This is Your Brain. This is Your Brain on Sound.

Remember back in the ‘90s when people thought that listening to Mozart while studying would help with test performance? While some studies have disproved this theory, listening to music is still considered to be effective in recalling memories. In fact, music therapy can help Alzheimer’s patients recall memories and even restore cognitive function.

When you listen to music you’re familiar with, it stimulates the hippocampus, which handles long-term storage in the brain. It can help you remember what you were doing or where you were when you were listening to that song. So it’s really not much of a stretch to use music as a strategy to help you remember something.

Source: Telegraph.co.uk

Source: Telegraph.co.uk

Beyond the cognitive benefits of music therapy, think about how sounds in general affect your mood. The sound of a police or ambulance siren often incites a negative feeling, while the pitter patter of rain drops on the roof can be soothing and relaxing.

In 2012, the Drayton Manor Theme Park in the United Kingdom commissioned a survey of their nation’s favorite – and least favorite – sounds. The Daily Telegraph reported the results:

TOP 10 MOST LOVED SOUNDS

  1. Waves against rocks
  2. Rain against the windows
  3. Treading on snow
  4. Baby laughing
  5. Birds chirping
  6. Crackling open fire
  7. People laughing
  8. Leaves crunching beneath your feet
  9. Cat purring
  10. Church bells in the distance

TOP 10 MOST HATED SOUNDS

  1. Nails on a chalk board
  2. Someone being sick
  3. Car alarm
  4. A dentist’s drill
  5. Someone spitting
  6. A yapping dog
  7. Screaming baby/children
  8. Someone talking with their mouth full
  9. Someone grinding their teeth
  10. Someone’s knife grinding on a plate

What are your favorite sounds?

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Patient Profile | ReSound LiNX Helps Patient Keep His Job

At a recent ReSound training in New Orleans, Steve Brown, an audiologist at Ears 4 Hearing in Southeast Missouri, asked our Chief Audiology Officer, Laurel Christensen, some advice on a patient he was treating.

Patient profile:

  • 61-year old male
  • Long-term severe hearing loss
  • Surgical equipment specialist
  • Wearing RIC hearing aids from another manufacturer

The patient was struggling to keep his job because of the extent of his hearing loss. He had recently been assigned a particularly difficult neurosurgeon to support. and while the neurosurgeon was pleased with the new specialist’s work, he was irritated that he had to keep repeating himself.

Dr. Brown discussed the patient’s working environment with Dr. Christensen.

  • He was required to stand at a monitor approximately 15 feet behind the surgeon
  • Not only was the surgeon’s back to the patient, but he was also wearing a surgical mask and typically looking down
  • There was a lot of noise in the room from surgical equipment, suction machines and conversation
  • The patient was expected to hear and respond to every comment made by the surgeon – who was easily irritated by having to repeat himself
  • The surgeon told him that his job was in jeopardy if he could not improve his hearing

ReSound LiNXHIPairLNBlackDr. Brown tried several adjustments on the patient’s existing hearing aids. He also suggested the use of a remote microphone which was unsuccessful due to poor sound quality and poor placement options. He finally convinced the patient to try ReSound LiNXTM and discussed the case with Dr. Christensen while in New Orleans prior to the fitting.

Dr. Brown fit the patient with LiNX 961’s and gave him a ReSound UniteTM Mini Microphone. At Dr. Christensen’s recommendation, the Mini-Mic was to be worn by a surgical nurse standing across from the surgeon during procedures since asking the surgeon to wear a mic was out of the question.Mini Microphone

After a week of wearing the LiNX, the patient was seen for follow-up and returned the Mini-Mic. His report: “[I’m] hearing so well in surgery with these ReSound hearing aids I don’t need the extra mic.”

With ReSound LiNX there is no reason why hearing loss should get in the way of any aspect of your life!

Do you have a story about how ReSound LiNX has helped you?

