EAR PLUGS AS RIOT GEAR
Journalists who infiltrated the crowds of Occupy Wall Street were advised to wear protective helmets and comfortable shoes for running, but perhaps the most surprising advice was to wear ear plugs. Journalists are supposed to hear what is going on, but blasts from sound cannons can cause an earful, and ear plugs help neutralize this sound. It is not known if this prevented temporary hearing loss during the weeks of occupation. One recommendation proved helpful: Stand upwind from tear gas whenever possible. (Harper's Magazine, Feb. 12, 2012.)
ACCENTUATING THE POSITIVE
English spoken with a foreign accent is not that difficult for adults to understand, according to findings presented at the Acoustical Society of America meeting. So why is it a common excuse for failure among college students with foreign professors? Reading the class text, which invariably is in English, emailing questions to the professor for accent-free replies, and keeping in mind that the professor is likely to have a degree from an American university, are ways to overcome this challenge, according to USA Today. (See FastLinks.)
HUMOROUS LOOK FOR VISUAL LEARNERS
Would you like to see a topical, engaging show without the typical chitchat? If you think that formula went away with The MacNeil/Lehrer Report, perhaps you have missed performances by Keith Wann who uses sign language to turn current events into comedy for hearing impaired audiences. His website offers examples of his work, with the warning “prepare to laugh your ASL off.” (See FastLinks.)
SILENCE IS NOT GOLDEN
Who needs entertainment to include sound? Not the Oscar-winning movie The Artist, which won an Academy Award for best picture in 2011, charming audiences almost wordlessly. Some filmgoers, however, did not enjoy the movie. United States and British theater patrons demanded ticket refunds based on the sounds of silence. (The Telegraph Jan. 17, 2012 [see FastLinks.])
A THUMP BEATS A LAUGH
Some people think noise is a constant distraction, but it can also be a thing of beauty. Which of the following has been deemed the most beautiful noise in the world: a baby's laugh or the sound of a kiss? It turns out both are high on the list. An informal poll by Yahoo, however, revealed that the most beautiful sound can be heard with a stethoscope — the sound of a beating heart.
SLEEPING IN YOUR HAPPY PLACE
Bedtime can cause anxiety for people with tinnitus. The characteristic ringing in the ears can wreak havoc during sleep. Intrepid researchers from St. Mary's Hospital in London determined what works best to induce sleep. The sounds of flowing brooks and singing birds help lull many tinnitus sufferers into dreamland. Most of the people tested said it was due to a pleasant emotional quality, not the actual sounds of water and chirping, that drowned out the tinnitus. It seems white noise is out, and a whole new kind of country music is in. (See FastLinks.)
* Read the USA Today article about students with foreign professors at http://usat.ly/USAtodayAccent.
* Visit Keith Wann's website at http://bit.ly/Keithwann.
* Read more about The Artist at http://tgr.ph/TelegraphArtist.
* View the abstract from St. Mary's sleep study at http://1.usa.gov/PubMedTinnitus.
* Check out HJ’s R&D Blog at http://bit.ly/HJblogRD.
* Click and Connect! Access the links in The Hearing Journal by reading this issue on thehearingjournal.com.
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