SCHOOLS HARBOR ANNOYING NOISES
What is more irksome than the screech of fingernails across a chalkboard? Or the grind of a pencil sharpener by someone trying to get the finest point? A long list of irritant noise originates in education, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The clatter and chatter in the cafeteria is one; so is the whir of tools in wood shop. As any parent of a budding drummer or young clarinet player might guess, band class lasting longer than two hours daily can pose a bit of a risk for hearing health. Not to mention sanity.
About Hearing Loss, http://1.usa.gov/wxiMdY.
HOLIDAY DOLLS WITH SOMETHING EXTRA
Wild-haired rag dolls were all the rage this past holiday for little girls who wanted to style the wiry locks according to their own sense of whimsy. Crushing crowds of moms and dads bent on buying Lalaloopsy Silly Hair dolls made them a sell-out in some places. No word on whether this accounted for an uptick in orders of toy hearing aids, but Lakeshore Learning reported brisk sales of the make-believe assistive technology for dolls in need of help with hearing as well as hairstyling.
Top 10 Toys, http://ti.me/xA07S1.
SELF-SUCTION OF EAR WAX
The battle against accumulation of ear wax can be partly cured by putting bulb syringes in the hands of patients, according to British researchers. The study team found these to be good devices for self-clearance of waxy build-up, cutting down on medical visits for cerumen removal. Some audiologists don't support such homestyle wax extraction because it may mean insertion of a tube into the canal. But they concur the squirt-and-suck action is no problem, and agree unclogged ears are a really good thing.
Randomized Trial of Bulb Syringes for Earwax: Impact on Health Service Utilization, Ann Fam Med 2011;9(2):110.
DEAF DOGS LEARN LESSONS
Those adept at sign language may be the perfect owners for sometimes hard-to-adopt deaf dogs. But there can be drawbacks to communicating with a canine who uses eyes instead of ears, namely what one blogger calls “inadvertent training.” This is a reference to a dog learning to “do something weird” by watching a human habitual gesture that isn't signing at all, but a personal mannerism, which then becomes linked with an action. So if you respond to music by movin' and groovin' to the beat, expect your pooch to learn that cue, doggedly dancing right along with you.
MOVE OVER ASTROLOGY BUFFS
Eyes have been called the window to the soul. It turns out that ear shapes offer the same view of personality, or so says the “Physiognomy Face Reading Dictionary,” which purports to offer a way to assess character by ear morphology. Small ears convey sensitivity; bent ears signal high intelligence, says this source. But beware of swollen ears! They indicate thoughtlessness. No further explanation is offered.
MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL
Ears are making celebrity news, or vice versa. It turns out those ever-enlightening celeb-sites have made extraordinary effort to find stars with the prettiest ears (Catherine Zeta-Jones, Halle Berry), to ferret out film dialogue acclaiming outer-ear beauty (“Erin Brockovich,” in which the title character is complimented on hers, a pair that belongs to Julia Roberts), and to determine which actresses, sadly, have less-than-lovely ones (the late Elizabeth Taylor). No wonder relative newcomer Selena Gomez, a pop-singing beauty and girlfriend of Justin Bieber, is insecure about … well, you guessed it. She confesses she now hides them behind a thicket of hair, presumably keeping them critique-proof.
LET ME COUNT THE WAYS
If you think too much is being made of the shape, size, and appearance of ears, just take a look at a video making rounds on the Internet in which the lauded poet Joseph Millar celebrates these structures as “delicate wings,” and a truly under-recognized source of wonder. He says so in a heartfelt composition entitled — what else? — “Ode to the Ear.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2M6V0O7Stg0
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