Navigation Links
Eyes a Window to Hearing Loss?
Date:2/19/2008

Pupils dilate in reaction to sounds, might be way to spot hearing problems, study finds,,

TUESDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- The eyes may not just be a window to the soul, they may also provide a clear view to the state of your other senses.

A new study reports that the eyes can provide clues that tell researchers how well a person can hear. This finding may be especially helpful for diagnosing hearing problems in babies, very young children and in people who can't actively take a hearing test, such as those with a traumatic brain injury.

"When most animals detect a change in their environment, their pupils dilate. And, the quieter the sound, the less the dilation," explained study author Avinash Bala, a research associate at the University of Oregon in Eugene. "One of the things you can use this for is to see when a sound becomes detectable."

About 28 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Approximately two to three out of every 1,000 children are born deaf or hard-of-hearing. Because hearing is so critical to speech and language development, experts believe that the sooner a hearing problem is diagnosed in babies and young children, the better.

However, detecting hearing problems in infants and young children can be difficult, because they can't respond to normal hearing tests as older children and adults do.

When Bala was working with barn owls, he realized that their pupils dilate in response to sound, and that the pupils responded in proportion to the volume of the sound. Bala said this is called an "orienting reflex response."

"Whenever there is a change in our environment, the natural reaction is to turn and look at it," he explained. At the same time, the heart rate slows, breathing slows, and the pupils dilate to allow the ability to assess the threat of the change. If the sound is repeated numerous times, and there's no threat detected, animals and humans quickly learn to ignore such sounds, according to Bala. This is known as habituating.

Bala and his colleagues thought they might be able to use this pupillary dilation response (PDR) to measure a person's ability to hear.

To test this theory, they recruited 22 healthy volunteers and asked them to listen to a variety of noises. While they were listening to the sounds, their eye movements were tracked by a camera. In this study, the subject kept their heads still by placing their chin in a chin rest, but Bala said that if a camera were mounted far enough away from the subject, they wouldn't need to be still. Or, he said, it's possible that they could use a pair of specialized goggles to detect changes in pupil size.

They found that when a novel sound was introduced, the pupils in human eyes dilated, and if the sound was repeated numerous times, the volunteers quickly became habituated to the sound. To counter this habituation, the researchers varied the sounds.

For 11 of the study participants, the researchers also asked when they heard a certain noise and compared those results to those obtained by the pupil response, and found that the results were very similar, within three decibels.

Results of the study were to be presented Tuesday at the Association for Research in Otolaryngology meeting in Phoenix.

Diane Sabo, director of the division of audiology and communication disorders at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, said the findings were "intriguing" and that a three-decibel difference was very small.

"Any time you work with babies and young children, you're always looking for a physiological response, because they can't tell you anything," she said. She did express concern that in this study, the participants kept their head still, because that's something that definitely won't happen with babies and young children.

"This sounds really interesting, but whether it can translate into a useful clinical tool is probably a long way off," said Sabo.

More information

Read this information from the Nemours Foundation to learn the signs to watch for that might indicate your baby has a hearing problem.



SOURCES: Avinash Bala, Ph.D., research associate, University of Oregon, Eugene; Diane Sabo, Ph.D., director, division of audiology and communication disorders, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; Feb. 19, 2008, presentation, Association for Research in Otolaryngology, Phoenix


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Transparent Fish Gives New Window on Disease
2. Camera in a pill offers cheaper, easier window on your insides
3. Pharmacists believe drive-through windows contribute to delays, errors
4. New Web Site Opens Window on Charges, Payments, Quality of Care at Michigan Hospitals
5. OHSU Cancer Institute research discovery opens new window to understanding chronic myeloid leukemia
6. A pain-free window into painful neuropathies
7. Poor Senior Vision Often a Window on Disease
8. Campaign Targets Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in Kids
9. Summary Notice of Proposed Settlement and Settlement Hearing in Re Martek Biosciences Corp., Securities Litigation
10. Ear Wax Softener Can Affect Hearing, Study Reports
11. HearAtLast Enters U.S. Market With Grand Opening of Hearing Clinic in The Villages, Florida
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Eyes a Window to Hearing Loss?
(Date:5/3/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 03, 2016 , ... Huntington ... special type of surgical procedure that can be used to diagnose and treat joint ... can be inserted. These instruments include a special lighting system and lens that illuminate ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... , ... May 03, 2016 , ... Hydra Skin Sciences, ... that its Allegro Anti-aging Cream, a revolutionary new anti-aging skin care product ... and repair damaged skin, has sold over seventy-five thousand units worldwide within the first ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... Bethesda, Md. (PRWEB) , ... May 03, 2016 ... ... a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) issued by the Office of the National ... review of certified products and take action when necessary, including suspending and terminating ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... May 02, 2016 , ... The Beryl Institute announces the ... an international, open access, peer-reviewed journal focused on research and proven practices around ... based authors, the third volume of PXJ continues to expand PXJ's reach both ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... ... Eating Recovery Center’s Insight Behavioral Health Center (ERC Insight) , a trusted ... disorder program under a new name: Eating Recovery Center, Chicago (ERC Chicago). ERC Chicago ... To celebrate, ERC Chicago will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house on Thursday, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/28/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition ... report to their offering.      (Logo: ... plastic surgery products market is expected to grow at ... ,The growing adoption of laser in aesthetics is another ... Lasers are used to treat a broad range of ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... NEW YORK , April 28, 2016 ... of online consumer insights on healthcare, announced today that ... in their report Cool Vendor in Life Sciences, ... , April 15, 2016.  The report focuses on life-science- ... to gain insight from patients and doctors, confirm medication ...
(Date:4/28/2016)...   Acsis , a leading provider of supply ... research and advisory firm IDC has named it a ... Pharmaceutical Track and Trace Software 2016 Vendor Assessment (doc ... of the capabilities and business strategies of 10 vendors ... Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160427/360791LOGO ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: