Closer to finding a cure for birth deafness


Cochlear implants have been a before and after in the treatment of deafness. These small devices have allowed many children who were deaf from birth or adults who have lost hearing to hear.

But science is advancing by giant steps and we are getting closer and closer to literally curing birth deafness. How? Repairing the genes that cause it. It sounds like science fiction but scientists from the University of Oregon in the United States are close to achieving it.

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Hearing problems and cancer treatment

Some cancers and cancer treatments can cause hearing problems. These problems can include the following:

  • Hearing loss. This can be mild, severe, or in-between.
  • Ringing in the ears. The medical term for this condition is "tinnitus."

Hearing loss and tinnitus can occur alone or at the same time. They could go away after some time, or they could last a lifetime.

Hearing problems can affect your quality of life. Tell your healthcare team about any changes during or after your cancer treatment. It is important to alleviate these side effects and any others you may have. Treatment of side effects may be called palliative care or supportive care.

Types of hearing problems

The ear is made up of 3 main parts: the outer ear that can be seen and the central and inner parts that cannot be seen. Hearing problems begin when one or more parts of the ear are damaged.

There are 2 main types of hearing loss.

  • Conductive hearing loss. This is when something blocks the outer ear or the middle ear. This prevents sound from reaching the inner ear, where it is "heard" by the brain. The outer or middle ear could be blocked by wax or an ear infection. Medical treatment can often remedy this type of hearing loss.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss. Something damages the inner ear or the nerve that connects the ear to the brain. This nerve is called the auditory nerve. Damage to the inner ear or auditory nerve often lasts a lifetime.

There are 2 main types of tinnitus.

  • Subjective tinnitus. This means that only you hear the sounds of tinnitus. These can be in the form of a ringing, hissing, buzzing, humming, snapping, hissing, or other sounds. They are caused by damage to any part of the ear or auditory nerves.
  • Objective tinnitus. Your doctor can hear the sounds that you hear inside your ears. A variety of different medical conditions can cause this rare form of tinnitus. These conditions include problems with a heart valve or blood vessels and muscle tension.

Causes of hearing problems

Some of the causes of hearing problems may include the following.

Chemotherapy. Some types of chemotherapy can damage the inner ear. These include platinum-based drugs such as cisplatin (Platinol) and carboplatin (Paraplatin). Tinnitus is often the first sign of this type of damage. You could also lose hearing when the drug damages cells in the inner ear. Hearing problems due to chemotherapy usually occur in both ears.

Radiotherapy. High doses of radiation therapy to the head, ear, or brain can damage the inner ear. Radiation therapy can also cause middle ear and outer ear problems. These can include inflammation, wax blockages, fluid buildup, and hardening of the ear bones. All of this can affect hearing. You could have this hearing loss in 1 or both ears. This depends on the area that is being treated.


Surgery. Surgery to the brain, ear, or auditory nerve can cause hearing problems.


Frequently used medications. Many commonly used medications that you can use in conjunction with your cancer treatment can cause damage to the inner ear. Using several of these medications together can increase the risk of hearing loss and tinnitus. This is especially likely if you use high doses for a long time. Many commonly used medications that can damage the inner ear include:

  • Certain antibiotics. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if the antibiotics they prescribe could cause hearing loss. Antibiotics include erythromycin, neomycin, gentamicin, streptomycin, and tobramycin. They are all purchased under many different brand names, so it is very important to check with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve). "NSAIDs" is another name for these types of drugs.
  • Aspirin taken in large amounts.
  • Certain diuretics (water pills), such as furosemide (Lasix) and ethacrynic acid (Edecrin).
  • Some heart and blood pressure medications, such as metoprolol (Lopressor).
  • Some antiemetic medications, such as promethazine (Phenergan).

Conditions that are not cancer. Many medical conditions, including benign ear tumors, differently shaped ears, head trauma, viruses, and allergies, can cause hearing loss or tinnitus. Aging and being around a lot of loud noise can also cause these problems.


