Research - Archive

Future Treatments For Hearing Loss

May 22, 2015 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

 

BrainBlogger
by Sara Adaes, PhD (c)
May 20, 2015

Hearing disorders are among the most common health problems. The World Health Organization estimated in 2012 that over 5.3% of the world’s population has disabling hearing loss, and the overall aging of the population will most likely keep increasing this number. In the older population, hearing impairment is also associated with the onset and progression of dementia. Hearing impairment in children can lead to communication disorders that affect the development of language having lifelong consequences.

Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common form of hearing impairment and typically occurs as a result of the loss of functional sensory hair cells within the cochlea. The sensory hair cells are responsible for converting sound vibrations into electrical stimuli that are them conveyed to the central nervous system via the auditory neurons, better known as spiral ganglion neurons.

The sensory hair cells are highly sensitive to ototoxic drugs, over-exposure to noise, and viral and bacterial infections. Sensorineural hearing loss can have a hereditary cause, but age-related hearing loss gradually occurs in most individuals as they grow older, with approximately 30% of adults between the ages of 65–74 years having some degree of hearing deficits.

Cochlear implants are a common solution to hearing impairment, allowing speech  . . .

Read more  . . . Future Treatments

How does the brain respond to hearing loss?

May 22, 2015 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

 

May 19, 2015
Researchers at the University of Colorado suggest that the portion of the brain devoted to hearing can become reorganized—reassigned to other functions—even with early-stage hearing loss, and may play a role in cognitive decline.Anu Sharma, of the Department of Speech Language and Hearing Science at University of Colorado, has applied fundamental principles of neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to forge new connections, to determine the ways it adapts to hearing loss, as well as the consequences of those changes. She will present her findings during the 169th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), being held May 18-22, 2015 in Pittsburgh.

The work of Sharma’s group centers on electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings of adults and children with deafness and lesser hearing loss, to gain insights into the ways their brains respond differently from those of people with normal hearing. EEG recordings involve placing multiple tiny sensors—as many as 128—on the scalp, which allows researchers to measure brain activity in response to sound simulation, Sharma said.

Improved cochlear implants could be developed based on hearing loss study

May 19, 2015 in Research, Technology

 

 

International Business Times
By Jayalakshmi K

A landmark study that unveils the biological process of how the brain balances the hearing between two ears to localise sound and hear in noisy conditions could help improvise cochlear implants and hearing aids.

University of New South Wales researchers have discovered the crucial role played by a group of auditory nerve fibres in the hearing process.

The “olivocochlear” hearing control reflex links the cochlea of each ear via the brain’s auditory control centre to help discriminate between noise and sound.

When sound intensity increases, the olivocochlear reflex turns down the “cochlear amplifier” to balance the input of each ear for optimal hearing and to protect hearing.

“Our hearing is so sensitive that we can hear a pin drop and that’s because of the ‘cochlear amplifier’ in our inner ear. This stems from outer hair cells in the cochlea which amplify sound vibrations,” says UNSW Professor Gary Housley.

Read More  . . . Improved cochlear implants

Researchers discover how the brain balances hearing between our ears

May 14, 2015 in Research

 

 

Medical Press
May 12, 2015
Credit: Rice University

UNSW researchers have answered the longstanding question of how the brain balances hearing between our ears, which is essential for localising sound, hearing in noisy conditions and for protection from noise damage.

The landmark animal study also provides new insight into  and is likely to improve cochlear implants and  aids.

The findings of the NHMRC-funded research are published today in the prestigious journal Nature Communications.

UNSW Professor Gary Housley, senior author of the research paper, said his team sought to understand the biological process behind the ‘olivocochlear’ hearing control reflex.

Read more  . . . Brain Balances Hearing

Osteoporosis Linked to Deafness

May 12, 2015 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

 

NEWSMAX.COM
May 8, 2015

People with osteoporosis may be almost twice as likely to develop sudden hearing loss, compared to people without the bone disease, according to researchers in Taiwan.

The cause of this sudden deafness is unknown, but the rapid loss of hearing typically affects one ear, and it’s estimated to strike about one in every 5,000 Americans each year.

In particular, the researchers looked for sudden cases of so-called sensorineural hearing loss, which happens when the inner ear is damaged, or when there is damage to the nerve pathways from the ear to the brain.

Typical risk factors include cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease and diabetes. The current study is the first to look at osteoporosis as a risk factor in Asian patients, according to its authors.

Read more  . . . osteoporosis

New study finds genetic predisposition for noise-induced hearing loss

April 22, 2015 in Research

 

 

MedicalXPress
April 16, 2015

In a new genome-wide association study, an international team led by Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) neuroscientists has found evidence that some people may be more genetically susceptible to noise-induced hearing loss than others.

