According to statistics from the Cleveland Clinic, one in three people over the age of 60 and nearly half of those over the age of 75 have hearing loss. A study by Frank Lin, MD, PhD, reveals that hearing loss may fast-track the shrinkage of brain tissue that occurs as we age. Hearing loss diminishes stimulation of certain areas in the brain, which are linked to other regions of the brain associated with early stages of Alzheimer's. Early hearing loss detection and treatment are imperative to minimize the changes in the brain associated with hearing loss and Alzheimer's.
In the month of May, we focus our attention on better hearing and speech for people of all ages. Hearing loss is a sudden or gradual decrease in how well you can hear. It can also affect how you speak. In adults, along with aging, the most common causes of hearing loss are:
- Exposure to everyday noises. Listening to music at high volumes or using a lawn mower can damage the structures of the inner ear and lead to hearing loss over the years. Sudden loud noises such as explosions can also damage your hearing.
- Earwax buildup. An object in the ear, injury to the ear or head, ear infection, ruptured eardrum and other conditions can affect the middle or inner ear.
- Muffled hearing – the feeling of having a plugged ear
- Trouble understanding what people are saying, especially when other people are talking or when there is background noise such as a radio
- Listening to the TV or radio at a higher volume than in the past
- Tinnitus – ringing, roaring, hissing or buzzing in the ear
- Pain, itching or irritation of the ear, or fluid leaking from the ear
FAQ WITH DR. Leslie Beckham
Dr. Leslie Beckham earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Disorders and Sciences from Auburn University in 2002. She went on to complete her Masters of Science degree in Audiology in 2005 at the University of South Alabama, where she was also awarded Outstanding Clinician for Audiology by professors and clinical staff. She completed her internship and clinical fellowship at Premier Medical Group – Ear, Nose and Throat in Mobile, Alabama and subsequently worked with the practice until 2005. Dr. Beckham has also worked at Grady Memorial Hospital as an audiologist. She completed her clinical doctorate at the University of Florida, earning her Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) degree in 2007.
Dr. Beckham is licensed by the state of Georgia as an audiologist and is a member of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA). She joined Buckhead ENT's practice in July 2007. Dr. Beckham is originally from Brewton, Alabama and currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia. Buckhead, Ear, Nose & Throat, specializes in detecting hearing loss and providing treatment for patients who are experiencing hearing loss with the latest technology available.
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