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Clinical Trials

Linking patients to medical research

A clinical trial is a research study that helps determine whether new treatments are both safe and effective. Carefully conducted clinical trials on volunteers are the fastest and safest way to find treatments that work on people. For more information about the trials listed below, click on the individual headlines. For more information about NIDCD clinical trials that are not listed here, visit the NIDCD Web site at www.nidcd.nih.gov/research/clinicaltrials/pages/default.aspx.

Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss Multicenter Treatment Trial

If Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL) is diagnosed within two weeks of the first symptoms, the standard treatment is high-dose oral steroids. Evidence now suggests that injection of medication into the middle ear also is effective and does not present the side effects that taking high-dose oral steroids does.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, together with seven centers nationwide, are participating in a five-year clinical trial sponsored by NIDCD. Started in December 2004, this study compares the use of high-dose oral steroids with middle-ear injections of a special formulation of steroid medication to treat SSHL.

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Gesture Recognition Study

Researchers at NIDCD are seeking deaf volunteers, ages 18–80, for a study examining how the brain distinguishes hand gestures. The study will use brain imaging to investigate the areas involved in processing hand gestures, such as those used in American Sign Language (ASL).

This is an outpatient study that will take place at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD. Participants will attend one scanning session, lasting 3 hours. An ASL interpreter will be available during admission and testing.

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Genetic Studies of Tone Deafness

Both perfect pitch and tone deafness run in families. A better understanding of what causes tone deafness may provide new insights into hearing function. This study examines the hereditary basis of tone deafness by identifying regions of the human genome linked to this condition. Individuals with two or more family members 15 years of age or older who are tone deaf or have trouble recognizing different melodies may be eligible for this study.

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