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Hear and There

On Shakespeare, Earworms, and Other Tidbits in Hearing Healthcare

Scheck, Anne

doi: 10.1097/01.HJ.0000427557.02475.0d
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All Ears for Shakespeare

William Shakespeare. ©

Have you ever wondered what esteemed author frequently invoked the ear to make his point? No, you probably haven't. But in case you would like to know, 'tis the Bard of Avon himself, William Shakespeare. His characters include one famed speaker who asks friends and countrymen to lend him their ears, another who advises a fellow character to give every man his ear but few his voice, and an observation that “life is as tedious as a twice-told tale vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man,” among many more such ear-related references. In fact, the ear is so important in Shakespearean works that a researcher at one of England's universities wrote a treatise on it:

For The Audiologist Who has Everything

Chalk this up to inspiration: To provide the perfect gift for a wife's graduation from a doctoral program in audiology, her spouse invented a cookie cutter in the shape of … an ear! It is a model for anyone who wants to celebrate such milestones with a baking tool designed to create such treats. But where's the otoscope cake mold? See the cookie cutter here:

A Funny Bone in Hearing Difficulty

© Doyle

In the feature Carl's Life, cartoonist Cory Graham takes a lighter look at hearing difficulty. In one cartoon, a character is offered a more affordable alternative to a hearing aid—a wire dangling from his ear to a plastic box—in the hopes that people will assume it's a listening device and talk louder when he's around. In another, the character is disappointed to find out a hearing aid isn't in fact necessary, and still requests a spouse-filtering device:

Ear Invasions that Really Bug People

Various myth-busting doctors, from entomologists to specialists in tropical medicine, have finally laid to rest the legend of earwigs making the inner ear a home, then boring into human brains. But now reports of other ear-inhabiting bugs have begun popping up, with accounts of insects crawling into the ear canal in search of a snug, warm place. A woman in China suffered for five days with a spider in her ear, which could plainly be seen peering out when physicians examined her. They poured salt water in, forcing the arachnid to search for drier digs, which meant exiting to the outer ear, where the hairy little creature was finally bagged:

And Speaking of Earworms …

© Arcurs

Is there anything more aggravating than getting a tune stuck in your head? Not according to many of those who provided possible cures to the BBC, which apparently does not want to impart such pesky “earworms” to its listeners. Those who contacted the BBC suggested everything from wearing earmuffs to belting out the Tina Turner hit “Simply the Best” as an intervention. One recommendation was to completely avoid songs known to reverberate in the head. “Most of the undesired earworms I experience are nonclassical pop tunes,” advised the respondent. This means eschewing elevators, certain amusement park rides, and waiting rooms. So listen up when selecting music to play at your practices:

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