Echoes – Where Do They Come From?

If you’ve ever been inside a large canyon, you’ve probably observed the wonder of echoes firsthand-but how do they work? This phenomenon is called an echo, which has its origins in the Greek ekho, meaning “sound.” An echo happens when a sound wave reflects off a surface, such as the water at the bottom of a well, and the sound is repeated back to you. There are certain basic requirements a place must meet in order for it to produce an echo. One requirement is that the size of the obstacle/reflector must be large compared to the wavelength of the incident sound (for reflection of sound to take place). For another, the distance between the source of sound and the reflector should be at least 66 feet (so that the echo is heard distinctly after the original sound is over). Additionally, the intensity or loudness of the sound should be sufficient for the reflected sound reaching the ear to be audible. The original sound should be of short duration.

The farther away the surface is, the longer it will take for the echo to come back to you. One could theoretically tell how far away an object is and how fast it is moving by an echo.This is called echolocation and bats use echoes to find moths while flying around at night. A bat uses echolocation by sending out a clicking or chirping sound, which echoes off any objects that are near. Luckily for bats, they have very large ears and can sense even very soft sounds in certain wavelengths. Their brains also help by processing the distance from and the size of the object as well as how fast it is moving and where to. It continues to send out sound and receive echoes until it zeroes in on the moth and has its meal.

The dolphin is another mammal who uses echolocation. The dolphin has a structure in its head called the phonic (or sonic) lips. Humans, like nearly all mammals, produce sounds using their vocal cords. The dolphin doesn’t have vocal cords, but instead developed its phonic lips from what was once the dolphin’s nose. The dolphin forces pressurized air through its phonic lips, and the air vibrates and comes out sounding like clicking. When the clicks bounce off of the object the dolphin is interested in (that is, when the echo occurs) the dolphin then gets a mental picture of that object.

August 27, 2014 : Atlanta Hearing Associates Needs New Audiologists to Its Professional Staff

Excerpt:Atlanta Hearing Associates, the top provider for hearing loss services and hearing aids in Atlanta, has been serving Georgia residents for many years. The company prides itself on making sure its clients have the most up-to-date information and technology.”

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Swimmer’s Ear Treatment and Symptoms

Acute external otitis or otitis externa – more commonly known as swimmer’s ear – is an infection that strikes the outer ear canal, the area outside the eardrum. It is termed swimmer’s ear because it routinely develops because of liquid staying in the ears after swimming which provides a wet environment which encourages the growth of microbes. It may also be brought on by sticking your fingers, Q-tips, or other foreign objects into the ears, because they can scratch or injure the sensitive ear canal lining, making it prone to infection. Fortunately swimmer’s ear is readily treated. If untreated, swimmer’s ear can cause severe complications so it is important to recognize the symptoms of the condition.

Swimmer’s ear occurs because the ear’s natural defenses (glands that secrete a water-repellant, waxy film called cerumen) have become overwhelmed. Bacteria establish themselves and begin to multiply in the ears for numerous different reasons including excess moisture or damage to the lining of the ear canal. The activities that increase your chance of developing swimmer’s ear include swimming (naturally, particularly in untreated water such as that found in lakes), overly aggressive cleaning of the ear canal with cotton swabs or other objects, use of devices that sit inside the ear such as “ear buds” or hearing aids, and allergies.

The most typical symptoms of swimmer’s ear are itching in the ear canal, mild pain gets worse by pulling on your ear, a mild redness inside the ear, and mild drainage of a clear, odorless fluid. In more moderate cases, these problems may progress to more intense itching, pain, and discharge of pus. Extreme cases of swimmer’s ear are accompanied by symptoms such as fever, severe pain which may radiate into other parts of the head, neck and face, swelling redness of the outer ear or lymph nodes, and possibly blockage of the ear canal. Side effects may include short-term hearing loss, long-term infection of the outer ear, bone and cartilage loss, and deep-tissue infections that may spread to other parts of the body and reduce the effectiveness of the body’s immune system. Therefore, if you have any of these signs or symptoms, even if mild, see your doctor.

During your appointment, the physician will look for signs of swimmer’s ear with an otoscope, which allows them to peer deep into your ear canal. The doctor will also check at the same time to see if there is any harm to the eardrum itself. Doctors generally treat swimmer’s ear first by cleaning the ears thoroughly, and then by prescribing ear drops to remove the infection. If the infection is serious, your doctor can also prescribe antibiotics taken orally to help combat it.

You can help to protect against swimmer’s ear by keeping your ears dry after bathing or swimming, by avoiding swimming in untreated water, and by not inserting foreign objects in your ears in an attempt to clean them.

Irreversible Hearing Loss May One Day Not Be So Permanent: Promising Research Into Inner Ear Hair Cell Regeneration

As hearing professionals, one of the sometimes frustrating things we encounter in our practice is that the conditions that have caused hearing loss in our patients can’t be reversed. For example, one of the most common causes of hearing loss is damage to the miniature, sensitive hair cells that line the inner ear and vibrate [...]

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Replace or Repair a Broken Hearing Aid?

One of the most frequent questions we hear is, “My hearing aid is broken or is not working the way it used to – do you think I should replace it and buy a new one, or have it fixed?” Presented with only that limited information, we have to answer truthfully, “That depends.” It is [...]

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Could Hearing Loss be an Indicator of Alzheimer’s?

For those of you who’ve suffered some form of hearing impairment, do you ever find yourself needing to work really hard to understand what’s being said to you or around you? This is a sensation that happens even to people wearing hearing aids, because in order for them to perform well you need to have [...]

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How Musicians Can Reduce the Chances of Future Hearing Problems

Brian Wilson, Neil Young, Pete Townshend and Barbra Streisand – what trait do these diverse musicians all share? As a result of years of performing, they all have permanent hearing loss. When I treat musicians, I have to tell them a sad but unavoidable fact of life – the very music they love to play [...]

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