Moderator: Bob Metzger
06-19-15/4:28 p.m. ET
Confirmation # 8539272AVILA
Moderator: Bob Metzger
June 19, 2015
4:28 p.m. ET
OPERATOR: This is Conference #: 8539272AVILA.
Operator: Good day everyone.
The National Religious Retirement Office and Avila Institute of Gerontology are pleased to present this online education program entitled "Get in the Habit of Living Well with Hearing Loss."
Our speaker today is Juliette Sterkens.
We are very pleased to welcome all of you to this program.
My name is (Eric) and I will be your moderator for today's seminar.
Please note that today's call is being recorded and all participant lines will be muted during this broadcast.
If you are listening to the program over the phone and you need assistance at any today, please press star zero and an operator will assist you.
If you need technical assistance at anytime today, please send an e-mail to .
Today's session will last 60 minutes and include a question and answer period at the end of the program. However, you can queue up a question for us at anytime by simply typing your questions into the box on the lower left side of your screen and then clicking on the send button.
Note that you may need to minimize the presenter photos to view the full chatbox.
Please be sure to turn up the volume on your computer speakers to listen to the audio.
I would like to draw your attention to the links box located on the left side of the window. The links box contains links to websites and documents that are resource information relative to today's program.
If you would like to print a copy of today's presentation slides, click once on the link for presentation slide. This will open a separate web browser window from which you can print this information.
If you would like to view closed captioning for this program, please click on link number one for closed captioning. This will open a separate window to allow you to view the caption.
And now I'd like to welcome Brother Bob Metzger of NRRO to get us started.
Bob Metzger: Thank you (Eric).
I would like to add my own welcome to everyone today. My name is Brother Bob Metzger and I am the Associate Director for planning and education at the National Religious Retirement Office.
We are very happy to be able to cosponsor these series of webinars with the Avila Institute of Gerontology.
This continues to be a very good way for NRRO to be in touched with religious institutes.
Our next webinar is scheduled for August 18th at 1:00 P.M. eastern time and the presentation is entitled "Caring for and Understanding Members in the Dying Process" with Dr. Robert Sawicki.
The topic for today is one that has been requested after previous webinars, so be sure to complete the evaluations at the end of today's webinar.
I will send out an e-mail in about three weeks from today with instructions on how to receive a free C.D. with a recorded version of today's webinar.
The expense of today's webinar is being paid for from the Retirement Fund for Religious Collection. Please continue to remember these donors in your prayers.
Our opening reflection is from homily of Pope Francis.
We live in a time when the elderly do not count. It's awful to say, but they are discarded because they are a nuisance to us. The elderly are those who carry history, that carry doctrines, that carry the faith and give it to us as an inheritance. They are like a good vintage wine who have this strength from within to give us a noble heritage.
And now it gives me a great pleasure to introduce Sister Peter Lillian, the Director of the Avila Institute of Gerontology who will present today's speaker.
Peter Lillian: Thank you Brother Bob. And thank everyone for being a part of this and these continuing these webinar series. We're very grateful that we can continue to do this.
I'm very pleased to have with us today our speaker, Julliette Sterkens. And Julliette comes to us a very, very well qualified and with great experience in the field of audiology. She has helped religious deal with hearing loss including providing a personalized hearing care for many of the women religious of the sisters that she does work with. And we are so grateful that we not only have somebody who has great expertise in audiology but also someone who knows the needs of our aging religious and any of us who are having hearing concerns.
So please welcome Julliette Sterkens.
Julliette Sterkens: Good afternoon and welcome to "Get in the Habit of Living Well with Hearing Loss." And thank you very much Brother Bob and Sister Peter for inviting me this week.
This session is not only being recorded it's also being captioned, which means that (FMDs) will be able to read the transcript of this webinar. Take you time listening to the spoken word or reading the transcripts.
In addition, I have included several handouts that I hope will be helpful as you work to help community members live more successfully with hearing loss.
I'm a retired audiologist, retired after 30 years in private practice. And on my encore career, thanks to a grant from a small family foundation, the Carol and David Myers Family Foundation, I'm working to make the world a better place for people with hearing loss and work to educate consumers on what hearing loss is about, how to purchase hearing aides, and that in places where hearing aides alone are insufficient they learn to avail themselves of assistive listening technology. That is truly my main mission, to make the world more accessible for hearing aide users.
I do my work for a very worthy consumer organization, the Hearing Loss Association of American or HLAA for short. I have an ambitious program planned. So let's get started.
Today, I'll give you brief overview of how we hear, the prevalence and symptoms of hearing loss, the effects of hearing loss on older adult, the treatment of hearing loss with hearing aides, and how to make sure you spend your money on features inside the hearing aides that are worthwhile, that are important. I will also offer some solutions for those who are unable to use hearing aides but still need help and have some pointers on improving your ability to hear in church or chapel.
Where additional educational materials apply, you will see that red asterisk and the (C) handout in red letters. In preparing these materials, I've worked closely with Sister Ann Rooney who has been a hearing aide user for over 50 years.
If you have specific questions at the end, we will offer our e-mail addresses and we are happy to help you.
So let's get started. And we're going to start with a brief ear anatomy lesson. Sound ripples in air pressure is funneled into the outer ear and transformed into mechanical energy in the middle ear, by the eardrum and the bones of the middle ear. From there, it is converted into fluent waves into the inner ear.
The inner ear analyses the sound by pitch and loudness. And from there electrical impulses travel up to the brain via the auditory nerve to the auditory cortex.
But, of course, how we really hear, how most of us really hear is through two ears known as binaural hearing. Two ears allow us to hear in three dimensions. When you close your eyes, you can tell if sound is in front of you, behind you, if it's far or close. We call that sound localization.
And two ears allow us not only to localize sound, but to hear softer sound than one ear alone would. And two ears allow us to better separate the speech from the background noise.
This is the main reason why most people with hearing loss are recommended two hearing aides, to utilize and to take advantage of the fact that two ears hear better than one and to make use of the noise processing qualities of our brain.
When we test hearing, the test results are charted in a graph called the audiogram. It charts hearing – it charts the person's hearing ability to hear very soft sounds at various tones or pitches ranging on the left hand side low in pitch and on the right side high in pitch.
And the intensity, the loudness is shown on the Y-axis in units of decibel, where 0 dB, or decibel is normal hearing, and 100 db means you may have severe – you have severe hearing loss.
The better the hearing, the higher up in the audiogram the results are recorded. The poorer the hearing, the lower we mark the results in the graph. Zero refers to the softest sound an ear is able to hear.
And in that audiogram, the pitch and the intensity of the vowel sounds are shown in yellow and the consonants in green. So if a person has normal hearing, he or she would be able to hear the vowel and the consonants with great ease.
Hearing thresholds between 0 and 20 decibels are considered in the normal range. I show this on the slide by the light blue bar. Test results of fictitious persons left ear are shown by the blue X-marks and the right ear by the red zeros. When the person has normal hearing, he or she can hear all of the vowel sounds and all the consonant sounds, and the audiogram is said to be in the normal range.
On this next slide, I show a commonly seen high pitch hearing loss. And note that the red circles and the blue X's for the lower tones, for the lower pitches are still in the blue range, but that in the high pitch tones, this person's sensitivity is reduced. A person with this type of hearing loss, typical for someone who is older, can hear the vowel sounds as shown by the yellow balloon but the consonant sounds are no longer audible, and if audible, they may be distorted and more difficult to distinguish, from like sounding speech sounds. Someone with this type of hearing loss will often complain that they can hear but they cannot understand.
And because hearing loss happens gradually, this person will perceive the speakers as not speaking clearly or mumbling and they rarely blame their own ears for that problem.
And there's something else that is very important to know. In our – In speech the vowel sounds carry about 80 percent of the speech intensity. The consonant sounds tend to be quieter and they carry 80 percent of the intelligibility of speech to understanding the meaning of speech. So, for example, The Packers didn't play in the Super Bowl, is a sentence that you can readily make out, even though I didn't provide the consonants or the vowels in that sentence. But in the next sentence, I removed all the consonants and now, it becomes considerably more difficult to make out what I am saying. I absolutely love to grow tulips in my garden. I was born in the Netherlands.
The prevalence of hearing loss is estimated to be in the 35 million Americans, and the incidents of hearing loss increases dramatically. So we estimate that about 1 out of every 10 Americans has hearing loss. But nearly one out of every two persons over the age of 70 and nearly two out of every three persons over the age of 80 has been – studies have shown that they have hearing loss.
Some of the causes of hearing loss, many types of hearing losses arise from changes in the inner ear as we age. But hearing loss can also be the result of ear infections and changes in the middle ear or perforated ear drums, noise exposure has definite effect on our hearing ability and hearing loss arises from complex changes along the nerve pathways from the ear to the brain. And if you have a sibling or a parent with hearing loss, there's a good chance that you too will be affected by hearing loss. In that department, it's important to choose your parents wisely. And after arthritis, high blood pressure and needing reading glasses, hearing loss is one of the most common conditions affecting older and elderly adults.
And certain medical conditions may also play a role with hearing loss. Hearing loss is more common in adults with diabetes and prediabetes. And studies have shown that hearing loss also occurs more often in people with heart and kidney disease far more often than those in the general population.
And some medical treatments, life prolonging treatments can contribute to hearing loss. Among these treatments are medications in the aminoglycosides antibiotics family, certain forms of chemotherapy and some intravenous loop diuretic treatments.
I remember one of my clients going into the hospital for a knee replacement, where unfortunately he contracted the staph infection, which required intravenous antibiotics. He survived, but upon discharge it was clear that he had loss more of his hearing which made it very difficult to hear the physical therapist and his doctor, even with new hearing aids.
But perhaps the biggest reason by hearing loss should be a concern for all those involved with hearing loss and those who work with the aging adults, and that is at a recent study at Johns Hopkins has confirmed. There is a definite and positive link between hearing loss and dementia.
The general perception is that hearing loss is a relatively inconsequential part of aging because it happens to so many, right? But this six-year study by Dr. Frank Lin at Johns Hopkins, that involved over 2,000 adults with an average age of 77, showed that having hearing loss increases the likelihood of person developing dementia. After six years, those who had hearing loss severe enough to interfere with normal conversation were 24 percent more likely than those without hearing loss to see their cognitive abilities diminish. This research seems to indicate that hearing loss speeds up age-related cognitive decline.
Now, Dr. Lin is not saying that having hearing loss means that you will develop dementia. He is saying that hearing loss put you at risk, just like smoking puts you at risk for lung cancer, although not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer. But if you get hearing loss, it can certainly affect one's ability to be a healthy ager, to stay engaged in one's life and community.