Noise-induced  is one of the most common work-related illnesses in the United States, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. At especially high risk are troops in the Armed Forces. In 2013, the Department of Veterans Affairs reported hearing loss as one of the most common disabilities among veterans receiving disability compensation.

Those at higher, genetic risk for hearing loss may decide to take additional precautionary measures to protect their hearing prior to hazardous noise exposure, study authors say.

Read More  . . . noise-induced hearing loss

Related article  “Noise-related Hearing Loss Might be in Your Genes”

 

 

Needed: TTY users or family/friends of TTY users

April 17, 2015 in Community News, Research, Technology

 

 

The Technology Access Program (TAP) at Gallaudet University is looking for individuals to participate in a study that will allow TTY users to communicate with friends and family members who do not use TTYs.  The study will last for up to 8 weeks, with participants making at least one call per week.

Participants who do not have TTYs will be given software to use to call their friends and family members who have TTYs, and each other.  Participants will be instructed how to use the software, and will be contacted periodically by TAP staff to answer any questions you may have.  At the end of the study, you will be interviewed about your experiences by TAP staff.

If you are interested in participating, or have questions about the study, please contact Paula Tucker by email at paula.tucker@gallaudet.edu, or by phone (voice or TTY) at 202-651-5049. To call using VP, contact Christian Vogler at 202-250-2795.

 

White House recognizes JHU biomedical engineering researcher

April 9, 2015 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

 

 

White House recognizes JHU biomedical engineering researcher for mentoring efforts

Tilak Ratnanather is one of 14 recipients of Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring

HUB
Hub staff report

March 31

Tilak Ratnanather

J. Tilak Ratnanather, an expert in brain mapping and a champion of people with hearing loss, is a recipient of the Presidential Award of Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

Ratnanather, an associate research professor in Johns Hopkins University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, is one of 14 scientists around the country to be honored with the prize. The recipients will receive their prizes at a ceremony at the White House later this year.

It is an honor for me to receive this award,” said Ratnanather, who also is a core faculty member of the university’s Institute for Computational Medicine and its Center for Imaging Science. “Just as my mentors at University College London, University of Oxford, City University London and Johns Hopkins University took a chance on me, I am paying it forward for the next generation of deaf and hard of hearing students who have chosen to thrive in the demanding, challenging and exacting environment of regular college.”

Read More . . . Ratnanather 

 

 

More efficient integrated circuits for better hearing aids

April 3, 2015 in Research, Technology

 

phys.org

Electrical engineer to build more efficient integrated circuits for better hearing aids

Herb Booth
March 31st, 2015

A University of Texas at Arlington electrical engineering researcher is developing a more efficient, low-power integrated circuit for directional hearing aids that will lead to a better quality of life for hearing impaired people.

Sungyong Jung, an associate professor of electrical engineering, received a two-year, $144,000 grant from the Korean Electrotechnology Research Institute to build an integrated circuit for a tiny microphone that would mimic the auditory system of a Ornia ochracea – a parasitic fly known for its exceptionally miniscule ear.

The work holds promise for a growing population of people around the world with hearing problems, said Khosrow Behbehani, dean of the UT Arlington College of Engineering, said.

“Dr. Jung’s research is a wonderful example of how UT Arlington engineering faculty and their students are developing solutions that address critical issues in the area of health and the human condition,” Behbehani said. “A very important element in design of implants aimed at improving hearing is miniaturization. Minimizing the size while maintaining the highest level of function is a highly rewarding challenge that Dr. Jung is undertaking.”

Read entire article . . . UofTX

How does treating hearing loss help with stress?

April 3, 2015 in Community News, Research

 

 

Better Hearing Institute 

The intensive listening effort demanded by untreated hearing loss can be extremely stressful.

Experts believe that even if you have just a mild hearing loss that is not being treated, cognitive load increases significantly.

Research shows that when left unaddressed, hearing loss is frequently associated with other physical, mental, and emotional health issues that diminish quality of life.

Withdrawal from social situations, a lessened ability to cope, and reduced overall psychological health are just some of the conditions associated with unaddressed hearing loss. Often, people with untreated hearing loss feel angry, frustrated, anxious, isolated, and depressed.

A 2014 study, in fact, showed that hearing loss is associated with an increased risk of depression in adults of all ages, but is most pronounced in 18 to 69 year olds.  Another study, conducted in Italy, looked at working adults—35 to 55 years of age—with untreated mild to moderate age-related hearing loss and found that they were more prone to depression, anxiety, and interpersonal sensitivity than those with no hearing problems.

Read more  . . . hearing loss

Study: Earbuds can damage hearing permanently

March 17, 2015 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

 

Medical officials suggest turning down volume, take breaks

KITV ABC – Hawaii
Mar 13, 2015
By Paula Akana

HONOLULU —It’s a common sight around town: People going about their daily routine wearing earbuds and listening to their favorite books or music.

But many people, especially young ones, may be listening to music too loud and putting themselves at risk for losing their hearing.

Watch Video-nocaptions with transcript 

“I think you’ve got to be careful. Keep it down so you can hear what’s around you to be safe,” said earbud user Scott Lawton.

Lawton loves the convenience of earbuds, especially when he’s exercising. David Thomas uses them, too, but understands the importance of keeping the volume low.

“Definitely, definitely. There’s always the chance of injury if you listen too loud or too long,” said Thomas.

The problem is that young people don’t seem to follow those rules.

 

 

RIT/NTID Offers Online Speech Recognition Test

March 13, 2015 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

 

RIT/NTID – Website
MARCH 3, 2015

Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf has launched a website that provides individuals with one tool to determine whether they may benefit from hearing aids, allowing them to seek help sooner if that’s the case.

The test is free and can be found at: https://apps.ntid.rit.edu/NSRT.

“The test provides useful information and is recommended for anyone who is suspected of having a hearing loss,” said Joseph Bochner, who, with Wayne Garrison, worked on the website as a research project for several years.

Bochner, chairman of NTID’s cultural and creative studies department, and Garrison, a research faculty member in NTID’s Center on Access Technology, have spent years making sure the online test provides more accurate results than previously existing online tests offered elsewhere.

“This is a powerful diagnostic measure that has significant advantages over other measures of speech recognition,” Bochner said.

Read More , register and take test  . . .

Deaf or Death? In Drug Trial, Parents Weigh Life vs. Hearing Loss

March 10, 2015 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

 

An experimental treatment could let children with a rare genetic disease live longer, but it may make them deaf

BETHESDA, Md.—While waiting for an infusion of a drug that might save his life, 15-year-old Andrew Marella gripped the controls of an NFL videogame, the hand-held version of a sport he played when he could still run without fear.

Andrew is in a clinical drug trial of cyclodextrin, a sugar-based substance that scientists hope will stop or slow the progress of a rare genetic disease that kills most patients by the time they are old enough to vote.

There is a good chance cyclodextrin will extend Andrew’s life. But his parents worry this will be the dose that leaves him deaf.

Families in the drug trial must decide whether to permit the higher doses of cyclodextrin that research shows might arrest the disease. Hearing loss is one side effect. “Deaf or death, what are our options?” said Andrea Marella, Andrew’s mother. “We have to keep moving forward.”

Read more  . . . Deaf or Death?

 

Auditory Pain Pathway May Protect Against Hearing Loss

February 24, 2015 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

 

BioScience Technology
February 19,2015
By Marla Paul, Northwestern University

Our hearing has a secret bodyguard: a newly discovered connection from the cochlea to the brain that warns of intense incoming noise that causes tissue damage and hearing loss, according to new research by Northwestern Medicine scientists.

Scientists believe they have identified the ear’s own novel pain system that protects it from very loud or damaging noise. It may be the reason you jam your fingers in your ears when a fire engine or ambulance wails close by. The nerves that normally alert you to pain – like touching a hot burner on a stove – are not present in your inner ear. So, it needs its own private alert system.

The discovery may provide insight into the cause and treatment for such painful hearing conditions as hyperacusis, an oversensitivity and earache in response to everyday sounds, common in soldiers exposed to explosives in the military, and tinnitus, a persistent and uncomfortable ringing in the ears.

The pathway, which scientists named auditory nociception (pain), is different from

Read More  . . . Pain

How Old Is Too Old for Cochlear Implant Reimplantation?

February 20, 2015 in Research, Technology

 

 

For people with severe to profound hearing loss, cochlear implants can restore hearing and improve quality of life. Initially FDA-approved in 1985, only individuals with bilateral profound sensorineural hearing loss with no open set speech recognition (in other words, some ability to understand speech without visual clues) were considered viable candidates for cochlear implants.  The criteria have become less rigid over time, and more people are eligible including those with more profound residual hearing and pre-implant speech recognition scores. Occasionally, devices fail or medical complications create a need for revision surgery and reimplantation. The incidence of revision surgery is low, but outcomes are variable.

Some studies have suggested that advanced age may be associated with poor post-revision outcomes. Investigators from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have completed a study that asks whether advanced age should be a contraindication for revision cochlear implantation.

Read More  . . . Reimplantation