Geriatric

Geriatric

Do You Think This Is Far-Fetched?

This is the question Gary Jacobson, editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, poses for us. The question is in the context of a newly published article in the journal that explores the perception about Internet -based delivery of hearing aids amongst older adults. The participants in the study were definitely interested but pointed out various road blocks in place today for internet-based hearing aid delivery to be fully satisfactory. Are these road blocks insurmountable, or simply new territories for technological capture.

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Tinnitus and Physical Activity

Carpenter-Thompson et al (2015) report their online survey of 1,030 people, of which approximately 630 responses were used in their analysis.

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Cognitive Changes, Lifespan, and Healthy Aging

Murman (2015) notes that “cognitive abilities often decline with age,” and structural and functional changes occur in tandem with declining cognitive abilities. The most important changes are “declines in performance on cognitive tasks (which) require one to quickly process or transform information…” which are related to processing speed, working memory, and executive function. 

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Baby Boomers and Alzheimer’s Demographics

The Alzheimer’s Association (2015) estimated some 81 percent of all people in the United States with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) are 75 years or older. Further, they report (2015) that some 5.3 million Americans (all ages) have Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).Of note, 5.1 million people (of the 5.3 million) are age 65 and older, yet 200,000 individuals younger than age 65 have younger-onset Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association  reports that 11 percent of the population over age 65 have AD, and one-third of people 85 years and older.


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Alzheimer’s Disease: 2015

The comprehensive 2015 report from the Alzheimer’s Association states that “Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a degenerative brain disease and the most common cause of dementia…AD is characterized by a decline in memory, language, problem-solving, and other cognitive skills that affects a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. This decline occurs because nerve cells (neurons) in parts of the brain involved in cognitive function have been damaged and no longer function normally.

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Challenges for the Oldest Older Adults

Dubno (2015) summarized three presentations from the special session at the 2014 Hearing Across the Lifespan (HEAL) conference (June 2014) in Como, Italy. Dubno reports that the oldest older adults refers to those 85 years and older. She notes this group is the fastest growing segment of the population and they have complex needs including co-morbidities that impact communication, cognition, use of technology, dexterity, frailty, physical disabilities, and more.

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Aging and Dizziness

Zalewski (2015) reports $10-$20 billion is spent annually secondary to falls and fall-related injuries. Indeed, falls and fall-related injuries are the sixth leading cause of death in the elderly and 20 percent of these events lead to death. The National Safety Council reports falls in people ages 75 years and older are “the number one cause of injury-related death.” Zalewski notes that 90 percent of people aged 80 years and older are likely to present with balance impairment which increases their risk for falls. 

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MarkeTrak IX—Update 2015

Abrams and Kihm (2015) report that the latest MarkeTrak (MT9) is a significant departure from the eight preceding surveys. Specifically, they used an online survey technique to survey 17,000 households including some 1,000 people who wear hearing aids, and 2,000 people with hearing loss, who do not own hearing aids. 

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Hearing Impairment, Cognitive Decline, and Amplification

Multiple studies have indicated that hearing loss may be a significant factor with regard to cognitive decline in older adults. Although speculative, perhaps the association between hearing loss and cognitive impairment could both be the result of an underlying common pathology such as vascular disease or inflammation. Other explanations include variations of mechanistic hypotheses such that hearing loss leads to increased isolation and loneliness and increased cognitive load and more.

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Cochlear Implants and Cognitive Function?

Mosnier et al (2015) and colleagues evaluated the relationship between cognitive function and hearing restoration through cochlear implants (CIs) in elderly patients. The study was performed between 2006 and 2009 and included 94 patients between 65 and 85 years of age. Each participant was evaluated pre-op, and 6 and 12 months post-op. Six tests were used to assess cognitive function including the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE), the 5-Word Test, the Clock-Drawing Test, Verbal Fluency Test, the D2 Test of Attention and Trail Making Tests (parts A and B).

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