You are here

FY 2016 Congressional Justification

FY 2016 Budget

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)

On this page:

 

Organization Chart

Organization of the National Institutes of Health: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Office of the Director: James F. Battey Jr., M.D., Ph.D., Director; Judith Cooper, Ph.D., Deputy Director. Attached to the Office of the Director is the Office of Administration Timothy Wheeles, Directory. Also attached are three divisions: The Division of Intramural Research (Andrew Griffith, M.D.,Ph.D., Director), the Division of Scientific Programs (Judith Cooper, Ph.D., Director), and the Division of Extramural Activities (Craig Jordan, Ph.D., Director).

 

Appropriation Language

NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

For carrying out section 301 and title IV of the PHS Act with respect to deafness and other communication disorders, [$405,302,000]$416,241,000.

NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Amounts Available for Obligation1
(Dollars in Thousands)
Source of Funding FY 2014
Actual
FY 2015
Enacted
FY 2016
President's Budget
1. Excludes the following amounts for reimbursable activities carried out by this account:
FY 2014 - $1,703; FY 2015 - $2,500; FY 2016 - $2,500
Appropriation $404,049 $405,302 $416,241
Type 1 Diabetes 0 0 0
Rescission 0 0 0
Sequestration 0 0 0
FY 2014 First Secretary's Transfer -1,014 0 0
FY 2014 Second Secretary's Transfer -79 0 0
Subtotal, adjusted appropriation $402,956 $405,302 $416,241
OAR HIV/AIDS Transfers 0 -95 0
National Children's Study Transfers 1,328 0 0
Subtotal, adjusted budget authority $404,284 $405,207 $416,241
Unobligated balance, start of year 0 0 0
Unobligated balance, end of year 0 0 0
Subtotal, adjusted budget authority $404,284 $405,207 $416,241
Unobligated balance lapsing -47 0 0
Total obligations $404,237 $405,207 $416,241

Top

NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Budget Mechanism—Total1

(Dollars in Thousands)
MECHANISM FY 2014 Actual FY 2015 Enacted FY 2016 President's Budget FY 2016
+/-
FY 2015
No. Amount No. Amount No. Amount No. Amount

1 All items in italics and brackets are non-add entries.

Research Projects:                
Noncompeting 567 $209,711 562 $209,387 547 $210,147 -15 $760
Administrative Supplements (51) 2,602 (34) 1,700 (34) 1,700 (0) 0
Competing:                
Renewal 49 21,228 48 21,040 51 22,592 3 1,552
New 130 42,743 126 42,000 139 47,000 13 5,000
Supplements 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Subtotal, Competing 179 $63,971 174 $63,040 190 $69,592 16 $6,552
Subtotal, RPGs 746 $276,285 736 $274,127 737 $281,439 1 $7,312
SBIR/STTR 30 11,132 32 11,500 35 12,300 3 800
Research Project Grants 776 $287,417 768 $285,627 772 $293,739 4 $8,112
Research Centers:                
Specialized/Comprehensive 21 $17,168 18 $16,485 15 $17,527 -3 $1,042
Clinical Research 0 160 0 160 0 0 0 -160
Biotechnology 0 495 0 500 0 0 0 -500
Comparative Medicine 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Research Centers in Minority Institutions 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Research Centers 21 $17,822 18 $17,145 15 $17,527 -3 $382
Other Research:                
Research Careers 42 $7,124 47 $8,125 52 $8,875 5 $750
Cancer Education 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Cooperative Clinical Research 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Biomedical Research Support 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Minority Biomedical Research Support 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 25 5,069 25 5,100 25 3,600 0 -1,500
Other Research 67 $12,193 72 $13,225 77 $12,475 5 $750
Total Research Grants 864 $317,432 858 $315,997 864 $323,741 6 $7,744
Ruth L. Kirschstein Training Awards: FTTPs   FTTPs   FTTPs   FTTPs  
Individual Awards 112 $4,728 114 $4,875 116 $5,050 2 $175
Institutional Awards 148 7,032 162 7,800 162 7,950 0 150
Total Research Training 260 $11,760 276 $12,675 278 $13,000 2 $325
Research & Development Contracts 31 $18,056 32 $19,300 32 $21,400 0 $2,100
(SBIR/STTR) (non-add) (0) (55) (0) (75) (0) (75) (0) (0)
Intramural Research 69 37,233 70 36,700 70 37,250 0 550
Res. Management & Support 70 19,803 70 20,535 70 20,850 0 315
Res. Management & Support (SBIR Admin) (non-add) (0) (0) (0) (0) (0) (0) (0) (0)
Construction   0   0   0   0
Buildings and Facilities   0   0   0   0
Total, NIDCD 139 $404,284 140 $405,207 140 $416,241 0 $11,034

