Studies of frogs may lead to better hearing aids
When Mark Bee talks to his 106-year-old grandmother alone, her two enormous hearing aids enable her to understand him well.
“But at a table at Thanksgiving, with everybody talking, the devices don’t do well,” says Bee, an associate professor of ecology, evolution and behavior at the University of Minnesota.
Her difficulty in a noisy situation is called the cocktail party problem, after the background babble that stymies many hearing-impaired people trying to pick out individual voices at a party. But in ponds all over the world, frogs handle a similar problem, and Bee hopes to learn enough about how they do it to put the principles to work helping people like his grandmother. (more…)