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Ear / Nose / Throat

Hearing impairment higher among Hispanic/Latino men, older individuals

Ear / Nose / ThroatMay 28 15

Hearing impairment higher among Hispanic/Latino men, older individuals

Hearing impairment was more prevalent among men and older individuals in a study of U.S. Hispanic/Latino adults, according to a report published online by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

Hearing impairment is a common chronic condition that affects adults. Hearing impairment may lead to lower quality of life and is associated with an increased risk for dementia. Most hearing impairment is undiagnosed and untreated.

Karen J. Cruickshanks, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and co-authors determined the prevalence of hearing impairment among Hispanic/Latino adults from diverse backgrounds and identified the factors associated with hearing impairment.

The authors used data from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos, a population-based sample of Hispanic/Latinos from New York, Chicago, Miami, and San Diego, Calif. The study examined 16,415 self-identified Hispanic/Latino individuals who were between the ages of 18 and 74.

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California girl to be kept on life support

Ear / Nose / Throat • • Public HealthDec 22 13

California girl to be kept on life support

A 13-year-old California girl declared brain dead after complications from a tonsillectomy should be kept on life support for the time being, a judge has ruled.

The family of Jahi McMath says doctors at Children’s Hospital Oakland wanted to disconnect life support after Jahi was declared brain dead on Dec. 12.

Friday’s ruling by Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo came as both sides in the case agreed to get together and chose a neurologist to further examine Jahi and determine her condition. The judge scheduled a hearing Monday to appoint a physician.

The girl’s family sought the court order to keep Jahi on a ventilator. They left the courtroom without commenting.

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Complications common, often linked to trauma in children receiving cochlear implants

Ear / Nose / ThroatJan 19 10

Some complications may occur in children receiving cochlear implants, and are highly correlated with trauma to the ear area and inner ear malformation, according to a report in the January issue of Archives of Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Cochlear implants are electronic devices that can help provide a sense of sound to individuals who are deaf or severely hearing-impaired. “The success of cochlear implantation as an auditory rehabilitative tool requires a thorough knowledge of indications, limitations and potential risks,” the authors write as background information in the article. “Since 1990, the number of pediatric cochlear implants has increased significantly, and more specific pediatric evaluation of the medical and surgical risks can be collected.”

Natalie Loundon, M.D., and colleagues at Hôpital d’Enfants Armand-Trousseau, Paris, studied 434 patients who underwent cochlear implantation at one facility between 1990 and 2008. All patients were younger than 16 at the time of operation (average age 4.7 years), 41 (9.4 percent) were younger than 24 months and 43 (9.9 percent) had inner ear malformations. They were followed up for an average of 5.5 years, with complications tracked and classified as early (zero to eight days) or delayed (more than eight days after surgery), and major (requiring a new admission and/or extended hospital stay) or minor.

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Weak Support for Workplace Hearing Loss Programs

Ear / Nose / ThroatJul 14 09

A new review of existing research says there is little evidence to support mandatory hearing-loss prevention programs at the workplace.

Workers could simply wear earplugs and other devices that protect hearing, but even those are not always effective, the review authors found.

In the big picture, “We still rely too much on hearing protection, which is not sufficient,” said review lead author Jos Verbeek, a researcher at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Kuopio, Finland.

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Cochlear implants in children a safe procedure

Children's Health • • Ear / Nose / ThroatSep 24 08

In the six decades since French and American surgeons implanted the first cochlear hearing devices, the procedure in children has become reliable, safe, and relatively free of severe complications, according to research presented during the 2008 American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO, in Chicago, IL.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, determined that out of 155 cases of pediatric implantation between 2001 and 2006, the rate of the most common complications in patients was below 3 percent, with only 25 total complications observed during that period. The most common complication was related to local surgical wounds in the ear flap. Furthermore, the rate of device failure, which was cited as the most common complication in previous studies, was very low in this study.

The researchers stress that it is critical that patients undergo a lifetime of continuous follow-up.

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Chronic infection most common cause of adult tonsillectomy

Children's Health • • Ear / Nose / Throat • • InfectionsSep 24 08

Efforts to fill in holes in data regarding the primary causes of tonsillectomy in adults have determined that chronic infection is the most common reason for the procedure, according to new research presented at the 2008 American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO, in Chicago, IL.

The study, conducted by researchers at Emory University and Johns Hopkins University, reviewed the medical records of 361 adult patients who had tonsillectomies between 2001 and 2007. Among this group, over 50 percent (207 patients) had the surgery to treat chronic infection to the tonsils and throat, while a quarter (98 patients) had procedures done to correct upper airway obstructions. No trends in complications emerged as significantly different from those of the pediatric population.

Tonsillectomy in adults, while significantly less common than that in the pediatric population, still accounts for a third of all tonsillectomies.

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Childhood ear infections may predispose to obesity later in life

Ear / Nose / Throat • • Infections • • ObesityAug 21 08

Researchers are reporting new evidence of a possible link between a history of moderate to severe middle ear infections in childhood and a tendency to be overweight later in life. Their study suggests that prompt diagnosis and treatment of middle ear infections — one of the most common childhood conditions requiring medical attention — may help fight obesity in some people. The findings were presented today at the 236th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Study leader Linda M. Bartoshuk, Ph.D., noted that chronic, repeated ear infections can damage the chorda tympani nerve, which passes through the middle ear and controls taste sensations. Damage to this nerve appears to intensify the desire for fatty or high-energy foods, which could result in obesity, she said.

Other research has shown that middle ear infections, or otitis media, are becoming more common in children. Childhood obesity is likewise on the rise and has reached epidemic levels, particularly in the United States. Although scientists have known for years that ear infections can lead to hearing loss in children that can result in speech and language impairment, a possible link between ear infections and obesity has been largely unexplored until now, said Bartoshuk, who is with the University of Florida’s Center for Smell and Taste in Gainesville.

