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A Day Through a Deaf Person’s Eyes

-directed by Rachel Soudakoff-

This explores some of the different aspects of daily life that deaf or Deaf people face, such as encounters with the police and the advantages of ASL. 

How Was Your Day? Hearing versus Deaf
  • Hearing people:Oh, my day was great! I went shopping, got a few things, went to a movie, and then went home and relaxed haha.
  • Deaf people:I ventured out of my home into the bright glorious day. The sky was blue with clear skies. The sun shone down upon my silver Chevrolet. I entered my car, adjusted the rear view mirror, and backed out of my gravel driveway. I drove down at least a couple blocks to the local mall. Birds flew across the skies as I exited my car and walked with purpose inside the mall. I purchased three Gap shirts, a new charger for my iPhone. Oh but I saw the coolest Nike tennis shoes, but sadly the store had just pulled down its bars as it closed. I exited the mall, two stuffed bags hand in hand. I placed them gently in my passenger seat and decided I was in the mood for a movie. I went to the theatre and saw the movie The Imitation Game. Benedict Cumberbatch, his hair was gloriously on point, and the message and the emotional adventure the movie provided was absolutely astounding. I sat up from my red lush theatre seat, my eyes tearing up. I wiped the tears away and made my way to my car. The cold night wind cut across my face, but I didn't mind. A few stars shine down from above amidst the dark clear sky. I drove back to my home, turned the key, and entered. I placed my bags down on the table in the dining room and fixed myself a nice cup of mango green tea and sat down on the sofa and relaxed comfortably watching Doctor Who and Supernatural on Netflix until it was time for bed and I entered sleep in my cool comfy bed. I smiled as I fell asleep.

Researchers discover how the brain balances hearing between our ears

UNSW researchers have answered the longstanding question of how the brain balances hearing between our ears, which is essential for localising sound, hearing in noisy conditions and for protection from noise damage.

The landmark animal study also provides new insight into hearing loss and is likely to improve cochlear implants and hearing aids.

The findings of the NHMRC-funded research are published today in the prestigious journal Nature Communications.

UNSW Professor Gary Housley, senior author of the research paper, said his team sought to understand the biological process behind the ‘olivocochlear’ hearing control reflex.

“The balance of hearing between the ears and how we discriminate between sounds versus noise is dependent upon this neural reflex that links the cochlea of each ear via the brain’s auditory control centre,” Professor Housley said.

“Until now we haven’t fully understood what drives the olivocochlear reflex.”

“Our hearing is so sensitive that we can hear a pin drop and that’s because of the ‘cochlear amplifier’ in our inner ear. This stems from outer hair cells in the cochlea which amplify sound vibrations.”

“When sound intensity increases, the olivocochlear reflex turns down the ‘cochlear amplifier’ to dynamically balance the input of each ear for optimal hearing, sound localisation and to protect hearing.”

The study found that the cochlear’s outer hair cells, which amplify sound vibrations, also provide the sensory signal to the brain for dynamic feedback control of this sound amplification, via a small group of auditory nerve fibres of previously unknown function.

In mice lacking the sensory fibre connection to the cochlear outer hair cells, loud sound presented to one ear had no effect on hearing sensitivity in the other ear. In normal control mice this produced an almost instant suppression of hearing.

Similarly, the olivocochlear reflex normally causes a rapid reduction in hearing in the ear receiving an increase in sound. This hearing adaptation was also absent in the mice lacking the sensory fibre connection.

The researchers speculate that some of the hearing loss that humans experience as they age may be related to the gradual breakdown of this sensory fibre connection to the outer hair cells.

“A major limitation of hearing aids and cochlear implants is their inability to work in tandem and support good hearing in noisy conditions,” Professor Housley said

“The ultimate goal is for cochlear implants in both ears to communicate with each other so that the brain can receive the most accurate soundscape possible. This research will help us move closer to that goal.”

