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FIREBALL $900 FOR JANUARY 10, 2017.

 


 

Friday
Mar242017

Shape of inner ear helps predict hearing loss for children with rare disorder

Findings could provide predictor for degree of hearing loss in children with enlarged vestibular aqueduct

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- It may be possible to predict the severity of hearing loss for children diagnosed with enlarged vestibular aqueduct, according to a new study published in JAMA-Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. This retrospective chart review, authored by physicians and researchers within the University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Enlarged Vestibular Aqueduct (EVA) Research Project, is one of the first such studies to find a direct connection between the increasing width of the vestibular aqueduct and the degree of hearing loss a child experiences over time.

"There is still much to learn about the true causes and impacts of EVA," says Mustafa Ascha, MS, first author of the study and a researcher within the UH Rainbow Department of Otolaryngology. "The hope is that these findings will help parents of young children with EVA, and their physicians, better understand what lies ahead for their child's hearing and speech based on the severity of that child's malformation."

The study analyzed the medical records of 52 children diagnosed with EVA from the UH Rainbow Department of Otolaryngology, selecting records with both a computerized tomography (CT) scan for diagnosis and a median of five sets of audiogram test data to measure speech reception threshold, or the minimum intensity of decibels at which a patient can recognize half of spoken words, and the percent of words the patient recognized. The longitudinal models used in the study are common in social sciences such as economics or sociology, but applications in biomedical research are still gaining traction.  Continue reading

Source: EurekAlert , March 23, 2017

Thursday
Mar232017

Brain 'rewires' itself to enhance other senses in blind people

The brains of those who are born blind make new connections in the absence of visual information, resulting in enhanced, compensatory abilities such as a heightened sense of hearing, smell and touch, as well as cognitive functions (such as memory and language) according to a new study led by Massachusetts Eye and Ear researchers. The report, published online today in PLOS One, describes for the first time the combined structural, functional and anatomical changes in the brain evident in those born with blindness that are not present in normally sighted people.

"Our results demonstrate that the structural and functional neuroplastic brain changes occurring as a result of early ocular blindness may be more widespread than initially thought," said lead author Corinna M. Bauer, Ph.D., a scientist at Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear and an instructor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. "We observed significant changes not only in the occipital cortex (where vision is processed), but also areas implicated in memory, language processing, and sensory motor functions." Continue reading

Source: ScienceDaily , March 22, 2017

Wednesday
Mar222017

'Instrument flight' to the inner ear

RCI drill trajectory across the mastoid bone.A team of surgeons and engineers of Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, and the ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research, University of Bern, have developed a high-precision surgical robot for cochlear implantation. On 15 March they report on their first successful Robotic Cochlear Implantation (RCI) in Science Robotics.

To embed an electronic cochlear implant device into the ear of a deaf patient, the surgeon has to create a precise access from behind the ear, through the skull bone all the way into the inner ear. The implant electrode that bridges the damaged part of the inner ear to allow the patient to hear again is then carefully inserted into the cochlea through the access in the bone. Currently this procedure is carried out manually and the ear, nose and throat surgeon directly views the access into the cochlea through the opening in the skull bone.

The aim of the Bernese research project was to investigate robotic cochlear implantation technology that could lead to a novel implantation procedure with improved hearing outcomes for CI patients. The researchers found that the use of surgical planning software and a robotic drill process could allow access to the cochlea through a tunnel of approximately 2.5 mm in diameter in a straight line from behind the ear. However, the size and scale of such a robotic procedure mean that the robot carries out the drilling procedure without the need for direct, manual operation by the surgeon. Continue reading

Source: ScienceDaily , March 15, 2017 (retrieved March 22, 2017)

Tuesday
Mar212017

New program improves hearing aid use for older adults

MU researcher develops program to help patients adjust to hearing aids, might lead to app March 20, 2017

More than half of older adults have some form of hearing loss, impacting everyday life and significantly affecting their health and safety if left untreated. Hearing aids are the most common treatment for hearing loss; however, many adults fail to adjust to hearing aids and, as a result, stop using them. Now, a new hearing aid adjustment program created by Kari Lane, assistant professor in the Sinclair School of Nursing at the University of Missouri, might significantly improve hearing aid wear time among older adults.

"Often, when older adults start using a hearing aid, everything is overwhelming," Lane said. "They can't tolerate the noise, or they can't adjust to it. Older adults tend to wait 10 to 15 years before trying a hearing aid for the first time. When they do put it on, they are bombarded with sounds they haven't heard in a while."  

To help adults adjust to hearing aid use, Lane developed the Hearing Aid Reintroduction (HEAR) program. HEAR is a systematically gradual method to support adjustment to hearing aids. With HEAR intervention, the duration of hearing aid use increases slowly from one hour on day one to 10 hours on day 30. In addition, sound complexity also increases, beginning with sounds the house makes such as fans and the dishwasher to complex listening situations such as a restaurant or theater. The intervention currently is supported through a workbook that provides instructions, tips and encouragement. Patients are able to record their progress in a journal as well as questions or concerns for their audiologist.

To test the success of the HEAR intervention, Lane enlisted individuals who have previously tried hearing aids but failed to adjust and those who were trying hearing aids for the first time. Continue reading

Source: EurekAlert , March 20, 2017

Monday
Mar202017

58 million Americans are exposed to loud, frequent noises, including firearms, at work and home

Study finds substantial noise exposures, with potentially serious long-term hearing health consequences, frequently occur in occupational and recreational settings

Boston, MA -- Loud noise exposure is a common environmental hazard in the United States that can lead to hearing loss and other conditions such as sleep disturbance, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In a study published today in The Laryngoscope, Brigham and Women's Hospital researchers found that substantial noise exposures, with potential long-term hearing effects, commonly occur in occupational and recreational settings and only a small percentage of those exposed are consistently wearing recommended hearing protection. Additionally, the study found that for the almost 35 million Americans who use firearms, only 58 percent use hearing protection.

Through a cross-sectional analysis, researchers analyzed data from the 2014 National Health Interview Series hearing survey module. The survey included 240 million Americans, and collected data regarding potentially harmful exposures to occupational and recreational noises in the past year, along with patterns of hearing protection.

Researchers report that almost 22 percent of those surveyed were exposed to very loud sounds at work for at least four hours a day, several days a week, and 38 percent of people who were exposed never used hearing protection. The data also show that 21 percent of those surveyed experienced very loud noise exposures in the past year in both leisure and recreational settings, and that 62 percent of people exposed to loud or very loud sounds during these activities did not use any hearing protection. Continue reading

Source: EurekAlert , March 16, 2017