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June 29, 2006, 9:35 PM CT

With Cochlear Implants

With Cochlear Implants
"Bye-bye, bye-bye," said one 3 and a half-year old child, born deaf but with a cochlear implant that partially restored hearing nine months earlier. That's the most complex speech the child uttered during a testing session that involved play with a toy train set.

In contrast, a child of the same age who had a cochlear implant 31 months earlier made more sophisticated statements: "OK, now the people goes to stand there with that noise and now -- Woo! Woo!" and "OK, the train's coming to get the animals and people."

The testing session was part of research that indicates the earlier a deaf infant or toddler receives a cochlear implant, the better his or her spoken language skills at age 3 and a half. The research was conducted by Johanna Grant Nicholas, Ph.D., research associate professor of otolaryngology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and colleague Ann E. Geers, Ph.D., from the Southwestern Medical School at the University of Texas at Dallas.

"Ninety percent of children born deaf are born to hearing parents, and these parents know very little about deafness," Nicholas says. "They don't know how to have a conversation in sign language or teach it to their children. A number of of these parents would like their children to learn spoken language."........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


June 19, 2006, 9:23 PM CT

Suggest your News Item To Medicineworld

Suggest your News Item To Medicineworld
As you are aware we are the leading publishers of health news on the web. We publish news items in various forms including numerous blogs and news items. We invite you to participate in our new collection.

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Posted by: Janet      Permalink


June 14, 2006, 0:00 AM CT

Non-Hispanic Blacks May Have Best Hearing

Non-Hispanic Blacks May Have Best Hearing
Non-Hispanic black adults in the U.S. have on average the best hearing of the three most prevalent race-ethnic groups in the nation, a new study shows, with women hearing better than men in general. Overall, the nation's hearing health remains about the same as it was 35 years ago, despite massive changes in society and technology. The results were presented last week at the Acoustical Society of America's spring meeting in Providence, Rhode Island.

William Murphy, Christa Themann, and Mark Stephenson at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in Cincinnati reported on the hearing test results of more than 5,000 U.S. adults aged 20-69 who were asked to identify themselves as members of a particular ethnic group. They studied the adults' "hearing thresholds," the softest sound an individual could hear, over a range of frequencies. Comparing data on the three most prevalent race-ethnic groups in the U.S., the scientists found that non-Hispanic blacks have on average the best hearing thresholds, non-Hispanic whites the worst, with Mexican Americans in between. Women in general had better hearing compared to men.

Revisiting a similar study from 35 years ago with adults aged 25-74, the scientists found the median hearing levels in U.S. adults have not changed much; the hearing of U.S. residents is on average not any worse, nor any better than in the early part of 1970s. This is somewhat surprising because of the greater number of noise sources now present in our society. One potential factor is that hearing protection was not widely available in the early part of 1970s. Another speculation for the results is that fewer U.S. residents are working in noisy factory jobs, potentially offsetting the effects of newer noise sources. In addition, it is worth noting that the effects of playing portable music players such as now-ubiqitous iPod too loudly might still not fully be accounted for, since the analyzed data span the years 1999-2004.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


May 21, 2006, 9:04 AM CT

Surgical Plugs In Ear Bone Helps Dizziness

Surgical Plugs In Ear Bone Helps Dizziness
Rapid, uncontrollable eye movements that swish and thump as the eyes roll and blink. Bones that creak as the body moves. Sudden dizziness, loss of balance. Falling down after a loud noise, such as the sound of your own voice, a cough or even laughter. These are hallmarks of a debilitating and relatively rare syndrome known as superior canal dehiscence that has stumped clinicians for a long time.

Victims lose balance, fall down stairs, are unable to read or sleep due to loud noises inside their head, and some become convinced they are mentally ill, suffering from symptoms that won't yield to conventional therapy. Now, Johns Hopkins surgeons have proven that these symptoms can all be successfully treated by a single operation that plugs up a threadbare layer of bone in the inner ear.

Superior canal dehiscence occurs in roughly equal numbers of men and women and is often not diagnosed until after age 40, when symptoms, such as hearing loss, appear to worsen. However, patients often recall that initial symptoms happened much earlier in their lives.

