Study: Hearing Loss May be Hurting Your Personal Relationships

  In the United States, one in eight people aged 12 years or older has hearing loss in both ears. Yes, as a person with hearing loss it can be hard to cope with the day-to-day routine. However, what impact is your hearing loss actually having on you and your relationship with others? According to Consumer Report, new research shows that hearing loss or other hearing problems can actually take a toll on one’s relationship with their spouse, parents, children, friends, and other family members. In extreme cases, severe hearing loss can sever a relationship altogether. The University of Nottingham recently published the study in the journal Trends and Hearing. The study looked at more than 70 cases of people complaining about their hearing loss or complaining about the hearing loss of those close to them. Lead study author and audiologist Venessa Vas, PhD commented on the findings. “We found that hearing loss impacted people’s social relationships in all facets of their life,” Vas said. “Oftentimes, both parties became depressed and socially withdrawn.” It was reported that spouses often times felt anxious or stressed regarding their partner’s hearing loss. The emotional and harmful decline of a successful relationship may not be apparent at first but will continue to get worse over time. James Denneny, M.D., CEO of the American Academy of Otolaryngology, commented on the decline of relationships due to the loss of hearing. “First people start showing a little bit of anxiety or depression because they find they have to watch someone’s mouth when they talk, or not watch TV when they’re having a conversation,” Denneny says. “Then, as social interactions become more and more frustrating, they stop playing golf, they stop going out to dinner, they stop playing cards with friends because they are the only one who can’t hear the jokes at the table.” For those who experience hearing loss, whether it be with themselves or a family member, hearing aids may be an option to help rescue a failing relationship. However, this ultimately depends on the severity of the hearing loss. More and more over-the-counter hearing aids are expected to hit the market over the next few years, as a law was recently passed that requires them to be readily available. “This will most likely make hearing aids more affordable, and more consumers will be willing to use them,” said...

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Microsoft Rolling Out New Features For Office 365 Subscribers

A study from BitGlass showed that Office 365 has become the number one most used enterprise cloud application, and subscribers can expect some improvements, according to Redmond Magazine. New features include Office Mobile Apps, which will be available for Google Chromebooks. And while Microsoft released an updated version of the Office For Android app early last month, the app can only run on some Chromebooks. Microsoft went on to explain that these apps are “not yet fully optimized for the Chromebook form factor.” Although it’s not yet clear when exactly the improved Office Mobile apps for Chromebooks will become available, Microsoft did provide a number of notes regarding use rights that all subscribers should be aware of. “As with all of our mobile apps, an Office 365 subscription is required to edit documents on devices with a screen size of 10.1 inches or greater,” said Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office team, in a recent blog post. However, they also reiterated that primary editing remains free for consumers using devices with screen sizes that are 10.1 inches or less. With these new protocols in place, external users will have to reply to a verification code that will be sent in an email every time they need to gain access to a linked folder or file. Similarly, Microsoft describes the new sharing solution as using a “time-limited, single-use verification code,” enabling IT pros to have control over how long these specific access rights are available. However, the external portion of the sharing process does work without it being necessary for the email recipient to have their own Microsoft account. Microsoft has also revealed a preview of its Compliance Manager portal, which enables subscribers to view their Office 365 compliance details for standards and requirements regarding the European Union General Data Protection Regulation. Furthermore, one new feature involves task-automation solution Microsoft Flow, which is primarily aimed at business users. It can now use files and folders located in OneDrive when creating workflows. Ultimately, it seems as though Microsoft is doing all it can to keep Office 365 users happy...

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Scientists and Farmers Looking to Soil DNA to Fight Crop Diseases
Dec05

Scientists and Farmers Looking to Soil DNA to Fight Crop Diseases

Farmers are looking to DNA soil testing to help fight infectious crop diseases. Sand, loam, and clay are the three different types of topsoil. If that first layer is healthy, chances are the rest of the soil will be strong and able to fight off crop diseases. If any part of the soil is unhealthy, however, that jeopardizes the health of the soil, the crop, and the entire land. According to The Inverell Times, farmers are hoping to use DNA soil testing to identify various crop diseases. They believe doing so could improve profits, as well as the overall health of the land. It’s estimated that root diseases cost farmers more than $200 million every year due to lost crop production. “DNA testing soil samples can detect all sorts of different diseases caused by either bacteria, fungi and nematodes,” said Robert Long, an agronomist. “Essentially growers and advisors will get a risk rating for a wide range of pathogens including root lesion nematodes, crown rot, rhizoctonia, common root rot in wheat and now also ascochyta and phytophthora in chickpeas.” Science Daily adds that scientists and researchers have been finding other hidden clues in DNA, that could lead to improving farmland. “When we see a cactus, we know we are in a desert, when we see a palm tree we know we are in the tropics, and when we see a grass we could be almost anywhere,” added Dr. Kelly Ramirez, researcher from Netherlands Institute of Ecology and The University of Manchester. “This same idea, that species indicate a habitat, is true for soils, but instead of using plants we use soil...

