What do you remember most about being a kid? Is it the cartoons? The pillow forts? The way the whole world seemed fresh and colorful, a living book with characters waiting to be met and adventures waiting to be had? No matter how each of us feels about childhood, all of us likely remember a general dislike for going to the doctor.
What is childhood? The answer to that question will differ depending on whom you ask--not least because "childhood" refers to a different experience for all of us. However, no matter what kind of answers you get, from pillow-fights to amusement parks to swimming in the lake, it is an unfortunate truth that ear infections are often a big part of childhood. In fact, ear infections are reported among the top most-heard complaints in the pediatrician's office. However, while an ear infection certainly is a popular childhood malady, this illness can affect anyone. So who is at risk?
As anyone who has ever interacted with kids younger than talking-age can tell you, communication with babies and toddlers is kind of like communication with someone from another world. Little kids have quite a unique battle until they learn to talk. They have opinions and feelings, they feel pain, they get sick—basically, they undergo an almost-complete gamut of human sensation, but they are frustratingly unable to express it in words.
Alzheimer’s disease and untreated hearing loss share many symptoms, causing frequent misdiagnosis of Alzheimer’s in the elderly population. Research continues to suggest a strong association between hearing loss and Alzheimer’s. Since the most commonly used screenings for Alzheimer’s are administered verbally, screening for hearing loss should precede screening for Alzheimer’s.
Symptoms of both untreated hearing loss and Alzheimer’s disease are nearly identical (Chartrand, 2001).
We rarely stop to think about it, but our bodies are incredibly complex machines. Every inch of the human physique, from head to toe, has been designed to exist and thrive in a variety of environments and under countless types of stress. We have specially-designed features that transmit information about the world around us to a single, remarkably-complex organ in our heads that controls everything we do. Humans are kind of amazing--and what's even more amazing is that, through advances in medical science, we have found ways to understand and fix problems with our complex inner workings.
For our whole lives, we've known about the five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Before we even had names to attach to them, we were using our senses to learn about everything from colors and shapes to the infinite complexity of the English language. When we were a little bit older, we learned that these senses are the headquarters of our experiences in the world. Later, in our English classes, we learned that just by reading specific words, those senses could be triggered. Essentially, we have been learning to appreciate the five senses for our entire lives.