What do Baby Hearing Test and Owls have to do with each other?
A great new discovery by researcher and neuroscientist, Avinash Bala, at the University of Oregon is the new testing lab on how Owls and Babies are similar in how they respond to sound.
In an article in OPB.org, they explain that: “Detecting hearing loss in babies is kind of a Catch-22. It’s important to uncover hearing issues early to start therapies to help them develop language. But because babies don’t have language to tell you what they hear, it’s difficult to diagnose just how severe their hearing loss is.
Bala’s new test relies on an involuntary pupil response, one that is triggered when humans hear a new sound. It’s a reaction he figured out in an unlikely way – while he was studying owls.”
The article further states that, “About 20 years ago Bala was working on a research project studying how barn owls hear the world as a way to better understand how human brains process sound.”
Bala stated, “What I realized was that we could also use this in people who are unable to respond for one reason or another. And the biggest such group of people is infants, because babies can’t tell us what they’re thinking.”
It’s standard practice in the United States to screen babies for hearing loss within the first month of life. Infants who are flagged for potential hearing issues are sent for further testing, but the tests audiologists use aren’t the same “tell-us-if-you-hear-the-sound” tests older children and adults use.
So this is a potentially great new tool for audiologists.
Read the full article by CLICKING HERE.
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Susan E. Terry, Au.D., F-AAA, F-NAP
Doctor of Audiology
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