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Current Events in Hearing Loss: Cat Communication and Acupuncture

Current Events regarding Hearing Loss: how animals understand sign language, and the possible effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment.

Cat Communication: More Than ‘Meow’ and ‘No! THAT’S not your litter box!’

Humans have been teaching dogs to recognize commands, words, and even actions for years. Dogs that suffer from hearing loss have even learned American Sign Language. But for cat lover Kim Silva, dogs are only the beginning. Communicating with our pets, training a dog to sit or a cat to use the litterbox, may be a priority for animal lovers and owners. According to the Huffington Post, Silva has effectively trained her cat to recognize American Sign Language.

Kim Silva and her husband are both deaf. Kim used to teach at the American School for the Deaf and thus has proficiency in the language as well as how to teach it. Nonetheless, communicating with an animal can be challenging, if not only unconventional, but proved necessary when Kim Silva adopted a deaf cat. Silva was able to teach her cats to sit up, stay, come, shake hands, and even dance. By using these commands in sign language Silva has developed a keen understanding of her cat’s hearing loss which provides wonderful insight into how owners can develop a relationship with their pets, be they feline or canine. Deaf dogs have learned American Sign Language for while, comparatively, but now that cats can also learn ASL, animal lovers may have the opportunity to communicate with their pets regardless of the species.

Acupuncture and Hearing Loss

Ever have back pain? Charlie horse? Stress through the roof? The Chinese practice of acupuncture seems to effectively treat nerve related deafness according to studies published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine.

Acupuncture is the practice of stimulation and relief using thin acupuncture needles at certain designated points on the skin. Acupuncture along with medication can “significantly improve the hearing of patients with nerve deafness” according to Yeong Jiang, amongst other researchers. Jiang includes that the addition of acupuncture to medicine “is superior to medication alone.”

Medical treatments such as vitamin therapies, cochlear implants, and steroids can now how an upper hand with the addition of acupuncture and herbal medicines found in Traditional Chinese Medicine, according to the published research.

The research also implores a need for further study into how acupuncture effects patients in the long and short-term. The publications also used small sample sizes for each trial. Still, the efficacious nature of the study yielded positive results just above 90%, perhaps making this study one worth further investigation.

By: Michael Strauss

Sources: Health CMI

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