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Entries in hearing research (5)


Researchers were able to eliminate tinnitus in rats

An article in Nature reported that researchers were able to eliminate tinnitus (noise in the ears) by stimulating the vagus nerve in a group of rats. The brain can change in response to loud sounds which causes irregular nerve activity. This is thought to cause tinnitus. Researchers paired tones and pulses of vagus nerve stimulation, which eliminated the tinnitus in rats exposed to noise. A clinical trial in humans is due to begin in the next few months. Vagus nerve stimulation is currently used in humans to treat epilepsy and depression.


Study suggests one in five American teenagers has hearing loss

A recent study entitled Change in Prevalence of Hearing Loss in US Adolescents in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that one in five American teenagers has hearing loss, which is an increase of 31% since the mid 1990s. Most hearing loss was minimal only affecting one ear or the high frequency sounds only. Joseph Shargorodsky, the study author, did not find a reason why the rate of hearing loss has grown. This study demonstrates the great need to protect our children's hearing from any source of loud noise.


Chance of hearing loss depends on when you were born?

There was a recent study entitled, "Generational Differences in the Prevalence of Hearing Impairment in Older Adults," conducted at the University of Wisconsin—Madison regarding hearing loss with aging. The results are published in the American Journal of Epidemiology (2010;171:260-266). Data was collected from 1993 to 2008. The study included 3753 adults (Ages 48-92) in the town of Beaver Dam, WI. The study found that for every five years later that people in the study were born, the chances that they would have a hearing loss decreased by 13% in men and 6% in women. If hearing loss were purely a genetic normal part of aging, the authors stated that you wouldn't see this quick change in prevalence data. Possible reasons for the trend include a shift over time from blue collar to white collar jobs, a reduction in smoking, lower cholesterol levels and improved access to health care.