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.

Nerve Cells Warn Brain of Damage to Inner Ear

Source: ScienceDaily

Some nerve cells in the inner ear can signal tissue damage in a way similar to pain-sensing nerve cells in the body, according to new research. If the finding, discovered in rats, is confirmed in humans, it may lead to new insights into hyperacusis, an increased sensitivity to loud noises that can lead to severe and long-lasting ear pain.

Brain Rhythms Sync to Musical Beat

Source: Scientific American

The human brain's neurons fire in sync to music, and trained musicians are better at it than are amateurs.

Genetic Modification Shows Promise for Preventing Hereditary Hearing Loss

Source: ScienceDaily

A mitochondrial defect is responsible for a type of human hereditary deafness that worsens over time and can lead to profound hearing loss. Using a genetically modified mice model with a mitochondrial dysfunction that results in a similar premature hearing loss, researchers showed that precise genetic reduction of an enzyme, AMP kinase, can rescue the hearing loss.

Protein Movement of Hair Bundles in the Inner Ear May Preserve Hearing for Life

Source: ScienceDaily

The movement of protein within hair cells of the inner ear shows signs of a repair and renewal mechanism, new research shows.

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss: Genetic Cause, Mechanism Discovered

Source: ScienceDaily

The function of pejvakin, a molecule that plays a vital role in the hearing system, has been recently discovered by researcherse. The absence of this molecule appears to be responsible for noise-induced hearing loss, one of the most common causes of deafness. The scientists' discovery offers new prospects for the treatment of this condition.

Chemotherapy-Induced Hearing Loss Affects Neurocognition in Pediatric Brain Tumor Survivors

Source: ScienceDaily

Platinum-based chemotherapy may not only impact hearing, but that the hearing loss may then contribute to long-term neurocognitive deficits, report neuroscientists in a new report.

Bridging the Human-Computer Interaction

Source: ScienceDaily

With the goal of revolutionizing everyday interactions between humans and computers, researchers are developing new technologies for making computers recognize not just traditional commands, but also non-verbal ones – gestures, body language and facial expressions.

Tractor Beams of Science Fiction Becoming a Reality

Source: Reuters

A sonic tractor beam that can levitate and move small objects has been developed by researchers at the University of Bristol in the UK and Public University of Navarre in Spain. The beam manipulates the objects using ultrasound from a single array of 64 transducers, according to a study published in Nature Communications. The scientists believe the beams could one day be used in medical applications

Study of Inner Ear Development Hints at Way to Restore Hearing and Balance

Source: ScienceDaily

These genes, or others in the same pathway, could be promising targets for efforts to treat hearing loss or balance problems by regenerating hair cells, the researchers suggest.

PCAST Approves Report to Encourage Use of Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids and PSAPS

Source: American Academy of Audiology

On Friday, October 23, 2015, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) voted to approve a report that recommends significant changes to the way in which older Americans can access hearing care in the United States. These recommendations, if implemented, could have a significant impact on audiology practice and on the delivery of hearing care. These recommendations are designed to address the 30 million Americans who have a slowly progressive, bilateral mild-to-moderate hearing loss and the ability of the consumer to self-diagnose, self-treat, and self-monitor their hearing status.