A group of researchers at Seville University, headed by Isabel de los Reyes RodrĂ guez Ortiz, is analysing the reading comprehension processes of deaf youngsters, a factor closely linked to their level of expression, both verbal and using sign language. The project is being funded by the Regional Ministry of Innovation as a 2007 excellence project, with an amount of 53, 891.72 euros; it is scheduled to finalise in 2011. The starting hypothesis of the project is based on the fact that, initially, people with higher levels of verbal language have better reading comprehension. Furthermore, and this is a new area of study, the research also includes analysis of the relation between lip-face reading levels and comprehension of written texts.
Deep in the ear, 95 percent of the cells that shuttle sound to the brain are big, boisterous neurons that, to date, have explained most of what scientists know about how hearing works. Whether a rare, whisper-small second set of cells also carry signals from the inner ear to the brain and have a real role in processing sound has been a matter of debate. Now, reporting on rat experiments in the October 22 issue of Nature, a Johns Hopkins team says it has for what is believed to be the first time managed to measure and record the elusive electrical activity of the type II neurons in the snail-shell-like structure called the cochlea. And it turns out the cells do indeed carry signals from the ear to the brain, and the sounds they likely respond to would need to be loud, such as sirens or alarms that might be even be described as painful or traumatic.
Advances in hearing aid design and technology mean more and better choices for consumers. The October issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource covers the pros and cons of various styles, from those that are barely noticeable to others that resemble the latest phones and come in stylish colors. Most of today's hearing aids work by providing more amplification for soft sounds and less amplification for loud sounds, making soft and average conversational speech loud enough to hear. Digital technology allows for smaller hearing aids that can be programmed and adjusted to better match an individual's unique hearing loss, usually with better sound quality, less feedback (squealing) and better noise reduction.
An innovative four-year project to help families, service providers and policy makers understand the effectiveness of the different types of support available for young deaf children has come to an end, with some interesting findings. Positive Support in the lives of Deaf Children and their Families was a research project funded by the Big Lottery Fund via a partnership with Deafness Research UK. 'Positive Support' builds on an opportunity presented by the introduction of the NHS Newborn Hearing Screening Programme in 2002 resulting in many changes to the services available for deaf children and their families. Children with permanent hearing loss are now identified significantly earlier than before the programme was introduced, meaning that families are facing many important life issues while their child is still very young.
More Needs To Be Done To Prevent Hearing Loss From Middle Ear Inflammation Among Indigenous Children, Australia
More needs to be done to prevent and treat otitis media (otherwise known as middle ear inflammation), which is a major health problem in Indigenous communities and can lead to permanent hearing loss, according to the editor of a supplement on the condition published in the 2 November issue of the Medical Journal of Australia. Each year, three to five Australian children die from complications related to otitis media and another 15 suffer permanent hearing loss. "Indigenous Australian children account for the highest prevalence of chronic suppurative otitis media in the world (70 per cent in some remote communities). The World Health Organization regards a prevalence of chronic suppurative otitis media of over four per cent in a defined population of children as a massive public health problem requiring urgent attention, " Professor Harvey Coates, Clinical Professor at the University of Western Australia and Senior Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon at the Princess Margaret Hospital for Children in Perth said.
As many as one in seven people will experience tinnitus, or ringing in their ears, at some time of their life, but not enough is being done to support patients who experience this distressing condition, according to an extensive research review in the November issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing. Tinnitus is the most common injury arising from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and 75% of 18 to 30 year-olds who go to nightclubs and concerts may experience temporary tinnitus. "Despite the fact that it is a very distressing condition and can affect people's lifestyle and quality of life, around 94% of patients are simply told that nothing can be done to alleviate the condition" says Professor Susan Holmes from Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent, UK.