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Why Does Grandpa Ignore Grandma?

A Case Study in Hearing Loss

Co Authors:

Benjamin F. Timson
Department of Biomedical Sciences
Missouri State University

Scott D. Zimmerman
Department of Biomedical Sciences
Missouri State University


Carla, a first semester graduate student in audiology, has noticed that her grandfather appears to be having trouble hearing what her grandmother says. Other people in the family can’ help but notice it too as it becomes a source of increasing aggravation and strife between Carla's grandparents. Students read the case and analyze data in order to understand the nature of Carla's grandfather's problem. The case was developed for a medical physiology course taken by postgraduate students in physical therapy and physician assistant professional programs and graduate students in a cell and molecular biology program. It could also be adapted for use in general education human biology or human aging courses or in a majors’ undergraduate physiology course.

  • Review general function of the sensory nervous system.
  • Review the structures important to sound transduction to the Cochlear nerve.
  • Become familiar with structural interactions that result in sound transduction.
  • Distinguish the environmental factors important to hearing.
  • Recognize that sound transduction ability declines with age.
  • Interpret data related to age changes in hearing ability and relate them to signal transduction physiology.
  • Apply knowledge of normal hearing to altered hearing ability and propose mechanisms for nonpathological hearing loss.
Keywords: Hearing; presbycusis; signal transduction; auditory system; Cochlear nerve; hearing hair cells; ear; aging
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: Undergradute upper division, Graduate, Professional (degree program), Clinical education
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Interrupted
Language: English
Subject Headings: Physiology   Cell Biology   Communication Science  
Date Posted: 01/13/06
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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Great case! Just a couple things. On page 4 of the pdf, the vertical axis is "hearing loss in dB"; dB should have some type of reference, HL of SPL....I'm assuming in this case you mean HL. And the horizontal axis should be Hertz (Hz)

Chris Sanford
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Idaho State University
Pocatello ID

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