June 2nd, 2018


Yanni V.S. Laurel Debate

Three years ago, it was a debate about the color of a dress. The internet was divided whether it was white and gold or black and blue. Very recently, it was Yanni VS Laurel, an audio illusion that has family members, friends, and co-workers captivated, divided and questioning each other’s hearing, and also their own.


We delve to find scientific answers to why some people hear Yanni while others swear they heard Laurel.


So what are the Auditory and Scientific principles behind the Audio Illusion?


According to Maastricht University assistant professor of Cognitive and Audition Neuroscience Lars Riecke, confirmed that this is not an illusion. Rather it is an ambiguous figure that can be compared to the visual form of Rubin’s vase. Lars Riecke reports that the there are two alternative ways in which the input can easily be organized.


The secret is in frequency. A higher frequency of acoustic information leads us to hear Yanni while the acoustic information which leads us to hear Laurel is of lower frequency. According to Reicke, the audio system used to play the audio can create some of these variations. Some are also due to the mechanics of your ears auditory processing and what you are expecting to hear. As we grow older, we start losing our hearing at higher frequency ranges. This was demonstrated by Riecke who only heard Laurel whereas his 8-year-old child only heard Yanny. You can use a computer to isolate the frequencies. When you remove the low frequencies, you clearly hear Yanni. When you remove high frequencies, you can only hear Laurel. If your ears can perceive both low and high frequencies well, then you are likely to hear both words.


There is also the brain component. Depending on how your brain compartmentalizes auditory stimuli, this will determine whether you will hear Laurel or Yanni.


Creating an audio illusion is thereby made easy by isolating specific variables aimed at manipulating categorical perception. Based on a listener’s experience and perception, manipulating a variable could have been used in the making of the audio file, making them lean towards Yanni or Laurel. Some users speculate the person recording the audio might have tweaked the frequency or acoustic properties of the file.


So which is the right answer?


On May 20th, 2018, the owner of the voice in the audio clip came forward. 64-year-old Jay Aubrey Jones, an actor, and singer from New Jersey recorded the clip in 2007 for Vocabulary.com. In it, he was saying Laurel and not Yanni. However, listening to the clip now, he admitted to hearing a slight hint of Yanny.http://time.com/5281287/jay-aubrey-jones-laurel-yanny-voice/


Knowing that the right answer to the audio illusion is Laurel does not make those who heard Yanni wrong. The speaker of the word himself admits to hearing the word Yanni too. So as long as the audio clip is out there on the internet, check it up and see whether you can hear Laurel or Yanny.



Ear wax, which is medically known as cerumen is a waxy substance secreted in the ear canal of humans.  It serves to lubricate the ear canals, protects the ear from foreign substances and keeps debris and dust from getting far in the ear canal. Typically, cerumen should clear itself from the ears on its own, however in some cases, it may accumulate and cause impaction/blockage.

Symptoms of Ear Wax Blockage:

If an ear wax blockage occurs, it may benefit you significantly to have it removed depending on the severity of the impaction, ear wax may be removed at home (with proper technique) or by a professional at our office.


Improper Ways of Removing Ear Wax

Some people may use cotton swabs to attempt to remove earwax or blockage. This is not recommended as it can sometimes cause more problems of blockage. Improper attempt to remove ear wax with cotton swabs may push the ear wax further down into the ear canal, causing accumulation and impaction, and possibly pushing against the ear drum which can cause pain and irritation. Additionally, extra caution should be used when using cotton swabs as it may potentially rupture your eardrum  if inserted too far into the ear canal.

Managing Ear Wax at Home

The recommended approach to managing ear wax accumulation at home is to put drops of mineral oil into your ear canals to soften it up.  This will sometimes allow the wax to eventually migrate out of the ear on its own. Other methods may include investing into an at home ear wax removal kit. These can be purchased over the counter in many drug stores or online.  The kit includes directions and special syringes to administer the liquid to your ear canals. The process may take several attempts and/or several days to have the wax removed from your ear canals. It is important to note however, that in some people with certain ear conditions, there are contraindications. It is highly recommended that before trying an at home ear wax removal that you speak to your doctor to make sure it is safe for you.

Ear Wax Removal at Your Doctors Office

If and when ear wax impaction is more significant, earwax may need to be removed at your doctor’s office. Doctors typically use three methods of ear wax removal; suction, irrigation, and curettage.

