Have you heard?

People aren’t the only ones with interesting hearing mechanisms and facts. Check out these random tidbits about animal hearing from the Better Hearing Institute, Teachers Domain, and the University of Washington:

• Snakes do not have ears, but their tongues are sensitive to sound vibrations.
• Owls distinguish sound directions partly by measuring the difference in time it takes the sound to reach each ear. This difference is typically less than 200 millionths of a second!
• Cicadas have hearing organs in their stomachs
• Crickets have hearing organs in their knees; sound waves cause a thin membrane on the cricket’s legs to vibrate
• It is thought that owls can create an image of the world around them based only on sound, much like humans do with their eyes
• Although fish do not have ears, they can hear pressure changes through ridges on their bodies
• Dolphins can hear frequencies up to at least 100,000 Hz.  Compare this to a dog’s ability to hear up to 40,000 Hz and a person’s 20,000 Hz
• During World War I, the military kept parrots on France’s Eiffel Tower because their extra-sensitive hearing allowed them to warn of incoming enemy aircraft before any person could hear it
• All mammals have external ears, but many can move them to help pinpoint the direction of sounds. Some animals, like elephants, can even use their ears to stay cool by waving them like fans.

And you thought you could twitch your ears!

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How do cochlear implants work?

If you’ve been using a hearing aid but still have difficulty hearing or communicating, cochlear implants may be a great option. Unlike hearing aids, cochlear implants “bypass the damaged inner ear and deliver electrical stimulation directly to the hearing nerve” (American Academy of Audiology). For this reason, cochlear implants are able to benefit people whose ears no longer respond to the amplification offered by hearing aids. Cochlear implants consist of both an external and internal part. The internal part is surgically implanted during an outpatient procedure and cannot be seen from the outside; the external part is similar in appearance to a hearing aid that wraps behind the ear. This external part is fitted and programmed by your audiologist.

According to the Academy of Audiology, everyone responds differently to cochlear implants. Although it does take time to get used to listening with the implant, many people are able to use the phone and even listen to music after a few months. Most implant users also communicate with others and understand speech well. People who receive cochlear implants generally work with a variety of specialists throughout the procedure and trial period, including a speech-language pathologist, who can help restore a sense of normality in everyday conversation.

If you have any questions about cochlear implants or think you could be a good candidate for the procedure, talk to an audiologist on your True Dental Discounts hearing plan. He or she will evaluate your hearing and help you determine if implants are right for your lifestyle and individual needs.