Audiology in Brief Older adults with mild-to-moderate hearing loss may use up so much cognitive effort trying to hear and understand speech that it undermines their ability to remember what they’ve just heard, according to a new study from researchers at Brandeis University. The research, published in the latest issue of Current ... News in Brief
Free
News in Brief  |   October 01, 2005
Audiology in Brief
Author Notes
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / News in Brief
News in Brief   |   October 01, 2005
Audiology in Brief
The ASHA Leader, October 2005, Vol. 10, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB.10142005.5
The ASHA Leader, October 2005, Vol. 10, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB.10142005.5
Hearing Loss and Memory
Older adults with mild-to-moderate hearing loss may use up so much cognitive effort trying to hear and understand speech that it undermines their ability to remember what they’ve just heard, according to a new study from researchers at Brandeis University.
The research, published in the latest issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science, included a group of older adults with good hearing and a group with mild-to-moderate hearing loss. Each participant listened to a 15-word list and was asked to remember only the last three words. All words were delivered at the same volume. Both groups showed excellent recall for the final word, but the hearing-loss group displayed poorer recall of the two words preceding it.
It was reasoned that the hearing-loss group’s failure to remember the other two words was not a result of their inability to hear/correctly identify them.
“This study is a wake-up call to anyone who works with older people, including health care professionals, to be especially sensitive to how hearing loss can affect cognitive function,” said Arthur Wingfield, lead researcher and a professor of neuroscience at Brandeis.
Hereditary Deafness in Mice
University of Iowa (UI) scientists and colleagues from Okayama University, Japan, have shown that it is possible to cure a certain type of hereditary deafness by silencing a gene that causes hearing loss.
The researchers gave a genetically-deafened mouse interfering RNA that prevented a gene from being expressed that would otherwise cause deafness. The gene-silencing technique used by the UI team works against genetic conditions caused by a so-called dominant negative mechanism—when a single copy of the mutant gene is sufficient to cause deafness.
The scientists say the RNA delivery strategy should translate easily to humans. However, a number of issues must be addressed, including finding whether the treatment will work in a mouse that has been deaf for some time, and finding ways to sustain the gene-silencing effect over an extended period. The study, which was published in the June 15 issue of Human Molecular Genetics, was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Futuristic Exhibit on Hearing
Hearing is the next sense ripe for a technological revolution, according to Great Britain’s Royal National Institute for the Deaf. (RNID).
RNID has organized an exhibit, “HearWear: The Future of Hearing,” at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, to display trendy prototypes like gadgets that can filter out annoying noises, and memory glasses that replay the last few seconds of conversation. Another item, called surround-sound eyewear, uses four microphones built into a pair of glasses to amplify sound depending on which direction the wearer is facing. The idea is to help people compensate for the increase in social noise, which an RNID representative says has tripled since the 1980s.
The exhibit illustrates how redesigning tools used by the hard of hearing might lead to a range of new products for unimpaired consumers who are increasingly wearing headsets to listen to music or talk on the phone. Part of the exhibition also is dedicated to making hearing aids into fashion accessories by disguising them as jewelry, through such additions as pink plastic flowers and sleek silver surfaces.
0 Comments
Submit a Comment
Submit A Comment
Name
Comment Title
Comment


This feature is available to Subscribers Only
Sign In or Create an Account ×
FROM THIS ISSUE
October 2005
Volume 10, Issue 14