If you feel discomfort or pain in your ear canals and suspect that you have any kind of blockage or impaction, it is important that you see your doctor as soon as possible to address the issue.

When your ear wax is removed, you should experience relief.

Audiologist Provide Answers To Questions Such As:

An audiologist or Doctor of Audiology is a licensed healthcare professional who specializes in diagnosing, evaluating and treating hearing loss and balance disorders in inviduals of all ages. Most clinical audiologists today attain a Doctor of Audiology degree (Au.D), although there are audiologists who specialize in science, research and academia who hold a Ph.D, Sc.D, or Ed.D.


Clinical audiologists need be licensed or registered by the state to practice audiology.  As a hearing professional, an audiologist will recommend the most appropriate treatment option for the hearing loss or balance disorder, and will refer to a licensed physician for medical follow-up when deemed necessary.


Why Should An Individual With Hearing Impairment Be Evaluated By A Hearing Doctor (Audiologist)?

Audiologists today doctoral degrees from accredited universities with advanced training in the prevention, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of hearing loss. By virtue of their doctoral education, professional certification, and licensure, clinical audiologists are the most competent professionals to perform hearing assessments, refer patients for medical evaluations and treatment, and provide hearing-rehab services.


What Do Clinical Audiologists Do?

Audiologists conduct comprehensive hearing assessments and evaluations. They use special equipment to obtain accurate results about patients’ hearing loss. Typically, audiologists conduct these tests in sound treated/sound proof rooms, with professionally calibrated diagnostic machineries. The specialist will first conduct otoscopy which includes inspecting the ear canal and ear drum. When necessary, he/she will perform ear wax removal. They will also check middle ear pressure with an instrument called a tympanometer to detect the mobility of the ear drum, and will conduct a comprehensive hearing test to determine hearing thresholds with the use of an audiometer.


Audiologists are educated to recognize medical anomalies and refer patients to ear, nose, and throat physicians if and when deemed necessary. Approximately 10% of all hearing losses are caused due to medical conditions. The other 90% are due to hearing loss because of nerve or outer hair cell damage. Hearing loss due to nerve damage cannot be treated medically, and most patients with hearing loss can benefit from the use of hearing aids. Dispensing audiologists are professionally trained on the latest hearing technology. In addition, audiologist provide many other hearing services, counseling, tinnitus management, hearing aid and assistive listening devices, hearing protection and hearing conservation and preservation programs.


Choosing the Right Audiologist:

An important step to your journey of finding the right audiologist is to first ask: is the doctor licensed and experienced?

  1. Will the audiologist explain to you the type of hearing loss you have and discuss all possible treatment options? Will he/she account for your lifestyle, manual dexterity, and budget?
  2. Will the treatment process encompass training and follow-up in regards to caring and usage of your hearing devices as well as accounting for how well you can manage and adapt to wearing them?
  3. Does the office offer trial periods, repair and loss warranties?
  4. Will you be provided with the utmost care and follow-up to have the best possible care?
  5. Will the provider program hearing devices in the office and let you experience the devices?
  6. Does the provider in question have a reputable name and excellent past patient reviews?

Answering ‘Yes’ to all of these questions means that you have found a reputable hearing doctor who will stand by you throughout your entire journey of hearing better. Once the right clinic was found for you, schedule your appointment for a hearing evaluation and bring back all the sounds you’ve been missing out on.

Hearing loss is a decline in hearing which can be temporary or permanent depending on the cause and type of hearing loss. It can affect people of all ages, and can range widely in severity. Some common causes of hearing loss are due to aging, noise exposure, genetics, sudden unknown etiology, and ear wax blockage, ear drum perforations and ear infections.  Some can be treated medically, while others are permanent in nature and can only be treated non-medically with the help of hearing aids.

Read below some facts about hearing loss, as well as some myths and truths.


Facts About Hearing Loss




Noise induced hearing loss is one of the most common causes of hearing loss today. This is why it is vital to engage in the conservation and preservation of our hearing. 

We can lose our hearing with one burst of a loud sound, over a few hours, or gradually over time. 

Noise induced hearing loss is a function of time, average sound level, and peak levels of loud sounds.


Tips to Protect your Hearing

Turn down loud volume:


Move away from the sound source:


Wear Ear Protection:


Ask us about your complimentary set of generic ear plugs

Universal Hearing Center offers various custom made hearing protection products for your needs.

