Audiology in Brief In an effort to understand sound-based reading difficulties, researchers at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., are recruiting students for a longitudinal study of children who are deaf and are in the first stages of learning to read. The Visual Language and Visual Learning Early Education Longitudinal Study (VL2 EELS) ... News in Brief
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News in Brief  |   November 01, 2010
Audiology in Brief
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Hearing Disorders / News in Brief
News in Brief   |   November 01, 2010
Audiology in Brief
The ASHA Leader, November 2010, Vol. 15, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB.15142010.5
The ASHA Leader, November 2010, Vol. 15, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB.15142010.5
Reading and Children who are Deaf
In an effort to understand sound-based reading difficulties, researchers at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., are recruiting students for a longitudinal study of children who are deaf and are in the first stages of learning to read.
The Visual Language and Visual Learning Early Education Longitudinal Study (VL2 EELS) will track 600 students ages 3–5 for three years and will include students who are deaf and hard of hearing who use sign language and other communication methods.
Researchers hope the study will provide data that will help identify the factors that affect development of literacy skills in children who are deaf. Researchers will test students annually in a variety of areas, including cognition, attention, English and sign language, memory, phoneme awareness, ability to name letters and objects, and print knowledge. Visit Gallaudet University’s website for more.
Greater Access to Technologies
On Oct. 8, President Obama signed into law a measure to make Internet-based communication and consumer electronics, such as smartphones, more accessible to people with disabilities, particularly those with vision or hearing impairments. Among other provisions, the legislation requires telecom equipment used to make calls over the Internet to be hearing aid-compatible and provides for captioning on new television programs online.
The “21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act” directs the Federal Communications Commission to upgrade regulations issued under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and other laws to cover access to newer communication technologies, including those that are web-based. The new rules are to be developed with input from stakeholders and members of the public.
Owls Offer Clues to Echo Suppression
For more than 60 years researchers have sought a physiological mechanism that actively suppresses echoes. Researchers Brian Nelson and Terry Takahashi suggest a simple filtering process: When a sound reaching the ear is loud enough, auditory neurons accept that sound and ignore subsequent reverberations.
“If someone were to call out your name from behind you, that caller’s voice would reach your ears directly from his or her mouth, but those sound waves also will bounce off your computer monitor and arrive at your ears a little later and get mixed in with the direct sound. You aren’t aware of the echo,” Takahashi said.
In the study, barn owls listened to two distinct sounds, direct and reflected, with the first-arriving sound causing neurons to discharge. The owls’ auditory neurons were responsive to the leading edge of the peaks. The leading edges in the echo are masked by the peak in the direct waveform that preceded it so the auditory cells can’t respond to the echo. Visit the Aug. 26 issue of Neuron for more information.
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November 2010
Volume 15, Issue 14