Research - Archive

Retired NFL Players May be at Risk for Hearing Loss and Tinnitus

July 11, 2014 in Community News, Research



Released: 7-Jul-2014 11:00 AM EDT 
Source Newsroom: Loyola University Health System
Article Surce

Newswise — MAYWOOD, Ill. – Retired NFL players may be at risk for permanent hearing loss and tinnitus, according to Loyola University Medical Center ear surgeon John Leonetti, MD.

Many NFL players suffer one or more concussions during their careers. And Leonetti notes that such blunt head trauma has been associated with hearing loss and tinnitus (chronic ringing or buzzing in the ears).

Leonetti said there are two possible mechanisms by which blunt head trauma, such as a blow to the head, could damage hearing or cause tinnitus:
- A blow to the head can cause the brain to wiggle like Jell-O, thereby damaging the nerves that connect the brain to the inner ear.
- A blow to the head also can create a shock wave that damages the cochlea, the delicate auditory portion of the inner ear.
There is anecdotal evidence that athletes who play football and other contact sports may be at risk for hearing damage:
- Leonetti recently spoke to retired players alongside EarQ at a meeting of the Chicago chapter of the NFL Players Association. When Leonetti asked how many players had experienced concussions during their career, they all raised their hands. When Leonetti asked how many have experienced hearing loss approximately 25 percent raised their hands. When he asked how many have tinnitus approximately 50 percent raised their hands.
- Hall of Fame NFL lineman Joe DeLamielleure told USA Today that he experienced countless blows to the head during a 13-year career, and has suffered a 68 percent hearing loss in his left ear as a result.
- Retired NHL hockey player Curt Bennett alleged in a class action lawsuit that he suffered from injuries associated with concussions and sub-concussive impacts, including tinnitus and hearing loss in both ears.

“To date, there is no proof that NFL players are suffering hearing loss and tinnitus at a rate higher than that of other men their ages,” Leonetti said. “But based on what we already know about blunt head trauma, as well as anecdotal reports from retired athletes, we believe there are compelling reasons to conduct a scientifically rigorous study to quantify the risk of hearing loss and tinnitus among retired NFL players.”

Leonetti is a professor in the departments of Otolaryngology and Neurological Surgery and program director of Cranial Base Surgery at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

Protein Discovery May Lead to Cure for Hearing Loss

June 24, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research



Jun 18, 2014


A scientific team in France reports that the absence of a specific protein in the inner ear or impairment of the gene that codes for it leads to profound deafness in mice and humans. The researchers believe that it is possible to consider developing gene therapy strategies for deafness caused by defects in this gene.


“The goal of our study was to identify which isoform of protocadherin-15 forms the tip-links, the essential connections of the auditory mechanotransduction machinery within mature hair cells that are needed to convert sound into electrical signals,” remarks Christine Petit, Ph.D., the lead author of the study and professor at the Institut Pasteur in Paris and at Collège de France.


Three types of protocadherin-15 are known to exist in auditory sensory cells of the inner ear but it was not clear which of these protein isoforms was essential for hearing. “Our work pinpoints the CD2 isoform of protocadherin-15 as an essential component of the tip-link and reveals that the absence of protocadherin-15 CD2 in mouse hair cells results in profound deafness,” she said.


Dr. Petit and her colleagues reported the details of their study (“The CD2 isoform of protocadherin-15 is an essential component of the tip-link complex in mature auditory hair cells”) in EMBO Molecular Medicine.


Within the hair bundle—the sensory antenna of auditory sensory cells—the tip-link is a bridge-like structure that when stretched can activate the ion channel responsible for generating electrical signals from sound. Tension in the tip-link created by sound stimulation opens this channel of unknown molecular composition thus generating electrical signals and, ultimately, the perception of sound.

Read More . . .




New study brings scientists a step closer to silencing tinnitus

June 18, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research



Medical Press
June 16, 2014
Original Article:

New research funded by charity Action on Hearing Loss suggests that tinnitus can be eliminated by blocking signals between the ear and brain, offering hope to suffers that a cure is within reach, with prolonged exposure to loud music or working in a noisy environment often the main reasons why people are affected by the distressing condition.