We make custom ear plugs, hunting ear plugs, swim plugs, and  i-Custom Plugs (for use with bud/button style earphones).

In addition, we make custom musician’s ear plugs.

Musician’s ear plugs have special filters that reduce harmful noise while still maintaining excellent sound quality for speech and music.

This is a great choice not only for musicians, but for all music lovers. 

Any style of the custom ear plugs will be tailored to your favorite color.



Myth: Hearing loss due to aging and noise exposure can be restored with surgery.
Truth: Hearing loss due to aging, noise exposure or other nerve damage is permanent and cannot be restored. Hearing aids are the only method of treatment to stimulate the auditory mechanism. 

Myth: Hearing aids will restore hearing to normal.
Truth: Hearing aids will not restore hearing to “normal.” They will however help you hear better and provide benefit and improvement in your listening needs. They can also improve your quality of life!

Myth: Buying hearing aids online or by mail can save you a lot of time and money. 
Truth: It is in your best interest to work with a Doctor of Audiology regarding your hearing health. When you visit your audiologist, you are not only purchasing hearing devices, but are investing in complete hearing healthcare which will include an entire rehabilitation process with close monitoring to assure that you are hearing your best. The treatment process also entitles you to the following services:


Myth: Hearing aids will damage/worsen your hearing.
Truth: A hearing aid that is  properly fit and programmed to your hearing loss will not damage your hearing.

Myth: Hearing aids are not for individuals with mild hearing loss.
Truth: Every persons’ hearing reduction and listening needs are different. By working with your Doctor of Audiology, you can determine whether a hearing aid is necessary and how it will benefit your hearing.

Myth: Wearing two hearing aids is not necessary.
Truth: We are designed to hear with two ears. Binaural hearing or hearing with two ears helps us to localize/detect where sounds are coming from, gives us better awareness of the environment, assists our brain in processing sound information more easily, helps us listening in noisy environments, and provides us with a natural sound quality. In addition, individuals with a hearing loss in both ears who use 2 hearing devices understand speech clearer than with one. 

Myth: Hearing aids are not cosmetically appealing.
Truth: There are quite a few styles of hearing aids. Some cosmetically appealing hearing aid styles range from ‘invisible hearing aids’ which are custom made to fit deeply into your ear canal, to ‘mini receiver in the canal hearing aids’ which are very small and placed behind your ear.  

Depending on your hearing loss, there may be more than one available style for you. Call us and schedule an appointment today to have your hearing tested and to find out which style and levels of technology are right for you! You can hear better today while keeping your good looks!

You may be experiencing tinnitus!

Tinnitus \ˈti-nə-təs, tə-ˈnī-təs\:

A perception of ringing, buzzing, whistling, pulsing or roaring sounds in the ear/s. 


About Tinnitus:

Tinnitus is a symptom of a wide range of underlying conditions. The most common cause of tinnitus is noise induced hearing loss. Other causes of tinnitus may be neurological damage, nerve damage, ear infections, oxidative stress, emotional stress, foreign bodies in the ear, ear wax build-up (cerumen), nasal allergies, certain medications, or exposure to loud sounds. These sounds in the ear may be constant or sporadic in nature, and may be congenital or acquired. The effects of tinnitus may be of slight disturbance or may cause a severe disruption to everyday life. 

The American Tinnitus Association estimates that nearly 50 million Americans experience tinnitus.


Common causes of tinnitus (REFERENCE: MAYO CLINIC)

In many people, tinnitus is caused by one of these conditions:

Other causes of tinnitus

Some causes of tinnitus are less common, including:

Blood vessel disorders linked to tinnitus

In rare cases, tinnitus is caused by a blood vessel disorder. This type of tinnitus is called pulsatile tinnitus. Causes include:

Medications that can cause tinnitus

A number of medications may cause or worsen tinnitus. Generally, the higher the dose of these medications, the worse tinnitus becomes. Often the unwanted noise disappears when you stop using these drugs. Medications known to cause or worsen tinnitus include:

Risk factors

Anyone can experience tinnitus, but these factors may increase your risk:


Tinnitus can significantly affect quality of life. Although it affects people differently, if you have tinnitus, you also may experience:

Treating these linked conditions may not affect tinnitus directly, but it can help you feel better.


In many cases, tinnitus is the result of something that can’t be prevented. However, some precautions can help prevent certain kinds of tinnitus.

