According to the World Health Organization,360 million people are currently suffering from deafness. As a rule, hearing problems occur in early childhood and if you detect them in time before the age of one year, complications can be completely avoided. Unfortunately, at the moment there is practically no effective method for detecting the early stages of deafness and problems are identified only when the child becomes an adult. But did you know that to find out how well the child hears various sounds, you can just look in his eyes? This seems impossible, but scientists from the US state of Oregon proved this in a rather interesting experiment. The discovery can be the basis for creating a new, most effective test to test hearing acuity.
About the discovery of scientists from the University of OregonIt was told on the official website of the institution. Until now, doctors could test the acuity of human hearing only using a method called audiometry. During this test, a person is required to press a button each time he hears signals with a frequency of 250 to 8000 hertz. But only relatively healthy people can pass such a test, and small children and paralyzed adults are simply not able to timely notify doctors about the moment they heard a sound.
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How to find out that a person has hearing problems?
To create a method for determining hearing acuity,which is suitable for people of all ages and in any physical condition, scientists were prompted by a study of the behavior of birds of prey called barn owls. According to a study participant named Avinash Singh Bala, observing the owls, they found that when the birds hear any sounds, their pupils noticeably expand. They wondered if human pupils dilate in the same way when sound is reproduced somewhere.
To test this, scientists conducted a smallexperiment involving 31 volunteers with an average age of 24 years. The study participants were asked to look at a certain point on the screen and press the button indicated in advance at the moment when they hear a signal. The sound was reproduced with a delay so that people did not have the opportunity to calculate the approximate playing time of the signal and outwit the researchers.
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During the experiment, it turned out that the pupils of peoplereally reacted to the sound. In particular, changes in the eyes occurred 250 milliseconds after the signal was played. According to researchers, in this way, doctors can detect hearing problems as effectively as with audiometry. Only when using the new method, patients are not required to press any buttons - doctors can notice the response right in their eyes. If during the reproduction of sound the pupils of a child or adult do not expand, then he simply does not hear it and he has hearing problems.
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Researchers are currently discussingthe effectiveness of their method with psychologists and pediatricians. Soon they intend to conduct an experiment again with a large number of people, among whom there will also be babies. If everything goes well, then in the future, doctors will be able to quickly identify hearing problems in young children and help them avoid complications. It would be good if the method proves its effectiveness - there is a hope that the number of deaf people will decrease significantly in the future.