One in ten people in the UK are affected by  everyday – ranging from a light buzzing to a constant roar in the ears and head – which can have a detrimental effect on quality of life from problems sleeping to being able to concentrate at work, and it can lead to depression and disruption to everyday family life.

Researchers at the University of Western Australia treated guinea pigs with a drug called furosemide one week after tinnitus had been triggered by exposure to loud noise. The drug treatment lowered the activity of the auditory nerve, reduced neural hyperactivity in a specific part of the brain that processes sound and crucially the animals treated with the drug no longer displayed signs of tinnitus.

Dr Helmy Mulders who led the research said: ‘Studies in human tinnitus sufferers are still needed to confirm our results and to establish whether or not this approach will be effective for people who have had tinnitus for a long time, but our research shows that lowering the activity of the  may be a promising approach to treating recently triggered tinnitus.’

Read more . . .

What’s that? You say I should bring my partner to noisy parties?

June 3, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research



May 29, 2014

Here’s a reason you should always bring your partner to a cocktail party: As the ’80s hair band music pumps and the voices in the background all sound like indistinguishable blah blah blah — with your loved one there, you’ll be able to understand what at least one person is saying.

Neuroscientists have long known about the “cocktail party problem” — where a roomful of talking people make picking up the words of one particular person difficult for anybody. And it gets even worse in middle age.

A Canadian researcher shed some new light on the condition at a meeting of neuroscientists this week, highlighting a touch of good news about the accuracy of auditory perception as we age. Yes, we are all going to have less acute hearing when we get older, but the sound of a familiar voice can help compensate for that loss.

At the Canadian Association for Neuroscience annual meeting in Montreal, Queen’s University scientist Ingrid Johnsrude said despite reduced hearing accuracy shared by all of us as we age, the voices of long-time spouses are still so distinct that people can pick them out of a crowd.

Read more:

Indiana University researchers study cognitive risks in children with cochlear implants

May 29, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research



IUSM Newsroom
May 22, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS — Children with profound deafness who receive a cochlear implant had as much as five times the risk of having delays in areas of working memory, controlled attention, planning and conceptual learning as children with normal hearing, according to Indiana University research published May 22 in the Journal of the American Medical Association Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery.

The authors evaluated 73 children implanted before age 7 and 78 children with normal hearing to determine the risk of deficits in executive functioning behaviors in everyday life.

Executive functioning, a set of mental processes involved in regulating and directing thinking and behavior, is important for focusing and attaining goals in daily life. All children in the study had average to above-average IQ scores. The results, reported in “Neurocognitive Risk in Children With Cochlear Implants,” are the first from a large-scale study to compare real-world executive functioning behavior in children with cochlear implants and those with normal hearing.

A cochlear implant device consists of an external component that processes sound into electrical signals that are sent to an internal receiver and electrodes that stimulate the auditory nerve. Although the device restores the ability to perceive many sounds to children who are born deaf, some details and nuances of hearing are lost in the process.

First author William Kronenberger, Ph.D., professor of clinical psychology in psychiatry at the IU School of Medicine and a specialist in neurocognitive and executive function testing, said that delays in executive functioning have been commonly reported by parents and others who work with children with cochlear implants. Based on these observations, his group sought to evaluate whether elevated risks of delays in executive functioning in children with cochlear implants exist, and what components of executive functioning were affected.

Read more  . . .


Boston Univ. – Receives $2.75m NIH Grant to Develop Visually Guided Hearing Aid

May 27, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research, Technology



Released: 3/18/2014
Original Source 

Newswise — (Boston) – Boston University (BU) College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College was recently awarded a five-year, $2.75M grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) to test and refine a prototype Visually Guided Hearing Aid (VGHA).

Gerald D. Kidd Jr., professor in the department of speech, language & hearing sciences at BU Sargent College and director of BU’s Sound Field Laboratory developed the VGHA prototype in collaboration with an international research team and Malden, Massachusetts-based Sensimetrics Corporation.

According to the NIDCD, 17 percent of Americans have hearing loss in one or both ears, and the prevalence of hearing loss increases with every age decade. For the majority of hearing losses that are not medically remediable, a hearing aid is the only viable treatment. However, only about 1 in 5 people who could benefit from hearing aids actually wear them. One reason, according to Kidd and colleagues, is that even the most sophisticated modern hearing aids come with a fundamental challenge: how to selectively amplify the sounds the listener wishes to hear while excluding unwanted, interfering sounds.

