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.

Schools Serving Learning Disabled, Deaf to Remain Open for Now

Source: Toronto Star

Provincial schools serving deaf students and those with severe learning disabilities will remain open for the 2016-17 school year, Education Minister Liz Sandals said in a surprise announcement — but the news wasn't enough to placate parents and students who still plan to protest at the Ontario legislature.

First Otosclerosis Gene Discovered

Source: Action on Hearing Loss

Otosclerosis (literally ‘ear hardening’) affects 1 in 200 people in the UK, and leads to progressive hearing loss. The tiny bones of the middle ear 'overgrow', blocking information from getting to the inner ear. It often runs in families, suggesting that there is a genetic cause. Now, researchers at the UCL Ear Institute have discovered the first gene known to cause otosclerosis. This is the first step to finding treatments.

Study Shows Effectiveness of Earplugs in Preventing Temporary Hearing Loss After Loud Music

Source: ScienceDaily

The effectiveness of earplugs in preventing temporary hearing loss immediately following music exposure has been assessed by a team that reports that yes, in fact, the use of earplugs can be of benefit.

Brain Responses Found to Originate from Previously Unknown Source

Source: ScienceDaily

Scientists have made an important discovery about the human auditory system and how to study it, findings that could lead to better testing and diagnosis of hearing-related disorders. The researchers detected frequency-following responses (FFR) coming from a part of the brain not previously known to emit them. FFRs are neural signals generated in the brain when people hear sounds.

Brain Appears to Have Different Mechanisms for Reconciling Sight and Sound

Source: ScienceDaily

A new psychology study provides insights into how the brain combines sound and vision. The research suggests that there is not one sole mechanism in the brain that governs how much our senses work together to process information.

Deaf Teen Leaves Rural Community for Fresh Start in Regina School

Source: CBC News

Seventeen-year-old Shayla Tanner, who is deaf, has faced challenges academically and socially in her home community but has seen tremendous growth in the past three years. She recalls that with few in her community of Cowessess First Nation knowing sign language, she fell behind in school and socializing

Study Looks at Prevalence of Ear Infections in Infants


A study in Pediatrics found that the rate of ear infections such as acute otitis media in 3-month-olds dropped from 18% between 1980 and 1990 to 6% in 2014, while the rate declined from 39% to 23% in 6-month-olds and from 62% to 46% in 1-year-olds. Researchers linked the reductions in infection rates to higher rates of breast-feeding and vaccination and to lower smoking rates in mothers. The findings were based on data involving 367 babies followed until age 1.

How the Brain Detects Short Sounds

Source: ScienceDaily

For humans to understand speech and for other animals to know each other's calls, the brain must distinguish short sounds from longer sounds. By studying frogs, researchers figured out how certain brain cells compute the length of sounds and detect short ones.

Anticancer Drug Restores Hearing in Some Patients With Neurofibromatosis

Source: ScienceDaily

In a small clinical study with an anticancer drug that halts blood vessel growth, a handful of people with neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) and hearing loss had restoration of hearing.

Engineering Music to Sound Better With Cochlear Implants

Source: ScienceDaily

Scientists are trying to reengineer and simplify music to be more enjoyable for listeners with cochlear implants.