Older people often have difficulty understanding conversation in a crowd. Like everything else, our hearing deteriorates as we age.
There are physiological reasons for this decline: We lose tiny hair cells that pave the way for sound to reach our brains. We lose needed neurons and chemicals in the inner ear, reducing our capacity to hear.
So how can you help stave off that age-related hearing loss? Try embracing music early in life, research suggests.
In a landscape where decent clinics are scarce, the Umrana Mumtaz Healthcare Trust Hospital is a beacon of hope.
And a bustling one: on a sweltering afternoon worried mothers wrapped in traditional white robes and headscarves crowd the hospital's shaded amphitheater clutching their ailing babies. More than 120-thousand patients, mostly women and children, have received free basic health care at this facility since it opened just three years ago.
Last January a Minnesota man's heart stopped beating for an amazing 96 minutes. Emergency room doctors thought he was dead. But first responders who gave CPR on the scene decided not to give up, in part because of technology that allowed them to see their efforts were working.
In today's post 9/11 America, there are 15,000 informants working with the FBI. That's nearly three times as many as there were 25 years ago. Over the years, when there has been a surge in the number of informants the FBI recruits and uses, there's a specific target in the FBI's sights like organized crime or drug trade. The FBI makes no secret of their top priority of today — counter terrorism.
In today's post-9/11 world, the FBI has 15,000 informants working undercover, many of them infiltrating mosques and Muslim communities to set up terrorism stings. The goal? To preempt and prevent — so says the FBI. Guest host Laura Sullivan speaks with Mother Jones writer Trevor Aaronson about his year-long investigation into the FBI's use of informants.
While housing demand sputters among Americans, foreign buyers are flocking here for cheap deals.
For the 12 months ending in March, sales to foreign buyers totaled $82 billion, up from $66 billion in 2010, according to the National Association of Realtors. And while international buyers are unlikely to turn the US housing market around, they are making a big difference in states such as Florida.
Today, thanks to foreign buyers, home sales are so good in Miami that more houses and condos could sell this year than during the boom year of 2005.
Rebels continue to push toward the Libyan capital of Tripoli amid rumors Col. Moammar Ghadafi may be preparing to flee the country. Heavy fighting has been reported in Tripoli, and rebel fighters have taken control of towns to the east, west, and south of the city. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro speaks to guest host Laura Sullivan from the war zone.
Thirty years ago this summer, President Ronald Reagan was at an economic summit in Canada when his French counterpart, Francois Mitterand, pulled him aside to deliver startling news: the French had a mole, a high-level KGB colonel. Could the US make use of him?
Richard Allen was Reagan's National Security Advisor at the time, and he was with the President in Ottawa when Mitterand made his offer.
European leaders still haven't come up with a plan that would allow them to put the debt crisis behind them. That kept European markets unsettled this past week, but why was the effect so big in the U.S.? Guest host John Ydstie and NPR Business Correspondent Yuki Noguchi discuss why the fallout has such a big impact on American markets.
Vice President Joe Biden traveled to China this past week to do a little maintenance on the U.S. relationship with that growing economic power. Guest host John Ydstie talks to Nicholas Lardy of the Peterson Institute about the economic relationship between China and the U.S.
We continue our series on roadside monuments with a stop in Governeur, New York, where a roll of Life Savers the size of a car hangs suspended on the town green, placed in honor of a favorite son. Emma Jacobs of member station WRVO reports.
With President Obama on vacation and Congress out of town, Washington, D.C., was relatively quiet this week. That, however, doesn't mean the political buzz has stopped. Guest host John Ydstie talks to Matt Continetti of the Weekly Standard and political consultant Karen Finney about President Obama's bus tour-slash-vacation, and about Gov. Rick Perry's take-no-prisoners speech.
JOHN YDSTIE, host: Another Republican governor made a move on to the national scene this past week. Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia was named chairman of the Republican Governor's Association. While that role isn't as dramatic as Governor Perry's high-octane campaign, it could influence the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Governor McDonnell joins us now. Good morning, Governor.
Governor BOB MCDONNELL: Hey. Good morning, John. Nice to be on with you.
YDSTIE: Nice to be on with you and congratulations on your new job.
Researchers have found a way for LCD screens to charge using solar power, indoor light and the devices' own backlight. That means in a few years, you may be able to recharge your phone by pointing it toward the sun instead of plugging it into the wall. Guest host John Ydstie talks to the lead UCLA researcher, Yang Yang.
Residents of Tripoli are fleeing as Libyan rebels move slowly toward the capital city. The battlefront is now about 18 kilometers out of town; there's also heavy, bitter fighting and multiple NATO airstrikes in Zawiyah. Meanwhile, rumors about the fate and location of Moammar Gadhafi and his son are rampant. Guest host John Ydstie gets the latest on the rebel advance from NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro in Libya.
