This week in Audicus blogs, find out about the latest news when it comes to topics including hearing aids and hearing loss!
The year 2016 has brought many discoveries in terms of hearing loss prevention and the benefits of new hearing aids. Current developments in hearing health news include:
Hearing Loss and Autism
Scientists from the University of Rochester Medical Center have found that children with Autism may have a certain inner ear deficiency, and screening for this deficiency could help to identify individuals with Autism in early development. This inner ear deficiency can negatively affect the ability of children to comprehend speech, a common symptom of people with Autism.
The researchers measured otoacoustic emissions in children with Autism. In other words, they were able to monitor if a child’s ear was having trouble processing sounds by using miniature speakers and microphone earplugs. Inner ear deficiencies were detected by analyzing the otoacoustic emission profile.
This research allows for a non-invasive, quick, effective and safe way to screen for Autism in children. Identifying Autism via screening for inner ear deficiencies can allow doctors to diagnose Autism at earlier ages in children and, as a result, create more effective treatment.
Hearing Loss May Be Reversible
Although previous research has expressed that human hearing loss is irreversible, new studies have pointed to therapeutic tools that can help people to regenerate the hair cells necessary for hearing.
Frequency Therapeutics, a start-up in Farmington, Connecticut, is currently developing new methods to create hair cells using what’s called a notch inhibitor.
Previous research in 2013 found that inhibiting the notch protein is what allows many animals like fish and birds to reverse their hearing in nature, and when human cells are subjected to notch inhibition, hair cells can form.
Although it isn’t certain when medication for curing hearing loss can be released to the public, it is apparent that this promising research is a valuable new prospect in treating hearing loss in deaf and hearing-impaired individuals.
Caffeine and Hearing Loss Recovery
A new study from the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that a cup of coffee can actually make it harder to recover from temporary, noise-induced hearing loss.
This comes as an unpleasant surprise, seeing as coffee is such a common morning beverage. For people that have gone to loud music concerts the night before, coffee could inhibit the 72 hour healing process that occurs after incurring hearing damage from such concerts.
Researchers divided 24 guinea pigs evenly into groups of 3. The first group was given caffeine, the second group was given acoustic stimulation and the third group was given both.
Although all of the groups that were exposed to acoustic overstimulation experienced hearing loss the next day, only the group that did not receive caffeine fully recovered 8 days later. The group that was given both acoustic overstimulation and caffeine did not fully recover hearing 8 days later.
Although the exact mechanism behind caffeine-induced recovery prevention is not fully understood, this study sheds light on how even common household items can play a role in causing hearing loss.
By: Aaron Rodriques