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Dr. Regina Presley discusses Hearing Loss and Cochlear Implants

August 2, 2017
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Listen up! Dr. Regina Presley on how to protect against hearing loss

What comes to mind when you think about hearing loss? A lot of people think that hearing loss is mostly a problem older people face, but Dr. Regina Presley, Senior Cochlear Implant Audiologist at GBMC, put that assumption to rest in her discussion with Greg Carpenter, host of Today’s 101.9 Morning Show. “There are 40 million people in the U.S. living with hearing loss. 1.7 million of them are kids and 60% are people who are still in the workforce,” she explained.

And while Greg now regrets his years of concert going without ear protection, Dr. Presley explained that damage from loud sounds is just one of the potential causes of hearing loss. Others include complications during pregnancy or delivery, genetic conditions, wax or fluid buildup in the ear, and head trauma, while ringing in the ears can be the result of high blood pressure, a side effect of medications, or a sign that you’re overdoing it with the caffeine.

The effects of hearing loss reach farther than you might think. Studies have linked hearing loss to an increased risk for diabetes, obesity, heart health problems, depression, and dementia, which makes taking steps to protect your hearing even more important. One of the biggest threats to your hearing may come from a very small source—your earbuds. Dr. Presley’s advice is to listen at no more than 60% volume for no more than 60 minutes.

And how do you broach the often tough subject of hearing loss with a family member or friend? “One thing that often works is to express your concerns in a non-judgmental way,” said Dr. Presley. “Let your loved one know he or she is missing out on what the grandkids are saying, for example, and that might motivate them to see an audiologist.” Online quizzes that let you add up how many signs of hearing loss you’re experiencing can be another good, non-confrontational approach.

Dr. Presley recommended that, if you think you or your child is having hearing problems, get a baseline hearing test. “You may be doing damage to your hearing without even know it,” she added. “So educate yourself on hearing loss and prevention, see your doctor, and if you’re a music fan, rock responsibly.”
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