Adult

Adult

United States: Aging and Related Demographics

Kronholz (2008) reported the latest demographics relating to aging in the United States. In the United States, average life expectancy is currently 78 years. This indicates an increase of some 30 years — since1900, and an increase of 10 years — since 1950. Kronholz reported that gerontologists refer to the population younger than age 80 as the "young old." And speaking of politics... Warren Buffet, 25 percent of all U.S. Senators and four of the Supreme Court justices are past their 72nd birthdays.

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Exercise, Cognition, and Audition

The relationship between cognition and auditory processing has received a lot of attention from researchers and clinicians addressing hearing loss. A new study in the September 3, 2008, issue of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) indicated that adults with memory problems were able to improve their cognitive function, secondary to a modest exercise program.

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Meniere’s Patients and Quality of Life After Intratympanic Streptomycin Injection

Junf, Chun, and colleagues (Yonsei University, South Korea) recently evaluated multiple quality of life measures (with respect to physical, psychological, and social arenas) and satisfaction with the treatment protocol for Meniere’s Disease patients who had received intratympanic streptomycin injection. Chart review and questionnaires were used to gather data on 51 patients, seen from 2000 to 2005. The average age of the patients was 49 years, 22 were male, 29 were female.

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Visual Correlates of Stream Segregation, Scene Analysis, and Signal-to-Noise Ratio

In many respects, perceptual and cognitive analogies between vision and hearing can be drawn. In an acoustic environment, as the quantity of sounds and their loudness increases, the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) generally becomes worse and the ability of the central auditory nervous system (CANS) to segregate and analyze sounds suffers. As sound sources and amplitudes increase to virtually fill a given area with sound, sound tends to morph into noise.

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Personal Music Systems: Use and Loudness

Torre (2008) reported on 1,016 students at San Diego State University with regard to their use of, and the loudness of their personal music systems. Of the students that completed the survey, 91.5% (930 students) reported using a personal music system with earphones. Apple’s iPod was the most popular system, used by three-quarters of the students. Regarding hours of use, 35% reported using their system less than one hour daily, 48% reported between 1 and 3 hours daily, 12% reported using their systems between 3 and 5 hours daily. Males tended to listen longer and louder, daily.

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ASSR Test-Retest Reliability

D’haenens, Vinvk, et al, evaluated the test re-test reliability of an 80 Hz Auditory Steady State Response (ASSR) system. Twenty-nine normal hearing subjects (15 females, 14 males) were evaluated. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 30 years. Participants were tested at two separate test sessions. A comprehensive three-layer statistical analysis was used to determine reliability (Pearson product-moment correlation, analysis of variance and standard error of the mean).

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Aging in America: Remarkable Change

Roberts and Gross (2008) report that "remarkable change" is coming to America. In terms of percentage of the population, in 2008, only 13 percent of Americans are 65 years or older. By 2030, 20 percent of Americans will be in that same demographic. In real numbers, by 2050, it is expected that 89 million Americans will be 65 or older. With respect to achieving age 100, there are currently some 80,000 centenarians in the United States and by 2025, there will be 175,000.

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Vision and Eye Update: 2008

As of 2004, the National Eye Institute (NEI) reported blindness or low vision affects 3.3 million Americans over age 40 (or 1 in every 28 people), and by 2020 over 5 million people in the United States will have blindness or low vision. Although people 80 years of age were only 8 percent of the U.S. population (in 2004), they represented 69 percent of the blind people in the country.

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The Ability (and Inability) to Recognize Voices

Dr. Brad Duchaine of the University College of London recently reported a case of "phonagnosia" (the inability to recognize voices of friends, family members, and others who are indeed, familiar to the listener) in an otherwise normal adult. Phonagnosia has been previously described and reported in people who have had brain injury, such as trauma, stroke, etc., impacting the right hemisphere.

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Visual Spatiality

As audiologists and hearing aid manufacturers increase their knowledge and abilities related to spatiality derived from acoustic cues, it's noteworthy that vision also involves spatial cues.

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