RSS

Blog posts tagged with 'Hearing Impaired'

Discover the latest innovations in the low-vision, low-hearing, and mobility industry, as well as those must-have products to enhance your day-to-day life. Our Independent-Living Blog will help make daily life a little less of a struggle and a bit more pleasurable with assistive products, suggestions, and advice. MaxiAids Helps You Do It . . . Yourself™
20 December, 2017

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children Sign Their Wish List to ‘Signing Santa’

 

 

Dozens of local North Carolina children who are deaf or hard of hearing got a special treat earlier this month at the Northlake Mall in Charlotte, at an event organized by the Charlotte Regional Center. Not only did the children get to sign what they want for Christmas to Santa and take a picture with him, they also got to play and bond with other deaf or hard of hearing children.

Mary Ann Franklin, who is deaf, took her 10-year-old daughter Alexis Poe to the Signing Santa event, who is hard of hearing. "It's a good experience for her to be able to understand and communicate with signing Santa,” she told WSOCTV.

Santa Claus took a photo with each child and held up the sign for “I love you” each time, which is three fingers up. About 40 children showed up to the event to participate in some holiday cheer, from local schools like Cotswold Elementary School, Cleveland County and the North Carolina School for the Deaf.

Blaire McCorkle, the manager of the Charlotte Regional Center, said she remembers Signing Santa events as a child. “I've had this experience myself and to see the kids for them to be able to see Santa using the same language. It is just amazing," she said.

McCorkle and her team help deaf and hard of hearing families all throughout the year, but this special event helps get kids who often feel alone this time of year feel a sense of community.

Check out these products that are also improving the lives of people who are hearing impaired.

05 December, 2017
05 October, 2017

OSU Research: Gene Therapy for Deafness

Researchers at Oregon State University have been working on what could lead to the development of gene therapies for those born deaf. Mutations in a protein called otoferlin, which binds to calcium receptors in the sensory hair cells of the inner ear, can be directly linked to hearing loss. 

The team found more than 60 mutations that weaken this bond to the sensory hair cells of the ear, marking the first of many steps to identifying successful therapies. 

In a press release from OSU, Colin Johnson, associate professor of biochemistry and biophysics stated that, “a lot of genes will find various things to do, but otoferlin seems only to have one purpose, and that is to encode sound in the sensory hair cells in the inner ear. And small mutations in otoferlin render people profoundly deaf.”

The size of the protein has been causing problems for researchers thus far.

“The otoferlin gene is really big, and it makes a huge protein,” Johnson explains, “the traditional method for making a recombinant protein is using E. coli, but they loathe big proteins. This paper came up with a way of getting around that challenge.”

“We were trying to shorten the gene, to find a truncated form that can be used for gene therapy,” Johnson added. 

“There is a size limit in terms of what you can package into the gene delivery vehicle, and otoferlin is too large. That’s the Holy Grail; trying to find a miniature version of otoferlin that can be packaged into the delivery vehicle, and then hopefully, the patient can start hearing.” 

To get around these obstacles and find out how otoferlin mutations affected their bond to calcium receptors, the researchers developed a new way to assess that bond after identifying a truncated form of the protein that can function in the encoding of sound.

This research not only opens a door for people who are born with hearing loss, but for researchers working to solve similar problems through bioscience as well.

Johnson’s team included doctoral biochemistry student Nicole Hams, former biochemistry doctoral student Murugesh Padmanarayana, and Weihong Qiu, assistant professor of biophysics.

 

See our products that are designed for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Article courtesy of Corvallis Advocate's Andy Hahn

Image courtesy of Renae Richardson / Levana Photography