Major Changes in the Fiscal Year 2016 President’s Budget Request

Major changes by budget mechanism and/or budget activity detail are briefly described below. Note that there may be overlap between budget mechanism and activity detail and these highlights will not sum to the total change for the FY 2016 President’s Budget request for NIDCD, which is $11.034 million more than the FY 2015 Enacted level, for a total of $416.241 million.

Research Project Grants (+$8.112 million; total $293.739 million):
NIDCD will support a total of 772 Research Project Grant (RPG) awards in FY 2016, an increase of 4 awards. The number of competing RPGs will increase by 16.

Research & Development Contracts (+$2.100 million; total $21.400 million):
Funds are included in R&D contracts to support an increase in Program Evaluation.

NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Summary of Changes

(Dollars in Thousands)
FY 2015 Enacted $405,207
FY 2016 President's Budget $416,241
Net change $11,034
 
CHANGES FY 2016
President's Budget
Change from FY 2015
       
FTEs Budget Authority FTEs Budget Authority
A. Built-in:        
1. Intramural Research:        
a. Annualization of January 2015 pay increase & benefits   $12,799   $119
b. January FY 2016 pay increase & benefits   12,799   39
c. One more days of pay (n/a for 2015)   12,799   49
d. Differences attributable to change in FTE   12,799   0
e. Payment for centrally furnished services   6,190   185
f. Increased cost of laboratory supplies, materials, other expenses, and non-recurring costs   18,261   251
Subtotal       $643
2. Research Management and Support:        
a. Annualization of January 2015 pay increase & benefits   $11,045   $102
b. January FY 2016 pay increase & benefits   11,045   34
c. One more days of pay (n/a for 2015)   11,045   42
d. Differences attributable to change in FTE   11,045   0
e. Payment for centrally furnished services   2,538   76
f. Increased cost of laboratory supplies, materials, other expenses, and non-recurring costs   7,268   100
Subtotal       $354
Subtotal, Built-in       $997
 
CHANGES FY 2016 President's Budget Change from FY 2015
Number Amount Number Amount
B. Program:        
1. Research Project Grants:        
a. Noncompeting 547 $211,847 -15 $760
b. Competing 190 69,592 16 6,552
c. SBIR/STTR 35 12,300 3 800
Subtotal, RPGs 772 $293,739 4 $8,112
2. Research Centers 15 $17,527 -3 $382
3. Other Research 77 12,475 5 -750
4. Research Training 278 13,000 2 325
5. Research and development contracts 32 21,400 0 2,100
Subtotal, Extramural   $358,141   $10,169
6. Intramural Research 70 FTEs $37,250 0 FTEs -$93
7. Research Management and Support 70 FTEs 20,850 0 FTEs -39
8. Construction   0   0
9. Buildings and Facilities   0   0
Subtotal, Program 140 $416,241 0 $10,037
Total changes       $11,034

Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Graphs

History of Budget Authority and FTEs:

 

Funding Levels by Fiscal Year: 2012 415.5 million. 2013 392.1 million. 2014 404.3 million. 2015 405.2 million. 2016 416.2 million2012 135. 2013 140. 2014 139. 2015 140. 2016 140. 2011 and 2012

Distribution by Mechanism:

(Dollars in Thousands) Research Project Grants $293,739, 71%. Research Training $13,000, 3%. RMS $20,850, 5%. Intramural Research $37,250, 9%. Other Research $12,475, 3%. R&D Contracts $21,400, 5%. Research Centers $17,527, 4%.

Change by Selected Mechanism:

FY 2016 Estimated Percent Change from FY 2014 Mechanism: Research Project Grants 2.84%. Research Centers 2.23%. Other Research -5.6%. Research Training 2.56%. R&D Contracts 10.88% . Intramural Research 1.5%. Res. Mgmt & Support 1.53%.

NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Budget Authority by Activity1

(Dollars in Thousands)
  FY 2014 Actual FY 2015 Enacted FY 2016 President's
Budget
FY 2016
+/-
FY 2015
FTE Amount FTE Amount FTE Amount FTE Amount

1 Includes FTEs whose payroll obligations are supported by the NIH Common Fund.

Extramural Research                
Detail:                
Hearing & Balance   $203,621   $204,051   $210,014   $5,963
Taste & Smell   57,073   57,207   58,879   1,672
Voice, Speech, & Language   86,554   86,714   89,248   2,534
Subtotal, Extramural   $347,248   $347,972   $358,141   $10,169
Intramural Research 69 $37,233 70 $36,700 70 $37,250 0 $550
Research Management & Support 70 $19,803 70 $20,535 70 $20,850 0 $315
TOTAL 139 $404,284 140 $405,207 140 $416,241 0 $11,034
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Authorizing Legislation
  PHS Act/Other Citation U.S. Code Citation 2015 Amount Authorized FY 2015 Enacted 2016 Amount Authorized FY 2016 President's Budget
Research and Investigation Section 301 42§241 Indefinite Combined $405,207,000 Indefinite Combined $416,241,000
         
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Section 401(a) 42§281 Indefinite Indefinite
             
Total, Budget Authority       $405,207,000   $416,241,000
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Appropriations History
Fiscal Year Budget Estimate to Congress House
Allowance
Senate
Allowance
Appropriation
2006 $397,432,000 $397,432,000 $418,537,000 $397,432,000
Rescission       ($3,974,320)
2007 $391,556,000 $391,556,000 $395,188,000 $393,458,000
Rescission       $0
2008 $393,682,000 $400,305,000 $402,680,000 $394,138,000
Rescission       ($7,008,000)
Supplemental       $2,096,000
2009 $395,047,000 $408,587,000 $406,000,000 $407,259,000
Rescission       $0
2010 $413,026,000 $422,308,000 $414,755,000 $418,833,000
Rescission       $0
2011 $429,007,000   $428,331,000 $418,833,000
Rescission       ($3,677,604)
2012 $426,043,000 $426,043,000 $410,482,000 $417,061,000
Rescission       ($788,245)
2013 $417,297,000   $418,562,000 $416,272,755
Rescission       ($832,546)
Sequestration       ($20,894,030)
2014 $422,936,000   $420,125,000 $404,049,000
Rescission       $0
2015 $403,933,000     $405,302,000
Rescission       $0
2016 $416,241,000      

Justification of Budget Request
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

Authorizing Legislation: Section 301 and title IV of the Public Health Service Act, as amended.

FY 2014 Actual FY 2015 Enacted FY 2016 President's Budget FY 2016 +/-
FY 2015
BA $404,283,934   $405,207,000   $416,241,000   +$11,034,000
FTE 139   140   140   0

Program funds are allocated as follows: Competitive Grants/Cooperative Agreements; Contracts; Direct Federal/Intramural and Other.

Director's Overview

Approximately one in six Americans will experience a communication disorder to some degree in his or her lifetime. For those individuals, the basic components of communication (sensing, interpreting, and responding to people and things in our environment) can be challenging. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) manages a broad intramural and extramural portfolio of both basic and clinical research focused on human communication research and their associated disorders in three program areas: hearing and balance; taste and smell; and voice, speech, and language.

NIDCD Research Advances: Extraordinary research opportunities have led to scientific breakthroughs in the study of genes, proteins, sensory and supporting cells, and molecular processes that directly affect our understanding of communication disorders. These advances have been accompanied by substantial progress in behavioral studies that increase our understanding of how communication processes contribute to a person’s health. In the past year, NIDCD has supported research activities in the following areas of communication science:

  • Translating Discovery into Health – Strong Link between Hearing Loss and Depression in Adults1: Hearing impairment, the third-leading cause of years lost due to disability worldwide, may reduce quality of life.2 Individuals with hearing impairment may be more at risk of developing mental health problems, like depression. Studies had previously shown a possible link between hearing impairment and depression, but in a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults, NIDCD researchers have found a strong association between hearing impairment and depression. Self-reported hearing impairment was linked with an increased risk of depression in both males and females age 18-69; the findings were similar among whites, blacks, and Hispanics. The investigators also found that moderate hearing impairment, as assessed by audiometric exams, was significantly associated with depression in women over 70 years old. It is hoped that this research can help health professionals be better able to improve the quality of life among people with hearing impairment by watching for the signs and symptoms of depression and referring them for mental health services.
  • Unraveling Life’s Mysteries through Basic Research – Linking a Bad Diet to Smell Loss3: Research has shown that a high-fat diet can lead to health problems like heart disease and diabetes. NIH-funded scientists have now identified a new risk for high-fat diets: your sense of smell may suffer. The scientists compared the olfactory ability (sense of smell) of mice that were fed either a high-fat diet or a normal-fat diet. Overweight mice raised on the high-fat diet had a reduced ability to sense odors because inflammation caused the death of many of their olfactory sensory neurons – cells in the nose that detect odors. Consequently, the obese mice on a high-fat diet were not as good at discriminating odors as normal-weight mice on a normal diet. Even after scientists switched the overweight mice to a normal-fat diet and they lost weight, the formerly overweight mice were still not as sensitive to odors as the mice that had never been overweight. These data may help us understand how diet influences future food selection and impacts overall health.
  • Translating Discovery into Health – Improving Communication in Children with Autism4: Many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have difficulty communicating. A frequently used treatment in many schools and clinics is applied behavior analysis (ABA) involving over 40 hours of instruction per week and can require many trials to learn a single word. An alternate intervention, pivotal response treatment (PRT), is derived from ABA, but is play-based and child-initiated. In a comparative effectiveness study, NIDCD-supported scientists compared these two approaches. The PRT intervention was found to improve verbal and pragmatic social communication in three months with only two hours of instruction per week. These results address evidence-based practices facing service delivery challenges; in addition, the findings identify intervention strategies which give children with ASD better communicative and social competency and improved outcomes.

NIDCD Plans, Priorities, and Challenges for the Future: NIDCD continues its support of new and competing Research Project Grants from investigators who have innovative ideas and fresh perspectives. NIDCD is also working hard to prepare a diverse and talented biomedical research workforce focused on communication disorders, especially the research training and career development of emerging clinician-investigators. Driven by compelling public health needs along with recent scientific progress, NIDCD prioritizes its research investments to identify the most promising opportunities for human communication research, including:

  • Harnessing Data and Technology to Improve Health – Hearing Health Care: Approximately 17 percent of American adults, or 36 million people, report some degree of hearing loss, and many of these individuals could benefit from assistive technologies such as hearing aids. However, only about 20 percent of those who could benefit from hearing aids actually use them. Since 2009, NIDCD has been striving to fill gaps in the accessibility and affordability of hearing health care (AAHHC) by sponsoring a working group and leading a series of groundbreaking research initiatives. To study this area further, NIDCD, FDA, and other Federal agencies are partnering with the Institute of Medicine in FY 2015 to sponsor a consensus study and report to consider access, affordability, and regulatory issues related to hearing health care. The report will provide needed information to help direct AAHHC reform.
  • Translating Discovery into Health – Global Health and Reducing Health Disparities among Minority and Underserved Children: NIDCD invests in research to help disadvantaged children with hearing impairment or language disorders, who can experience various barriers to health care, including proper identification/diagnosis, limited access to follow-up care, lack of provider knowledge, challenges to families in obtaining services, and information gaps. To reduce health disparities, NIDCD is participating in two initiatives to encourage the development and testing of interventions targeted toward ethnic and racial minorities and populations of underserved children. NIDCD also supports research in foreign countries which has led to the identification of genes involved in deafness and other communication disorders. This international research provides the potential to develop new treatments for hearing impairments, stuttering, and other conditions for underserved children in the United States.

Overall Budget Policy:
The FY 2016 President’s Budget request for NIDCD is $416.241 million, an increase of $11.034 million or 2.7 percent above the FY 2015 Enacted level. NIDCD will continue to support new and early stage investigators, and will increase number of competing Research Project Grants (RPG’s) by 16. In FY 2016, NIDCD will support new investigators on R01 equivalent awards at success rates approximately equal to those of established investigators submitting new R01 equivalent applications. FY 2016 Noncompeting RPG’s will be funded at the full-committed level. In the Research Project Grants mechanism, an increase of $1.5 million is requested for continued NIDCD participation in the NIH BRAIN initiative.

NIDCD allocates a portion of the funds available for competing RPGs to High Program Priority (HPP) projects outside of the automatic pay line. NIDCD will continue emphasizing faculty, postdoctoral, and student training in our three program areas: hearing and balance; taste and smell; and voice, speech and language sciences. Postdoctoral fellows who show high promise as an emerging independent investigator will be encouraged to launch their careers through the Pathways to Independence (K99-R00) program. Stipend rates for predoctoral trainees and fellows increase by 2 percent.