Read More . . . .

Sleep apnea tied to hearing loss in large study

May 27, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research



Science Codex
posted by news on may 20, 2014
Original Source:

ATS 2014, SAN DIEGO ─Both high and low frequency hearing impairment have been linked with sleep apnea in a new study of nearly 14,000 individuals.

“In our population-based study of 13,967 subjects from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos, we found that sleep apnea was independently associated with hearing impairment at both high and low frequencies after adjustment for other possible causes of hearing loss,” said lead author Amit Chopra, MD, currently at the Albany Medical Center in New York.

The study was presented at the 2014 American Thoracic Society International Conference.

All subjects underwent successful in-home sleep apnea studies and on-site audiometric testing at baseline. Sleep apnea was assessed with the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), which indicates sleep apnea severity based on the number of apnea (complete cessation of airflow) and hypopneas (partial cessation of airflow) per hour of sleep. Sleep apnea was defined as an AHI ≥ 15 events/hour. High frequency hearing impairment was defined as having a mean hearing threshold of greater than 25 decibels in either ear at 2000, 3000, 4000, 6000 and 8000 Hz, and low frequency hearing impairment was defined as having a mean hearing threshold of greater than 25 decibels in either ear at 500 Hz and 1000 Hz.

Read more . . . 

Infant Youngest In U.S. To Receive Brain Stem Implant At Boston Hospital

May 23, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research, Technology

CBS Boston
By Dr. Mallika Marshall, WBZ-TV

Original Article

BOSTON (CBS) — “Hi baby, hi sweet girl,” coos Jill Bradshaw to her 1-year-old daughter Elise, who is hearing her for the first time at a Boston hospital.

And with that, Elise becomes the youngest infant in the United State to receive an Auditory Brain Stem Implant. Elise was born deaf. She could hear nothing. Her medical problems meant a traditional cochlear implant wouldn’t work, but then she was enrolled in a pediatric clinical trial at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.
Doctors there performed complex and delicate brain surgery that worked. Cell phone video captured the miracle moment when an audiologist activated the implant. Elise turns toward the source of a sound. “I was just a nervous wreck going into that room that it wouldn’t work,” says Jill Bradshaw. But it did work. “I couldn’t stop grinning probably for 3 days. I was just smiling ear to ear,” she adds. Her parents were ecstatic. “It’s so emotional. I love you, that’s all you can say is I love you,” says Jill. “It makes the world a lot bigger for her now than it would have been,” says Elise’s father Jason.

Read More . . .

Researchers develop prototype of fully internal cochlear implant

May 22, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research



Deaf news and deaf blogs from the UK!

Posted on May 21, 2014

American researchers have developed a prototype cochlear implant which would be entirely internal, with no visible hardware on the outside of the head.

The advance is a result of collaboration between MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratories and teams from Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Current cochlear implant technology requires an external transmitter, which is made up of a magnetic coil, cable, microphone and power source. These are available in a variety of colours and designs, but are always on the outside of the head, connected to the internal device via a magnet.

The new design has no need for an external microphone, as the device uses the naturally occurring ‘microphone’ of the inner ear; the ossicles. The ossicles are small bones inside the ear which vibrate when sound is present. The device would sense these vibrations and change them into electrical signals, which the cochlear implant can process as sound.

Read more . . . .

Other related articles


Research seeks to prevent hearing loss during chemotherapy

May 15, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

University of Illinois

Sharon Parmet – Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University are collaborating to develop a device to prevent hearing loss in patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy patients are often caught unaware when they find themselves dealing with hearing loss following treatment, according to David Klodd, professor of audiology in the UIC College of Medicine.

“Some commonly used chemotherapy drugs are ototoxic — that is, they can damage structures in the inner ear involved in hearing,” Klodd said.

Read more . . . 

Jet Fuel Combined With Noise Exposure Decreases Auditory Function

May 9, 2014 in Community News, Research


From Hearing Health Matters

By Diana Holan, MS

Hearing loss is the #1 disability for military veterans, which is attributed to acute or chronic exposure to excessive noise.

