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Reflect On 2021 To Get The Drop On 2022

It’s January 2022! People are beginning new resolutions, starting over, planning for the year to come, and reflecting on the year that’s past. 2021 marked another year of new changes in the hearing health industry. 

Your Hearing Network would like to share with you the top hearing health industry stories.

US House of Representatives Passes Bill Adding New Medicare Hearing Benefits. 

As part of the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376) several provisions have been included that would impact Medicare patients and providers. Included is coverage of audiologists’ treatment services and a reclassification of audiologists as practitioners adding them to the list of providers eligible to provide telehealth services. The bill has yet to be approved by the Senate.

FDA Proposes Rule to Create New OTC Hearing Aids

As a measure to increase competition in the hearing aid market, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a proposed rule to establish a new category of over the counter (OTC) hearing aids. This measure allows hearing aids within this category to be sold directly to consumers in stores or online without a medical exam or a licensed provider fitting.

GN Launches Jabra Enhance Pro Hearing Aids at Costco Hearing Centers.

In June of 2021, GN revealed the Jabra Enhance Pro, a premium hearing aid line up that would be launched at over 700 Costco Hearing Centers worldwide.

Bose Displays New SoundControl Hearing Aids.

In August 2021, Bose launched SoundControl hearing aids nationwide. The devices were first unveiled in May and are the first direct-to-consumer hearing aids for Bose. The hearing aids cover mild to moderate hearing loss and are classified as FDA-cleared Class II medical devices. 

Study Finds Loud Sounds Cause Fluid Buildup in Inner Ear.

A new study from Keck Medicine of USC links inner ear nerve damage to a condition known as endolymphatic hydrops, a buildup of fluid in the inner ear, to noise exposure. Researchers found that after exposure to 100 decibels the mice studied developed inner ear fluid buildup within hours. A week after this exposure, the animals were found to have lost auditory nerve cells.

Landmark Clinical Trial Launched to Investigate Treatment for Severe Hearing Loss

In December 2021, researchers at the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre and the University of Nottingham launched a new study which will inform the most effective treatment for people with severe hearing loss globally (hearing loss greater than 65 dBHL). The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that by 2050 nearly 2.5 billion people worldwide will experience some degree of hearing loss and at least 700 million will require hearing rehabilitation.

URMC Researchers Reveal How Brain Understands One Voice in a Noisy Crowd

Edmund Lalor, Ph.D., associate professor of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Rochester Medical Center, focuses his research on how the brain processes stimuli. His lab found a new clue into how the brain is able to unpack this information and can intentionally hear one speaker, while weaning out or ignoring a different speaker.

Researchers Investigate Changes in Brain When Switching from Hearing to Listening

There are various components that play a role in how the brain processes sound. Neuroscientist professors Tania Rinaldi Barkat and Dr. Gioia De Franceschi from the Department of Biomedicine at the University of Basel have provided an accurate account of what happens in this process in the journal Cell Reports.

For their study, the researchers examined the activity of neurons in four different areas in the brains of mice that were involved in increasingly complex sound processing. During the experiment, the rodents were either passively hearing the sounds played to them, or actively listening to them to receive a reward for detecting the sounds.

According to professor Barkat, “The results make it clear that even the detection of a simple sound is a cognitive process that profoundly and extensively shapes the way the brain works, even at very early stages of sensory processing.”

Flexible Device Could Treat Hearing Loss Without Batteries

Researchers in ACS Nano report a conductive membrane, which translated sound waves into matching electrical signals when implanted inside a model ear, without requiring external power.

Exploring Human-Body Communication with Binaural Hearing Aids

Scientists have delved deep into human-body communications, in which human tissue is used as the transmission medium for electromagnetic signals. Their findings can pave the way to more efficient and safer head-worn devices, such as binaural hearing aids and earphones.