With bills flying around the DC beltway and opinions creating a tornado of whispers, there is a worry about the future of audiology in the air. Will the corner pharmacy be the latest competition we have to deal with? Will all the talk about the cost of hearing aids drown out the real cost of hearing loss? Will an ill-fitting device create a lifetime of distance between a person with a hearing loss and actual help? Or will this tsunami of attention and publicity finally turn our nation’s attention to hearing loss as a public health conundrum? So many questions and all of this concern about the hearing or lack of it in one species of the animal kingdom.
Take your mind off all this worry for a second, will you? There may be bigger fish, I mean plants, to fry. Yes! You read it right. Plants not only appear to be able to hear but a little bit of sound therapy seems to help them grow a whole lot better. Read more about it in a series of papers published by Dr. Monica Gagliano of the University of Western Australia. She demonstrates that plants use sound to guide their root growth toward water sources. She summarizes her work in this:
If this human thing does not work out, there always are 300,000 species of plants to take care of.
Gagliano M, Renton M. (2013) Love thy neighbour: facilitation through an alternative signaling modality in plants. BMC Ecology 13:19.
Gagliano M. (2013) Green symphonies: a call for studies on acoustic communication in plants. Behavioral Ecology 24(4):789–796.
Gagliano M. (2013) The flowering of plant bioacoustics: how and why. Behavioral Ecology 24(4):800–801.