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High Molybdenum Levels in Wisconsin Water Are From Natural Sources, Not Coal Ash
Dec04

High Molybdenum Levels in Wisconsin Water Are From Natural Sources, Not Coal Ash

Molybdenum was first recognized as an official element in the late 1700s and has been used in countless applications over the past 200 years. But however useful it may be in certain industries, it’s not something you want to find in large amounts inside your drinking water. In southeast Wisconsin, water samples recently showed an unusually high level of molybdenum, and no one seemed to know why. That is, until Clean Wisconsin called in a Duke University-led team to get to the bottom of the issue. Some people in the area suspected that coal ash deposits from construction sites and landfills might have seeped into the water supply, thus causing the presence of molybdenum. But Professor Avner Vengosh and his graduate students found that this was not likely to be the source of contamination. Vengosh said in the paper published by Environmental Science and Technology, “If this molybdenum-rich water had come from the leaching of coal ash, it would be relatively young, having been recharged into the region’s groundwater aquifer from coal ash deposits on the surface only 20 or 30 years ago,” he explained. “Instead, our tests show it comes from deep underground and is more than 300 years old.” In other words, the molybdenum comes from natural sources. This was a bit of a shock to Paul Matthewson, a staff scientist with Clean Wisconsin, the environmental group that helped to pay for the study. “It was a surprise in that levels this high of molybdenum had always, as far as we could tell from past literature, been associated with [human-caused] contamination,” Matthewson told the Herald Sun. But even though this molybdenum was naturally occurring, that doesn’t mean it gets the seal of approval. While it may be necessary to cell-based life, higher concentrations can lead to joint pain, tremors, anemia, and weakness. Therefore, it’s still a problem for regional public health, notes Jon Drewson, chief spokesperson for Clean Wisconsin. “It’s now a matter of taking what we’ve learned and making good decisions to solve the problem confidently going forward,” Drewson said in a statement. In addition, both Drewson and Vengosh made it clear that these findings don’t indicate that coal ash is completely absent from the water contamination conversation. Many other studies have found links between coal ash — and its pollutants, including arsenic — and groundwater issues. “Because there’s a lack of causation in this study doesn’t mean that lack of causation applies elsewhere,” Drewson...

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Are Drones the Future of Neighborhood Watches?
Dec01

Are Drones the Future of Neighborhood Watches?

Home protection is more important than ever nowadays, when just about every home in America likely has a few expensive devices kept inside. Without a proper security system installed inside these homes, U.S. property owners are at risk of having their valuable items stolen at any moment. Burglaries happen much too often in the U.S., and there are currently 18 million homes equipped with some sort of residential security system. Thanks to the advent of drone security, however, and the widespread popularity of drone use and technology, these devices are now protecting homes, businesses, neighborhoods, and entire communities. Now, some experts are wondering if drones are the future of the local neighborhood watch. “The one place you should feel safe is your own neighborhood,” said Lee Stauss, CEO for AlarmTransfer, an Oklahoma-based company that provides aerial security once a home’s alarm has been triggered. According to UAS Magazine, AlarmTransfer has partnered with Rajant, a private wireless network provider, to provide drone-based security to those in need. “With Rajant, we have the ability to deploy multiple drones that are interconnected, so they all communicate with each other to track suspicious activity on the property in real time,” Stauss added. “We’re able to look at the whole community at once, at a much greater level of detail.” Another drone developed by startup Aptonomy actually shines a blinking bright light to confront potential burglars. Autonomy’s new drone carries a bright spotlight, loud buzzing alarm, and two loudspeakers that shout commands such as: “This area is secured” and “Security has been notified.” When on duty, this security drone can be programmed to patrol a specific area and uses its onboard cameras to spot any potential intruders. “The beauty of this is that it [the drone] would be [patrolling] in an environment where people shouldn’t be going,” added Ryan Calo, assistant professor at the University of Washington who specializes in law and robotics. So far, the security drones are just a novelty, but the potential of this new security technology is...

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