Anyone who has walked into their kitchen at night will have heard it - a series of strange pops and cracks emanating from the refrigerator. The source of these loud knocks and groans has baffled manufacturers, who have sought fruitlessly to solve the problem. But now scientists claim to have identified the source of the mysterious noises. Using specialised sensors they found that the noises occur due to the contraction and expansion of the fridge components and panels as they change temperature.
Following are a selection of interesting news items from our field. This section will be updated on a continuous basis so check back often in between issues, to see what is new.
Results of a new study provide further evidence that tinnitus combined with high-frequency hearing loss may represent an important safety hazard to workers, especially in noisy environments
Brazilian Ministry of Health Decree 2.776 of December 18, 2014, has established new standards for the surgical treatment of deafness through the Sistema Único de Saúde, the country's publicly funded health system.
Auditory Brainstem Implant: Hearing Experts Break Sound Barrier for Children Born Without Hearing Nerve
Medical researchers are breaking sound barriers for children born without a hearing nerve. Hearing loss manifests in various forms, most of which can be partially restored through hearing aids and cochlear implants. Those devices cannot help a small population of individuals who do not have a cochlear, or hearing, nerve -- these people are unable to perceive sound, no matter how loud, outside of feeling vibration. The ABI is considered revolutionary because it stimulates neurons directly at the human brainstem, bypassing the inner ear entirely.
A new device from Imperial College London may be able to one day help people with balance disorders. Similar to how a cochlear implant can restore a person’s hearing, this tiny inner ear implant “senses linear and radial acceleration in three dimensions and transforms the information into a signal that the brain can interpret”.
Dr. Georgina Peacock, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician with the Division of Human Development and Disability at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention in the U.S., is concerned about the lack of follow-up for infants who fail their hearing screening: more than one-third of newborns who do not pass the test receive no documented follow-up. The CDC's Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program supports the 1-3-6 approach to ensure that children get access to the services they need as early as possible. Listen to Peacock’s pledge here and learn more about Canada’s EHDI programs here.
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig have found that older adults’ ability to hear in background noise is impacted by alpha waves in the brain. In their study, which was led by Malte Wöstmann, participants who were better able to adapt their alpha waves to the acoustic quality of the speech they were listening to found it easier to hear in background noise.
The eastern U.S. is louder than the West, according to a sound map created by the National Park Service that uses computer algorithms to assess the loudness of a summer day across the country. The map, released Monday during the American Association for the Advancement of Science's annual meeting, includes natural as well as man-made sounds and could be useful to urban planners, biologists and the Park Service itself as it works to preserve "natural quiet." A second version of the map shows the U.S. soundscape without human sounds, with the West still quieter than the East.
Among dying hospice patients, hearing problems are often overlooked, but shouldn't be, experts say. Families and physicians frequently mistake hearing loss for dementia among the elderly and terminally ill, said Barbara Weinstein, a professor of audiology at the City University of New York. The Institute of Medicine's recent report, Dying in America, outlined core components of quality end-of-life care, many of which are tied to patients' ability to listen and communicate: patient counseling; distress management; attention to social, cultural and religious needs and assessment of physical and emotional well-being.
Although I listened to the radio, I've always struggled with it. The best I can explain it — not fully understanding what hearing people actually hear — is that it's like listening to a distant foreign station in the old days, maybe transmitting weakly from Cuba. You have to turn the volume up LOUD before you can hear it very well.