any significant associations between HIV variables and treatment variables with hearing loss.
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No Link Found Between Alcohol Use and Hearing Loss in Women

Sharon G. Curhan, MD, ScM Channing Division of Network Medicine Department of Internal Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02115MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sharon G. Curhan, MD, ScM

Channing Division of Network Medicine
Department of Internal Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02115

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Curhan: Hearing loss is a highly prevalent and disabling chronic condition that can impair communication, quality of life, and health. Although it is often perceived as an inevitable companion of aging, recent evidence suggests modifiable factors can potentially aid in prevention or slow progression of hearing loss. Alcohol consumption may influence several mechanisms that have been proposed to underlie age-related hearing decline. Although chronic excess alcohol intake has been associated with irreversible hearing loss and acute alcohol intake may temporarily impair auditory function, some evidence suggests that long-term moderate alcohol intake may protect against hearing loss.
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Eating Fish May Reduce Risk Of Hearing Loss In Women

Sharon G. Curhan, MD, ScM Channing Division of Network Medicine Department of Internal Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02115MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sharon G. Curhan, MD, ScM
Channing Division of Network Medicine
Department of Internal Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02115

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Curhan: We followed more than 65,000 women who were participants in the Nurses’ Health Study II over 18 years and found that eating 2 or more servings of fish per week was associated with a lower risk of hearing loss. For example, after adjusting for potential confounders in multivariable analyses, in comparison with women who rarely or never ate fish, women who consumed 2 or more servings of fish per week had a 20% lower risk of hearing loss. Eating any type of fish (tuna, dark fish, light fish or shellfish) tended to be associated with lower risk. Also, we found that higher intake of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) was inversely associated with risk. For example, in comparison with women with the lowest intake, women with the highest intake of long-chain omega-3 PUFAs had a 22% lower risk of hearing loss.

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Early Deafness, Cochlear Implants Associated With Cognitive Delays in Children

William Kronenberger, Ph.D., HSPP Professor and Director, Section of Psychology Acting Vice Chair of Administration Department of Psychiatry Indiana University School of Medicine Riley Child and Adolescent Psychiatry ClinicMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
William Kronenberger, Ph.D., HSPP
Professor and Director, Section of Psychology
Acting Vice Chair of Administration
Department of Psychiatry
Indiana University School of Medicine
Riley Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Kronenberger: The main findings of the study are that children with cochlear implants had two to five times the risk of delays in executive functioning compared to children with normal hearing.  Executive functioning is the ability to regulate and control thinking and behavior in order to focus and achieve goals; it is important for everything from learning to social skills.  The areas of executive functioning that were most affected in children with cochlear implants were working memory, controlled attention, planning, and concept formation.  Approximately one-third to one-half of the sample of children with cochlear implants had at least mild delays in these areas, compared to one-sixth or fewer of the normal-hearing sample.  We think that reduced hearing experience and language delays cause delays in executive functioning to occur at higher rates in children with cochlear implants.
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Hearing Loss Contributes to Personality Changes in Elderly

Dr. Anne Ingeborg Berg: University of Gothenburg, SwedenMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Anne Ingeborg Berg:
University of Gothenburg, Sweden
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: In our study of personality change in individuals aged 80+ we found that over a 6 year period individuals did not change in emotional stability, however, in line with previous research they got less extravert or outgoing. The only health aspect that could be related to an accelerated change in extraversion was impaired hearing at the first measurement occasion.

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Depression and Hearing Impairment in Adults

Dr. Chuan-Ming Li MD, PhD Statistician (Health/Medicine) Division of Scientific Programs The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication DisordersMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Chuan-Ming Li MD, PhD
Statistician (Health/Medicine)
Division of Scientific Programs
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Chuan-Ming Li: We used data on adults 18 years or older from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for the study and found that prevalence of moderate to severe depression was 4.9 percent for individuals who reported excellent hearing, 7.1 percent for those with good hearing and 11.4 percent for participants who reported having a little hearing trouble or greater hearing impairment (HI). Depression rates were higher in women than in men. The prevalence of depression increased as hearing impairment became worse, except among participants who were deaf. There was no association between self-reported HI and depression among people ages 70 years and older; however, an association between moderate HI measured by pure-tone threshold hearing exams and depression was found in women aged 70 years and older but not in men.
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Hearing Loss and Dietary Antioxidants

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2013/11/06/ajcn.113.068437.abstractMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sung Kyun Park, Sc.D., M.P.H

Assistant Professor, Epidemiology
Assistant Professor, Environmental Health Sciences
Departments of Epidemiology and Environmental Health Sciences
University of Michigan School of Public Health
Ann Arbor, MI

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?


Answer: This study reports that persons who eat more dietary antioxidants (beta carotene and vitamin C) or magnesium have a lower risk of hearing loss. This finding was seen in the levels currently observed in the general US population and independent of demographic and socioeconomic factors, noise exposures from workplaces, recreations or firearms, and other potential risk factors.
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Hearing Loss in Women: BMI, Waist Circumference, Physical Activity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sharon Curhan, MD, ScM
Channing Division of Network Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02115

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Curhan: The main findings of our study are that higher body mass index and larger waist circumference are associated with an increased risk of acquired hearing loss, and higher level of physical activity is associated with a decreased risk of acquired hearing loss in women. Specifically, after adjusting for potential confounders, compared with women with BMI <25 kg/m2, the relative risk for hearing loss was 25% higher for women with BMI >40. Compared with women with waist circumference <71 cm, the relative risk for hearing loss was 27% higher for women with waist circumference >88 cm. Higher physical activity was inversely related to risk; compared with women in the lowest quintile of physical activity, women in the highest quintile of physical activity had a 17% lower risk of hearing loss. Walking, the most common form of physical activity among these women, was associated with a lower risk; women who walked 2 hours per week or more had a 15% lower risk of hearing loss than women who walked less than one hour per week. These findings provide evidence that maintaining healthy weight and staying physically active, potentially modifiable lifestyle factors, may help reduce the risk of hearing loss.

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