Japan entered the era of the super-aging society in 2007. It is estimated that the percentage of the aged in the population (>65 years old) will exceed 40% in 2060. Hearing is well known to deteriorate with advancing age. However, the aging population at present seems to exhibit milder deterioration of the hearing level as compared to the same corresponding population several decades ago. In the era of the super-aging society, it is not uncommon for the aged to continue to participate in the activities of the society, which may be the reason for the tendency of their communicative hearing to be maintained at a level similar to that in younger generations. Auditory compensation by the use of hearing aids is effective for hearing loss caused by aging. Auditory compensation by cochlear implants may be effective for more severe levels of hearing deterioration. In the super-aging society, mutual communication supported by a well-maintained hearing level is crucial for the maintenance of a high quality of life. Therefore, establishment of officially funding for hearing aids and cochlear implants is important based on medico-economical and medico-ethical considerations.
In the sound therapy for tinnitus, mainly environmental sound, a sound generator and a hearing aid are used and have been shown to be effective. We sometimes encounter cases in which a remarkable effect is not achieved, or in which a hearing aid cannot be introduced easily. In this research, we used a hearing-aid with a music and sound generator function for the sound therapy of tinnitus in 24 patients. It was found that patients with severe tinnitus and hearing loss mainly chose preferred this hearing aid. It was suggested that this hearing aid might become a device of first choice for the sound therapy of tinnitus and that the music function is useful for patients with tinnitus.
The questionnaire survey was administered to guardians of 250 children with cochlear implants (CIs) from the period of infancy to the stage of university student. The guardians were members of the CI family association. The questionnaire survey aimed to clarify the current situation of the CI satisfaction rating, auditory compensation and communication, etc., in the 195 guardians who provided responses. There were ten items in the questionnaire; child's situation, education facility that the child presently belonged to, operation age, communications mode before and after the operation, the status of improvement of the auditory response, the satisfaction rating of the CI, and communications, etc.. The self-registering questionnaire method by mail was used. The results revealed that object children belong to inclusive educational system and therapeutic care facility, lowering of the age of CI, shifts to the aural communications mode, and current states of insufficiency of information compensation in educational facilities. Moreover, although most guardians indicated a high level of satisfaction with the CI, they pointed out the insufficiency of communications with increasing age. The survey suggested the necessity of educational support and therapeutic care according to the developmental stage and status of the CI in each individual.
In this report, the results of our follow-up study of infants who consulted the Auditory and Cochlear Implant Center of Tokyo Medical University Hospital are presented. The subjects were 74 infants diagnosed at our center between April 2008 and March 2011. The average age at the first visit was 3.4 months. In all, 48 cases (65%) had received newborn hearing screening. Detailed analyses of the distortion product otoacoustic emission (DPOAE), auditory brainstem response (ABR) and auditory steady state response (ASSR) were used for the audiologic assessment. The results of the first testing revealed bilateral profound hearing loss in 13 cases (18%), bilateral middle - to - severe hearing loss in 11 cases (15%), slight hearing loss in 7 cases (10%), unilateral hearing loss in 15 cases (20%), and normal hearing in 28 cases (38%). Those infants with bilateral middle - to - profound hearing loss started to use bilateral hearing aids in about 1 month. It took about 3 months before suitable hearing aids could be used. The latest assessment was performed by behavioral observation audiometry (BOA) and other methods in addition to the objective audiologic testings. The newest diagnosis had 11 cases (15%) difference between the first ones. Therefore, combined use of objective testing and behavioral testing is recommended for pediatric audiologic assessment.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the results of adaptation tests to hearing-aids in 25 hearing-impaired outpatients. The adaptation test for hearing aids were performed 3 weeks after the first fitting of the hearing aids. Fifteen patients wore the hearing aids in both ears, while the remaining wore it on one side alone. According to the guideline (2010), the hearing-aid adaptation tests consist of 8 examinations. Of these, we selected the speech discrimination tests in quiet and noisy environments, subjective test for environmental noise, threshold test for wearing hearing aids, and the questionnaire test for hearing ability for our study. The rates of hearing aid adaptation according to each of the tests conducted were as follows: 80.0% in the speech discrimination test, 60.0% in the subjective environmental noise test, 40.0% in the threshold test, 80.9% in the speech discrimination test in noise, and 44.0% in the questionnaire test. Most patients (44.1%) adapted in 4 of the 5 tests and 60.0% of the patients adapted in both the indispensable tests, that is, (1) and (2). As compared with the adaptation rate of the speech discrimination tests in quiet and noise, the rates in the questionnaire test, hearing-aid threshold test, and subjective environmental noise test were lower.
We compared the results of the speech-reading test in 4 persons with unilateral hearing loss (UHL) and 20 persons with normal hearing. We interviewed the persons with UHL regarding speech-reading usage and coping with hearing difficulties. The persons with UHL were asked to evaluate the difficulties in their daily lives themselves. In the results of the speech-reading test, there were no differences in the scores between the persons with UHL and those with normal hearing. According to the interview, there were differences among the individuals with UHL in the speech-reading skills and usages and in coping with their hearing difficulties. Individuals with poor speech-reading skills did not routinely use speech-reading, dealt with their hearing difficulties negatively, and assigned themselves poor scores for their difficulties in conversation. Based on the above findings, we conclude that it is necessary to provide guidance, tailored to each case, to individuals with UHL to cope with their hearing difficulties.