In the Research Centers mechanism, $1.420 million is provided for participation in the new NIH Precision Medicine initiative. NIH proposes to launch a national research cohort of one million or more Americans – to propel our understanding of health and disease and set the foundation for a new way of doing research through engaged participants and open, responsible data sharing. Participants who voluntarily choose to join this effort will be able to share their genomic data, biological specimens, and behavioral data, and, if they choose, link it to their electronic health records (EHRs), taking advantage of the latest in social media and mobile applications, and with appropriate privacy protections in place. Bona fide researchers from across the country will have access to data voluntarily provided, thereby crowdsourcing rich data to the brightest minds in biomedical research. The cohort will be built largely by linking existing cohorts together taking advantage of infrastructure, data security and expertise already in place. NIH will help to connect these existing cohorts, but the current sponsors of the cohorts will maintain their ownership and management. Research on this scale promises to lead to new prevention strategies, novel therapeutics and medical devices, and improvements in how we prescribe drugs – on an individual and personalized basis.

In R&D Contracts, funds are provided to support an increase in Program Evaluation.

Program Descriptions and Accomplishments

Hearing and Balance Program: Loss of hearing or balance imposes a significant social and economic burden upon individuals, their families, and the communities in which they live. Millions of Americans experience a hearing or balance disorder at some point in their life, especially as young children or older adults. Common examples include middle-ear infections (otitis media), noise-induced hearing loss, tinnitus, age-related hearing loss, dizziness, and vertigo. Hearing and balance disorders also decrease quality of life, and cross all ethnic and socioeconomic lines. Approximately 36 million American adults report some degree of hearing loss5 and almost eight million adults report a chronic problem with balance.6 In addition, about two to three out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears that can affect their speech, language, social, and cognitive development.7 Accordingly, research projects within the NIDCD Hearing and Balance Program encompass over half of NIDCD’s portfolio. To study normal and disordered functions of the auditory and vestibular systems, NIDCD employs a wide range of research approaches such as molecular genetics, cellular biology, biomedical imaging, nanotechnology, psychoacoustics, and structural and functional biology. NIDCD supports research that will lead to improved treatments for, and prevention of, hearing and balance disorders.

The number of Americans with hearing and balance disorders is expected to increase as the nation’s population ages and as survival rates improve for a wide range of medical conditions associated with communication disorders. In response, NIDCD has placed an emphasis on research training and career development opportunities to ensure a constant throughput of productive, creative, and innovative scientists. NIDCD is continuously adapting its research training and career development efforts to encourage new investigators and build shared research resources, which takes many years to develop. Since 2007, NIDCD has sponsored a special topics course in auditory and vestibular biology at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The course, at this very prestigious research center, brings together outstanding faculty to provide hands-on instruction to a select group of trainees. NIDCD plans to continue nurturing the communication sciences careers of young scientists and foster the advancement of research methodologies and technologies to improve, hasten, and implement new treatments for these disorders and impairments.

Budget Policy:
The 2016 President’s Budget for the Hearing and Balance program is $210.014 million, an increase of $5.963 million or 2.9 percent from the FY 2015 Enacted level. In FY 2016, the program will continue emphasizing faculty, postdoctoral, and student training on hearing and balance sciences. Postdoctoral fellows who show high promise as emerging independent investigators will be encouraged to launch their careers through the Pathways to Independence (K99-R00) program. Making R01 awards to first-time and early-stage investigators in the area of hearing and balance sciences will be given funding priority.

 

Program Portrait: Usher Syndrome

FY 2015 Level: $9.8 million
FY 2016 Level: $10.0 million
Change: +$0.2 million

Usher syndrome (USH) is the most common condition that affects both hearing and vision. The major symptoms of USH are hearing loss caused by defects in the inner ear and an eye disorder called retinitis pigmentosa, or RP. RP causes night-blindness and a loss of peripheral vision (side vision) through the progressive degeneration of the retina. Some people with USH also have severe balance problems. The frequency of USH in the United States is estimated at 1 in 6,000 people.

Currently, there is no cure for USH. The best treatment involves early identification so that educational programs can begin as soon as possible. The exact nature of these programs will depend on the severity of the hearing and vision loss as well as the age and abilities of the person.

