Despite years of graphic anti-smoking campaigns and public smoking bans, people continue to light up - especially at home, where more than half of American children and teenagers are exposed to secondhand smoke. Scientists believe that passive smoke either causes or exacerbates lung cancer, asthma, learning disabilities, heart disease and other conditions and now a new study now finds that teenagers exposed to tobacco smoke may also have significant hearing loss - and not even know it. Here is, a brief guide:
For years, we've known that children pass through very specific developmental stages as they acquire a variety of cognitive, speech, and language milestones. Research shows that a child's brain is programmed to acquire language in early childhood. Most children are well on their way to communicating in full sentences by the time they are three years of age. For children who are born with sensorineural hearing loss, they are at a disadvantage. For example, we know typical hearing newborns have received auditory input for approximately 20 weeks while in the womb. The auditory centers in their brains have been stimulated and important neurological connections necessary for the auditory processing of spoken language are already in place.
Recently, on a long flight back from the East Coast to Salt Lake City, I had the opportunity to read the article, "The Social Cure," in the September/October 2009 issue of Scientific American Mind. The article postulates that membership in social groups and social networking -- at home, work, and even at the gym -- can have positive effects on our mental and physical health. Previous studies seemed to indicate that membership in a large number of groups was detrimental due to increased stress and other social pressures. However, the authors of the current article offer a different perspective. They analyzed several groups of people who experienced significant life changes and detailed how social group membership positively supported their ongoing adjustment and adaptation. The authors found that belonging to a social group or network actually increased the individual's resilience and enabled them to better cope with the sometimes difficult life changes they were facing.