This week we saw some interesting headlines in the world of hearing loss and hearing aids. From hearing devices aided by the tongue, to a link between hearing loss and cardiovascular disease, we bring you the latest hearing loss news.

Hearing aids… and tongues?

Can you teach a tongue to hear? That’s what a team of engineers at Colorado State University are trying to figure out. John Williams, a professor of Mechanical Engineering at the university, developed tinnitus from years of working in close proximity to powerful vacuums used to simulate space. The idea for a tongue-aided hearing device came to him after researching cochlear implants.

Not every person with hearing loss is a candidate for such implants, and a hearing aid that uses the tongue would enable people to avoid a lot of costly tests and risky surgeries. Until the technology has been perfected, traditional affordable hearing aids for all types of hearing loss can be found here.

Hearing Test: A Fun Experiment in How Sounds Affect Taste!

Make sure your hearing aids are in, and try this fun taste test; all you will need is a cup of coffee! Professor Charles Spence has been experimenting with how different sounds and colors may actually affect the taste of your food (and has finally cracked the code on why airplane food is so horrible)! Have fun with a few of the other examples from the video and let us know if you experience a difference in flavor in the comments!

How Hearing Loss Can Clue You in on Other Aspects of Your Health

A new study shows that hearing loss may be an early sign of cardiovascular disease in otherwise healthy people. “Changes in the walls of the carotid artery, which runs between the head and neck,” could “potentially reduce the flow of blood and sound amplification in the cochlea, or inner ear” according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin.  Impaired hearing was also found to be twice as common in men as in women.

A Solution to a Common Antibiotic That Causes Hearing Loss

One of the most commonly used classes of antibiotics, aminoglycosides, which can be lifesaving, also cause significant hearing loss in 20 to 60 percent of all patients who receive the drug. According to new research from Stanford University, progress has been made on a modified version that works in mice without causing kidney damage or hearing loss.

Communicating Expertly with Hearing Aids

As the co-founder of a successful advertising agency, Geoff Akins deals with his profound hearing loss every day in both his personal and professional life.  In a recent article he talks about how his hearing impairment “makes [him] uniquely skilled at some things.” Those things include picking up on clients’ subtle shifts in body language and attitude.  A study done at UC Davis, revealed that this trait is common among other hearing impaired individuals.  According to the study, “deaf people were about 100 milliseconds faster at recognizing non-language gestures than were hearing people.” It’s important to keep in mind all the different ways that we as people communicate with one another!

by Becca Blasdel