There’s a lot of talk about a coming future of ‘bionic’ devices, aiding those with sensory and motor disabilities.
In reality ‘bionic’ sensory devices have already been with us for over 30 years in hundreds of thousands of people. The cochlear implant is a ‘bonic ear’ that enables many deaf people to hear.
Credit: tabercil. Source: Wikimedia CC 2.0
They’ve advanced to the point that even tiny kids get them now.
It’s great to watch videos of cochlear implant switch-ons. (You can view some in the Switching on section below.)
The idea of the cochlear implant is remarkable, really.
A semi-circular cut is made behind the ear. A wire is threaded into the cochlear, the fluid-filled spiral-shaped organ in our inner ear lined with hair cells. The wire from the device sends electronic signals to the auditory nerve that the wearer learns to recognise as sound. Read the rest of this entry »
Two recent studies independently report mutations in the otoferlin (OTOF) gene are the cause of a rare temporary hearing loss caused by a high body temperature.
I have a hearing loss, and if I spot research on deafness when updating papers for my own research (see Footnote of previous post) I often take a peek.
Tonight I learnt that some people have deafness that is dependent on their body temperature, with a high temperature (say, a fever) inducing deafness. They recover some time after their body temperature has returned to normal.
In some ways it’s quite quirky, but knowing how molecules interact I can imagine how this might be possible.
The study I ran into was a Chinese study examining a collection of 73 Han Chinese patients with auditory neuropathy*. During this study, they uncovered a case of temperature-dependent hearing loss:
However, his hearing was affected by a slight change of body temperature. His mother found that his hearing in the morning is generally better than in the afternoon, and temperature measurements showed that his body temperature in the afternoon was generally 0.1-0.6˚ [˚C?] higher than that in the morning.
They tested his hearing loss, raising his body temperature during an extended hospital visit and found that
When his body temperature rose above 36.5°C, the boy’s hearing loss was severe (70-80dB HL) and this symptom could last for a whole day.
Read the rest of this entry »
Y’know those days when nothing started actually pans out?
I put a lot of effort into this blog and try write something every day. Today was just one of those days: nothing worked all day, work or play. “Inspired” by that I decided to write about the things I didn’t do today.
Seems apt. I figure that maybe if I don’t do them, they might work. Sort of.
He’s a series of short things I didn’t write. Read the rest of this entry »
My mother used to call out to me in the house as a kid. I’d ask where she was and she’d reply “here”.
It drove me nuts.
You see, when you can only hear in one ear it’s hard to tell the direction a sound comes from and it’s frustrating to be asked to locate someone by sound alone. It’s particularly hard if the sound is coming from above or below you.
After too much of this I would whine “where’s here”. Part of me figured she’d cotton on that way…
Read the rest of this entry »