There are three clinical types of USH: type 1; type 2; and type 3. In the United States, types 1 and 2 are the most common types and they account for the majority of cases of children who have USH. Children with type 1 USH are profoundly deaf at birth and have severe balance problems. Children with type 2 USH are born with moderate to severe hearing loss and normal balance. Children with type 3 USH have normal hearing at birth. Although most children with the disorder have normal to near-normal balance, some may develop balance problems later on.

USH is inherited as a recessive trait, which means that it is passed from parents to their children through genes that have mutations inherited from both parents. NIDCD-supported scientists are using advanced next-generation sequencing techniques to identify genes associated with USH. To date, NIH support has enabled molecular geneticists to identify at least 11 of these genes. NIDCD-supported scientists demonstrated that some mutations of these same USH genes cause only hearing loss, but no vision or balance problems.

In addition, intramural scientists from the National Eye Institute and NIDCD are collaborating to develop possible therapeutic models for USH which includes a study to measure photoreceptor responses in the eyes of individuals with USH. Another project is studying the balance problems in individuals with USH. NIDCD’s intramural scientists are also conducting a study of genotype-phenotype correlation in USH, and there is also an ongoing search for additional USH genes. Another NIDCD intramural project is studying methods to deliver genes to the inner ear for treating hereditary hearing loss by using a mouse model that has a mutation in the whirlin gene which results in USH. These research endeavors will lead to improved genetic counseling and early diagnosis, and may eventually expand treatment options.

Taste and Smell Program: Each year, more than 200,000 people visit a physician for chemosensory problems such as taste and smell disorders.8 Many more taste and smell disorders go unreported. The NIDCD Taste and Smell program supports the study of the chemical senses – taste and smell – to enhance understanding of how individuals communicate with their environment and how chemosensory disorders can be identified and treated. Taste and smell play important roles in preferences and aversions for aromas, specific foods, and flavors. By helping us understand why people prefer certain foods over others, research on taste and smell may help develop prevention and treatment strategies for obesity and diabetes. Taste preferences can also influence whether someone is willing to take a needed medication.

Aging and many serious health problems, including Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, may be accompanied or signaled by chemosensory problems. NIDCD is supporting research on many aspects of the gustatory (taste) and olfactory (smell) systems, with the goal of improving diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of chemosensory disorders. NIDCD also supports studies of the molecular and cellular biology, biophysics, biochemistry, brain imaging, and functional circuitry of the gustatory and olfactory systems.

NIDCD is also working to encourage clinical research on both normal and disordered functions of the gustatory and olfactory systems, and to facilitate the translation of research results into practice within the healthcare system. To this end, the Institute held a one-day workshop on this topic in 2014. Participants recommended that NIDCD provide one year research experiences for medical students interested in pursuing chemosensory research. In response, the Institute has established a program providing supplements to existing grants for the support of medical students pursuing chemosensory research.

Budget Policy:
The 2016 President’s Budget for the Taste and Smell program is $58.879 million, an increase of $1.672 million or 2.9 percent from the FY 2015 Enacted level. In FY 2016, the program will continue emphasizing faculty, postdoctoral, and student training on smell and taste sciences. Postdoctoral fellows who show high promise as emerging independent investigators will be encouraged to launch their careers through the Pathways to Independence (K99-R00) program. Making R01 awards to first-time and early-stage investigators in the area of smell and taste sciences will be given funding priority.

Voice, Speech, and Language Program: Voice, speech, and language abilities allow us to share thoughts, ideas, and emotions. Disorders involving voice, speech, or language, as well as swallowing, can have an overwhelming effect on an individual’s health and quality of life; these disorders affect people of all ages with or without hearing impairment, including children with autism, those who stutter, and adults with aphasia or other speech disorders. Approximately 7.5 million people in the United States have trouble using their voice.9 By the first grade, roughly five percent of children have noticeable speech disorders.10 Between six and eight million people in the United States have some form of language impairment.11

NIDCD continues its commitment to develop effective diagnostic and intervention strategies for people with voice, speech, or language impairments. For example, NIDCD provides support for several clinical trials to improve the effectiveness, cost, and outcomes for individuals with aphasia. More than a million people in the United States currently have aphasia from stroke and other causes. One innovative trial integrates neuroimaging and behavioral therapy to help determine which individuals are most likely to benefit from language rehabilitation treatment. These findings will guide clinical practice by deciding treatment based on a personalized assessment of brain damage and connectivity, allowing for each patient to be treated according to their individualized brain network profile.