Who is at risk for hearing problems from cancer treatment?

You could be at risk of developing hearing problems if:

  • You had treatments that can cause damage to your hearing when you were less than 4 years old.
  • Had hearing problems, or a high risk for them, before cancer.
  • You received high doses of the chemotherapy drugs cisplatin or carboplatin.
  • You received a combination of treatments that can cause damage to your hearing, such as cisplatin and radiation therapy to the brain.
  • You received high doses of radiation to your ear, brain, nose, sinuses, throat, or the area behind your cheekbones.
  • You had kidney problems and received treatment for cancer that can cause hearing damage.
  • Had a tumor, surgery, or infection in the brain, ear, or auditory nerve.

Symptoms of hearing problems

You may have some of these symptoms if you have a hearing problem:

  • Feeling of lightheadedness.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Vertigo, which is a sensation like spinning or losing your balance.
  • Hear sounds inside the ear sometimes or all of the time.
  • Notice that people's voices sound different or lower than normal.
  • Have difficulty hearing due to background noise.
  • Not being able to hear someone on the phone.
  • Needing the volume of the television, radio or other device to be very high.
  • Avoid people and activities due to hearing problems.

Talk to your healthcare team if you have any of these symptoms. Also inform them of any changes in your symptoms. If cancer treatment is the cause, your doctor may change your treatment or give you less intense treatment.


Diagnosis of hearing problems

Your healthcare team can perform tests to find the cause of hearing problems during cancer treatment. You may need to see a specialist, such as an otologist. This is a doctor who specializes in ear problems. Also having to consult an audiologist. This is a healthcare professional who tests for hearing problems.

You may have one or more of the following tests:

  • Physical exam. Your doctor will look inside your ears for problems, such as a blockage or infection. You may also have a neurological exam, since hearing is part of the nervous system. The neurological exam may include looking into the eyes, assessing strength and reflexes, and checking balance control.
  • Audiogram. An audiologist will ask you to listen and respond to different sounds. This helps tell your doctor if you have lost some hearing, how much, and what sounds you have difficulty hearing.
  • Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) elicited auditory response. You may have this test if you can't follow the instructions for an audiogram. It measures how the brain reacts to certain sounds.
  • Imaging tests. You may need to have a CT scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test to check for problems. These tests create pictures of the inside of the body.

Treatment and management of hearing problems

If something is blocking your hearing, medical treatment such as ear drops, ear wax removal, or surgery often help. These treatments may also help with tinnitus. But as of yet, there is no cure for tinnitus. Nerve-related hearing loss is also often permanent. But there are ways to manage hearing problems effectively during and after cancer treatment.

Tips for managing hearing problems

The following can help manage hearing problems:

  • Ask your healthcare team if you should avoid alcohol, tobacco products, and caffeine, which can make tinnitus worse.
  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids. Being dehydrated can make tinnitus worse.
  • Ask your friends, family, and co-workers to speak clearly and without yelling. Yelling can make it harder for you to hear. It can also cause further damage to your ears.
  • Practice relaxation techniques and get plenty of sleep. Being stressed or tired can make tinnitus worse.
  • Check your blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause hearing problems.
  • Consult your doctor about medicines for nausea or dizziness, if you have these problems.
  • Protect your ears from loud noises. Loud noise can make hearing problems caused by chemotherapy or other drugs worse.

Devices to help with hearing problems

Your doctor may suggest the use of one of the following devices:

Earphones. These little devices make sounds louder. They are placed on or behind the ear. They can also make tinnitus less noticeable when the level of background noise increases when using the device.


Sound generators. These devices create sounds that block out the sounds of tinnitus, making it less bothering you. You can look for one that includes a hearing aid.


Devices for home or office. These devices also create sounds that mask the sounds of tinnitus, but instead of being worn to the ear, they are placed in a nearby location. Some examples include “white noise” devices or apps that play music or nature sounds.


Hearing (auditory) training devices. A device used in a room where a person is speaking, such as a classroom. The speaker uses a microphone and you use a small device that makes the speaker's voice easier to hear.

