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Read the latest news, research updates and trends in audiology and hearing care. Post comments and share with your colleagues!

Friday, January 18, 2019

​A woman in China has been reported to have sudden-onset reverse-slope hearing loss (RSHL), a rare condition that results in an inability to hear low-pitch noises. Prior to the onset, this woman suffered from nausea and tinnitus the night before. When she woke up the following morning, she could not hear her boyfriend or the male patients at the hospital where she sought help. Her case drew attention to RSHL, also known as low-frequency hearing loss and considered a subtype of idiopathic sudden hearing loss. It shows up as the reverse of the ski-slope hearing loss on an audiogram, and affects 3,000 people in the United States and Canada combined (http://bit.ly/2sCWPTv). Genetic conditions, including Wolfram syndrome, Mondini dysplasia, and inheritance through a dominant gene, have all been identified as sources of RSHL. Diseases that affect hair cells such as sudden hearing loss, Ménière's disease, and viral infection and changes in the pressure of the endolymph have also been linked to RSHL. Research found that this type of hearing loss has a better prognosis than other types of hearing loss, and the 10-year prognosis can be predicted by the clinical course (initial therapy and hearing fluctuations) during the first year after onset (Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2010;142[4]:565).

Friday, January 11, 2019

An echoing cricket call was responsible for the sound in the released recording of persistent, high-pitched sound that American diplomats in Cuba heard during the sonic attack at the embassy in 2016, according to a new study (http://bit.ly/2M7klB0). Two scientists, Alexander Stubbs, a graduate student in integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Fernando Montealegre-Zapata, PhD, a professor of sensory biology at the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom, studied a recording of said sound published by the Associated Press and compared it with field recordings of North American insects. They found that the calling song of the Indies short-tailed cricket matches, in nuanced detail, the AP recording in duration, pulse repetition rate, power spectrum, pulse rate stability, and oscillations per pulse. They also discovered that the AP recording exhibits frequency decay in individual pulses, which is a distinct acoustic signature of cricket sound production. This finding disproves the popular theory that the sound that the American diplomats reported hearing was generated by a sonic weapon. The study authors therefore concluded that more rigorous research is needed to identify the source of the ailments that the American diplomats experienced. 

Friday, January 4, 2019

​Eargo (https://eargo.com/) has received awards from Comparably in the categories of Overall Best Companies, 50 Best CEOs, and Best Companies for Women for small to mid-sized companies. Winners of the Overall Best Companies were determined based on a series of workplace culture questions employees were asked about work-life balance, compensation, and future outlook of the business. The answers to each question were given a numerical, and the final data set was compiled from almost 10 million ratings across 50,000 U.S. companies on Comparably.com. Winners of the Best CEOs 2018 were chosen based on how employees rated their CEO, and the Best Companies for Women winners were determined based on 50 questions female employees were asked. Jason Nazar, CEO of Comparably, said winning their Best Company Culture award is an exceptional achievement. "These employers received the highest ratings from their teams across every facet of work, from leadership and office environment to compensation and company outlook," he said.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Hearing loss is linked to an increased risk of mortality for those under 75 years old, but a family and a well-hearing partner can mitigate that risk, according to a new study (Soc Sci Med. 2019 Jan;220:219-225. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.11.022. Epub 2018 Nov 13). Researchers from the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health analyzed data from 50,462 adults over the age of 20 who were enrolled in the Nord-Trøndelag Hearing Loss Study from 1996 to 1998 and collected their data on marital status and number of children from the National Population Registry. They found that hearing loss was associated with an increased risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, particularly for those below 75 years of age, but the association was weaker when adjusting for family status and whether one has children. The mortality risk was highest in divorced or separated and never married subjects, and there was an increased mortality risk due to hearing loss among those who were childless, especially women. There was a trend for a lower mortality related to hearing loss in subjects with a well-hearing partner.

Vegard Skirbekk, PhD, one of the study authors, a faculty member at the Columbia Aging Center, and a professor of population and family health at the Mailman School of Public Health, said it is well known that rapid population-level aging is likely to result in a greater prevalence of hearing impairment and that hearing loss can raise mortality risks, but there has not yet been much focus on how these effects relate to ongoing changes in family dynamics. "When governments develop plans to lower the incidence of hearing impairment, they may want to consider the family dimension when designing intervention and social and health support systems," he said. 

Friday, December 21, 2018

​InnerScope Hearing Technologies (https://www.innd.com/) has added two major online retailers, Newegg.com and Wish.com, to its direct-to-consumer (DTC) distribution channels. This move comes after InnerScope made its FDA-registered hearing aids and PSAPs available on Amazon.com and Walmart.com, and it's set to expand InnerScope's e-commerce DTC global market reach to 1.2 billion people with hearing loss, according to the company. Matthew Moore, the CEO of InnerScope, said adding Newegg.com and Wish.com will not only increase sales but also add visibility to InnerScope's brand. "We know the over 500 million shoppers in over 50 countries we reach through Newegg.com and Wish.com will now be able to purchase InnerScope's affordable high-quality hearing aids," he said. InnerScope's products are also available in the company's online stores at www.NoHassleHearing.com, www.FSAHearingaid.com, www.HSAHearingAid.com, www.hearingbenefit.com, and www.tryhearingboost.com.