Sunday, December 11, 2011

New Research on Hearing Loss & Dementia

Contributed by: Stephani Gonzales, SDSU Audiology
As reported in Audiology Today, November 2011

Johns Hopkins University—National Institute on Aging has found that seniors with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia over time than those who retain their hearing (Lin, 2011).  This research documents that the greater the degree of hearing loss, the greater the risk. Compared with volunteers with normal hearing, those with mild (25–40 dB), moderate (41–70 dB), and severe (>70 dB) hearing loss had, respectively, a twofold, threefold, and fivefold risk of developing dementia over time.  Specifically, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease also increased with diminishing hearing, with the authors noting that for every 10 dB decrement in hearing, the extra risk increased by 20 percent.

A Single Spark of Ingenuity Can Ignite the Inferno of Invention

Contributed by: Stephani Gonzales, SDSU Audiology

Sophono, Inc. have produced the Alpha 1 system, a bone-anchored hearing device, since 2010.

How It Works
  • The Alpha 1 (M), made of an implanted internal plate with two magnets hermetically sealed in a titanium case, requires no abutment or permanent opening of the skin.
  • The Alpha 1 (S) external sound processor contains a bone oscillator and uses a metal disc and spacer to magnetically attach to the internal plate.
  • Auditory stimulation is delivered through the closed skin.
  • Conductive loss or mixed hearing loss: bone conduction thresholds < 45 dB.
  • Single-sided deafness: bone conduction thresholds < 20 dB in the hearing ear.
The Alpha 1 (M) Implant

Clinical Data
  • Data collected on the first 84 implants (57 patients) implanted demonstrates significant improvement in sound field thresholds and word recognitions scores.
  • BC thresholds were between 5 – 43dB and air bone gaps between 18 – 75 dB.
  • Average gain was 38 +/-8db.
  • Average word recognition scores were 2% pre-operatively and 77% post-operatively at 65dB SPL.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

 Ø  The Museum of Photographic Arts  (MoPA)  presents:
 November 5th, 2011 1:00pm
American Sign Language Interpreted Tour
- A tour of the recently opened exhibition, Infinite Balance: Artists and the Environment, all in ASL! 
-Free with paid admission
- Located in Balboa Park at: 1649 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101-1664
- Contact MOPA @: Phone  619.238.7559   Fax 619.238.8777   Email   Webpage

Ø  The Music and Neuroimaging Laboratory
Get Your FREE Online Tone Deafness Test @
The semitone, the smallest interval used in Western music, is about 30 Hz (6%) with a 500 Hz baseline. Most people can discern intervals smaller than the semitone, but this auditory acuity varies greatly and may be improved by substantial musical training.
For more background information on music and the brain, please refer to this journal review (in PDF format):
To read more about MNL and their research, please refer to this article:
Through ongoing research, the Music and Neuroimaging Laboratory's mission is to:
·         Reveal the perceptual and cognitive aspects of music processing including the perception and memory for pitch, rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic stimuli.
·         Investigate the use of music and musical stimuli as an interventional tool for educational and therapeutic purposes.
·         Reveal the behavioral and neural correlates of learning, skill acquisition, and brain adaptation in response to changes in the environment or brain injury in the developing and adult brain.
·         Reveal the determinants and facilitators for recovery from brain injury.
Contact: Gottfried Schlaug, M.D. Ph.D.
Director, Music and Neuroimaging Laboratory, Stroke Recovery Laboratory, and Division Chief, Cerebrovascular Diseases
330 Brookline Avenue - Palmer 127, Boston, MA 02215
Ø  What’s All The Buzz About?
October 23rd, 2011
The Science section of the New York Times ran a piece titled, “A Hearing Aid That Cuts Out All the Clatter” by author John Tierney.
o   It is about composer Richard Einhorn’s discovery of hearing loop technology that enabled him to enjoy concerts and musicals once again after losing much of his hearing after age 57.
o   Words and music are transmitted to a wireless receiver in a hearing aid via hearing loop technology.
o   This technology has been around for decades, but is now making its way into more public places in the United States.
o   The Hearing Loss Association of America, the largest group representing people with hearing problems, has joined with the American Academy of Audiology in a campaign to make loops more common in the United States.
o   What is it?
§  “A hearing loop, typically installed on the floor around the periphery of a room, is a thin strand of copper wire radiating electromagnetic signals that can be picked up by a tiny receiver already built into most hearing aids and cochlear implants. When the receiver is turned on, the hearing aid receives only the sounds coming directly from a microphone, not the background cacophony.” - NY Times’ John Tierney Article
o   Where else can it be used?
§  Drive-through Windows, Bank Tellers, Subway Systems, and Airports to name a few.
o   Where can I get one?
§  HALAA directory of Manufacturers/Installers:
§  A California Hearing Loop Source:
·         Commercial, Residential, Personal, and Rental Systems 
·         3350 E 7th St., Suite 233, Long Beach, CA 90804
·         Phone: (562) 343-2862