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Hearing technologies could play an important role in delaying dementia

EVENT

© The International Society of Audiology

New research into understanding how the brain adapts and improves its hearing abilities through the use of hearing technologies could play an important role in the future management of dementia. The use of devices such as hearing aids and cochlear implants to delay and/or reverse cognitive decline in conditions such as dementia was one of the topics discussed at the XXXII World Congress of Audiology in Brisbane this week.

Professor Stephen Crain (picture), from the Macquarie University describes central auditory plasticity as the adaptability of the brain’s cerebral cortex to process sound more effectively in response to new stimuli:“We now know the brain has a remarkable ability to regrow and adapt itself to process new kinds of information and relearn tasks, especially in early childhood, but across the lifespan.” The peak of brain’s central auditory plasticity occurs in children between the ages of two and four. It’s before this critical time that infants with hearing loss benefit most from being fitted with a hearing device so that the regions of the brain that processes sound information and language can develop most optimally.

“Although the brain has its greatest plasticity in very young children, it continues to have remarkable adaptive abilities at all ages." Preliminary research supports the notion that adults with hearing aids develop new neural pathways in the brain to more fully utilise the information created by these devices. To some extent this conclusion is supported by anecdotal evidence that many adults who are initially unhappy with their hearing devices suddenly report dramatic improvement a month or so later.“We don’t know yet exactly what is happening in the brains of these adults, but their observations suggest that perceptual processing changes are taking place in the brain as it adjusts to the information provided by hearing devices,” Professor Crain explained.

“It’s early days but as the degree of hearing loss is highly correlated with the risk of dementia it seems highly likely that intervention with a hearing device to restore hearing in adulthood could assist in delaying the onset of dementia.”

Source: International Society of Audiology

J.E.

June 3 Apple announcements embrace hearing health, but are we closer to an actual Apple hearing aid?
June 3 Apple announcements embrace hearing health, but are we closer to an actual Apple hearing aid?

Apps

© Yacobchuk - iStock

New Apple Inc. tech products to be announced on June 3 will reflect the computer giant's increasing focus on healthcare, in particular hearing features aimed at the so-called Silver Tsunami generation of ageing consumers.

Audiology dispute in Costa Rica as state model for buying hearing aids changes
Audiology dispute in Costa Rica as state model for buying hearing aids changes

funding

© GB

A change in Costa Rica's hearing aid purchasing model has triggered a dispute between speech-hearing therapists and state health administrators.

AAA celebrated the Best of Audiology
AAA celebrated the Best of Audiology

AAA2019

For four days in Columbus, Ohio, thousands of delegates looked to learn from and engage with each other and to inspire the next generation of audiologists coming into the profession.

EHIMA figures show 6.5% year growth in hearing aid sales
EHIMA figures show 6.5% year growth in hearing aid sales

Sales

© WHO

April figures released by the European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (EHIMA) show that global adoption of hearing aids in 2018 grew faster than in either of the two preceding years.

US NIDCD appoints Duke University professor Debara Tucci as its new director
US NIDCD appoints Duke University professor Debara Tucci as its new director

Nomination

© National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)

Dr. Debara L. Tucci will take over in September this year as the next director of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), in charge of its annual budget for the nation's hearing matters of around $459m.

Tailored FDA framework planned to let evolving algorithms teach themselves
Tailored FDA framework planned to let evolving algorithms teach themselves

Ai

© Maxkabakov - Fotolia

The fast-arriving healthcare benefits from evolving artifical intelligence (AI) technology mean a flexible "tailored" regulatory framework must be put in place, says the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), though the agency quickly drew criticism for lack of clarity.

Affordable app-based hearing aid can benefit poor children in India
Affordable app-based hearing aid can benefit poor children in India

App

© UTSAAH Lab, CPDM, IISc.

An Indian Institute of Science (IISc) study has produced an economical prototype for a phone-based hearing aid complete with therapy, aimed at helping children with hearing loss.

Company Directory

New products

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CI

Oticon Medical has announced that it has obtained 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market the new Ponto 4 [ ... ]

Auditdata: tools to excel in businessAuditdata: tools to excel in business

Advertorial

As the global hearing profession faces change and what seems to be many threats, we think it is imperative that businesses have access to the best tools and data. [ ... ]

Oticon launches groundbreaking Oticon Opn SOticon launches groundbreaking Oticon Opn S

© Oticon

Oticon Opn S takes the open sound experience and the unique benefits of BrainHearing™ to the next level, and features the world’s first system to [ ... ]