Read More: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tinnitus/symptoms-causes/syc-20350156


Treatment for Tinnitus:

If you experience tinnitus, hearing technology can help relieve the ringing or buzzing while providing better/clearer hearing simultaneously.

Hearing aid technology restores ambient sounds from the environment which allows your brain to focus more on environmental sounds, and less on sounds produced by the central nervous system, thereby diminishing the perception of tinnitus.

Other forms of hearing technology provide sound/tinnitus masking. Some of these tinnitus treatments include Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) and Tinnitus Retraining Instruments (TRI). 

The focus of TRT involves patient counseling and soft steady background sounds played consistently retraining the brain to focus less on the activity ongoing in the central nervous system and more on environmental noise, thereby diminishing the perception of tinnitus.

TRI are devices fit in the ear which produce soft yet audible sounds which focus on alleviating tinnitus symptoms.

TRT and TRI may be used together in certain circumstances when deemed appropriate.

Many people are aware that their hearing has deteriorated but are reluctant to seek help. Perhaps they don’t want to acknowledge the problem, are embarrassed by what they see as a weakness, or believe that they can “get by” without using a hearing aid. And, unfortunately, too many wait years, even decades, to address the effects of hearing loss before getting treatment.


But time and again, research demonstrates the considerable effects of hearing loss on development as well as negative social, psychological, cognitive and health effects of untreated hearing loss . Each can have far-reaching implications that go well beyond hearing alone. In fact, those who have difficulty hearing can experience such distorted and incomplete communication that it seriously impacts their professional and personal lives, at times leading to isolation and withdrawal.


Studies have linked untreated hearing loss effects to:


Hearing loss is not just an ailment of old age. It can strike at any time and any age, even childhood. For the young, even a mild or moderate case of hearing loss could bring difficulty learning, developing speech and building the important interpersonal skills necessary to foster self-esteem and succeed in school and life.


Our mission is to help educate the public about hearing loss and promote the importance of prevention and treatment.


If you think you or a loved one suffers from hearing loss, don’t delay another day. Visit a hearing healthcare professional and take the first step toward a world of better hearing. Universal Hearing Center is an audiology clinic working with and referring to top otolaryngologists to help people hearing and feel better. Better Hearing equals to better quality of life.

Hearing loss may occur due to various causes. It may be caused due to ear wax build up, an ear infection, perforation of the ear drum, noise exposure, aging (presbucusis), family genetics, and more.  Certain types of hearing losses such as an ear infection, ear wax accumulation, fluid build up behind the ear drum may be successfully treated with surgery or medicine. If your hearing loss is due to permanent damage caused by noise exposure, aging, and genetics, treatment of hearing aids is the only source of treatment.

Below are various types of hearing losses. If you’re having difficulty understanding speech clearly, or difficulty hearing, it is a good time to have your hearing examined.

Types of Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss- Can usually be medically treated. This happens when you experience hearing loss due to issues with your ear drum, middle ear and its bones and the ear canal.

It is caused by various things including;

Sensorineural hearing loss- You are probably likely to experience this when you get problems of your inner ear (also known as the nerve-related hearing loss). This loss is impacted by different causes including;

If hearing loss that runs in the family

Mixed hearing loss – This refers to a mix of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. Hence you might have damage in your inner ear/the auditory nerve or the outer/middle part of your ear. Mixed hearing loss may be caused by different causes that also happen in the above two hearing loss; Exposure to loud noise, malformation of the ear, old age, loud noise, head trauma, if hearing loss runs in your family/genetic disorder, a disease or a virus or if you have an autoimmune inner ear problem.


If you are having hearing difficulties, it is vital to visit your local hearing doctor for a hearing examination to determine the cause of your hearing reduction. If your hearing loss is conductive or mixed, you will need to see an ear nose and throat physician for a medical evaluation/treatment. If your hearing loss is sensorineural, an audiologist will help you treat your hear loss with help of a hearing aid.


A hearing aid is an electronic device made of an amplifier, a battery, a microphone and a loudspeaker. It raises the amplitude at various frequencies based on the needs of your hearing, ultimately makes sounds more clear. Hearing aids consist of a mechanism which differentiate destructive noise (traffic noise) from the constructive noise (a conversation).The modern hearing aids are discreet and small, some are even invisible!

If you have any type of hearing difficulty, it’s time to have your hearing examined!

To schedule your appointment, call us at 347-561-9535

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