Research - Archive

Older Adults’ Hearing May Be Tied to Earlier Death

September 29, 2015 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research



Findings don’t prove that impaired hearing is to blame, but draw attention to quality-of-life issues

By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 24, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Older adults with impaired hearing may have a shorter life span than their peers without hearing problems, a new study suggests.
Researchers found that among nearly 1,700 U.S. adults aged 70 and up, those with hearing loss were 21 percent to 39 percent more likely to die over the next several years.
Experts stressed that the findings, published in the Sept. 24 online edition of JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, do not prove that hearing impairment, itself, shortens people’s lives.
“This is an interesting observation, but it also needs to be taken with a grain of salt,” said Dr. Ana Kim, director of otology research at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, in New York City, who was not involved in the research.

Read Article  . . . Hearing Loss

Advanced microscopy helps NIDCD pinpoint key proteins for hearing and balance

September 15, 2015 in Research, Technology




NIH – National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
September 10, 2015

Using powerful microscopy techniques, a research team led by scientists at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has pinpointed in mice the precise cellular location of two proteins known to be important for hearing and balance. The discovery provides additional evidence that the proteins, TMC1 and TMC2, are part of the channel complex that is essential for the inner ear to process sound and the signals that are key to balance.

Read more  . . . key proteins 

Credit: Bechara Kachar and Andrew J. Griffith, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), National Institutes of Health (NIH).

A pill to prevent hearing loss holds promise

September 8, 2015 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research




Military Times
By Patricia Kime, Staff writer
September 7, 2015

The crack of an M16 shot rings out at 156 decibels. A jet engine at takeoff blasts about 140 decibels. Submarine engine rooms drone along at 120 decibels.

Given that 85 decibels is the threshold for preventing permanent hearing loss, military service is unquestionably hard on hearing.

But what if troops could take a daily pill to protect themselves from noise-related hearing loss?

A researcher from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine is looking into the prospect, testing a common antioxidant found in fermented dairy products on the firing range at the Army’s Drill Sergeant Instructor Course at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

Kathleen Campbell, an audiologist and SIU professor, has been studying the protective properties of D-methionine — an antioxidant found in cheeses and yogurt — for well over a decade, testing its effectiveness in preventing damage caused by excessive noise and other sources.

Noise-related hearing loss occurs when cells in the inner ear, which vibrate when exposed to sound, become damaged from overstimulation. The response to the noise causes cochlear cells to release free radicals, damaging electrons which can kill off the cells.

Read more  . . . 

Hidden epidemic – Could everyday sounds be causing you hidden hearing loss?

September 1, 2015 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research



New Scientist
July 2015

As their shouts crescendoed into a roar louder than a jet plane taking off, fans of the Kansas City Chiefs American football team had reason to celebrate: they had set a new world record for the loudest stadium cheer.

That was last September, and in hindsight, the crowd might come to view the achievement in a more dubious light. At 142.2 decibels, the noise had the potential to cause permanent hearing damage.

Until recently, the medical community believed that most hearing loss was caused by hair cells in the ear degrading as we age.

But evidence is emerging that sound levels at sporting events, concerts, nightclubs and on personal devices can cause lasting damage to the connections between hair cells in the ear and the nerves that transmit sounds to the brain (see main story). Over 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults worldwide could be at risk of hearing loss as a result of exposure to unsafe levels of recreational noise, according to a recent World Health Organisation report.

Hidden epidemic

To make matters worse, this kind of hearing loss doesn’t show up on standard tests. Researchers are calling it a hidden epidemic. “We think this problem is incredibly prevalent, but it’s difficult to measure because the tools we have available today are not sensitive enough,” says Konstantina Stankovic, an auditory neuroscientist and surgeon at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, and Harvard Medical School, in Boston.


Hearing Loss Drug Trial Takes Place at Firing Range

August 27, 2015 in Research




DRUG – Discovery & Development
Tue, 08/25/2015
By Ryan Bushey, Associate Editor

An experimental drug trial is underway at the Fort Jackson military base in South Carolina.

Soldiers are taking a liquid micronutrient called d-methionine to see if it can potentially prevent hearing loss, writes The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Methionine is an amino acid that is typically found in meat, fish, and dairy products.

