This has been a lively year for hearing health, packed with new developments, fascinating research, and encouraging stories of people conquering hearing loss to accomplish great things.
Just in case you missed it, here’s a review of the year’s 15 biggest stories.
This post by New Republic was one of many posts released in 2016 featuring the prominence of hearing loss among veterans. Hearing loss currently represents the number one disability for veterans (topping even PTSD).
In fact, the Department of Veteran Affairs states that 60 percent of those returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan (about 600,000) have irreversible hearing loss or ringing in ears.
Now that awareness has been raised, the military is focusing on developing helmets that minimize loud blasts while amplifying surrounding sound.
We’re fortunate to see a number of stories each year about individuals overcoming hearing loss to accomplish incredible things. However every once in awhile one story comes along that reminds us of what is possible with the right frame of mind and perseverance.
Caroline Aufgebauer, a high school senior, worked around the challenge of hearing loss to learn not one, not two, but three languages. She speaks English, Spanish, and Latin (earning special recognition for her performance on the national Spanish exam) and has a basic familiarity with German.
That, by the way, makes her trilingual despite an ailment that makes speech comprehension very difficult.
Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate that has done great things for the hearing loss community by raising awareness of the daily issues facing those with hearing loss.
In one of her more popular articles on her website Living With Hearing Loss, Eberts describes five things she wishes everyone knew about hearing loss.
This is one of several articles warning about the risks of earbud use and the increasing number of teens with hearing loss.
It’s estimated that 30 percent of teens have hearing damage as a result of dangerous listening practices, but that most are not hearing the message.
This story is a great reminder for musicians and concert-attendees to protect their hearing during live shows.
AC/DC had to postpone its tour in the United States due to lead singer Brian Johnson’s hearing condition. Doctors advised Johnson to stop touring immediately or risk total hearing loss.
Responding to the escalating problem of developing hearing loss and tinnitus at concerts, Pearl Jam provided earplugs to fans at its concerts in an action that we hope catches on with other bands.
Several musicians currently are afflicted by hearing loss and tinnitus as a consequence of a lack of hearing protection at shows, including Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, Grimes, Ozzy Osbourne,
and Chris Martin.
We see a number of of these videos every year, video clips of a child hearing for the first time with the use of hearing aids or cochlear implants.
However this particular video was the most watched of 2016. Check it out and try not to smile while you’re watching.
One of the best ways to raise awareness of hearing loss and reduce the stigma of hearing aids is to have a well known public figure speak on the subject.
In this post, FUBU founder, Shark Tank star, investor, and best-selling author John Daymond talks about how he overcame hearing loss and how high-tech hearing aids have changed his life.
Starbucks has launched a brand new store dedicated to employing deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals, as a vital part of the company’s mission to increase opportunities for marginalized groups.
10 of the store’s 13 staff members are hard-of-hearing or deaf. Employees communicate principally with sign-language, and customers without hearing loss can record their orders on note cards.
This is a cool article reminding us of how aggressively technology advances.
Dr. Kourosh Parham, a UConn physician-scientist, has introduced the first blood test that can identify the inner ear proteins correlated with inner ear conditions like hearing loss and vertigo.
Perhaps the early catching of hearing loss will soon be a routine part of the yearly physical exam.
This inspiring story is about how photographer Kate Disher-Quill finally came to accept her hearing loss and embrace and love her hearing aids.
Kate’s project, Right Hear, Right Now, is designed to empower people to accept and embrace their differences. It’s something she wishes she had access to when she was younger, something that could have inspired her to accept her own hearing loss sooner than she did.
12. When silencing phantom noises is a matter of science
The investigation for the cure for tinnitus continued in 2016, with multiple encouraging developments.
Tinnitus is challenging to diagnose and treat, and the best treatments available today either conceal the sound or guide the patient on how to cope with the sound.
However now scientists at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have discovered the first gene that might be able to prevent tinnitus.
As we find out more and more how the brain processes and interprets sound and speech, we can begin developing better hearing aids and better programs to help those with hearing loss to elevate speech recognition.
Stay tuned in 2017 for additional breakthroughs in the fundamental area of speech comprehension.
Hidden hearing loss can be present even in young adults who can pass a regular hearing test.
Research is underway that can enhance the accuracy of hearing testing and uncover hearing damage in young people, with ramifications including better hearing protection, improved workplace noise standards, and targeted medical treatments.
And last, here are eight great reasons to get a hearing test, published by Better Hearing Institute. There’s no better way to begin the new year than by taking control of your hearing health and enjoying all of the rewards of better hearing.
What did we miss? What were your favorite stories of 2016?