Research - Archive

Video on – Stanford Initiative to Cure Hearing Loss

October 7, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

Video: The Future of Hearing – Exploring the Challenges and Possibilities

On June 18th, we were pleased to present The Future of Hearing: Exploring the Challenges and Possibilities – an evening with honored guest Vint Cerf.

View video  . . .

 

Ecologist develops elephant-inspired hearing aid

October 6, 2014 in Research

 

 

WIRED.CO.UK / SCIENCE
06 OCTOBER 14
by JOSEPH BENNINGTON-CASTRO

American ecologist and hearing specialistCaitlin O’Connell-Rodwell is developing a new hearing aid inspired by elephants. Along with sound, elephants pick up ground-based vibrations, as the skin of their feet and trunks contains mechanoreceptors that can sense them.

“We [humans] have the same ability to detect vibrations, but people with normal hearing don’t focus on it,” says O’Connell-Rodwell.

She has partnered with HNU Photonics, a research company based on Maui, Hawaii, to develop a patch that adheres to the skin; this transduces sound into vibrations, which the brain interprets as a kind of Braille or Morse code. When participants touch the device, tiny electromagnets vibrate. Mechanoreceptors sense the vibrations, and send signals to the brain.

It turns out that the vibrotactile sense of the hearing-impaired is more pronounced than that of people with normal hearing, because their brains process the stimuli in the unused auditory cortex. “There’s a big population that is underserved… and could benefit from the same use of vibrations as elephants.”

 

Stanford Initiative to Cure Hearing Loss | Sept. 2014 e-newsletter

October 2, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

 

The latest news on Stanford’s research to protect and restore hearing

stanfordHL

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Leading the Way:

In Research to Cure Hearing Loss

The Stanford Initiative to Cure Hearing Loss (SICHL) labs are hard at work developing safe and effective ways to protect and restore hearing. Some of our labs are working on gaining a better understanding of the mechanisms of hearing, while others are working on regenerative therapies and making life saving drugs safer for the ear.

In addition to the ongoing research:

In June, Stanford hosted The Future of Hearing: Exploring the Challenges and Possibilitiesan informative evening with honored guest Vint Cerf.

The Stanford Ear Institute opened in July and provides expert care for people of all ages with diseases of the ear and related structures.

Below you will find links to: the numerous recently published papers from our labs and many other updates, events and news stories.

As always, please help us spread awareness of this exciting research at Stanford by sharing this newsletter with your friends and family.

Wishing You a Happy Fall
– The SICHL Team

 


The Stanford Ear Institute (SEI) opened in July to provide excellent care for patients of all ages with diseases of the inner ear and related structures.  Read more about the SEI here and here


Dr. Jackler and members of the SICHL team recently attended the AAO-HNS Annual Meeting, where they gave talks and participated in expert panel discussions. Read


Stanford hosted an informative evening, “The Future of Hearing” Exploring the Challenges and Possibilities,” with honored guest Vint Cerf and panelists. Watch video


SICHL was honored to attend the AG Bell Convention 2014 and present a poster outlining the research currently underway in our labs. View poster

IN THE NEWS:

New York Times: Building a Robot with Human Touch

John Markoff discusses Dr. Blevins’ collaboration with Stanford Roboticists and Software Developers to make it possible to rehearse delicate inner ear surgeries.

Dana Foundation: Closing the Gap Between Cochlear Implants and Natural Hearing

Carl Sherman discusses ways in which researchers, including Dr. Oghalai, are working to make the experience of hearing with a cochlear implant closer to that of natural hearing.

 

Recent Publications:

Cheng Lab:

Protein-Engineered Hydrogel Encapsulation for 3-D Culture of Murine Cochlea.

Blevins and Popelka Labs:

Comprehensive Measures of Sound Exposures in Cinemas Using Smart Phones.

Heller Lab:

Cisplatin exposure damages resident stem cells of the mammalian inner Ear

Inner ear hair cell-like cells from human embryonic stem cells.

Mustapha Lab:

A lack of immune system genes causes loss in high frequency hearing but does not disrupt cochlear synapse maturation in mice.

Oghalai Lab:

Vibration of the organ of Corti within the cochlear apex in mice.

Puria Lab:

The importance of the hook region of the cochlea for bone-conduction hearing

Development of a finite element model for normal and pathological middle ears: Impedance, reflectance, and sweep frequency impedance.

Ricci Lab:

Role of intracellular calcium stores in hair-cell ribbon synapse.