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Rhinoplasty technique preserves ethnic identity

Cosmetics • • Ear / Nose / Throat • • SurgeryJul 24 08

African Americans who underwent a nose job, also referred to as rhinoplasty, reported a high degree of satisfaction with the results.

Rhinoplasty was conducted using a three-tiered approach that included an adjustment in nasal height and angle with a reshaping of the tip and a reduction in the width of the nose.

Dr. Oleh Slupchynskyj and Marzena Gieniusz analyzed questionnaires completed by 75 African American patients who underwent the procedure at their private practice, the Aesthetic Facial Surgery Center of New York and New Jersey in New York City.

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GORE-TEX appears to be safe alternative for rhinoplasty

Ear / Nose / ThroatJul 22 08

For patients who undergo plastic surgery on the nose (rhinoplasty), GORE-TEX implants are a safe and inexpensive alternative to using tissue grafts taken from another part of the patient’s body, according to the results of a 17-year review of more than 500 patients.

For initial and subsequent rhinoplasty procedures in patients with enough internal nasal tissue and external soft tissue coverage, “GORE-TEX should be strongly considered for major and minor corrections of the nasal wall and bridge in properly selected patients,” Dr. Krzysztof Conrad and colleagues, from the University of Toronto, advise.

The review, which was conducted at a teaching hospital, community hospital, and private facial cosmetic surgery center, involved 521 patients who were followed for up to 17 years. A total of 685 GORE-TEX implants were placed, all by one surgeon.

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Hearing impairment is common among adults with diabetes

Diabetes • • Ear / Nose / ThroatJun 17 08

Hearing impairment is common in adults with diabetes, and diabetes seems to be an independent risk factor for the condition according to a study published today on the Web site of Annals of Internal Medicine.

“We found that hearing loss was much more common in people with diabetes than people without the disease,” says Kathleen E. Bainbridge, PhD, the study’s lead researcher. “The hearing loss we detected did not seem to be caused by other factors such as exposure to loud noises, certain medicines, and smoking.”

Using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, collected by the National Center for Health Statistics from 1999 to 2004, the researchers analyzed data from 5,140 adults aged 20 to 69 who completed an audiometric examination and a diabetes questionnaire.

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Hearing implants improve quality of life

Ear / Nose / ThroatMar 25 08

For people with profound hearing loss, getting a cochlear implant—an electronic device that restores partial hearing—leads to a marked improvement in speech recognition and quality of life, new research confirms.

A cochlear implant is surgically implanted in the inner ear and activated by a device worn outside the ear. Unlike a hearing aid, it does not make sound louder or clearer. Instead, the device bypasses damaged parts of the hearing system and directly stimulates the hearing nerve, allowing individuals who are profoundly hearing-impaired to hear sound.

“The results of our study are once more proof that cochlear implantation is indeed a successful treatment for improving quality of life and speech recognition for deaf patients,” write Dr. Anke Hirschfelder from Charite-Universitatsmedizin in Berlin and colleagues.

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More than meets the ear in successful cocktail party conversations

Ear / Nose / ThroatMar 05 08

Just picture the scene: you’re at a cocktail party, talking to someone you would like to get to know better but the background noise is making it hard to concentrate. Luckily, humans are very gifted at listening to someone speaking while many other people are talking loudly at the same time. This so-called cocktail-party-phenomenon is based on the ability of the human auditory system to decompose the acoustic world into discrete objects of perception.

It was originally believed that the major acoustic cue used by the auditory system to solve this task was directional information of the sound source, but even though localisation of different sound sources with two ears improves the performance, it can be achieved monaurally, for example in telephone conversations, where no directional information is available.

Scientists led by Holger Schulze at the Leibniz-Institute for Neurobiology in Magdeburg, and the Universities of Ulm, Newcastle and Erlangen have now found a neuronal mechanism in the auditory system that is able to solve the task based on the analysis of the temporal fine structure of the acoustic scene.

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Less pain, bleeding with newer tonsil surgery

Ear / Nose / Throat • • SurgerySep 17 07

People who have their tonsils removed using an “intracapsular” technique—which removes at least 90 percent of tonsil tissue, but spares the tonsil capsule—seem to experience less bleeding and pain after surgery compared with those who have their tonsils out using the traditional tonsil removal surgery, new research suggests.

The findings stem from a look back at the medical charts of 2,944 patients who underwent tonsillectomy with or without removal of the adenoids (tissue at the back of the throat) at one center from January 2002 through May 2005. The patients included 1,731 who had the newer intracapsular tonsillectomy procedure and 1,212 who had traditional tonsillectomy.

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Tonsillectomies Are Increasingly Being Performed to Treat Airway Obstructions

Ear / Nose / ThroatSep 17 07

A new Mayo Clinic study indicates tonsillectomies are increasingly being performed to treat airway obstructions evidenced by snoring and sleep disorders as opposed to tonsil infections. The study, led by a Mayo Clinic Medical School student, will be presented Sept. 18 at the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery in Washington, D.C.

“This research shows that obstructive airway problems causing sleep-disordered breathing are now the primary reason children and young adults are having their tonsils and adenoids removed,” says Britt Erickson, the Mayo Clinic medical student leading the team of researchers on this study.

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Hearing loss may foretell infant deaths, study says

Ear / Nose / ThroatJul 27 07

Hearing tests routinely administered to most newborns may soon be used to identify children that are at risk of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, according to Seattle researchers.

Records of hearing tests administered to 62 infants in Delaware show that those who subsequently died of SIDS had a unique pattern of partial hearing loss, according to a report this week in the journal Early Human Development.

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