JANUARY 2017 The Costco Connection 73
Other Communication Disorders
(NIDCD) in Bethesda, Maryland.
New research is shining a spotlight on
the hidden health risks of hearing loss
and underscoring the need for treatment,
such as a well-;tted hearing aid or other
Hearing health and brain health
Dr. Frank Lin, associate professor of
geriatric medicine and otolaryngology at
Johns Hopkins University School of
Medicine in Baltimore, has published
studies outlining the possible link
between hearing impairment and brain
health, and he maintains hearing loss no
longer should be thought of as “relatively
inconsequential for our daily life.”
“It’s our increasing understanding
this is not the case,” the Costco member
points out. “Large epidemiologic studies,
as well as other experimental studies,
show hearing loss does exert meaningful
and signi;cant e;ects on our cognitive,
physical and even our social functioning
as we age. One of the biggest ones being
how hearing loss impacts our risk of cog-
Lin conducted a study commonly
cited by medical professionals on the
topic of hearing loss and cognitive decline.
The study, conducted with 1,984 older
adults, indicated that the more severe the
hearing loss, the greater the likelihood of
developing a cognitive disorder, and the
steeper the decline in mental function.
However, even subjects with mild hearing
loss were found more likely to experience
The study showed that those with
hearing impairments lost more than an
additional cubic centimeter of brain matter annually and experienced greater
shrinkage of tissue in the structures
responsible for processing sound and
speech when compared with those with
normal hearing. These atrophy-a;ected
areas play key roles in memory and
BY ANDREA DOWNING PECK
DO YOU HAVE difficulty hearing in a
crowded restaurant or complain that people talk too fast or your spouse mumbles?
If so, you may be experiencing some
degree of hearing loss, a condition that
may contribute to dementia, depression
and other serious health issues.
“Hearing loss is regrettably a relatively common disorder, and it is particularly common among elderly individuals.
As our population ages, hearing is going to
become an even more significant problem,” says Dr. James Battey Jr., director of
the National Institute on Deafness and
can have many
Costco members can schedule an annual
hearing test at Costco Hearing Centers
to see if they could be helped by hearing
aids. Members will also ;nd a variety of
high-quality hearing aids, including the new
Kirkland Signature™ 7.0 Premium Digital
Hearing Instruments, priced at $1,699 per
pair, compared to the industry average of
$4,600 per pair.
FOR YOUR HEALTH
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A HEARING TEST should be your first step
if you suspect you may have hearing loss,
or if you want to establish a baseline
evaluation that gives you the opportunity
to track possible hearing changes.
Early identification and management
of hearing loss is important. Untreated
hearing loss is a chronic health condition,
and it impacts communication, social and
emotional health, employment and quality of life.
Because hearing loss often occurs
gradually, a common warning sign
can go unrecognized.