Hearing News Watch

Mar. 01, 2012

Hearing loss linked to heightened risk of falling, researchers say

David Kirkwood
BALTIMORE—People with even a mild hearing loss are nearly three times as likely to report having fallen in the preceding year than those in an otherwise comparable population who have normal hearing. And among people with more severe hearing loss the increased risk of falling appears to be even greater. So reported Frank Lin, MD, PhD, an otologist and epidemiologist
Feb. 29, 2012

After talking with United Healthcare, AAA and ADA say their concerns remain

David Kirkwood
As observed here last week, recent meetings between leaders of several professional hearing healthcare organizations and executives of United Healthcare (UHC) and its subsidiary hi HealthInnovations (UHC/HI) seem to have done little to resolve the issues that divide them. The key area of disagreement is the new hearing aid benefit being offered to consumers covered by UHC’s Medicare Advantage insurance
Feb. 29, 2012

Program will train technicians to bring hearing help to developing countries

David Kirkwood
LARGO, FL—More than 275 million people around the world have disabling hearing loss (>40 dB HL) and another 365 million-plus have milder losses, according to the most recent estimate by the World Health Organization. Of these, an estimated 75% live in developing countries, where hearing healthcare providers and services are so scarce that only a tiny fraction of the children
Feb. 26, 2012

Three companies cited for hearing loss prevention efforts

David Kirkwood
NEW ORLEANS—Three of the nation’s largest companies were honored on February 23 for their exemplary record of providing a hearing-healthy environment for their employees. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) announced the recipients of its 2012 Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Awards™ during the annual conference of the National Hearing Conservation Association in New Orleans. The
Feb. 24, 2012

Oticon is “going green” thanks to foundation’s wind farm investment

David Kirkwood
SMØRUM, DENMARK–The Oticon Foundation, together with the parent company of the Danish toy maker Lego, has invested 675 million Euros, about $900 million, in the construction of a giant new wind farm off the German coast in the North Sea. Within a few years, the foundation expects its stake in the wind farm to produce over five times as much
Feb. 23, 2012

How do you choose which ear to use with your cell phone? Study says it’s up to your brain

David Kirkwood
DETROIT—Do you use your right ear to listen to your cell phone? If so, you’re probably right-handed but left-brained. So says a new study conducted by researchers at the Henry Ford Hospital. According to a news report issued this week by the Henry Ford Health System, scientists found a strong correlation between people’s brain dominance and the ear they use
Feb. 22, 2012

Professional groups take unified stand on direct-to-consumer hearing aid sales

David Kirkwood
LIVONIA, MI–Although United Healthcare (UHC) and leaders of several professional associations in hearing care sat down last month to talk with one another (see our February 7 post), there’s little sign that the differences between them can be reconciled. On the one hand, UHC’s subsidiary, hi HealthInnovations, seems fully committed to selling hearing aids directly to consumers. On the other
Feb. 21, 2012

ADA and ASHA resolve one dispute, but the legal battle continues

David Kirkwood
By David H. Kirkwood PITTSBURGH–The Academy of Doctors of Audiology and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) have reached an agreement on one of the issues raised by ADA in a suit filed August 2, 2011 against ASHA in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. However, other issues remain unresolved and the legal battle continues. In its suit,
Feb. 17, 2012

Study suggests link between sudden sensorineural hearing loss and sleep apnea

David Kirkwood
TAIPEI, TAIWAN—Researchers have found that found that men in a study group with sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) were nearly 50% more likely also to have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) than men in the group who had not suffered sudden hearing loss. The results of the large-scale retrospective study were published last month in the Archives of Otolaryngology–Head & Neck
Feb. 15, 2012

Researchers find that underuse of hearing aids is even worse than we realized

David Kirkwood
BALTIMORE—Only one out of seven Americans age 50 and over with hearing loss wears hearing aids. So reports a paper published online February 13 in Archives of Internal Medicine  by Wade Chien, MD, and Frank Lin, MD, PhD, both from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. That one-in-seven (14%) figure indicates that hearing aids are even more underutilized