Southern Illinois University School of Medicine professor and audiologist Kathleen C.M. Campbell developed this compound as a drug. She’s working with the Army to find a way to help military members dealing with noise-induced hearing damage as a result of constantly-firing loud weapons.

A randomized Phase 3 Food and Drug Administration sanctioned study began in late 2013. It was designed to enroll up to 600 participants over three years, according to the WSJ report.

Read more  . . . Drug Testing

Silently Suffering From Hearing Loss Negatively Affects Quality of Life

August 12, 2015 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research


American Psychological Association
August 7, 2015

New hearing technologies can help, studies show

TORONTO — Hearing loss in adults is under treated despite evidence that hearing aid technology can significantly lessen depression and anxiety and improve cognitive functioning, according to a presentation at the American Psychological Association’s 123rd Annual Convention.

“Many hard of hearing people battle silently with their invisible hearing difficulties, straining to stay connected to the world around them, reluctant to seek help,” said David Myers, PhD, a psychology professor and textbook writer at Hope College in Michigan who lives with hearing loss.

In a National Council on Aging study of 2,304 people with hearing loss, those who didn’t wear hearing aids were 50 percent more likely to suffer from sadness or depression than people who did wear them, he said. Additionally, hearing aid users were much more likely to participate in social activities regularly.

Although a genetic condition caused him to start losing his hearing as a teenager, Myers did not get hearing aids until he was in his 40s. Like many hard of hearing people, he resisted hearing technology. People wait an average of six years from the first signs of hearing loss  . . . .

Read More …. Silently Suffering

Antibiotic could cause hearing loss in preemies, study indicates

August 4, 2015 in Community News, Research



The Oregonian/OregonLive
By Lynne Terry
July 29, 2015

The drug that cured Peter Steyger of meningitis as a toddler also made him deaf.

Now a researcher at Oregon Health & Science University, he just discovered that the the class of drugs used to cure him can strip away hearing.

They’re often given to infants in neonatal intensive care units.

Those drugs, broad-spectrum antibiotics, are designed to kill a wide range of bacteria. These medications are routinely given to infants admitted to neonatal intensive care units to clear up any infection or prevent one, Steyger said. Life-threatening bacteria can kill preemies in 24 hours.

But here’s the rub: These drugs are toxic to the ear. They pose the biggest threat of hearing loss amid inflammation during an infection.

In research, Steyger gave a broad-spectrum antibiotic, an aminoglycoside, to mice. Healthy rodents prescribed a low dose suffered relatively little hearing loss. But that was not the case with infected mice, whose hearing was more severely affected.

“If you give a healthy animal, or healthy human, an aminoglycoside for long enough they will go deaf, Steyger said. “If they have an infection that induces an inflammation response, they will lose their hearing much, much faster.”

Read more  . . . Antibiotic

Participate in an Online Survey about VRS Phones and Software

July 27, 2015 in Research, Technology



Deaf and Hard of Hearing Video Relay Service (VRS) Users Invited to participate in an Online Survey about VRS Phones and Software

Your opinion counts: The Technology Access Program at Gallaudet University, in partnership with the Video Access Technology Reference Platform (VATRP) team is conducting an online survey to learn about your wishes and needs for video relay service (VRS) software.The VATRP project is a contract awarded by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to develop new VRS software. It is a partnership among VTCSecure, TCS Associates, Gallaudet University, and RIT/NTID.Our goal is to understand what features you would like to see in the new VRS software. To do the best job possible, we also want to understand what you currently like about your videophones, and what you currently dislike.

To take this survey you:
1. must be an adult (18 years or older)
2. must be deaf, hard of hearing, or have another form of hearing loss
3. must use video relay services; and
4. must have access to the Internet in order to complete the survey.

Completing the survey will take up to 20 minutes by reading, and up to 40 minutes by using the available videos, depending on how much you use relay services. If you would like to participate in this online survey, please go to  –

Project Manager Shahzad “Shah” Merchant explains why it is important for you to take this voluntary & anonymous survey.

This study has been approved by the Gallaudet University Institutional Review Board.





New findings hint toward reversing hearing loss

July 16, 2015 in Research



Medical Press
by Julia Evangelou Strait
July 16, 2015

Unlike birds and amphibians, mammals can’t recover lost hearing. In people, the cells of the inner ear responsible for detecting sound and transmitting those signals to the brain form during early stages of development and can’t be replaced if lost due to illness, injury or aging.

