ABOUT HEARING LOSS: Loud sounds stress and potentially damage the delicate hair cells in the inner ear that convert mechanical vibrations (sound) into the electrical signals that the brain interprets as sound. Over time, the hair cells can become permanently damaged and stop working, producing hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss can be caused by two types of noise: sudden bursts, such as firearms or fireworks; or continuous exposure to loud noise, such as motorized recreational vehicles, loud sporting events, power tools, farming equipment, or amplified music. For the latter type, the damage depends on the level and duration of the noise exposure. It takes repeated exposures over many years to cause a gradual onset of noise-induced hearing loss in both children and adults. The type of hearing loss that leads to the prescription of cochlear implants is typically the result of severe illnesses or profound hearing damage, and their use typically restores any residual hearing remaining in the damaged ear.
ABOUT DEMENTIA: Dementia is defined as a significant loss of memory and mental function. It is often confused with a temporary forgetfulness resulting from, stress, depression, an infection underlying illness, or side effects of medication. This makes it difficult to diagnose. Unlike temporary forgetfulness, dementia becomes worse over time. Common symptoms of dementia include being less able to grasp new ideas and adapt to change, and less concerned with activities or other people. People suffering from dementia may lose their sense of time, forget the day, forget where they are, or even get lost in a familiar place. As the dementia progresses, they will fail to recognize people they know well. They may repeat the same question over and over without realizing it. Their ability to reason and to calculate will be damaged, causing difficulty in making decisions, solving problems, even handling money. Dementia can also cause abrupt changes in personality. There are many different causes of dementia, but it becomes more frequent with age, and is most often associated with the onset of Alzheimer's disease, which attacks the brain. The disease is caused by the build-up of protein deposits, called plaques, which form tangles in the brain cells, disrupting normal function. Alzheimer's accounts for between 50 percent and 70 percent of all cases of dementia.
The Acoustical Society of America contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.