Research

Family hearing history should be monitored

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Children with the risk factors of family history and craniofacial anomalies should have their hearing monitored throughout early childhood, whereas children with the risk factor of lower birth rate should not, an Australian study has concluded. The aim of the research, conducted by the University of Queensland, was to determine the risk factors most likely to predict the occurrence of postnatal hearing loss. This study involved children who were born in Queensland, Australia, between September 2004 and December 2009, who had received

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Hearing loss in whales caused by human noise pollution

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Dr. David Suzuki, a renowned Canadian environmentalist and activist, says human noise pollution is causing major hearing loss and other health problems in whales. “Sonar used in naval training is a major cause of debilitating and often deadly injuries to whales and other aquatic animals,” says Suzuki. “With their sensitive hearing, marine mammals are particularly vulnerable. Sonar disrupts their ability to communicate, migrate, breathe, nurse, breed, feed, find shelter and, ultimately, survive.”

In 2010, the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. navy estimated

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Speakers of tonal languages have better musical ears

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Non-musicians who speak tonal languages, found mainly in Asia, Africa and South America, may have a better ear for learning musical notes, according to a Canadian study. Researchers at Baycrest Health Sciences’ Rotman Research Institute (RRI) in Toronto have found the strongest evidence yet that speaking in tonal languages may improve the way the brain hears. Tonal languages have an abundance of

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Neural selectivity in the Cocktail Party Problem

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The inability to have a conversation in a crowded room is one of the chief complaints among those with hearing loss. Now for the first time, researchers have demonstrated how the brain can hone in on a single voice in a sea of speakers.

“There’s no way to ‘close your ear’ so that all the sounds in the environment are represented in the brain, at least at the sensory level,” says Columbia University psychiatrist Charles Schroeder, who was

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Victoria Researcher to join international study to understand hearing defects

A New Zealand researcher has been chosen to join an international team which is investigating ways to improve the diagnosis and treatment of hearing defects. Dr. Paul Teal, a lecturer in Engineering and Computer Science at Victoria University, has joined a team which will build a finite element model of the cochlea, a spiral chamber located inside the ear that turns sound vibrations into electrical signals which travel along nerves to the brain and allow us to hear.

Victoria is the only university

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Teenagers: a high risk population for tinnitus

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Could teenagers be more likely to suffer from tinnitus than adults? According to a Brazilian study that assessed students in a high school of São Paulo, the answer is ‘yes’.

The research’s preliminary conclusions showed that among the 170 young persons cross-examined, 55% have noticed tinnitus in their ears over the 12 months previous to the interview.

The proportion is quite high when compared with

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Link between rapid hearing loss and CJD

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Researchers at Henry Ford Hospital believe they have found a link between rapid hearing loss in both ears and the rare but always fatal Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, and they say patients should be tested for the disorder.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, or CJD, is often confused with so-called “mad cow disease,” and though they are in the same family of disorders, are not the same. However, both share such symptoms as impaired thinking, jerky body movements, memory loss and dementia. Once infected with CJD,

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Speech intonation and melodic contour perception in CI users

Cochlear implant (CI) users have difficulty perceiving some intonation cues in speech and melodic contours because of poor frequency selectivity in the cochlear implant signal. But does perceptual accuracy for speech intonation or melodic contour differ as a function of auditory status (NH, CI), perceptual category (falling versus rising intonation/contour), pitch perception, or individual differences (e.g., age, hearing history)?

Researchers from the University of Iowa have found that children with CIs were less

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Auditory Sensitivity Increases in Tinnitus Ears

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A joint Canadian and French study has concluded that auditory sensitivity is enhanced in tinnitus subjects compared to non-tinnitus subjects, including subjects with normal audiograms. “Increased auditory sensitivity, also called hyperacusis, is a pervasive complaint of people with tinnitus,” say the authors. “The high prevalence of hyperacusis in tinnitus subjects suggests that both symptoms have a common origin.” It has been suggested that they may result from a

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Whistles contribute to hearing loss in sports referees

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Referees take note. An American study suggests that whistle blowing may be harmful to your hearing. A study published in The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene reveals that a single whistle blow ranges between 104 and 116 decibels, far exceeding safe noise levels. "I did expect the numbers to be kind of high, but I didn’t expect them to be that high," says Greg Flamme, a Western Michigan University professor and co-author of the study. Flamme’s team asked sports officials how well they hear in general and if they

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