"The surgical plugging procedure can put a stop to even severe symptoms and can lead to a return to normal daily activities and, in some cases, to a mild-to-moderate improvement in hearing," says Lloyd B. Minor, M.D., the Andelot Professor and director of otolaryngology - head and neck surgery at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. It was Minor who, in 1998, first clinically described superior canal dehiscence and developed the surgical techniques to repair it.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


May 17, 2006, 11:42 PM CT

Summer Activities Can Increase Hearing Loss

Summer Activities Can Increase Hearing Loss
People tend to spend more time outdoors in the summer, and their exposure to loud noise increases. Whether the noise is from powerboats, firecrackers, lawnmowers or motorcycles, a University of Cincinnati (UC) otolaryngologist encourages people to take precautions to protect their ears.

Tinnitus (perception of sound in the ears) affects most people at some point in their lives and is often due to hearing loss or the result of exposure to loud noises. Other causes include stress, ear-damaging drugs, ear infections, jaw misalignment, brain or head injury and, in rare cases, a tumor on the auditory nerve.

"It's important for people to realize they can help minimize tinnitus caused by loud noises," says Ravi Samy, MD, assistant professor of otolaryngology. "The cochlear hair cells in your ears can be damaged when listening to loud music or working around loud equipment (such as lawnmowers) for prolonged periods of time, which can lead to hearing loss.

"Protecting your hearing can be as simple as turning the music down and wearing ear plugs when mowing, attending concerts, working with machinery or engaged in other loud activities." .

The American Tinnitus Association estimates that 50 million Americans suffer from the condition. For most it's temporary, but for 12 million people it can disrupt their lives.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink


May 12, 2006, 6:43 AM CT

Protein May Detect Head And Neck Cancer

Protein May Detect Head And Neck Cancer
The blood of patients with head and neck cancer appears to have unique patterns of protein expression that one day could serve as a screening test for the highly aggressive cancer that is often diagnosed too late, scientists say.

Studies comparing protein expression in 78 patients with head and neck cancer to 68 healthy controls revealed numerous differences in protein expression, Medical College of Georgia scientists say.

"We found scores and scores of proteins that were differentially expressed," says Dr. Christine Gourin, MCG otolaryngologist specializing in head and neck cancer and the study's lead author. "We found there are at least eight proteins whose expression significantly differs between controls and people with cancer".

This protein fingerprint correctly classified study participants as cancer patients with a high degree of sensitivity and specificity - 82 percent and 76 percent, respectively, as per research reported in the current issue of Archives of Otolaryngology.

"If these results hold up over time, they would suggest that this would be a good screening test for at-risk people," Dr. Gourin says. "Right now there is no good, effective screening test for head and neck cancer short of physical examination. Unfortunately it takes the development of symptoms to warrant a visit to the doctor, such as a sore throat; ear, tongue or mouth pain; painful eating or swallowing; or a change in the voice. Sometimes the first sign is a lump in the neck which is already a sign of an advanced tumor that has spread to the lymph nodes".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 18, 2006, 11:56 PM CT

Speeding Up Cure For Ear Infections

Speeding Up Cure For Ear Infections
Fast tracking the healing process for common ear infections will be the focus of ground-breaking research by WA's Lions Ear and Hearing Institute (LEHI).

The research will aim to understand why some eardrums heal by themselves (and why some do not heal at all) by identifying which genes are responsible for the wound-healing process of an infected human ear drum.

As per the World Health Organisation, almost half of the world's population suffers from 'chronic otitis media' - more usually known as an ear infection - which causes hearing loss and can lead to more serious disorders such as meningitis.

Ear infections can occur when ear drums burst as a result of a loud explosion, trauma or most usually by infection spread by a common cold or sore throat.

LEHI's Senior Research Scientist Dr Reza Ghassemifar, said he was looking forward to starting the three-year research project after securing a $238,600 grant from the Garnett Passe and Rodney William Memorial Foundation.

"With this funding we can start our studies to understand how wounds in ear drums heal themselves by examining the cells and molecules in the replacement tissue," Dr Ghassemifar said.

"Through DNA or gene profiling of animal models we hope to learn which molecules are active as the ear drum heals and we will then target those to speed up the healing process."........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


April 9, 2006, 8:38 PM CT

Glasses That Hear

Glasses That Hear
Today a new hearing aid in the form of a pair of glasses was unveiled. These hearing-glasses are called 'Varibel' and offer older people the chance to stay active longer - free from the aesthetically unpleasing and technologically limited traditional hearing aids. Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands originally developed the hearing-glasses. Varibel developed these glasses into a consumer product in partnership with Philips, Frame Holland, the design agencies MMID and Verhoeven, and others.