Cochlear implants (inner ear). This is an electronic medical device that a doctor implants in the inner ear. It works like a natural inner ear to help people with severe hearing loss hear again.

Be aware of hearing problems after treatment

If your cancer treatment increases your risk of hearing problems, get hearing exams at least once after treatment ends. Your healthcare team may recommend more frequent exams. How often you need to be tested depends on the type of cancer treatment you received.


One in four people will have hearing problems in 2050

A report also includes that at least 700 million of those affected will need otological care

According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), it is estimated that by the year 2050, one in four people will have hearing problems. At least 700 million of those affected will need ear care and that more and more adolescents and young people are at risk of hearing loss due to the harmful use of audio devices. This Sunday is International Deafness Day, celebrated every last Sunday in September to raise awareness and awareness about the particular needs of people with profound hearing loss and the importance of promoting early detection of hearing disorders.

One of these disorders is childhood hearing loss (hearing loss in children), caused by the alteration of the outer, middle or inner ear, and which must be diagnosed in the first months of life to adapt the best treatment to each patient. In this disorder, as in cases of bilateral profound deafness after diagnosis, experts recommend the cochlear implant (CI), both in children and adults, or in those people who cannot communicate effectively with the help of hearing aids.

The IC is an electronic device, which is coupled through surgery, whose mission is to transmit electrical signals to the cochlea and thus trigger a sound sensation, according to the Spanish Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery (SEORL-CCC).

"The placement of the cochlear implant before two or three years of life will have very good results due to the neural plasticity of children with hearing loss"

The person in charge of the Otology Program of the Otorhinolaryngology Unit (ENT) of the Ruber International Hospital, Dr. Julio Peñarrocha explains that the cochlear implant is made up of two elements, an internal part, which is surgically implanted, and an external part that includes the processor or control unit. "The internal part is composed of a series of electrodes that are introduced into the snail or cochlea (intracochlear) and a receptor / stimulator that includes the necessary elements to couple with the external part", the doctor describes.

According to the otology specialist, the cochlear implant is indicated when profound / severe hearing loss is diagnosed with the Early Detection Program for Infant Deafness, mandatory in Spain. "This diagnosis means that children with hearing loss can have the correct treatment for language development." According to the Commission for the Early Detection of Childhood Deafness (CODEPEH), five out of every thousand newborns have some degree of hearing loss, one out of every thousand born has severe or profound hearing loss and only half of children with hearing loss present factors of risk for hearing loss.

“Once the child's severe / profound hearing loss has been diagnosed, implantation should be attempted as soon as possible. The diagnosis of childhood hearing loss is a complex process of variable duration. The placement of the cochlear implant before two or three years of life will have very good results due to the neural plasticity of children. From this age, if there has been no auditory stimulus, the performance will be lower. In children who have acquired language or are in the acquisition period and due to some disease they lose their hearing, the cochlear implant has a clear indication, ”says Dr. Julio Peñarrocha.

For the cochlear implant in adulthood there is no biological age limit. Only physical age can be an impediment. “In fact, studies show that hearing isolation is associated with loss of cognitive functions. Therefore, an adult with progressive hearing loss who has a performance with devices of less than 50% may enter the indication for a cochlear implant ”, recognizes Peñarrocha. Once the cochlear implant has been surgically placed, an intense auditory rehabilitation work must be carried out. As the expert clarifies, despite being a neural prosthesis with incredible results, it is not capable of reproducing the original characteristics of our hearing organ, so a learning period is needed to the new hearing situation.

Source: Asociación Nacional de Audioprotesistas

International Day of Older Persons: detect hearing loss

This 2021 theme for the International Day of Older Persons, "Digital Equity for All Ages", emphasizes the need for older persons to have access and meaningful participation in the digital world.

