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    BSL will soon be a GCSE?

    Thanks to a young man called Daniel Jillings, school pupils will soon be able to study a GCSE in British Sign Language (BSL).  Daniel has been campaigning for a GCSE for 5 years, since he was aged 12, so Deaf students can get a GCSE in their own language. The GCSE will also enable hearing students to learn around 1,000 BSL signs, to communicate with their Deaf peers, and learn about the history of BSL. The intention is for the GCSE to be available to teach in schools from September 2025, and the public consultation is happening now. There’s more information available here. Do take part in the consultation so that…

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    Can music manage chronic pain?

    Music can help improve our mood and mindset and it now appears that it can even help to manage chronic pain. A study of a woman who had lived with chronic pain for 20 years revealed that listening to music relieved her pain and reduced the withdrawal effects she experienced after stopping her opioid-based treatment. Opioid-based medication has been the main treatment for chronic pain for a long time but there are questions around its effectiveness as a long-term solution. While its pain relieving properties are undisputed, it can also have significant side effects, including drowsiness and brain fog. The effects of listening to music may involve endogenous opioid and…

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    World Music Day!

    Today is World Music Day and a fantastic opportunity to celebrate and enjoy the music you love. But if you’re finding you’re having to turn up the volume on your Chopin or Sheeran, then it could be that your hearing isn’t as good as it used to be. At The Hearing Clinic we want you to reconnect to the things in your life that matter the most to you, whether it’s music, hobbies, friends or loved ones. When you come and see us for a hearing assessment we’ll put you at your ease and learn as much as we can about you, including the things you enjoy doing, and the…

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    AI learning and hearing aid technology

    Can machine learning help with hearing? Humans and animals experience an astonishing variety of sounds every day, and we’re able to communicate and understand one another despite background noise, the pitch of a person’s voice or their accent. But what’s being done to understand the biology of sound recognition so we can find ways to improve it for the many people who struggle with conditions that make it hard for them to recognise speech? Or for the many people who have or will have a hearing impairment? Well, if you’ve read recent stories about artificial intelligence and machine learning and are worried about the negative potential of these technologies, it’s…

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    Distressed plants make sounds

    According to a recent study, published in Cell, thirsty or stressed plants make sounds that can be heard up to several metres away. Plants that need water or have recently had their stems cut produce up to 35 sounds per hour, while well-hydrated and uncut plants only make about one sound per hour. At ultrasonic levels (20–100 kHz) few humans can hear them, but some animals, such as bats or moths, may be able to. Researchers from Tel-Aviv University in Israel recorded the sounds which are like short clicks and it’s thought these are made by the xylem, the tubes that transport water and nutrients from the plant’s roots to…

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    Age related hearing loss in other mammals.

    It’s reassuring to learn that other mammals seem to lose their hearing in older age, much like humans do, but also find ways to adapt to their situation. Scientists have discovered that some bats experience age-related hearing loss – but may have found a way around it. A study of wild Egyptian fruit bats revealed a clear age-related hearing loss that, just as in humans, was particularly pronounced at higher sound frequencies – exactly those pitches that the bats need for echolocation to orientate themselves in their environment and to seek out prey. The fruit bats live in large, noisy colonies which means these animals are continuously exposed to over…

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    How to cure those annoying ear-worms!

    We’ve all had them – those annoying song riffs that you just can’t shift from your brain no matter what. But what makes one song more annoyingly catchy than another? And how can you rid yourself of one of these ‘earworms’ when you get one? Professor Emery Schubert, a researcher from the University of New South Wales in Australia, has found that earworms (‘involuntary musical imagery’) get into our brains when we’re relaxed. And certain songs will be more successful at this for key reasons. Earworms tend to be the choruses of songs as they’re repeated throughout the song. However, an earworm is also more likely if you recently heard…

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    2 million Britons currently work in harmful levels of noise

    We were alarmed to recently read that more than 2 million Britons currently work in harmful levels of noise and are at risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss. Why is there still such a problem with noise-induced hearing loss 17 years after the Control of Noise at Work Regulations were brought in? The piece by Dr David Greenberg on the British Safety Council’s website explained how large numbers of construction and manufacturing workers and ex-military personnel have a hearing impairment. Noise induced hearing loss is the source of many thousands of insurance claims, and is the most commonly reported occupational disease in Europe. And it is entirely preventable. So why is still…

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    AI – what we can gain for hearing aids.

    You can’t read the news or switch on the telly at the moment without hearing about artificial intelligence (AI). Depending on your point of view, the buzz around AI is either alarming or exciting as experts debate its potential to alter so many aspects of our daily lives and even potentially eliminate certain jobs. What is AI? AI is the method by which a computer is able to mimic human cognitive functions, such as learning and problem-solving. The computer analyses and learns from data through specifically designed algorithms. AI has actually been with us for quite a few years (Siri and Alexa, the virtual personal assistants, are AI features). And…

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    New propeller design to reduce noise pollution

    Boats and aircraft still use propeller designs that are hundreds or even thousands of years old. However, that could be set to change thanks to a new design being implemented by the aviation and marine sectors. A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US that has been working on a new drone has found that adapting the traditional shape of the propellers into a twisted ring, or twisted-toroid, drastically reduces the noise from the drone blades. The sound created is more like a rushing breeze than a propeller, making it far less intrusive. What’s more, the new design also produces more thrust. These benefits are equally apparent…

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