Approximately 1,265,000 people in the Netherlands over the age of 60 are hearing impaired. Of these, half 22% (or around 275,000 people) use a hearing aid, but it is not always possible to hear others well if there is surrounding noise. A number of hearing aids intensify sounds from all directions. The result is that people hear noise, but not the people they are speaking to. Because people have such difficulty understanding what others are saying, a number of people - in spite of their hearing aid - have less social contact with others or must retire from their jobs earlier than desired. The hearing-glasses can provide a solution to this problem, say the experts and users who have tried and tested the Varibel.

The Varibel cannot be compared to traditional hearing aids. In each leg of the glass' frame there is a row of four tiny, interconnected microphones, which selectively intensify the sounds that come from the front, while dampening the surrounding noise. The result is a directional sensitivity of +8.2 dB. In comparison, regular hearing aids have a maximum sensitivity of +4 dB. With this solution, the user can separate the desired sounds from the undesired background noise. Dr. Cor Stengs, ENT specialist involved in the clinical tests, said of the Varibel: "Practical experience with the hearing-glasses supports the theoretical claims that the ability to understand speech is much better. There is a significant improvement in the sound quality."........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


February 27, 2006, 9:45 PM CT

Across the Resolution Gap

Across the Resolution Gap The hair cells of the inner ear (below) are what make hearing possible.
One out of a thousand children in the United States is born deaf; ten percent of all people living in industrialized nations suffer from severe hearing loss - 30 million in the U.S. alone. These are pressing clinical reasons to learn just how hearing works and why it fails.

"Hearing in humans is a remarkable faculty," says Manfred Auer of Berkeley Lab's Life Sciences Division. "It works over six orders of magnitude, from a whisper to the roar of a jet engine. If it were just a little more sensitive, we'd be able to hear the atoms colliding with our eardrums - in other words, our hearing is about as sensitive as we can stand without going crazy."

Hearing is also remarkable for its ability to adapt to constant loud noise yet still manage to pick out barely distinguishable sounds, "like being able to follow a single conversation across the room at a cocktail party, or hearing someone shout at you over the noise of a rock band," says Auer.

And humans can pinpoint the source of a sound to within less than a degree: one ear hears the sound slightly before the other, and the brain calculates the direction from the offset. But the difference in arrival times is less than a millionth of a second, a thousand times faster than most biochemical processes; thus hearing must depend on direct mechanical detection of sounds instantly translated into nerve signals.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink     


December 28, 2005

Elderly Recipients Of Cochlear Implants

Elderly Recipients Of Cochlear Implants
Among elderly patients with profound hearing loss, age at time of receipt of an electronic hearing device known as a cochlear implant does not predict subsequent hearing ability, as per a studyin the recent issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Among the 35 million people in the United States aged 65 and older, between 250,000 and 400,000 have severe to profound hearing loss. Psychological disturbances, social and emotional handicaps, and significant reductions in mental and physical functioning are known to be associated with advanced levels of hearing loss in elderly people, according to background information in the article. A question of growing importance is whether cochlear implantation can address these concerns for elderly patients. A cochlear implant is a small, complex electronic device that includes a microphone, a speech processor, a transmitter and receiver/stimulator, and electrodes. It is implanted and connected to the inner ear to help people with certain types of hearing loss to hear.

Janice Leung, A.B., and his colleagues at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Md., examined the performance of multichannel cochlear implant recipients in a large database of adult subjects. The scientists analyzed data on 749 adolescents and adults with profound hearing loss who underwent implantation at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and in two clinical trials at the Cochlear Corporation, Englewood, Colo., and Advanced Bionics, Sylmar, Calif. The authors used statistical modeling techniques to identify factors that predict outcomes after cochlear implantation. They examined the difference between baseline performance on monosyllabic word recognition, and performance within the first year of implantation.........

Sue      Permalink




Did you know?
Among elderly patients with profound hearing loss, age at time of receipt of an electronic hearing device known as a cochlear implant does not predict subsequent hearing ability, as per a studyin the recent issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

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