Studies have shown that there is a definable link between hearing loss and cognitive decline. In a recent study, those patients who had significant hearing loss were 24% more likely to see a decline in cognitive ability than those patients with normal hearing1
Theories exist as to why this occurs but hearing aids have been shown to help. Studies show that patients who treat their hearing loss with amplification devices reduce their odds of cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. Early detection is key and scheduling a hearing evaluation is the first step to diagnose hearing loss.
Tinnitus, also known as ringing in the ear, is a very common problem that affects up to 50 million Americans. Some patients will describe the sound as a hissing, buzzing, whooshing or roaring. It can be present all or some of the time, and in both ears or just one. Most commonly, tinnitus is related to hearing loss and hearing aids can be helpful in masking the tinnitus. In other cases, tinnitus can be the symptom of a more severe ear disease or even an abnormality within the blood vessels of the head and neck. Diagnosis is made by a thorough medical history and physical exam by an otolaryngologist, as well as an audiology evaluation by an audiologist.
When tinnitus is not related to hearing loss or a primary ear problem, masking techniques such as white noise machines, air conditioners or fans can be helpful. Tinnitus retraining therapy can be another option for those patients who have continue to have difficulty.