The how and why of identifying the hair cell mechano-electrical transduction channel.

 

Find More Online:

As always, you can find all our latest news on the SICHL blog, or you can find us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube – just click on the icons below.

We are also currently in the process of redesigning SICHL lab websites, which will have lots of in-depth information about the labs and research.  Click through to see the newly re-launched sites for:
Cheng Ear LabHeller Lab,

 

 

Hand gestures improve learning in both signers, speakers

October 2, 2014 in Research

 

 

Science Daily
Date: August 19, 2014
Source: University of Chicago

 

Summary:
Spontaneous gesture can help children learn, whether they use a spoken language or sign language, according to a new report. “Children who can hear use gesture along with speech to communicate as they acquire spoken language,” a researcher said. “Those gesture-plus-word combinations precede and predict the acquisition of word combinations that convey the same notions. The findings make it clear that children have an understanding of these notions before they are able to express them in speech.”

Using gestures helps children develop basic learning and cognitive skills, aiding them in problem-solving tasks.

Research shows – The ruffling effect of rumble

October 2, 2014 in Research

 

 

Science Daily
October 2, 2014
Source: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen (LMU)

Summary:
Barely perceptible low-frequency signals nevertheless activate measurable responses in our auditory circuits. Neurobiologists have now characterized the remarkable impact of low-frequency sounds on the inner ear.

Sources of low-frequency signals are a prominent feature of technologically advanced societies like our own. Wind turbines, air-conditioning systems and heat pumps, for instance, can generate such sounds. Hearing thresholds in this region of the acoustic spectrum vary from one person to the next. “But the assumption that the ear is unresponsive to low-frequency sounds because these are seldom consciously perceived is actually quite false. The ear indeed reacts to very low-frequency signals,” says one investigator.

Are you interested in how the brain processes language?

September 12, 2014 in Research

 

 

Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto’s Brain and Language Laboratory for Neuroimaging (BL2) at Gallaudet University is currently recruiting candidates for our study. Right now we are studying how people with cochlear implants process language.
Participants will perform simple, language-related computer tasks, and will be compensated $20 per hour for their time. You may be a able to participate if you:
1) were born deaf,
2) are 18 years or older,
3) are right-handed,
4) received a cochlear implant at a young age (as a baby or child),
5) know ASL
If you are interested, please email us at bl2@gallaudet.edu
Click here for a brief video (ASL and English) explaining how to participate.  See our flier here.
Our study has been approved by the Gallaudet Institutional Review Board. 

SIU professor studies using chili peppers to help prevent hearing loss

August 28, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

 

The Southern – Illinoisan
August 21, 2014
Article Source

SPRINGFIELD — A physician researcher at SIU School of Medicine has been awarded a five-year federal grant from the National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders of the National Institutes of Health to continue his studies of how to reduce hearing loss in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

The current research project will examine whether capsaicin, a component of hot chili peppers, can reduce hearing loss and kidney damage if given prior to or after a dose of cisplatin, an anti-cancer drug frequently used for chemotherapy. Read more . . . →

Link found between hearing loss and cognitive health

August 21, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

 

For News-Herald Media
August 18, 2014

Difficulty hearing may be more than just a quality-of-life issue. Growing evidence indicates that untreated hearing loss in older adults can lead to other health conditions, and one of the most concerning is cognitive decline.

In fact, a Johns Hopkins Study found that cognitive diminishment was 41 percent more likely in seniors with hearing loss. Because maintaining the health of the brain is such a priority for older people, hearing difficulties should not be ignored.

Hearing and the brain

To hear well, the brain and ears work together. Sound is heard through the ears, and then the brain translates the noise so you can understand what it is. This means you not only hear language, music and traffic, but you comprehend these are all different sounds with different meanings.

With untreated hearing loss, the signals to your brain are weaker, and therefore you have to think much harder to understand the noises around you. When the brain is using more cognitive resources to understand sounds, other brain activities like memory and comprehension can suffer, often causing cognitive decline.

Effects of untreated hearing loss

In addition to diminished mental health, untreated hearing loss can lead to numerous health conditions: mental fatigue and stress, poor memory, concentration difficulty, social withdrawal and depression.

Read more . . .