The fourth industrial revolution, characterized by rapid digital innovation and exponential growth, has transformed all sectors of society, including the way of life, work and relationships. Technological advancements offer great hope for accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

However, half of the world's population lives without an Internet connection. The most obvious differences are reflected between the most developed and the least developed countries, with 87% and 19% respectively; as shown by 2020 data from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Furthermore, recent ITU reports indicate that women and the elderly experience digital inequality to a greater extent than other groups in society. They lack access to technologies or often do not fully benefit from the opportunities offered by technological progress.

In this sense, and taking into account that the last week of September is the International Week of the Deaf People, miResi specialists have drawn up a list of the 10 most common symptoms of hearing loss in the elderly and thus be able to stop in time the hearing loss, something that is essential to have access to the digital world, on the occasion of the International Day of Older Persons 2021, and its motto, "Digital equity for all ages".

As people get older they lose hearing abilities. For this reason, it is very normal to find situations of elders who raise their tone of voice a lot, or tend to argue with their family members. This is because, the fact of not listening well, causes misunderstandings and confusing situations.

It is important that society knows what are the problems associated with hearing loss in the elderly and what it can do to improve the lives of the elderly.

Hearing loss in the elderly, or presbycusis are two names for age-related hearing loss in older adults. It is a problem that arises as a cause of aging. But not all the elderly experience it. It is one of the most common problems in the elderly, and, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD, for its acronym in English) approximately half of people over 75 years have hearing difficulties . In addition, one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 has some degree of hearing loss.

This hearing loss occurs slowly, so many people do not perceive the problem from the beginning. Progressively, faculties in the ear canal are lost, in the same way that other organs wear out due to aging.

However, there are other factors that can lead to the appearance of hearing loss in the elderly. Sometimes, if it has been exposed to high volumes of noise, or for a long time, hearing abilities can also be lost. It is also possible that it appears due to causes of a medical nature, such as high blood pressure or other pathologies, as well as the use of toxic medications that can damage the sensory cells of the ears.

In any case, it is very important to be attentive to the symptoms of hearing loss in the elderly in order to act quickly and improve the lives of the elderly and those around them.

In addition, studies show that older people with hearing difficulties are more likely to have problems remembering or developing logical thinking than those with normal hearing. In a study carried out in the United States by Johns Hopkins University, it was found that patients with hearing loss see their cognitive abilities reduced between 30% and 40% faster than those with normal hearing function. So an old deaf man, if he does not correct his deficiency, will lose memory, reflexes and intellectual capacity, much faster than an old man who can hear well.

Hearing loss is like a short circuit. Auditory stimuli are an essential part in the activation of compensation neurons, whose functions increase in old age precisely to alleviate the decrease in the total number of neurons.

Each person carries in their genetic code an aging program and, after a certain age, they begin to lose cells. The body compensates for the loss of neurons by a mechanism called brain plasticity, by which surviving neurons function at higher performance as long as they are properly stimulated. Hence the importance of treating hearing loss in the elderly. 80% of hearing losses can be solved with a hearing aid and another 15% with surgical intervention. Only a small percentage is intractable.

To do this, miResi has prepared a list of the 10 most common symptoms of hearing loss in the elderly and thus be able to stop hearing loss in time.


10 symptoms of hearing loss in the elderly


There are many symptoms and signs of hearing loss in the elderly. Each case and each major is different. However, there are some symptoms that make hearing loss more obvious.


Knowing how to recognize them in time will help and benefit the quality of life of the elderly, in addition to avoiding more serious problems in the long term.


The experts at miResi tell us that the 10 most common symptoms of loss in the elderly are:


  •   Difficulty understanding words.

One of the main symptoms of older people who begin to suffer from hearing problems is that they do not understand some words well, especially if the tone of voice of the interlocutor is soft. Therefore, they tend to get lost in conversations.


  •  Increase in voice volume.

By not listening well to others, they also do not listen to themselves. Therefore, they tend to increase their volume of voice.


  • Avoid social situations.

Many older people who begin to suffer from hearing loss tend to avoid social situations because they have trouble participating. In addition, they also avoid conversations where several people participate, since they find it difficult to keep up with the conversation.


