The British Tinnitus Association (BTA) is advising members of the Armed Forces to be aware of the dangers of excessive noise while they are undergoing training and intense combat. The warning comes as a soldier who had suffered permanent hearing loss and tinnitus in one ear as a result of exposure to excessive noise, during basic training, was highlighted in the media this week. The 22 year old soldier was ordered to not use ear defenders during a live firing exercise in 2004, and this led to him experiencing 'fuzzy noises' in his left ear and ultimately being discharged from the army on medical grounds in 2007. According to research published in October 2008 by The Times newspaper, hearing loss and tinnitus is a common problem among those working in the Armed Forces. Indeed nearly a third of the 691 soldiers in the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglians, who returned from a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan in October 2007, suffered hearing difficulties. Tinnitus is typically characterised by a persistent 'ringing in the ears', and can be a debilitating condition that causes great distress to sufferers and their families.
Anyone with an MP3 device -- just about every man, woman and child on the planet today, it seems -- has a notion of the majesty of music, of the primal place it holds in the human imagination. But musical training should not be seen simply as stuff of the soul -- a frill that has to go when school budgets dry up, according to a new Northwestern University study. The study shows that musicians -- trained to hear sounds embedded in a rich network of melodies and harmonies -- are primed to understand speech in a noisy background, say in a restaurant, classroom or plane. It is the first demonstration of musical training offsetting the deleterious effects of background noise, and the implications are provocative. "The study points to a highly pragmatic side of music's magic, " said Nina Kraus, Hugh Knowles Professor of Communication Sciences and Neurobiology and director of Northwestern's Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, where the research was done. The findings strongly support the potential therapeutic and rehabilitation use of musical training to address auditory processing and communication disorders throughout the life span.
Nerve fibers that link perception and motor regions of the brain are disconnected in tone-deaf people, according to new research in the August 19 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. Experts estimate that at least 10 percent of the population may be tone deaf - unable to sing in tune. The new finding identifies a particular brain circuit that appears to be absent in these individuals. "The anomaly suggests that tone-deafness may be a previously undetected neurological syndrome similar to other speech and language disorders, in which connections between perceptual and motor regions are impaired, " said Psyche Loui, PhD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, one of the study's authors. The authors used an MRI-based technique called diffusion tensor imaging to examine connections between the right temporal and frontal lobes. This region, a neural "highway" called the arcuate fasciculus, is known to be involved in linking music and language perception with vocal production.
Oticon Medical, a global medical device company within the William Demant Group, announced that it has obtained 501(k) clearance from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to market the innovative Ponto bone anchored hearing system. The Ponto System features an easy-to-operate computer fitting platform to enable a more precise match between patient and sound processor. The Ponto and Ponto Pro sound processor models are fully digital, based on the proprietary Oticon RISE™ platform, the world's most advanced sound technology. The ground breaking system is Oticon Medical's first entry into the high growth bone anchored hearing market, giving new choice to the people with hearing loss who cannot benefit from traditional hearing instruments. Oticon Medical plans to launch the Ponto System globally later this year. Superior Technology and Unprecedented Choice "The Ponto System will move bone anchored hearing solutions to the next level, " says Jes Olsen, General Manager of Oticon Medical.
Sonic Innovations, a U.S.-based digital hearing aid manufacturer, warns Americans who ignore a hearing loss are also losing income. A study from the Better Hearing Institute (BHI), a non-profit corporation that educates the public about the neglected problem of hearing loss and what can be done about it, gives the numbers. $100 Billion Lost in Earnings Each Yearâ - Average annual amount of income lost by American working people who don't get hearing aids ranges from $1, 000 (those with mild hearing loss) to $12, 000 (those with profound hearing loss). - BHI survey states that getting hearing aids at a younger age reduces the chance of losing income. Only one out of four Americans with hearing problems is getting treatment. A Tool to Build Self-Esteemâ "People who ignore hearing loss and refuse to admit they need a hearing aid are passing up on a tool that will boost their self-esteem, help reduce anxiety and increase their income, " says Michael Nilsson, vice president of Auditory Research for Sonic Innovations, a global provider of superior hearing devices.
A team led by scientists from The Scripps Research Institute has discovered a genetic cause of progressive hearing loss. The findings will help scientists better understand the nature of age-related decline in hearing and may lead to new therapies to prevent or treat the condition. The findings were published the September 3, 2009, in an advance, online issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics, a publication of Cell Press. "It is thought that mutations in several hundred genes can lead to deafness, " said team leader Ulrich Mueller, a professor in the Department of Cell Biology and member of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at Scripps Research. "However, for many forms of deafness, we don't know what effects the genes have. In this new research, we have linked a previously uncharacterized gene to deafness, first in mice and then in humans." The team found that the gene responsible for the hearing loss - called Loxhd1 - is necessary for maintaining proper functioning hair cells in the inner ear.
Canada is a top-ranked country in terms of literacy levels, but almost 50% of Canadian adults have difficulties with reading and numbers, according to the Movement for Canadian Literacy. To improve literacy levels, it is important for Canadians to develop literacy skills at a young age, and audiologists and speech-language pathologists have an important role to play in this area. More than 5, 400 speech-language pathologists, audiologists and supportive personnel are represented by the national professional association the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (CASLPA). CASLPA members foster improved literacy in their daily work, including speech-language pathologists working in early speech development or emergent literacy programs and audiologists who diagnose early hearing problems. "The role of both the audiologist and speech-language pathologist is significant in supporting the development of language and literacy skills in young Canadians, " says Marlene Bagatto, an Ontario audiologist and CASLPA member.
A new study by the University of East Anglia (UEA) suggests computers are now better at lip-reading than humans. The peer-reviewed findings will be presented for the first time at the eighth International Conference on Auditory-Visual Speech Processing (AVSP) 2009, held at the University of East Anglia from September 10-13. A research team from the School of Computing Sciences at UEA compared the performance of a machine-based lip-reading system with that of 19 human lip-readers. They found that the automated system significantly outperformed the human lip-readers - scoring a recognition rate of 80 per cent, compared with only 32 per cent for human viewers on the same task. Furthermore, they found that machines are able to exploit very simplistic features that represent only the shape of the face, whereas human lip-readers require full video of people speaking. The study also showed that rather than the traditional approach to lip-reading training, in which viewers are taught to spot key lip-shapes from static (often drawn) images, the dynamics and the full appearance of speech gestures are very important.
Meniere's disease (MÃ niÃ¨re's disease) is a condition with vertigo, tinnitus (ringing, buzzing, noises in the ears) and progressive deafness. Meniere's disease is caused by a dysfunction of the endolymphatic sac (semi-circular canals) in the inner ear - also known as the labyrinth. The labyrinth is a system of small fluid-filled channels that send signals of sound and balance to the brain. It is an unpredictable disease that requires various types of treatment. It is estimated at approximately 1 in every 1, 000 people suffers from Meniere's disease. The disease can develop at any age, but more commonly does so when the patient is aged between 40 and 60. According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders approximately 615, 000 Americans in the USA have the disease. The disease is named after Prosper Meniere (1799-1862), a French physician who first reported that vertigo was caused by inner ear disorders in an article published in 1861. What are the signs and symptoms of Meniere's disease?
Fort Washington Medical Center To Ensure Effective Communication For Deaf Or Hard Of Hearing Patients
Under a settlement agreement reached with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, deaf patients at the Fort Washington Medical Center in Prince George's County, Md., will be screened and provided with sign language interpreters whenever interpreter services are necessary for effective communication. The settlement was negotiated following an investigation by the Department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in response to a complaint from a deaf patient. The man entered the emergency room late one evening accompanied by his 11-year-old son. Although the man and his son requested an interpreter, none was provided, and the medical staff relied on the son to interpret for his father in the emergency room. Federal laws prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities, and require entities such as hospitals to provide effective communication for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. OCR found that Fort Washington Medical Center violated the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 when it failed to provide the deaf patient with an interpreter during his emergency room visit.