Studying mice, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified two signaling molecules that are required for the proper development of a part of the inner ear called the cochlea. Without both signals, the embryo does not produce enough of the cells that eventually make up the adult cochlea, resulting in a shortened cochlear duct and impaired hearing.

The study, available online in the journal eLife, contributes to the understanding of inner ear development, a first step toward the goal of being able to recover lost hearing.

Read More . . .

Photo Credit: Sung-Ho Huh


July 2, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Research



U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Julián Castro, Secretary
Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20410
HUD No. 15-081                                                                                             FOR RELEASE
Elena Gaona                                                                                                   Thursday
202-708-0685                                                                                                  June 25, 2015


National study finds deaf, hard of hearing, and those in wheelchairs told about fewer homes

WASHINGTON – Well-qualified homeseekers who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as homeseekers who use wheelchairs, are told about fewer available housing units than comparable homeseekers who can hear and walk, according to a new study released today by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Urban Institute.  Discrimination in the Rental Housing Market Against People Who Are Deaf and People Who Use Wheelchairs finds that people who are deaf or who use wheelchairs are at a statistically significant disadvantage when it comes to the number of homes they are informed about.

“Every American deserves the opportunity to secure a home,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro.  “But the evidence is clear: people who are hearing-impaired or in wheelchairs face unacceptable and unjust discrimination.  HUD will continue to work with our fair housing partners to protect the rights of Americans with disabilities and to promote opportunity for all.”

Key findings of the report include:

Discrimination against people who are deaf or hard of hearing

  • When well-qualified homeseekers who are deaf or hard of hearing contact housing providers and use assistive communication technologies to inquire about recently advertised rental housing, providers are less likely to respond to their inquiries.
  • The extent of apparent discrimination against people who are deaf or hard of hearing varies with the type of communication technology the deaf or hard of hearing tester uses to make contact with housing providers. Housing providers are more resistant to dealing with the older (but still widely used) telephone technologies which have longer communication delays.
  • When they do respond, the housing providers tell homeseekers who are deaf or hard of hearing about fewer available housing options than they tell comparable homeseekers who are hearing.

Discrimination against people who use wheelchairs

  • Well-qualified homeseekers who use wheelchairs are more likely to be denied an appointment to view recently advertised rental housing in buildings with accessible units than comparably qualified homeseekers who are ambulatory.
  • Those who do receive an appointment are less likely than their ambulatory counterparts to be told about and shown suitable housing units.
  •  When homeseekers who use a wheelchair ask about modifications that would make the available housing more accessible to them, housing providers agree in most instances. However in approximately a quarter of the requests, housing providers either failed to provide a clear response or explicitly denied modification requests.

The Urban Institute, which conducted the study, employed a “paired testing” methodology in which researchers compared the treatment of persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, and those who are wheelchair bound, against those who can hear and not wheelchair bound. The paired testing track for people who were deaf or hard of hearing included 1,665 remote telephone tests conducted in a national sample of 168 metropolitan areas that contained more than four-fifths (82%)of the population that is deaf or hard of hearing and that resides in rental housing. The national sample for people who use wheelchairs included 1,259 tests in 30 metropolitan areas containing almost three-quarters (73%) of the population that has a mobility disability and that resides in rental housing.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities.  Discrimination complaints made on the basis of physical and mental disabilities have increased over time to become the largest share of complaints received by federal and local agencies and private fair housing organizations. In FY 2014, disability was the most common basis of complaints filed with HUD and its partner agencies, being cited as a basis for 4,606 complaints, or 54 percent of the overall total.

Persons who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to, or by downloading HUD’s free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple devices, such as iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, as well as Android devices.


HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.
More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet
at and




One day, you’ll fine-tune hearing aids yourself

June 25, 2015 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research, Technology



 Jon Fingas
June 23, 2015

Hearing aids are supposed to help you resume a normal life, but they sometimes make things worse — and when most clinics aren’t prepared to calibrate the devices, it’s tempting to ditch them altogether. Norwegian scientists might give you an incentive to keep those earpieces in place, though. They’ve developed a touchscreen-based tuning system that lets you customize hearing aids largely by yourself. The technology asks you to pick a typical sound scenario (such as a busy office) and introduce extra effects until it replicates the situations where you have problems. After that, an audiometrist only has to adjust the hearing aid based on your feedback.