  •  Trouble hearing high-pitched sounds.

Another very common symptom of hearing loss is difficulty identifying high-pitched or soft sounds. Therefore, the elderly tend to hear the voices of men better than those of women and children.


  • Feeling noises in the ears.

The appearance of noise or tinnitus (ringing) in the ears is also a common symptom. They can occur temporarily or permanently, and they disable many seniors' abilities to speak or relate.


  •  Articulation problems.

By not listening well to themselves, older people often have word articulation problems. This causes even more difficulties when it comes to having a conversation with other people.


  •  Changes in mood or behavior.

When feeling isolated, it is normal for older people to feel changes in mood as well as experience sadness or depression. Likewise, they may present some irritability or aggressiveness in behavior.


  • Possible domestic or street accidents.

Not listening well can lead to small, home-like accidents. For example, if they are cooking and have set a timer over time, they may not hear it and their food will burn.


  •  Increase the volume of television, radio or mobile.

Another significant symptom of hearing loss is turning up the volume on the television, radio, or any other device that has sound. As they do not hear well, they tend to increase the volume of the devices.


  •   Ease of discussions.

Hearing loss problems lead to problems with understanding. In the same way that they are not able to follow a conversation properly, there can be misunderstandings that end up triggering arguments.


If some of these symptoms are identified in older people, it is very important to go to the doctor or the hearing care professional quickly. Only in this way can this pathology that affects the elderly so much be prevented and treated in an adequate way.

Source:Asociación Nacional de Audioprotesistas

What is hyperacusis: symptoms and treatments

Hyperacusis is known as hypersensitivity to everyday sounds, those who suffer from it react negatively to sounds that other people do not identify as annoying. Next, we explain what its symptoms and treatments are.

Hyperacusis: intolerance to sounds

Patients with hyperacusis feel physically uncomfortable when exposed to these sounds, and their reaction is determined by the physical characteristics, spectrum, and intensity of the noise.

By decreasing tolerance to sounds, hyperacusis causes discomfort and discomfort to those who suffer from it. This pathology originates within the auditory pathways, unlike phonophobia that is framed within phobic disorders.

In 60% of cases, people with hyperacusis also suffer from tinnitus, although according to the Gaceta Audio magazine only 1.5% of the general population has a decreased tolerance to environmental sounds and requires starting treatment.

Most common symptoms of hyperacusis

People with hyperacusis suffer a decreased tolerance to sounds that are above 90 dB, when a person with normal hearing can withstand sounds up to 120 dB without discomfort. This intolerance to ordinary sounds conditions the daily life of patients for whom even the rubbing of the fabric can cause discomfort and even pain.

Those affected by cochlear hyperacusis, the most common type of this pathology, in addition to intolerance to sounds, may suffer ear pain, panic attacks, crying spells, tinnitus and the sensation of foreign objects. These symptoms generate high levels of stress and anxiety in people with hyperacusis, as they are concerned about hearing a sound that activates these episodes.

The causes of hyperacusis

To this day, the causes of hyperacusis are still being investigated and this ailment is related to a dysfunction of the auditory nervous system. Some of the most common causes are:


  • Exposure to high volumes for a long time
  • Sudden exposure to high decibel levels, such as from a gunshot
  • Ménière syndrome
  • Temporomandibular joint disorders
  • Ear surgery injuries
  • Migraine
  • Depression
  • Brain contusions
  • Williams syndrome
  • Chronic ear infection
  • Tinnitus

Hyperacusis can occur in people with or without hearing loss as it is not related to hearing thresholds.

Treatments for hyperacusis

Once hyperacusis is diagnosed, the specialist will recommend a treatment to reduce intolerance to sounds. Sound therapy is the most successful treatment, it seeks to re-educate the auditory nerve to get used to everyday sounds. The patient will adapt to the sounds again through white noise therapy; the volumes will be increased in each session and the total duration of the treatment will depend on each patient.

 Sourse: kiversal