Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By W.L. “Hunter” Huntley, III, HAS, BC-HIS

Breast Cancer Awareness MonthThe month of October is known as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Most people associate breast cancer only with women. However, over two thousand men are afflicted every year according to the American Cancer Society, resulting in approximately five hundred fatalities annually. In comparison, breast cancer in women causes over forty thousand deaths per year. Breast cancer is one hundred fifty times more common in women than men. A man’s risk of developing breast cancer is about 1 in 1000. Obesity and being over-weight may be a major contributing factor for males that develop breast cancer.

There are several medications used to treat breast cancer, including Trexall and Tamoxifen, which are taken orally. Other forms of medications such as Herceptin, and Fluorouracil are administered intravenously. Researchers are continuously looking for newer and better ways to treat patients afflicted with this disease.

These treatments have a plethora of possible side effects, including fatigue, headaches, weakness, hair loss, cirrhosis, loss of appetite, skin rash, itching, jaundice, rheumatoid arthritis, mouth sores, nausea, stomach pain, sore throat, vision changes and hearing loss.

Some individual’s hearing loss will only be temporary, while others will endure a permanent loss of hearing. Hearing instruments will be beneficial to the majority of these individuals.

This multitude of maladies can also lead to psychological issues including mood swings, anxiety, frustration, anger, emotional instability and depression. The degree of depression and other emotional or mental health issues also increase with the severity of hearing loss.

Hearing loss also results in social isolation. Adults with untreated hearing loss tend to withdraw from engaging with friends and family members. Conversely, individuals that wear hearing devices are much more likely to participate in social activities.

Statistics show those still working with untreated hearing loss lose an average of up to $30,000.00 annually. There is an over $14,000.00 per year difference in average income between adults with mild and severe hearing loss.

Hearing instrument wearers alleviate the impact of income loss by 90 to 100 percent for those with mild hearing loss, and from 65 to 77 percent for those with moderate to severe hearing loss.

Adults with hearing loss, who wear hearing instruments, have a lower unemployment rate than their peers with hearing loss, who do not wear hearing devices.

A study conducted by Johns Hopkins Medical University, The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and The National Institute on Aging found that people with untreated hearing loss were more likely to experience falls requiring hospitalization. The study also concluded those with even mild hearing loss were twice as likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s over time. Those with severe hearing problems were five times as likely to suffer from the aforementioned afflictions. This occurs due to the lack of “proper” stimulation to the auditory cortex of the brain (responsible for speech interpretation and understanding); causing atrophy. Brain atrophy is the loss or damage of brain cells. Since there is no treatment for brain atrophy, the use of hearing instruments with a healthy lifestyle is the only way to slow down the progressive damage. This is another example why hearing problems should not be ignored. That risk, says Dr. Lin, a co-author of the study, appeared to increase once hearing loss began to interfere with the ability to communicate. A prime example would be a noisy restaurant, or anywhere else ambient noise is present.

The good news is those that have permanent hearing loss can obtain hearing devices to overcome speech comprehension problems. Hearing instrument technology has never been better, and continues to improve. Digital hearing devices can be programmed to compensate for problems like eyeglasses do for vision. Computer chips can be programmed to prescription fit an individual’s loss. In addition, the devices can be re-programmed for changes in hearing over time.

If you or a loved one experience difficulty communicating, call Today 997-8288 for a FREE hearing evaluation.

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