 

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One Year Later | The Boston Bombing Injury You Didn’t See

Source: Boston.com

Source: Boston.com

One week from today, 36,000 people will run the 118th Boston Marathon, the world’s oldest annual marathon. Just one year ago, this iconic event was torn apart by a horrific bombing at the finish line. As we approach the anniversary, we remember those affected by the terrible events of April 15th, 2014 and examine the acoustic trauma experienced by many who were near the blast.

That evening, the emergency department at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary was full. Patients who were cleared of other major medical trauma next door at Massachusetts General Hospital arrived to be evaluated for ear pain, hearing loss and other head and neck injuries. According to an article in the Hearing Journal, “most patients had hearing loss, tinnitus, and mild disequilibrium. On exam, they had tympanic membrane perforations, large and small. Pieces of metallic shrapnel were identified and carefully removed from patients’ faces, necks, and arms. Audiograms revealed both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss, often worse in the ear facing the blast. Careful eversion of perforated drum edges was performed, and selected patients with sensorineural hearing loss were treated with oral steroids.”

In the following weeks, treatment recommendations were made based on experience with traumatic perforations from other causes, clinical and scientific literature on noise-induced hearing loss, and recommendations from military literature and military colleagues. However, this experience led them to acknowledge that there is a lot we don’t know about blast-related ear injury. Since the bombing, they have been conducting research into the consequences of acoustic trauma. Results have not yet been published, but we hope that it will lead to better treatment of these types of injuries.

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Does Apple Make Hearing Aids Cool? We Think So.

Fresh appleWe all know about the stigma associated with wearing hearing aids and how long it takes for the average person with hearing loss to accept they need help. With the aging baby boomer population increasingly suffering from hearing loss (and ignoring it), perhaps the high tech, “cool” factor of Made-for-iPhone® hearing aids will finally change those age-old perceptions.

Julio O’Jeda of the St. Paul Pioneer Press certainly thinks so. In his recent article, “Bluetooth hearing aids could take off with baby boomers”, he mentions the association of hearing aids with the Apple brand as a potential motivator for adoption. And that’s what hearing aids need.  They should be viewed as personal enhancement devices, rather than a “treatment” for an age-related health problem. Besides, we all know that hearing loss can occur at any age for a multitude of reasons.

According to an article on SFGate.com, Made-for-iPhone hearing technology has come at the right time.  “Everybody’s walking around with more computer power than they need in their smartphones,” said Thomas Gunderson, a senior health care analyst. “We’ve got a market where 10,000 Baby Boomers are turning 65 every day. We finally have cracked the battery problem. I think it all comes together, and it makes sense that Apple is a leader here.”

What do you think? Will people be more open to using hearing aids now that they can work with a cool new app?

 

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7 Ways ReSound LiNX and iPhone Can Make Your Life Easier

You already know that your iPhone® gives you access to more than 1 million apps in the App StoreSM. But did you know that using your ReSound LiNXTM hearing aid with iPhone apps can eliminate some major nuisances from your life?

Baby Monitor – Have you ever gone on vacation and forgot to bring your baby monitor? Or had the grand kids over and Mom forgot to pack the monitor in the diaper bag? If you have ReSound LiNX and an iPhone, just use direct-to-hearing aid streaming to turn your ReSound LiNX into an instant baby monitor.

Alarm Clock – You don’t need to worry about over-sleeping when your iPhone is synced to your hearing aid. You can even choose the type of sound or music you would prefer to wake you up in the morning!

Sleep Time App – If you don’t pop out of bed at the sound of your alarm, try using the Sleep Time app. Sleep Time provides a soothing soundscape to help you nod off and then tracks your sleep cycle throughout the night. When you set the alarm for the morning, it will find your lightest sleep phase within half an hour to make waking up a little easier. The app also comes with an Instant Heart Rate meter to measure your pulse upon awakening. Talk about a relaxing night!

GPS - Punch in your destination and let your iPhone talk you through each step of your route.