However, studies from the last 20+ years have shown that working in excessive noise while inhaling toxic chemicals, including jet fuel, may be even more ototoxic than noise exposure alone. Such hearing …read more


Research Study on Benefits of Post-Implantation Training

April 13, 2014 in Community News, Research

Invites Adult Cochlear Implant Users to Participate

*Washington DC/ Maryland/Virginia Residents Only*

What is the Study’s Purpose?
This study is looking at the effectiveness of training for adults who have received cochlear implants. We would like to determine whether a special training program can help cochlear implant users improve their understanding of speech and communication in daily life.

Who Can Participate?
Participants must be 18 years of age or older, post-lingually deafened (onset of hearing loss after having learned spoken language), fluent in English, and have had their cochlear implant between three months and three years.

Participating in this study may improve your communication ability, further knowledge in this area, and help determine the best training method for cochlear implant users.

When and Where?
Participation will require eight weekly visits (90 minutes each) scheduled at your convenience. There will be two follow-up visits; one at two months and one at six months following the last training session (also running 90 minutes each).

You will be able to participate at one of several Washington Metropolitan area locations including Gallaudet University and George Washington University in Washington, D.C., the Hearing Loss Association of America’s national office in Bethesda, Maryland, and the Hearing and Speech Agency in Baltimore, Maryland. 

Some of the training sessions are now available on site at the Northern Virginia Resource Center in Fairfax,Virginia 

To get more information on how to enroll in this study, please contact: Claire Bernstein, Ph.D,  Gallaudet University,at 202-448-7204, or send an email to:

This study has been approved by the Institutional Review Boards at Gallaudet University and The George Washington University. Identifying information will be kept confidential.

Hearing Loss Affects Personality Among Elderly

April 4, 2014 in Community News, Research

From IANS, 4/2/2014
Read Original Article

 Hearing loss among old people leaves a deep impact in their personality as well, research finds.

The researchers studied 400 people in the age group of 80-98 over a period of six years.

They were assessed in terms of physical and mental measures as well as personality aspects such as extraversion, which reflects the inclination to be outgoing and emotional stability in every two years.

The results show that even if the emotional stability remained constant over the period, the participants became less outgoing.

Read more . . . →

Webinar: Measuring the Financial Capability of Persons with Disabilities

March 26, 2014 in Community Events, Research

Measuring the Financial Capability of Persons with Disabilities

WHEN – Wednesday, April 9, 2014 3 pm to 4:15 pm EST

Realtime captioning will be provided. For other accommodation requests, and questions about the webinar or the registration process, contact Keith Combs at

Join National Disability Institute and Bank of America as we discuss measuring the financial capability of persons with disabilities. Financial Capability is defined as building knowledge and skills for informed decision making about budgeting, money management, credit, debt, and savings that lead to tangible improvements in an individual’s financial health and stability. Financial capability is often measured by whether consumers can cover monthly expenses with income, track spending, plan ahead, save for the future and effectively navigate, select and manage financial products and services. For persons with disabilities, there are additional indicators to be considered when measuring financial capability. This webinar will identify NDI’s Financial Capability Indicators for Persons with Disabilities and explore new tools and strategies that organizations can use to improve the financial capability of persons with disabilities.

Webinar objectives:

  • Define financial capability
  • Define and understand financial capability indicators for persons with disabilities
  • Identify tools and strategies to improve the financial capability of persons with disabilities
  • Understand the connection between financial capability and employment goals

Register for this webinar by clicking on or copying and pasting the following link:

This webinar is made possible by 
Bank of America
NDI would like to thank our 2014 sponsors:

ACORDA, Walmart, & Bank of America

Hearing Loss Tied to Depression in Study

March 20, 2014 in Research

Women, non-seniors more likely to be affected this way, researchers say

Hearing Loss Tied to Depression in Study
By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay ReporterTHURSDAY, March 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Hearing loss is associated with depression among American adults, especially women and those younger than age 70, according to new research.

While other studies previously have found the same link, many of them looked only at older adults or at specific regions or ethnicities, and results have been mixed, the researchers pointed out.

In the new study, as hearing declined, the percentage of depressed adults increased — from about 5 percent in those who had no hearing problems to more than 11 percent in those who did.

Read original article . . .