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.

Ear-Toxic Drugs – How Infections Make Them Worse

Source: Action on Hearing Loss

New research has shown that the damaging effects of some drugs on hair cells (as shown in the photo, right), such as aminoglycoside antibiotics, are actually worse in the presence of the infection they're meant to combat. Lead researcher, Peter Steyger, tells us more about his findings and describes his own personal experience of hearing loss.

Vestibular Organ: Signal Replicas Make a Flexible Sensor

Source: ScienceDaily

Researchers have shown how signals from the spinal cord adjust the sensitivity of hair cells in the inner ear to accommodate shifts in head position associated with active locomotion -- thus ensuring that balance is maintained.

Neurobiology: Tuning of Timing in Auditory Axons

Source: ScienceDaily

A team has shown that the axons of auditory neurons in the brainstem which respond to low and high-frequency sounds differ in their morphology, and that these variations correlate with differences in the speed of signal conduction.

How Exposure to Brief Trauma and Sudden Sounds Form Lasting Memories

Source: ScienceDaily

Researchers have found how even brief exposure to sudden sounds or mild trauma can form permanent, long-term brain connections, or memories, in a specific region of the brain.

Researcher Looks Through the Noise to Discover Potential Risks From Jet Fuel

Source: ScienceDaily

Jet fuel, when combined with sustained noise, may cause brain-related injury and lead to multiple conditions. Clinical conditions such as anxiety, depression, sleep disorders and post-traumatic stress could be attributed, in part, to hydrocarbon-related disruptions in brain function, a factor previously overlooked during diagnoses, say authors of a new report.

Top Management Shake-Up at Starkey Hearing Technologies

Source: Audiology World News

Starkey, the number one American hearing aids manufacturer, has announced, announced the termination of its Executive President Jerry Ruzicka along with three other senior executives: Keith Guggenberger, Operations Vice President, Scott Nelson, Chief Financial Officer, and Larry Miller, Vice President of Human Resources.

Brain Plasticity After Vision Loss Has an ‘On-Off Switch’

Source: ScienceDaily

A molecular on-off switch that controls how a mouse brain responds to vision loss has been discovered by biologists. When the switch is on, the loss of sight in one eye will be compensated by the other eye, but also by tactile input from the whiskers. When the switch is off, only the other eye will take over. These findings may help improve patient susceptibility to sensory prosthetics such as cochlear implants or bionic eyes.

Silently Suffering From Hearing Loss Negatively Affects Quality of Life

Source: ScienceDaily

Hearing loss in adults is under treated despite evidence that hearing aid technology can significantly lessen depression and anxiety and improve cognitive functioning, according to research.

Antibiotics Increase Risk of Hearing Loss in Patients With Deadly Bacterial Infections

Source: ScienceDaily

Seeking to stem the tide of permanent hearing loss from the use of life-saving antibiotics, researchers have found that patients stricken with dangerous bacterial infections are at greater risk of hearing loss than previously recognized. Inflammation from the bacterial infections substantially increased susceptibility to hearing impairment by increasing the uptake of aminoglycoside antibiotics into the inner ear, the researchers report.

Hybrid Cochlear Implants May Benefit Millions With Common Form of Hearing Loss

Source: ScienceDaily

People with a common form of hearing loss not helped by hearing aids achieved significant and sometimes profound improvements in their hearing and understanding of speech with hybrid cochlear implant devices, according to a new multicenter study.