Tinnitus affects roughly 50 million people and is now the number one disability among our men and women in uniform, costing the U.S. about $1.7 billion a year to treat. But even with these staggering numbers, there's still no know cure for tinnitus. Finding a solution to lessen symptoms can be just as challenging, but physicians now have a growing range of options to offer patients to help manage symptoms – with possible new treatments on the horizon.
Following are a selection of interesting news items from our field. This section will be updated on a continuous basis so check back often in between issues, to see what is new.
By Douglas Quan, Postmedia News
Retired RCMP officer Dave White, of Bridgewater, N.S., suffers from tinnitus, constant ringing in the ears. He is not alone. It is the top reason for disability pension claims by Mounties.
Prolonged exposure to loud noises — from sirens to squawking radios — is apparently contributing to hearing impairments in a great number of the nation’s Mounties.
A strange underwater sound whose source was a mystery for decades comes from minke whales, biologists have concluded. The finding, they say, has been accompanied by surprising new facts about the whale’s movements and should yield more information.
WINDSOR, Ont. - A federally funded study confirms a humming noise in Windsor, Ont., emanates from an island across the Detroit River but fails to completely solve the long-running mystery over the vibration.
Essex Conservative MP Jeff Watson, who revealed the findings Friday, says the acoustic monitoring study shows the rumbling is real and reaches Windsor from heavily industrial Zug Island in River Rouge, Mich.
But he says the investigation — done by scientists at the University of Windsor and Western University — fails to pinpoint just what has been causing the phenomenon.
Children with profound deafness who receive a cochlear implant had as much as five times the risk of having delays in areas of working memory, controlled attention, planning and conceptual learning as children with normal hearing, according research. The authors evaluated 73 children implanted before age 7 and 78 children with normal hearing to determine the risk of deficits in executive functioning behaviors in everyday life.
The ability to discern pitch – to hear the difference between “cat,” “bat” and “hat,” for example – hinges on remarkable gradations in specialized cells within the inner ear. New research has explained, for the first time, what controls these cells’ development and patterning – findings crucial to efforts to reverse hearing loss caused by age, loud sounds or other factors.
In a north London hospital, scientists are growing noses, ears and blood vessels in a bold attempt to make body parts in the laboratory.
While only a handful of patients have received the British lab-made organs so far— including tear ducts, blood vessels and windpipes — researchers hope they will soon be able to transplant more types of body parts into patients, including what would be the world's first nose made partly from stem cells.
"It's like making a cake," said Alexander Seifalian at University College London, the scientist leading the effort. "We just use a different kind of oven."
In the most comprehensive study of Ménière's Disease to date, researchers have been able to suggest what goes wrong in the body when people develop the disease, and provide an insight into factors that lead to its development. The analysis also showed that Ménière's patients were more likely to suffer falls and mental health problems, such as depression, than people without the condition.
In the first known study of its kind, researchers have shown that the language we learn as children affects brain structure, as does hearing status. 'What we've learned to date about differences in brain anatomy in hearing and deaf populations hasn't taken into account the diverse language experiences among people who are deaf,' says one of the authors.
Loud noise can damage hair cells in your ear causing hearing loss, but it can also damage the ear’s nerve cells, making it harder to pick out specific sounds in noisy places. This is known as ‘hidden hearing loss’, as it is not picked up with standard hearing tests.