Ageing, Hearing Loss and Cochlear Implants

For the first time in New Zealand, internationally renowned doctor and researcher in the field of healthy ageing and hearing loss, Frank Lin, M.D, PhD., will be presenting the findings of his research at the 2017 Pindrop Foundation Adult Cochlear Implant Forum on Saturday 11th March in Auckland.

Just like other things with our bodies that deteriorate with age, hearing is no different. The World Health Organisation estimates that 33% of adults over 65 have a disabling hearing loss. It’s a huge health issue in New Zealand, it’s a safety issue and it’s a quality of life issue that urgently needs addressing. Whilst technology like Phones for hearing impaired individuals does exist, the ideal would be to develop methods of surgical or medical intervention that would nullify the needs for such assistance.

Although until then, the need for external devices that help with better hearing will remain. A large population of older adults, as well as people of all ages with hearing difficulties, choose to make use of various types of hearing devices which actually help enhance the quality of their lives. The use of such technology also entails the need for more research on such devices to increase sustainability and improve costs. As can be seen on various resources online, the cost of hearing aids, amplifiers, and other devices are slightly on the higher side all over the world. So, there is a dire need to make them more cost-effective so that people of all financial backgrounds have easy access to these devices. While surgeries and medical practices may not be everyone’s choice of treatment, external devices that cause minimal disruption to daily life and instead help improve lifestyle can be opted by one and all. That said, in-depth research on the correlation between ageing and hearing loss can bring about a significant change in the way these conditions are treated.

As Associate Professor of Otolaryngology, Geriatric Medicine, Mental Health and Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Frank Lin has a special interest in studying the interface between hearing loss and ageing. He will be discussing the impact of hearing loss on the cognitive and physical functioning of older adults and the role of hearing therapies in mitigating these effects.

“My clinical practice is dedicated to the medical and surgical management of hearing conditions, and I study research questions that lie at the interface of hearing loss, ageing, and public health. I investigate these ideas in analysis of large epidemiological data sets. I’m looking forward to discussing those findings with the cochlear implant community in New Zealand,” says Lin.

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