You may not have to wait long to see (or rather, hear) how well this works. AudioPlus Concept AS plans to use the system in one or two clinics in the very near future. You won’t have to rely solely on canned sound samples, either. The team has developed a mobile app that records problematic audio wherever you find it, so it should be easier to sort out your hearing aids even if you have unique challenges.

See picture  . . . research


Needed: TTY users or family/friends of TTY users

June 15, 2015 in Community News, Research, Technology



The Technology Access Program (TAP) at Gallaudet University is looking for individuals to participate in a study that will allow TTY users to communicate with friends and family members who do not use TTYs.  The study will last for up to 8 weeks, with participants making at least one call per week.

Participants who do not have TTYs will be given software to use to call their friends and family members who have TTYs, and each other.  Participants will be instructed how to use the software, and will be contacted periodically by TAP staff to answer any questions you may have.  At the end of the study, you will be interviewed about your experiences by TAP staff.

If you are interested in participating, or have questions about the study, please contact Paula Tucker by email at, or by phone (voice or TTY) at 202-651-5049. To call using VP, contact Christian Vogler at 202-250-2795.


Developer Rick Caruso, wife give USC $25 million for hearing-loss work

June 9, 2015 in Community News, Research



LA Times
June 3, 2015

Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso recalls the emotional moment last year after USC doctors inserted a new hearing device into his daughter’s ear canal. The teenager, who had struggled with mild to moderate hearing loss since birth, suddenly started crying because of the clarity of the sound around her.

Gianna Caruso, now 15, had relied on external hearing aids most of her life and had learned to read lips. With the new internal device, known as a Lyric hearing aid, she heard subtle sounds such as water gushing in a fountain or the chirp of a distant bird, her father said.

That experience influenced him and his wife, Tina, to donate $25 million to the department at USC’s Keck School of Medicine that treats ear, nose, throat, head and neck problems and a related clinic that aids children with hearing loss. The gift is being announced Thursday.

“We want to be able to give more kids an opportunity for a very full and rich life and to minimize the struggles that come with hearing loss,” said Rick Caruso, who is the chief executive of the firm that developed the Grove in Los Angeles and the Americana at Brand in Glendale, and that is working on a new luxury resort to replace the former Miramar Hotel in Montecito.

Read more . . . Developer Rick Caruso


NIH Study – Nearly 1 in 7 Hispanic/Latino adults has some hearing loss

June 3, 2015 in Research



NIH-funded research points to factors related to environment, cultural subgroup, and certain medical conditions

Embargoed For Release: 
Thursday, May 28, 2015
11 a.m. (EDT)

NIDCD Press Office
(301) 496-7243

Spanish version of this press release

In the largest study to date of hearing loss among Hispanic/Latino adults in the United States, researchers have found that nearly 1 in 7 has hearing loss, a number similar to the general population prevalence. The analysis also looked at the differences between subgroups and found that Hispanics of Puerto Rican descent have the highest rate of hearing loss, while Mexican-Americans have the lowest. The study identified several potential risk factors for hearing loss, including age, gender, education level, income, noise exposure, and diabetes. The study, which was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Read more  . . . NIH STUDY

Future Treatments For Hearing Loss

May 22, 2015 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research



by Sara Adaes, PhD (c)
May 20, 2015

Hearing disorders are among the most common health problems. The World Health Organization estimated in 2012 that over 5.3% of the world’s population has disabling hearing loss, and the overall aging of the population will most likely keep increasing this number. In the older population, hearing impairment is also associated with the onset and progression of dementia. Hearing impairment in children can lead to communication disorders that affect the development of language having lifelong consequences.

Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common form of hearing impairment and typically occurs as a result of the loss of functional sensory hair cells within the cochlea. The sensory hair cells are responsible for converting sound vibrations into electrical stimuli that are them conveyed to the central nervous system via the auditory neurons, better known as spiral ganglion neurons.

The sensory hair cells are highly sensitive to ototoxic drugs, over-exposure to noise, and viral and bacterial infections. Sensorineural hearing loss can have a hereditary cause, but age-related hearing loss gradually occurs in most individuals as they grow older, with approximately 30% of adults between the ages of 65–74 years having some degree of hearing deficits.

Cochlear implants are a common solution to hearing impairment, allowing speech  . . .

Read more  . . . Future Treatments