This has been a busy year for hearing health, packed with new developments, exciting research, and motivating stories of individuals overcoming hearing loss to achieve great things.
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 published in 2016 highlighting the prominence of hearing loss among veterans. Hearing loss now represents the leading disability for veterans (topping 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 tinnitus.
Now that awareness has been raised, the military is working on creating helmets that mitigate loud blasts while increasing surrounding sound.
We’re fortunate to see several stories each year about individuals overcoming hearing loss to achieve extraordinary things. However every once in awhile one comes along that reminds us of what is possible with the right mindset and perseverance.
Caroline Aufgebauer, a high school senior, worked around her hearing loss to learn not one, not two, but three different languages. She speaks English, Latin, and Spanish (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 in spite of an ailment that makes speech comprehension quite difficult.
Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate that has done amazing things for the hearing loss community by boosting awareness of the everyday issues facing individuals with hearing loss.
In one of her top articles on her website Living With Hearing Loss, Eberts talks about five things she wishes everyone knew about hearing loss.
This is one of several articles cautioning about the dangers of earbud use and the escalating 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 good reminder for musicians and concert-goers to protect their hearing during the course of live shows.
AC/DC had to postpone its tour in the United States due to lead singer Brian Johnson’s hearing loss. Doctors advised Johnson to stop touring immediately or risk total hearing loss.
In response to the escalating problem of developing hearing loss and tinnitus at live events, Pearl Jam supplied earplugs to fans at its concerts in a move that we hope catches on with other bands.
Several musicians currently suffer from 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 several of these videos every year, videos of a child hearing for the first time with the use of hearing aids or cochlear implants.
But this specific 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 distinguished public figure speak on the issue.
In this post, FUBU founder, Shark Tank star, investor, and best-selling author John Daymond discusses how he overcame hearing loss and how high-tech hearing aids have changed his life.
Starbucks has opened a brand new store committed to employing deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals, as 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. Staff members communicate primarily with sign-language, and customers without hearing loss can record their orders on note cards.
This is a cool article reminding us of how rapidly technology progresses.
Dr. Kourosh Parham, a UConn physician-scientist, has introduced the first blood test that can recognize the inner ear proteins correlated with inner ear conditions like hearing loss and vertigo.
Perhaps the early diagnosis of hearing loss will before long be a routine component 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 search for the cure for tinnitus continued in 2016, with several encouraging findings.
Tinnitus is challenging to diagnose and treat, and the best treatments now available either conceal the sound or teach the patient on how to cope with the sound.
But now scientists at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have uncovered the first gene that might be able to prevent tinnitus.
As we find out more about how the brain processes and interprets sound and speech, we can start developing better hearing aids and better training programs to help those with hearing loss to enhance speech recognition.
Stay tuned in 2017 for additional developments in the critical area of speech comprehension.
Hidden hearing loss can be present even in young adults who can pass a standard hearing test.
Research is ongoing that can enhance the precision of hearing testing and uncover hearing damage in young people, with consequences including better hearing protection, better workplace noise standards, and highly targeted medical therapies.
Finally, here are eight very good reasons to get a hearing test, published by Better Hearing Institute. There’s no better way to start the new year than by taking control of your hearing health and enjoying all of the benefits of better hearing.
What did we leave out? What were your favorite stories of 2016?