Road Radar – No one likes seeing those flashing lights in their rear view mirror. Fortunately there’s Trapster, an app that can help you avoid almost any road hazard. When a user spots a speed trap, they report it by tapping the map as they pass by. Other users are alerted as they approach it, and can confirm the trap’s location by tapping the map as well. The app also alerts users to road hazards including construction zones, flooded roads and more. With ReSound LiNX synced to your iPhone, you’ll hear about a trap before you see those flashing lights.

First Aid – Filmmaker Dan Woolley once used the Pocket First Aid and CPR app to survive an earthquake. He used the app to assist him in treating his wounds. The application also told him to set reminders not to fall asleep so he would not go into shock. If you ever find yourself in a predicament, this app will help you patch yourself right up.

Email Reader – Do you typically stare at your phone as you walk or work out? Hate that you can’t check email while you’re driving? Just ask Siri to read your emails to you. Talk about multitasking!

How do you use ReSound LiNX and your iPhone to make life easier?

AppleiPad miniReSound LiNXRSLNWORKFILE

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All Quiet Around the House

Today’s modern household can be filled with noise. Above and beyond the normal chatter of family life, we also have the seemingly constant running of everyday conveniences such as the dishwasher and vacuum. Add in televisions, radios and mobile devices streaming music and video and you almost have a live rock band right in your home.

Humor aside, if you or a loved one has hearing loss, these noises can potentially get in the way of more important sounds like the phone ringing, smoke or carbon monoxide alarm, the oven timer or even a knock at the door. In a recent post on Hearing Health Matters, Gael Hannan provides the following tips to increase household safety for those with hearing loss:

  • Take a minute to inventory your household noise and make an effort to reduce competing sources of noise in the house
  • Are you finding a loud TV is part of the problem? Using closed captioning or a TV streamer may reduce the need for high TV volume
  • Set communication ground rules. Conversations, when possible, should be face to face. The person initiating a conversation must go to the other person before starting to talk – try to reduce the “yelling” to each other from the next room
  • Consider visual alarms. For example, flashing lights signify the doorbell, someone knocking, motion outside the house, a phone ringing, a baby crying and the presence of fire, smoke or carbon monoxide. Ensure that all alarms are working properly
  • Phones should have extra loud ringers and/or flashing lights. Portable phones can also be used as intercoms

In addition, Hannan recommends developing an emergency preparedness plan. Know who and how to call for help in an emergency. Have a backup kit of items essential for communication – hearing aid/CI batteries, flashlight, etc.

Share with us what tips your own family uses to ensure a safer household.

 

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How Our Ears Tune Into a Single Sound

Recent research sheds more light on how humans are able to pinpoint and tune into a single voice – even in a crowded, noisy room. The Hearing Review reports that human ears have evolved in such a way that it is difficult for computers to match this function with the same precision. So how exactly do humans do this?

Scientists at MIT have been able to gain a better understanding of a tiny membrane inside the inner ear called the tectorial membrane. This membrane is a “microscale gel, smaller in width than a single human hair,” but it plays a major role in how the inner ear separates sounds of varying pitch and intensity. The image below shows a sound wave moving through this membrane.

hearing-review

The tectorial membrane is “spongelike” and has many tiny pores. It actually keeps up with the speed of sound waves making decisions too quickly for the neural process – essentially “nature” takes over when tuning into a single voice. “The viscosity of this membrane—its firmness, or lack thereof—depends on the size and distribution of tiny pores, just a few tens of nanometers wide. This, in turn, provides mechanical filtering that helps to sort out specific sounds.”

“The new work explains how the membrane’s structure determines how well it filters sound. The team studied two genetic variants that cause nanopores within the tectorial membrane to be smaller or larger than normal. The pore size affects the viscosity of the membrane and its sensitivity to different frequencies.” Scientists believe this research could help explain how certain hearing problems develop and hopefully, one day, find ways to prevent them.

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