World Health Organization: Limit Headphone Time To An Hour A Day 

Cranking up the tunes today may lead to the inability to hear them tomorrow, according the World Health Organization. Young people tend to turn the volume too high on their mobile music devices, as well as frequent noisy concerts and clubs. As a result, over 1.1 billion people ages 12-35 are at risk of hearing loss, the WHO said in a recent statement.

Some studies have shown that the number of young people with damaged hearing has increased over the past decade, likely because of the heightened use of iPods and smartphones to play loud music. In 1994, 3.5 percent of American teens experienced hearing loss, but that number rose to 5 percent by 2006. To combat this increase, the WHO recommends listening to mobile devices for a maximum of one hour per day, and the volume should stay around 60 percent.

The idea is to minimize unsafe listening practices, which depend on two factors: how long you listen and how loud the sound is. The sound of a typical conversation is 60 decibels, which won’t cause any hearing problems. But an idling bulldozer is about 85 decibels, which can cause permanent damage after eight hours. Sounds like a clap of thunder or even a close vuvuzela clock in at 120 decibels, damaging hearing after just nine seconds. Hearing loss from these loud, sustained sounds can be immediate, or they build up over time as the delicate structures in the inner ear become more and moredamaged.

However, headphones can be both good and bad for our auditory health, according to Kathleen Campbell, a professor at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine who specializes in audiology. Over-ear or noise-canceling headphones are ideal, because they encourage people to turn down the volume of the music they’re playing. People tend to prefer their music to be proportionally louder than any background noise, but if they can’t hear that noise, they’re not as inclined to turn up the music’s volume. Leaky headphones, however, make us more likely to turn up the volume, which can be bad news; headphones at maximum volume can impair hearing in just four minutes, and many young people don’t even realize that those deafening effects can be permanent.

To prevent hearing loss even further, WHO notes that headphone manufacturers and government regulators should do their part to develop listening devices that don’t irrevocably affect listeners. Loud venues like concerts or clubs should offer earplugs or quiet spaces where patrons can give their ears a break.

But in the meantime, WHO says it’s up to listeners to take care of their hearing. The type of music you listen to isn’t as important as its volume or duration, Campbell says, “but aficionados of different types of music tend to have different volume preferences.” Using noise-canceling headphones may help listeners resist the temptation to turn it up.

via Popular Science

I thought you guys might like to see this. :) It happened on Thursday afternoon but I’ve been all over the place and I didn’t want to just pop by the dash with a cursory one-line, “By the way…”

If you don’t feel like reading legalese: we won the hearing. :D :D :D My unemployment is safe, as is - to the best of my knowledge - my eligibility in the approved trained program (i.e., I can finish my vocational program and not have to look for a job until I graduate).

There’s a chance that my former employers could appeal again (they have ridiculous amounts of money and don’t like to lose), though I really hope they don’t. The deciding factor in the case appears to be something the judge figured out for himself and actually called my former boss on during the hearing, i.e., why was it okay for me to switch to part-time in October but mysteriously in February it became full-time or goodbye. So I’m hoping they look at this decision and go, “Um, yeah, we screwed up.” (Especially as their attorney’s whole argument was “Elisabeth is a student and isn’t available to work full-time so she should be disqualified from unemployment benefits” - not a peep toward trying to prove that I quit voluntarily, which was the whole point of the hearing!)

In other news: the quarter ended well and as far as I know I’ve got high A’s across the board. :) I gave a comprehensive (if slightly emotional) presentation on massage for the post-op hysterectomy patient and sailed through my Seated Massage exam with top marks. (Then again, I’ve been putting in ridiculous amounts of practice - I got a massage chair from a friend and brought it in to my sister’s school one afternoon as a treat for the teachers.) And I’m currently on a weeklong school break with every intention of holing up and working my little tail off on WtM: Ch 13! (There’s a new laptop and a screaming match with OneDrive in this story as well, but I’ll save that for another post.)

I kind of feel like posting pretty stuff for the first time in a very, very long time. Hope okay. <3