Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Prosthetic Ears Appear To Improve Hearing And Speech Recognition In Noisy Environments

Date:
September 16, 2008
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
Prosthetic ears appear to improve hearing and speech recognition in noisy environments, according to a new report.

Prosthetic ears appear to improve hearing and speech recognition in noisy environments, according to a report in the September/October issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Related Articles


Some patients require prosthetic ears because their pinna (outer ear) was removed during surgery for cancer or damaged by trauma, according to background information in the article. "Their external auditory canal is usually intact, and the remainder of their auditory system should function normally," the authors write. "In these patients, the physician must strive not only to correct the aesthetic defect caused by the missing pinna but also to correct the hearing loss caused by its absence."

William E. Walsh, M.D., C.M.I., of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, and colleagues analyzed eight different silicone rubber prostheses in a two-part study. In the first part, the researchers used a life-sized plastic foam head with a 12-millimeter hole drilled through at the location of the external auditory canal. A microphone was placed at the entrance of the ear canal to measure sound pressure levels both with and without the prosthesis while the head was rotated 360 degrees in 30-degree increments.

On average, the prostheses improved the sound pickup by 8.1 decibels (normal conversation is about 60 decibels) when the frequency of the sound was 4.6 kilohertz, and 9.7 decibels when the frequency was 11.5 kilohertz.

To see if this improvement would benefit patients, 11 English-speaking young adults with normal hearing took two versions of a speech test. The first was unmodified but in the second, the acoustic effects caused by the absence of a pinna were simulated based on the results from the first part of the study. The participants plugged their left ears and sat in front of two speakers, one playing normal speech and one playing white noise. Researchers increased the sound level of the speech by one decibel at a time until all of the sentences were understood. The trial was then repeated with the prosthesis over the right ear.

In this test, the prosthesis significantly improved the average ratio of speech to noise at which all sentences were understood. This part of the study "answers the question whether the gain measured in a model system actually improves a patient's hearing," the authors write.

"Auricular prostheses provide an acoustic gain at certain head positions and frequencies, and this acoustic gain is clinically relevant because it benefits speech recognition in noise," they continue. "In some individuals, auricular prostheses not only effectively restore aesthetics but also may improve hearing. To verify the results of the present experiments, the main outcome measures described in this study will be used to obtain future measurements from individuals who wear auricular prostheses."

This study was supported by an American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Foundation Leslie Bernstein Resident Research Grant (Dr. Walsh).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. William E. Walsh; Brian Dougherty; David J. Reisberg; Edward L. Applebaum; Chirag Shah; Patrick O'Donnell; Claus-Peter Richter. The Importance of Auricular Prostheses for Speech Recognition. Arch Facial Plast Surg, 2008; 10 (5): 321-328 [link]

Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Prosthetic Ears Appear To Improve Hearing And Speech Recognition In Noisy Environments." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080915165822.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2008, September 16). Prosthetic Ears Appear To Improve Hearing And Speech Recognition In Noisy Environments. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080915165822.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Prosthetic Ears Appear To Improve Hearing And Speech Recognition In Noisy Environments." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080915165822.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The MelaFind device is a pain-free way to check suspicious moles for melanoma, without the need for a biopsy. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Battling Multiple Myeloma

Battling Multiple Myeloma

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The answer isn’t always found in new drugs – repurposing an ‘old’ drug that could mean better multiple myeloma treatment, and hope. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) New information that is linking chronic inflammation in the prostate and prostate cancer, which may help doctors and patients prevent cancer in the future. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) Blood transfusions are proving crucial to young sickle cell patients by helping prevent strokes, even when there is no outward sign of brain injury. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins