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Research

Research

There Is an App for That Too!

Smartphone applications have been developed for numerous audiologic/otologic purposes. These functions include, but are not limited to pocketalker/amplifier, remote control/multimedia function for hearing aid interface, hearing screener, sound-level meter, and otoscope.  What’s left?  Tuning fork, of course. 

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Innovative Speech Decoding Technology Gets National Spotlight

Recently, Jon Hamilton of NPR’s All Things Considered interviewed Dr. Edward Chang, one of the neurosurgeons and investigators involved in a study focused on decoding cortical activity into spoken words.

Currently, those who cannot produce speech rely upon technology that allows them to use eye gaze to produce synthesized speech one letter at a time. While this gives those who otherwise could not speak a voice, it is considerably slower than natural speech production.  

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Cheetahs Always Prosper, Thanks to Their Remarkable Vestibular System

Cheetahs hold the record for being the fastest land animal and are a top predator in their habitat. Watching a cheetah on a run-down is awe-inspiring, and with new high-speed cameras capturing every second, even more so. 

They can turn on a dime all while keeping their eyes focused on their prey and not miss a beat. What makes them so good? Turns out, in comparison to other felines, cheetahs have significantly larger vestibular structures, with a greater volume of the inner ear devoted to the vestibular structures.

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How We Make Decisions

The world is full of difficult decisions and our orientation in space may actually affect our ability to make them. Additionally, trying to make critical decisions in zero gravity may be even more challenging. 

A recent article highlights ongoing research regarding decision-making abilities while subjects experience altered gravitation situations. The information gained from these studies is important as longer duration space exploration occurs and the necessity to make the right decision in high stakes situations is critical to astronauts’ survival.

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Are There Mental Health Benefits to Being a Mentor?

Could being a mentor help alleviate some of your work stress? According to a study recently reviewed in the Harvard Business Review, the answer is potentially “yes.” 

Gil et al (2018) compared survey data collected from police officers paired in a mentoring relationship to that of paired officers who were not selected into the mentoring program (via random selection). A subset of the officers in the mentoring program also completed semi-structured interviews, where they were asked about their jobs and the mentoring experience.

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Shocking Tinnitus Treatment Approaches

A number of attempts are underway to use neural stimulation to modulate tinnitus perception, including sound stimulation paired with somatosensory stimulation. The effectiveness of these treatments has been variable. It is well described in the literature that cochlear implants can often provide some level of tinnitus suppression, when the implant is being utilized. However, the invasiveness of the procedure and risk for further damage to the cochlea, make its application for tinnitus management alone currently implausible.

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Don’t Like Mosquito Bites? Shut Up!

Prevailing dogma is that…to hear in the far field, an animal needs an eardrum that registers changes in pressure. It would then follow that insects such as the mosquito could not hear over any distance because their hearing happens through detecting particle velocity via antennae. That is right. Mosquitos and other insects hear when the movement of air particles moves their antenna, firing neurons connected to the root of the antennae.

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Biomarkers in Blood May Identify Noise-Induced Trauma

Have you ever wondered if there may be a way to identify noise-induced damage before hearing loss occurs?

If so, you may want to check out this study by Parham and colleagues (2018). In 2018, these researchers studied the levels of prestin (a protein found specifically in outer hair cells) in the blood of mice after being exposed to noise. This study revealed that the levels of prestin rose sharply when outer hair cells were damaged and start to die. The authors discuss the implications of these findings and next steps for studying the phenomena in humans.

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Are We Breaking the World’s Most Powerful Pair of Glasses?

Have you seen the movie "Finding Dory"? In one of the many exciting sequences, the protagonist Dory needs the help of Bailey the beluga whale to navigate through a maze of pipes. In a later, and even more exciting sequence, Bailey helps Dory keep track of a moving truck in which Dory's friends Nemo and Merlin inadvertently became captured.

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Is There an App for That?

In today’s digital world, it seems that there is an app for almost everything. Audiologists may be uniquely interested in sound level meter apps and, therefore, also in a new study by Serpanos and colleagues (2018).

These authors evaluated the accuracy of three sound level meter apps, Analyzer, Sound Level Meter Pro, and SPL Meter, using an iPhone 6S smartphone. All three of these apps have the capability to calibrate the internal microphone of the smartphone.

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