The following article is written by TETRA Hearing Founder Dr. Bill Dickinson, AuD.
Hearing Loss, Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Several years ago, the field of Neuroscience changed much of what we know today in terms of how hearing loss is correlated to many well known healthcare problems such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia. The name of this ongoing study is Baltimore Longitudinal Study on Aging and its findings have been groundbreaking.
In a study that tracked 693 adult participants for 12 years, Johns Hopkins expert Frank Lin M.D., P.hD., and his research team found that mild hearing loss doubled dementia risk. Moderate loss tripled risk, and people with a severe hearing impairment were five times more likely to develop dementia.
The researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical Center were the first of many studies showing that hearing loss earlier in life is a key predictor on how likely one is to acquire Alzheimer’s and dementia later in life. To be clear, none of these scientific studies have confirmed that hearing loss causes Alzheimer’s and dementia, but all the studies show that hearing loss is one of the main risk factors that can predict the likelihood a person will experience such difficulties with brain function later in life.
Key Takeaway: Science has proven that moderate hearing loss results in a 3x higher risk category for Alzeimer’s and dementia compared to another person of the same age and healthy hearing ability.
Don’t Duck Up Your Ears and Brain
I love to duck hunt as much as anyone. When the weather is right and the birds are flying, there’s no place I’d rather be than in a duck blind with my son, Brenden, and Buck, our GWP. That’s the side of me that is a waterfowler at my core.
The me that’s a hearing doctor is about to give you the cold, hard truth about waterfowling.
From the minute waterfowl hunters reach the boat ramp, unprotected ears are assaulted with damaging loud noise. Every one of these has the potential to damage your ears for life:
- Boat and ATV motors
- Loud calling
- Highly reverberant blinds, pits and flooded timber stands
- Excessive amounts of shooting - from both your own gun blasts and your hunting companions
Not long ago, doctors and researchers combined forces to link concussions and CTE and the sport of football has forever changed. Much like football, hunting is a beloved American tradition. As with hard hits in football, the hearing damage incurred when waterfowl hunting can have lasting, debilitating impact on our brain and quality of life.
The data shows that only 1 in 9 waterfowlers use hearing protection. Statistically, waterfowlers have higher rates of hearing loss than the general population.
So what’s the solution?
We have to do better - as dads, moms, grandparents, sons, daughters and friends. Our waterfowling community must stop the bad habits and create a new normal. What should the new normal be? Every blind bag and gear kit should include hearing protection. There are options to fit every ear and every budget.
I started TETRA to create a solution that allowed you to hunt protected and still hear the hunting sounds that we all love - calling, wings and buddies. I fully believe TETRA offers the most premium hearing experience - with the most advanced technology possible. We've tested TETRA products in the ears of dozens of world championship callers and hard core hunters who now use TETRA on every hunt.
If that premium auditory experience is what you want, we’re here to help. Regardless, I beg you to wear something - TETRA brand or not - when you’re waterfowling.
Remember, the most valuable piece of gear you can own isn’t a fancy shotgun, it’s not the most expensive dekes or the new boat. It’s what you put in your ears to ensure that you live a long, healthy life. I want you to clearly hear when the best moments of your life happen - whether it’s those big words at the altar, the first words of your first baby or the last words of the father who taught you how to duck hunt. Better hearing means better living.
The duck blind decisions you make today, have a direct impact on your future.
Together, let’s change the future of waterfowling.
- Dr. Bill
About The Author
Bill Dickinson, AuD, is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in Audiology with over 30 years of clinical, research, teaching and manufacturing experience. Before starting TETRA Hearing, Dickinson spent more than 15 years on faculty at Vanderbilt University and as VP of Audiology with the world's largest hearing aid manufacturer and global supplier. Dr. Bill’s passion for hunting and specifically waterfowling drove him to found TETRA in 2019 and bring to market TETRA’s patent-pending Specialized Target Optimization (STO). STO is the hunting industry’s premium technology for Pursuit Based Hearing, allowing for the isolation and enhancement of the most critical sounds unique to each type of hunting pursuits. TETRA’s AlphaShield, CustomShield and AmpPods products are the industry’s first hearing technology to implement principles of acoustical science to maximize direction and distance capabilities for natural hunting sounds, as well as gunshot suppression to protect ears from damaging noise levels.