Nina Poersch & Dr. Daniel Zeitler: May 10, 2017


 Learn the Early Warning Signs of Hearing Loss, One of the Most Common Health Conditions, and Why You Shouldn’t Wait to See Your Doctor

 *** May is Better Hearing and Speech Month ***


Nina Poersch
Survivor contestant (season 30); diagnosed with hearing loss at age 39

Dr. Daniel M. Zeitler, MD FACS
Board certified Neurotologist & Skull Base Surgeon at Virginia Mason Medical Center

Baby boomers represent 27.5 percent of the United States population and there is a common medical condition that is affecting them in record numbers: hearing loss. Hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic health condition facing older adults.

Did you know?

·         Approximately one third of Americans between ages 65 and 74 and nearly half of those over age 75 have hearing loss, but many of them let their condition go untreated.

·         According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 70% of older Americans with hearing loss in at least one ear could potentially benefit from using a hearing aid, but do not use one.

·         Additionally, nearly two million Americans could be candidates for cochlear implant technology, but only 5 percent of people who can benefit from the technology have been treated.

·         Untreated hearing loss can have a social and emotional consequence on one’s life, and can even lead to higher rates of dementia.

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, the perfect reminder for you and your loved ones in the baby boomer generation to get your hearing checked. On May 10, Dr. Daniel Zeitler will discuss the impact of hearing loss, how to detect hearing loss, solutions available to those needing treatment, how to get help and how to spread the word about the importance of getting one’s hearing checked through the Million Ear Challenge awareness campaign . He’ll be joined by Survivor alum Nina Poersch who will share her personal story of living with hearing loss.

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Daniel M. Zeitler, MD FACS is a board certified Neurotologist & Skull Base Surgeon at Virginia Mason Medical Center and a member of the Benaroya Research Institute at VMMC. Dr. Zeitler graduated Magna Cum Laude from Northwestern University with a major in Psychology and minor in History. He earned his M.D. with honors from New York University and completed his Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery residency at New York University/Bellevue Hospital. He completed his two-year fellowship in Otology, Neurotology & Skull Base Surgery at the University of Miami Ear Institute/Jackson Memorial Hospital. Dr. Zeitler has engaged in a variety of clinical and basic science research projects, has published over 30 articles and book chapters, and has presented his work at national and international meetings. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the American Academy of Otolaryngology, and the American Neurotology Society. Dr. Zeitler’s clinical research interests are centered on cochlear implantation for single-sided deafness in children and adults and he is currently the principal investigator for a study looking at cochlear implantation for adults with unilateral hearing loss.



Nina Poersch was a contestant on Survivor Season 30, Worlds Apart, and is best known as the first contestant to participate with a cochlear implant. At 39, Poersch noticed she was losing her hearing but opted not to seek treatment. Then at 44, Poersch suffered a rapid decline in her hearing, possibly caused by prolonged use of aspirin and acetaminophen. She then tried hearing aids, but they weren’t providing her with any benefits given the significance of her loss at that point. She learned about cochlear implants, found out she was a candidate and later that year received her first cochlear implant. Poersch did so well with her first cochlear implant that she decided to get her other ear implanted when she was 50. After getting her implants, Poersch has looked at life through a different set of eyes. Nina is an avid hiker and runner, hopes to climb Mount Whitney and run a marathon in the next two years. She is also writing a book, in addition to blogging, about her hearing loss and following her dreams, one of which was competing on Survivor.

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