Pearls of Wisdom

Posts for: October, 2017

 

The Link Between Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) and Smoking

Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) and Smoking, Austin, TX

As if we haven’t been given enough reasons to refrain from smoking, The Journal of Physiology published an article this spring describing the harmful auditory effects of perinatal nicotine exposure (full article here).  Based on this research using animal models, children that are exposed to nicotine both in utero and after birth may develop abnormal auditory brainstem responses.  An abnormal auditory brainstem response can cause delayed or atypical development during childhood including auditory processing deficits, delayed speech development, and learning difficulties.  But what does this mean?

 

An auditory processing deficit is not synonymous with a loss of hearing.  In fact, one hallmark of auditory processing disorder is normal outer, middle, and cochlear or inner ear structure and function.  The deficit lies in the transmission of sound from ear level to brain level, meaning this is a central nervous system deficit.  Sound is picked up appropriately by the healthy ear, but it is not effectively discerned by the brain after traveling along the vestibulocochlear nerve and enters the neuronal structure of the auditory pathway.

 

So what can an auditory processing disorder look like? Symptoms can include but are not limited to:

 

  • Difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments

  • Difficulty differentiating between similar sounds

  • Unable to follow extensive list of directions or remember large amounts of information given verbally at one time

  • Trouble with temporal or timing cues

  • Requiring visual cues to understand information

  • Asking for repetition repeatedly

    

In children, the presentation of APD can be misdiagnosed as a specific language impairment (SLI), developmental dyslexia, or attention deficit disorder (ADD).  Diagnosis of a child is often determined by the specialized health care professional that is seen initially, whether that is an audiologist, speech pathologist, or psychiatrist.  An audiologist is the healthcare provider to perform accurate diagnostic testing and offer management options for those with a true auditory processing deficit.

 

TLDR; there are auditory processing deficits that occur in people with otherwise healthy ears and normal hearing.  Seek the expertise of an audiologist who specializes in auditory processing disorders if you or your child are experiencing any of the symptoms above.  Also…just to reiterate the starting point… nicotine exposure is harmful to children both peri- and postnatal.  The more you know!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Hearing & Balance Center of Austin specializes in hearing  related disorders including tinnitus and hearing loss, neurophysiological disorders as well as dizziness/balance disorders.  Currently accepting new adult and pediatric audiology patients. The Hearing & Balance Center of Austin is the hearing and balance division of Great Hills ENT and serves the greater Austin area including the Arboretum, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Lago Vista, Jonestown, Steiner Ranch, Lakeway, Spicewood and Point Venture. We are proud to provide excellent care to our patients for general Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) services, hearing loss, hearing aids, tinnitus, dizziness/vertigo and sleep disorders

National Protect Your Hearing Month

 
October is National Protect Your Hearing Month, Austin, TX Audiologist

October is a popular month.  Not only is it National Audiology Awareness Month, but is also National Protect Your Hearing Month!  Hearing loss can affect any individual at any age and stem from varying causes.  One cause that is preventable is noise-induced hearing loss.

 

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is permanent and irreversible, and is the cause of hearing loss in 1 of 3 individuals suffering from a hearing impairment.  Excessively loud noise can cause damage to our inner ear sensory cells and result in this type of hearing loss.  Even sounds as loud as a hairdryer or blender are loud enough to cause this cell damage.  We live in a noisy world, experiencing dangerously loud sounds daily from traffic noises to emergency sirens to sporting events.  We must take responsibility for our hearing health into our own hands and protect our ears from dangerously loud sounds.  

 

Ways to protect your ears and hearing include:

  • Wearing hearing protection when exposed to loud sounds for extended periods of time.

    • This includes mowing the lawn, attending concerts and sporting events, shooting guns at a range or hunting, watching fireworks, etc.

  • Walking away from the noise source i.e. speakers at a concert.

  • Maintaining safe listening levels for music and television.  Turn down the volume on iPhones, iPods, and TVs.

 

Audiologists can assist you with selecting and creating/ordering appropriate custom hearing protection devices for your specific needs.  Don’t become a statistic-protect your hearing now!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Hearing & Balance Center of Austin specializes in hearing  related disorders including tinnitus and hearing loss, neurophysiological disorders as well as dizziness/balance disorders.  Currently accepting new adult and pediatric audiology patients. The Hearing & Balance Center of Austin is the hearing and balance division of Great Hills ENT and serves the greater Austin area including the Arboretum, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Lago Vista, Jonestown, Steiner Ranch, Lakeway, Spicewood and Point Venture. We are proud to provide excellent care to our patients for general Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) services, hearing loss, hearing aids, tinnitus, dizziness/vertigo and sleep disorders

 

Approximately 37.5 million Americans Suffer from Hearing Loss1

This number affects individuals of all ages, from birth through the elderly.  Untreated hearing loss not only affects your ability to hear sounds and understand speech, but can significantly impact the brain’s ability to process information and have a negative effect on your social and emotional health.National Audiology Awareness Month is October Austin,TX

 

Signs you may be experiencing hearing loss include but are not limited to:

 
 

 

  • Often asking for repetition or clarification of what someone has said

  • Difficulty understanding conversations in noisy environments

  • Inability to hear speech clearly when the speaker is not directly facing you

  • Relying on visual cues and context cues to follow conversation

  • Close family or friends comment on inappropriate conversational input or often needing to repeat themselves

 

 

 

An audiologist is the primary doctorate-level professional to evaluate, diagnose, and manage both hearing loss and balance disorders.  He or she has the education to provide full diagnostic testing, counseling, and management options for varying types and degrees of hearing loss.  Dr. Paige Peterson and Dr. Sabrina Marciante at The Hearing and Balance Center of Austin are doctorate level audiologists that work with adults and children of all ages.  If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the above, or feel as though your hearing acuity is not as sharp as it once was, please contact our office for an evaluation.

 

[1] Blackwell DL, Lucas JW, Clarke TC. Summary health statistics for U.S. adults: National health interview survey, 2012 (PDF). National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 10(260). 2014.