NIDCD Scientists Advance Understanding of Molecules in Deafness Genes, Head & Neck Cancers

August 14, 2014 in Research

 

 

NIH-NID

August 12, 2014

NIDCD Scientists Advance Understanding of Molecules in Deafness Genes, Head & Neck Cancers

NIH Researchers Characterize Elusive Myosin 15, Protein Linked to a Form of Hereditary Hearing Loss

NIH researchers report that they have purified a key part of myosin 15, a molecular motor protein that helps build healthy hearing structures in the inner ear. Mutations in the myosin 15 gene (MYO15A) have been linked to a form of hereditary deafness in humans. Using a novel approach to express the protein, researchers have revealed the first detailed insight into the molecule’s structure and function, laying the foundation for new treatments for some forms of hearing loss. The new approach to expressing myosin 15 may also help the study of other types of myosin motors, such as skeletal and cardiac muscle myosins, which could accelerate development of targeted drug therapies for heart disease and other health conditions. The study was published online August 11 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read more »

Researchers Find Molecular Similarities Among Head and Neck, Lung, and Bladder Cancers

Researchers at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), working as part of a team of scientists with The Cancer Genome Atlas Network, have identified a characteristic molecular pattern shared by head and neck, lung, and some bladder cancers. The molecular profile offers information that could help physicians diagnose and develop new treatment strategies for these diseases. The results of the study appeared online August 7 in the journal Cell. Read more »

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Cochlear Implant Also Uses Gene Therapy to Improve Hearing

August 1, 2014 in Research, Technology

 

 

MIT Technology Review
By Katherine Bourzac
Article Source

The electrodes in a cochlear implant can be used to direct gene therapy and regrow neurons.

Researchers have demonstrated a new way to restore lost hearing: with a cochlear implant that helps the auditory nerve regenerate by delivering gene therapy.

The researchers behind the work are investigating whether electrode-triggered gene therapy could improve other machine-body connections—for example, the deep-brain stimulation probes that are used to treat Parkinson’s disease, or retinal prosthetics.

More than 300,000 people worldwide have cochlear implants. The devices are implanted in patients who are profoundly deaf, having lost most or all of the ear’s hair cells, which detect sound waves through mechanical vibrations, and convert those vibrations into electrical signals that are picked up by neurons in the auditory nerve and passed along to the brain. Cochlear implants use up to 22 platinum electrodes to stimulate the auditory nerve; the devices make a tremendous difference for people but they restore only a fraction of normal hearing.

“Cochlear implants are very effective for picking up speech, but they struggle to reproduce pitch, spectral range, and dynamics,” says Gary Housley, a neuroscientist at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, who led development of the new implant.

Read more . . .

Two ears are better than one

August 1, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

 

Medical Press, Australia
by Anne Rahilly
Article Source

Hearing-impaired children fitted with a second cochlear implant (CI) early in life, have significantly better outcomes in aspects of their communication and learning.

A five-year research study from the University of Melbourne shows that bilateral  implantation resulted in improved language, social development, and academic outcomes for children.

Lead researcher, Dr Julia Sarant from the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology said there are improved learning outcomes as well as, community cost benefits and greatly improved quality of life for hearing-impaired children.

“Children in this study with bilateral CIs developed vocabulary and spoken language significantly faster than children with only one CI. This has enormous implications for their long-term future,” she said.

Severe-profound congenital hearing loss is a significant cost to society. In 2005, specialised education cost on average $25,000 per child, loss of productivity cost $6.7 billion, and social security benefits were paid to approximately 129,000 individuals who were unemployed due to hearing loss

The study was conducted across Victoria, NSW, Qld, SA, and New Zealand, involving cochlear implant clinics and early intervention centres with over 160 children.

Recently, the NZ Health Department recommended a change of the current federal funding policy in favour of having all hearing-impaired  under the age of six years fitted with bilateral implants.

“I was asked to consult with policy makers in NZ and I am pleased they have noted these findings and made the appropriate changes,” said Dr Sarant.

 

NDI Report Finds Adults with Disabilities Continue to be Economically Shortchanged

July 31, 2014 in Disability Law, Research

NDI

NDI REPORT FINDS ADULTS WITH DISABILITIES CONTINUE TO BE ECONOMICALLY SHORTCHANGED DESPITE ADA’S GUARANTEE

As the U.S. celebrates the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, a first-of-its-kind report shows people with disabilities are less financially stable than people without disabilities

(Washington, D.C. – July 22, 2014) – A new report released today from National Disability Institute (NDI) shows 24 years after the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law and guaranteed all individuals with disabilities the opportunity to achieve “economic self-sufficiency,”people with disabilities are less financially stable than people without disabilities.

