Recent Research and News
NIDCD Grantees Present Work at Association for Research in Otolaryngology Meeting
Many NIDCD-supported scientists delivered presentations at the Midwinter Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology in Phoenix last February. Among them were Jay Rubinstein, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Washington, and Avinash D.S. Bala, Ph.D., of the University of Oregon.
Beyond Words – Helping Cochlear Implant Wearers Listen to the Music
Dr. Rubinstein led a session on a tool he and colleagues have developed to help clinicians assess a cochlear implant wearer's ability to discern pitch progression, melody, and different types of musical instruments. Cochlear implants have brought a sense of sound to more than 100,000 deaf and hard-of-hearing people worldwide, yet music perception remains a source of frustration for many implant users. To better understand this problem, Dr. Rubinstein’s team developed the Clinical Assessment of Music Perception (CAMP) test, an easy-to-use computer tool. He presented data from a commercially funded multicenter study, plus results from additional research in his laboratory, in which CAMP was used to assess music perception in people who wear cochlear implants.
Barn Owls; Photo courtesy of Cornell
Lab of Ornithology/Michael J. Hopiak
Seeing Is Believing – How the Eyes May Help Reveal Hearing Loss
Can an eye exam reveal hearing loss? Dr. Bala and colleagues presented data that suggest it can. In previous studies, they demonstrated that the pupils of barn owls dilate in a reliable and distinctive way in response to a sound’s loudness, pitch, or location. In this study, the researchers evaluated whether this same response—called the pupillary dilation response (PDR)—may be an effective tool for measuring hearing loss in people. The researchers had volunteers listen to sounds of varying loudness and frequency and compared PDR measurements with traditional measurements in which subjects indicated detection with a yes or no response. They found that the values were similar to one another, indicating that the PDR approaches the sensitivity of traditional hearing tests. Since PDR does not require a person to indicate whether he or she heard a sound, it might be useful for those who are too young or physically unable to respond.
Read more about NIDCD grantees’ presentations at the ARO meeting.