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.

Auditory System: The Ruffling Effect of Rumble

Source: Science Daily

Barely perceptible low-frequency signals nevertheless activate measurable responses in our auditory circuits. Neurobiologists have now characterized the remarkable impact of low-frequency sounds on the inner ear.

Epigenetics and Age-Related Hearing Loss

Source: Action on Hearing Loss

As people get older, many find they are affected by age-related hearing loss. As a result, scientists in the field of hearing research are keen to find out what dictates both the extent and onset of hearing loss in older people.

Superheroes Who Are Deaf and the Power Of Diversity

Source: Huffington Post

Marvel Comics recently incorporated illustrated sign language in one of its stories – superhero Hawkeye becomes deaf and has to use American Sign Language to communicate. Hawkeye isn’t the only deaf comic superhero, something that Lydia Callis, a sign language interpreter and advocate, believes is incredibly positive: “Having deaf role models, whether they are real or fictional, has a powerful influence on deaf youth … Marvel Comics is sending the message that superheroes come from all walks of life!” Read her full article on the Huffington Post.

Airbags and Ear Damage

Source: Advanced Healthcare Network

A 2007 study predicts that airbag deployment in automobile accidents leads to permanent hearing loss in 17% of those exposed.1 The prediction is based upon the Auditory Hazard Assessment Algorithm for the Human (AHAAH), a mathematical computer model of the ear which, according to the author of the study, is "designed to reproduce the ear's physiological response to virtually any intense sounds and to predict hazard from calculated displacements in the inner ear."

Caffeine Intake and Reduced Tinnitus Risk in Women

Source: Audiology World News

A study including a large cohort of female participants has shown that higher caffeine intake is associated with a lower risk of tinnitus, although the underlying mechanism remains unknown.

The Draft New Z1007 Standard On Management of Hearing Loss Prevention Programs Is Now Available for Public Review

Source: By Dave Shanahan, Project Manager OHS/MIES, CSA Group

We’re making steady progress: first it was Z107.58, then Z94.2, and now the new Z1007 Standard is available for public review.*

Please spread the word to all your affiliates – especially business managers, program administrators, HLP consultants, industrial hygienists, and occupational health nurses.

The draft new Z1007 Standard on Management of Hearing Loss Prevention Programs is now available for public review on CSA’s draft document review site: - just look for “Z1007”.

As with all draft standards, we will collect the public review comments and pass them along to the Committee for consideration.

We’ll look at these comments together at our next TC meeting – Oct. 9 in Winnipeg.

*Special thanks to Jeffrey Goldberg and Tim Kelsall for helping me to make this draft document ready for review.

Caffeine Intake Associated with Lower Incidence of Tinnitus

Source: Science Daily

Higher caffeine intake is associated with lower rates of tinnitus, often described as a ringing or buzzing sound in the ear when there is no outside source of the sounds, in younger and middle-aged women. "We observed a significant inverse association between caffeine intake and the incidence of tinnitus among (participating) women," said the lead author.

Noise Measurement in Total Knee Arthroplasty

Source: Noise and Health

Few studies have been performed to analyze noise levels produced by various surgical instruments in the operating room (OR). The highest levels of noise that have been described were due to instruments used for total knee arthroplasty (TKA).

Brazil’s World Cup Attendees Banned from Using Caxirola

Source: The Wall Street Journal

SÃO PAULO—It has been likened to a hand grenade with brass knuckles, ridiculed as a "glorified rattle," and dismissed by one British sportswriter as "rubbish."

Meet the caxirola, Brazil's answer to the vuvuzela, the elongated plastic horn that sounded like a bellicose water buffalo and was unleashed on mankind's eardrums during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

"If you thought vuvuzelas were bad, wait until you hear the caxirola," groused the Guardian newspaper in Britain.

Many people, it turns out, won't.

Despite the noisemaker being blessed by some, including Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, and an endorsement by FIFA, soccer's world governing body, federal officials have barred the caxirola from all 12 of the Brazilian soccer grounds where World Cup matches will be played.

Vincent van Gogh’s Ear Genetically Replicated for Museum Display

Source: MetroNews

Museum officials in Germany have unveiled a replica of Vincent van Gogh's severed ear, grown using the artist's family DNA.

The 19th century painter sliced off his left ear in 1888 and now bosses at The Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe have put a copy of the gruesome organ on display.