Based on data collected from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation’s 2012 National Financial Capability Study released last year, this groundbreaking report highlights for the first time a nationwide snapshot of the financial capability and financial wellness of adults with disabilities.

National Disability Institute’s report, Financial Capability of Adults with Disabilities – Findings from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation 2012 National Financial Capability Study,analyzed data from 1,363 of the more than 25,000 respondents to the National Financial Capability Study (NFCS) self-identifying as “permanently sick, disabled or unable to work.” While the report analyzes one segment of people with disabilities, the results provide an important lens on the financial capability of many Americans with disabilities. According to U.S. Census data, nearly one in three people with disabilities in the United States live in poverty, a figure nearly double the national poverty rate.

Read more . . . →

New Interactive Studio Allows Deaf Children to ‘Hear’

July 29, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research, Technology

 

 

http://www.designntrend.com
by Osvaldo Nunez , Design & Trend Contributor
Article Source

In a spectacular merging of engineering and acoustics, The Cooper Union in New York City has created a unique learning environment for deaf and hearing-impaired children.

By installing an interactive light studio at the American Sign Language and English Lower School in New York City, the studio displayed entertaining images and graphics on an interactive screen. The pre-kindergarten children using the 270-square-foot space get to learn through their interactions with the moving images and light pulses and the displays allow them to actually understand the intricacies of sound, despite the fact that they can’t actually hear.

“We are creating a learning environment in which deaf and hearing-impaired children can explore and appreciate the various qualities of music and sound through the interplay of light and vibration,” said Melody Baglione, a professor at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. “We have developed technologies enabling the children to visualize sound.”

Read More  . . .

New Treatment for Deaf Children

July 29, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

 

KTVN-TV
Reno, NV
Source URL

Two months ago, a drumbeat would not have gotten a reaction from Auguste Majkowski. The 3-year-old was born deaf.
 
“Learning your child is deaf is difficult. You just have to sink it in, cry it out and you have to move on for the sake of the child.”
 
When cochlear implants didn’t work, Auguste’s family traveled from Canada to Los Angeles to have an experimental surgery. Dr. Mark Krieger and his team at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles placed a tiny device deep in Auguste’s brain called an auditory brain stem implant.
 
“It basically brings sound waves from the outside world, converts them into electrical impulses and transmits them directly into the brain.”
 
August is one of ten children under the age of five who is taking part in the U.S. experiment.
 
His therapist, Dr. Laurie Eisenberg says he’s already responding to sound, but will need years of therapy.
 
“He has to go through the same steps that an infant would go through to learn how to hear and process speech.”
 
Auguste’s mom says therapy is the hardest part of his day, but it’s worth it if he can communicate better.
 
“If he ends up hearing really well or speaking, that’s a bonus.”

Watch Captioned Video  . . .

Can Denying Hearing Loss Affect Your Job?

July 29, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

90.5 WESA Pittsburgh’s NPR News Station
By ESSENTIAL PITTSBURGH
Article Source

A new research survey by EPIC Hearing Healthcare finds that 30 percent of U.S. employees suspect they have hearing loss, but have not sought treatment.

Of those, almost 95 percent say it impacts them on the job yet many go out of their way to hide their hearing loss for fear of losing their job.

Pittsburgh audiologist, Dr. Suzanne Yoder says preconceived notions about hearing loss is what hinders most people from getting the help they need.

“Hearing loss unfortunately has that bad reputation where people feel like if they admit they have a hearing problem, they’re going to be seen as being old, which is something that they don’t want. Or, they’ll be seen as less capable, that their employer will think less of them, or treat them differently, maybe not give them that promotion. The sad thing is, it’s actually the reverse. You treat your hearing loss and you deal with the issues, you’re more likely to earn a better living. There’s research to back that up, that shows there’s a loss of salary for those with untreated hearing loss. It’s extremely important to go out and start dealing with it and not bluffing your way through conversations. The reality is, when you bluff, when you pretend, you end up looking worse.”

Dr. Yoder, herself born with hearing loss that wasn’t diagnosed until she was school-aged, tells listeners that it is never too early in life to get your hearing checked, especially if your profession involves loud or even repetitive noises. She also recommends hearing protection, especially for musicians, to whom she recommends special headphones.

“Many people put it off until it’s a big problem, and that’s exactly the wrong thing to do. You want to get evaluated before it becomes a really big problem.”