A spry 80-year-old cruises through the thick vegetation of western Borneo, or western Kalimantan, as it's known to Indonesians. Dressed in faded pinstripe slacks and a polo shirt, Layan Lujum carries a large knife in his hand. The chief of the island's Sekendal village is making his morning rounds.
Layan is a member of an indigenous ethnic group called the Dayaks, who once had a reputation as fierce headhunters. As on most mornings, his first job on a recent day is to tend to his rubber trees.
The next few days may tell us a lot about the case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The former International Monetary Fund chief is due back in court on Tuesday, and prosecutors in New York are weighing whether to go forward in spite of big questions about the credibility of Strauss-Kahn's accuser.
The man who will make that call is Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. It may be the hardest decision he's faced since taking office 20 months ago.
The Obama administration on Thursday said it would review the deportation cases of 300,000 illegal immigrants.
The policy might make a difference to thousands of undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children because the administration wants to put high priority on removing convicted criminals, and low priority on cases that involve people who pose no security threat.
Heavy two-way gunfire and mortar rounds have been heard in Tripoli, as rebels inch closer to the Libyan capital from the western mountains.
In the west, rebels control the road leading to the border with Tunisia. To the east, they control Misrata and Zlitan. Since taking the city of Gheryan, rebel forces have cut off the road from the south.
"Tripoli is essentially being strangled," says NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro.
Say you own a house in Gainesville, Fla., or St. Paul, Minn. It cost you $172,000 — that's the median sales price of a single family home in the United States. You put 20 percent down when you bought the house, and you're able to make your monthly payments — but just barely. This property is your little slice of the American dream.
Now what if someone tells you the plan is to raise your interest rate, cut your house value and eliminate the tax deduction you get for mortgage interest?
A couple weeks ago, Katie Eastman was asleep at her boyfriend's place in Chicago. She had the night off from her job as a reporter at WOI-ABC 5 in Des Moines, Iowa. She'd been on the job about two months, after graduating from college in the spring.
"I woke up to a barrage of voicemails, text messages, tweets" she says. One message, from a friend across the country, said only, "Katie. I just saw everything. I hope you're all right. Call me."
As she was sleeping, Eastman had just broken into the national spotlight.
Rebels in Libya are tightening their grip on territory they've seized from forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi. They are fighting battles in coastal cities around the capital of Tripoli, capturing the main square in the strategic western city of Zawiya after more than a week of heavy fighting.
NPR has not independently confirmed wire reports that the rebels control Zawiya, but a victory in that city would be an important boost for the rebels as they try to tighten the noose on Gadhafi's stronghold in Tripoli, just 30 miles to the east.
Libya's six-month-long civil war may well be in its final days. Rebel fighters appear to be in their strongest position yet, as Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi becomes more isolated. Guest host Jacki Lyden talks with NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro.
In the NFL, one suspended bad boy is ready to make his debut. Also, the University of Miami is under investigation for what might be the biggest rules violation in NCAA history. There was bad behavior overseas, too: Georgetown's basketball team got roughed up in a "good will" game against a Chinese team. Guest host Jacki Lyden talks with NPR's Tom Goldman about a tough week in sports.
American international aid expert Warren Weinstein was kidnapped in Pakistan last week. The law minister of the Punjab says he believes it's the work of local militants. Senior police investigators don't go that far, saying they are cautiously optimistic that Weinstein will be safely recovered. NPR's Julie McCarthy visited the scene of the abduction in Lahore and has this report.
When major anchor stores like the Borders bookstore chain close their doors, what happens to the surrounding neighborhoods? Guest host Jacki Lyden talks about urban development issues with Chris Leinberger, who directs the University of Michigan's real estate graduate studies.
In the American Corn Belt this year, the weather has already felt apocalyptic at times. In the last six months, the Midwest has seen record-breaking floods, devastating twisters, unseasonable cold snaps and late heat waves. Now add to these forces of nature: the "Bugnado." Guest host Jacki Lyden speaks with entomologist Joe Keiper about an unprecedentedly large swarm of insects in Iowa.
Financial turmoil in Europe and weak economic data in the U.S. were the backdrop for a week of high-profile politicking by several major candidates for president in 2012. NPR Senior Washington Editor Ron Elving joins guest host Jacki Lyden to recap the week in politics.
Texas governor Rick Perry was at the center of the political news cycle this week. He's promising to bring Texas-style prosperity to Washington. D.C. NPR's John Burnett takes us around the candidate's home state to see what Perry's supporters and critics think prosperity looks like.