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2017 National Mature Media Award WINNER
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Thursday, April 30, 2015

New Innovations for Treating Hearing Loss



  • About a third of 65 year olds consider themselves hearing impaired
  • Seventeen percent of Americans have irreversible hearing loss to some degree.
  • Of the 35 million Americans with hearing impairment, more than a half of them do not use hearing aids.
  • It is estimated that 30 school children per 1,000 have a hearing loss
  • 30 minutes on the New York City subway can damage hearing because the noise levels from the trains reach as high as 106 decibels
Hearing is one of our five sensory organs which include sight, touch, taste and smell. Unfortunately, the loss of hearing can trigger isolation and depression because it limits interactivity.  Fortunately, in addition to scientific research and advances, the option of using sign language, developed in the 1600's, remains a universal tool for communication. Similar to the spoken language, in every country the sign language varies and so it is different all over the world. It is also used by people who can hear but cannot speak. 
Those of us who can hear and take it for granted may not realize all the ways that hearing engages and enriches our daily life. 

  • It facilitates communication at home, at work and socially.
  • It enables us to enjoy simple pleasures such as watching television, going to the movies, attending concerts or just talking on the phone with family and friends
  • It is an important sensory mechanism to have for emergency alerts such as car horns, fire drills so it can keep us safe.
Since there is such a large population of people suffering from hearing loss and it is a chronic condition that is ongoing especially in an aging population, scientists are actively working to provide solutions:
  • The most common cause of hearing loss is from the tiny hair cells (actually small cells with protein-filled protrusions) that lie inside our ear. We have about 30,000 hair cells that are responsible for transforming sound waves into nerve impulses for delivery to the brain. Scientists have established that they can now regenerate these cells in mammals and this repair will be able to significantly enhance hearing for many people.
  • 3D printing is a technology that has made remarkable progress in a very short time. Now scientists at Princeton University are combining "bio-printed organic materials" and electronics, to create an ear that can hear things beyond the range of a human ear. When it becomes available,  the bionic ear would function like a hearing aid.
  •   ReSound Linx is designed to work with an iphone, ipad or the android smart phone as well as the Apple watch. So it can wirelessly stream sound to your hearing aid that will also function as stereo headphones. As a feature of connectivity with your Apple device, you can also chat on facetime and enjoy the ability to hear the sound component. There are also benefits using this device without wireless technology such as situations where there is disturbing noise or whistling sounds.
  • With medical advances and the continuous technological research, those who are deaf may have new communication options to stay connected to the outside world. And with sign language, there will always be a way of learning and responding to what is being expressed.
  • In addition, with the wide spread use of texting on cellphones, hearing loss is not a disadvantage. The smart mobile phone has made it possible to engage with everyone else like everyone else. In this way, current universal technology has been a boon to the hard of hearing.    

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart.
-Helen Keller

“I just had a patient with two new cochlear implants; she was so grateful that she could distinguish the honks of individual geese as they flew overhead. That makes me realize: We often take our senses for granted, and it gives me a great appreciation for the importance of restoring hearing if we can.”
-Dr. Samuel Gubbels

1 comment:

  1. This is a great post. Thanks for your wonderful article! I think this is valuable and useful to us.

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