This has been a busy year for hearing health, filled with new developments, exciting research, and inspiring stories of individuals conquering hearing loss to achieve great things.
Just in case you missed it, here’s a review of the year’s 15 best stories.
This post by New Republic was one of many articles published in 2016 emphasizing the prominence of hearing loss among veterans. Hearing loss today is the number one disability for veterans (leading even PTSD).
In fact, the Department of Veteran Affairs states that 60 percent of those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan (approximately 600,000) have irreparable hearing loss or ringing in ears.
Now that awareness has been raised, the military is working on creating helmets that mitigate loud blasts while increasing ambient sound.
2. When it comes to a challenge, she speaks the language
We’re privileged to witness several stories each year about individuals overcoming hearing loss to achieve incredible things. However on occasion one story comes along that reminds us of what is possible with the right perspective and perseverance.
Caroline Aufgebauer, a high school senior, worked around her 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.
Which, by the way, makes her trilingual despite a condition that makes speech comprehension quite difficult.
Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate that has done wonders for the hearing loss community by raising awareness of the daily issues facing those with hearing loss.
In one of her popular articles on her blog Living With Hearing Loss, Eberts describes five things she wishes everyone knew about hearing loss.
This is one of several articles warning about the dangers of earbud use and the expanding number of teens with hearing loss.
It’s estimated that 30 percent of teens have hearing injury caused by dangerous listening practices, but that most are not hearing the message.
This story is a great reminder for musicians and concert-attendees to safeguard their hearing during the course of live performances.
AC/DC had to put off its tour in the United States due to frontman Brian Johnson’s hearing condition. Doctors advised Johnson to stop touring right away or risk total hearing loss.
In response to the growing problem of acquiring hearing loss and tinnitus at live shows, Pearl Jam supplied earplugs to fans at its concerts in a move that hopefully catches on with other bands.
A number of musicians presently are dealing with hearing loss and tinnitus due to a lack of hearing protection at shows, including Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, Grimes, Ozzy Osbourne,
and Chris Martin.
We see several 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. See for yourself 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 distinguished public figure speak on the topic.
In this article, 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 recruiting deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals, as an integral part of the company’s objective to increase opportunities for marginalized groups.
10 of the store’s 13 employees are hard-of-hearing or deaf. Employees communicate principally with sign-language, and customers without hearing loss can write down their orders on cards.
This is an intriguing article reminding us of how aggressively technology progresses.
Dr. Kourosh Parham, a UConn physician-scientist, has introduced the first blood test that can recognize the inner ear proteins linked with inner ear disorders like hearing loss and vertigo.
Perhaps the early diagnosis of hearing loss will before long be a standard part of the annual 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 findings.
Tinnitus is difficult to diagnose and treat, and the best treatments now available either cover up the sound or advise the patient on how to deal with the sound.
However now scientists at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have identified the first gene that might be able to prevent tinnitus.
As we learn more about how the brain processes and interprets sound and speech, we can start developing better hearing aids and more efficient programs to help those with hearing loss to enhance speech recognition.
Stay tuned in 2017 for additional breakthroughs in the critical area of speech comprehension.
Hidden hearing loss could be present even in younger people who can pass a basic hearing test.
Research is ongoing that can improve the accuracy of hearing testing and expose hearing problems in young people, with consequences including more effective hearing protection, better workplace noise guidelines, and targeted medical therapies.
And last, here are eight very good reasons to get a hearing test, published by Better Hearing Institute. There’s no better way to begin the new year than by taking charge of your hearing health and making the most of all of the benefits of better hearing.
What did we leave out? What were your favorite stories of 2016?