When Caroline Viney found out her seven-year-old daughter’s hearing was
in decline, she was shocked. Diagnosed in kindergarten, doctors couldn’t
figure out the reason behind the sudden loss. It can cost parents in
Ontario thousands of dollars just to
keep their children learning on the same playing field as their peers.
Auditory verbal therapy, tutors and hearing tools are expensive, leaving
some parents scrambling to keep up with never-ending costs. On top of
that, a lack of dedicated staff in schools to address issues
hearing-impaired children face makes Viney’s job, and others like her,
that much tougher.
People with good hearing also have a keen sense of touch; people with
impaired hearing generally have an impaired sense of touch. Extensive
data supporting this hypothesis was presented by Dr. Henning Frenzel and
Professor Gary R. Lewin of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular
Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch, Germany. The two researchers showed that
both senses — hearing and touch — have a common genetic basis.
Hearing disorders are widespread among school children in Chile. It is
estimated that 15 to 17 percent of children aged between 4 and 14 years
suffer from hearing problems.
There was a time when a child born deaf had few choices. For more
than a century, the only option for parents was to send their son or
daughter away to a boarding school for the deaf. There, the children and
the schools thrived in the shadows, embracing a distinct culture of
Recent advances in medicine and technology
are now reshaping what it means to be deaf in America. Children who
could never hear a sound are now adults who can hear everything. That’s
having a dramatic impact on the nation’s historic deaf schools as well
as the lives of people.
Across the globe, more than 278 million people have moderate-to-profound
hearing loss in both ears, and most people who have hearing loss live
in developing countries. Approximately 50 percent of all hearing loss
can be prevented. Across the globe, more than 100 countries are
considered “developing countries” and these same countries contain some
80 percent of the world’s population. The average expenditure on health
care in developed countries is $2,716 US, whereas the average cost
expenditure on health care in the “least developed” countries is $13 US.
The authors report that children with hearing loss in developing
countries experience delays in development of speech, language, and
other cognitive skills. Children with disabilities see physicians 1.5
times more often than children without disabilities. Read more to learn about these global hearing loss and related issues.
Cochlear implants have restored basic hearing to some 220,000 deaf
people, yet a microphone and related electronics must be worn outside
the head, raising reliability issues, preventing patients from swimming
and creating social stigma. Now, engineers have developed a tiny
prototype microphone that can be implanted in the middle ear to avoid