Hearing — and Understanding — the World Around You Takes More Than Your Ears

Hearing — and Understanding — the World Around You Takes More Than Your Ears

In a noisy, crowded room, your brain can pick up subtle parts of speech and automatically arrange them into useful thoughts. Ever wondered how this miraculous feat happens? Well, new research brings us closer to understanding just that.

Researchers at Trinity College in Dublin were able to pinpoint the regions of the brain responsible for processing each individual sound that makes up human speech. What enters our ears as a flood of sound is automatically processed and sorted into consonants, vowels, pauses, and pitches, or what we know as language. We don’t think about it, we just do it — and it’s impressive how that complex task is performed instantaneously, thousands of times each day.

Known as phonemes, these syllables, breaks, and intonations are meaningless on their own, yet amazingly, the brain is able to arrange them into patterns it recognizes as speech, even in noisy environments with …

Read More
Keep Your Hearing Close to Your Heart

Keep Your Hearing Close to Your Heart

Over the past 80 years, a plethora of studies have tied the health of your ears to the health of your cardiovascular system — your heart, arteries, and veins. What studies are showing is the possibility of your ears being a window into your overall heart health.

The connections between heart and hearing health are meaningful, as cardiovascular disease can affect a person’s ability to hear and understand speech. Poorer hearing can be caused by restricted blood flow to the inner ear over time. A restriction of blood supply to the ear can cause permanent damage: Starving the cochlea of oxygen can compound other damaging influences, including noise, smoking, and drug intake.

How is my heart connected to my hearing?

The association between cardiovascular health and hearing health is all about blood circulation throughout the body. Circulatory problems have the ability to affect any number of bodily processes, particularly …

Read More