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Research Shows Noise Impacts Hearing More Rapidly Than Aging

Over the past forty years the greatest joy of our business is providing the gift of better hearing. Difficulty hearing is one of the most common conditions among older adults. Many people make lifestyle adjustments rather than seek help. With the new advances in technology now is an ideal time to consider an evaluation. At Hopco Hearing Center, we have made a commitment to professional service, quality products and low prices. Here are some factors to keep in mind:

Choice - There are over 200 manufacturers we can service. Everyone's hearing loss and lifestyle is different... So we offer a wide variety.

Follow-up - All aids come with a 60 day trial... We see you weekly during this time to assure your adjustments and the aids adjustment are satisfactory.

Continued Education - Every year we attend conventions and manufacturer seminars to keep up the latest fitting news and technology. We are members of nationally accredited American Speech and Hearing Association, American Academy of Audiologists and the International Hearing Society.

The two most common types of hearing loss are caused by aging and exposure to excessive noise. In both cases, the hairs or nerve cells in the cochlea that are responsible for sending sound signals to the brain are progressively affected. 

When the hairs or nerve cells become damaged or missing, the electrical brain signals are not transmitted effectively and sounds are not processed as well. At this point, it may be difficult to recognize words in the presence of background noise and higher pitched tones often become muffled.

Despite similarities in the effects of age- and noise-related hearing loss, however, a new study from the Society for Neuroscience has found that these two conditions impact sound processing in the brain on different timescales. The research suggests that each type of hearing loss should have its own unique treatment.

A research team led by Michael Heinz and Kenneth Henry set out to observe how the auditory nerve encodes sounds. The experts used a chinchilla model of age-related hearing loss, which is the traditional animal model for most types of research related to the ear. This is due to the fact that chinchillas have inner ear anatomy that is very similar to humans.

Next, the researchers compared their results to data from a chinchilla model of noise-induced hearing damage. They found that the same level of sound sensitivity loss caused more severe processing changes in the auditory nerve of chinchillas with noise-induced hearing loss compared to those with age-related hearing loss. 

The study revealed that mild noise-induced hearing loss caused the same amount of processing impairment as moderate to severe age-related hearing loss. The findings emphasize the need for hearing-safety awareness, as well as for more customized treatments of hearing loss.