Budget Policy:
The FY 2016 President’s Budget for the Voice, Speech, and Language program is $89.248 million, an increase of $2.534 million or 2.9 percent from the FY 2015 Enacted level. In FY 2016, the program will continue emphasizing faculty, postdoctoral, and student training on voice, speech, and language sciences. Postdoctoral fellows who show high promise as emerging independent investigators will be encouraged to launch their careers through the Pathways to Independence (K99-R00) program. Making R01 awards to first-time and early-stage investigators in the area of voice, speech, and language sciences will be given funding priority.

Program Portrait: Voice Disorders

FY 2015 Level: $28.7 million
FY 2016 Level: $29.5 million
Change: +$0.8 million

Voice production and its quality influence the communicative exchange throughout the lifespan with some voices being perceived as pleasing and facilitating to reception of the message and others being perceived as unpleasant and not communication-enhancing. Voice disorders are not trivial, though they are overwhelmingly under-recognized. Occupational voice disorders are estimated to affect 28 million Americans and have a significant impact on the livelihood of teachers/professors, TV and radio journalists, lawyers, and singers. NIDCD supports basic and clinical research studies that focus on normal voice production and the prevention and treatment of voice disorders.

Spasmodic dysphonia (SD) is a voice disorder caused by involuntary movements of one or more muscles of the larynx (voice box) and can affect anyone. When a person with SD attempts to speak, the muscles in the larynx spasm involuntarily and cause the voice to break up and sound strained or whispery. The disorder is estimated to affect 50,000 people in North America. The first signs of this disorder are found most often in individuals between 30-50 years old. More women than men are affected. There is no cure for SD, and the most common treatment is the injection of very small amounts of botulinum toxin directly into the affected muscles of the larynx. Repeat injections are necessary as the effects last only a few months.

NIDCD currently funds research aimed to determine the causes and pathophysiology of SD in order to develop new diagnostic and better treatment options. NIDCD-supported scientists are using multi-modal imaging and next-generation DNA sequencing to identify brain abnormalities and genetic risk factors for SD. The identification of genes responsible for this voice disorder directly addresses the need for better, more accurate detection and diagnosis in this clinical population. Locating specific brain areas involved in regulating laryngeal muscles and understanding the neural mechanisms by which they exert their control opens avenues for new pharmacological therapies and surgical interventions.

NIDCD will continue to support voice disorders research based on recommendations from a 2013 NIDCD-sponsored workshop on voice sciences and disorders. The consensus of leading experts in the field was that it was essential to strengthen the pipeline of future voice scientists by attracting scientists from various academic backgrounds to create collaborative teams to address lingering research questions. As a result of the workshop, NIDCD issued two Funding Opportunity Announcements on Advancing Research in Voice Disorders. The funding announcements call for cutting edge research proposals, such as the development of biomaterials for engineering vocal fold tissue and development of ambulatory biofeedback approaches for management of patients with voice disorders. Additionally, patient outcomes research, health services research, and community-based research with special attention to the needs of low socio-economic status, disparities, rural, second language populations and women’s health have been highlighted and are especially encouraged.

Intramural Research Program: The NIDCD Intramural Research Program conducts basic and clinical research in human communication, with a primary focus on hearing. Research projects address the genetics of hearing and balance disorders in humans and mouse models; identifying molecules and genes important for inner ear development; observing hearing in action by neuroimaging and computer modeling of brain function; and describing how auditory nerve cells communicate. This intense concentration on hearing research and its genetic causes has enabled NIDCD intramural scientists to make significant research progress on this priority for NIDCD.

In the past year, scientific research organizations recognized two NIDCD intramural scientists for their outstanding achievements. Intramural investigators have also made great strides in helping to understand how the structures in the inner ear are connected together during development. For the first time, NIDCD intramural scientists 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. With their new ability to study the protein, scientists can now work to understand how mutations cause hearing problems. Another team of NIDCD intramural scientists identified molecules in a pathway that is critical for setting up the tonotopic organization of the inner ear. Tonotopy refers to the arrangement of sensory cells that detect sound, and how they project into the hearing portions of our brains. Cells in these different parts of the auditory system are physically arranged according to the frequency of sound to which they are most sensitive, or tuned. The result is an anatomic organization much like the keys on a piano, but with thousands of keys. Sensory cells that are located next to each other in the ear send their projections into the brain, where they make connections that are next to each other with the hearing centers, duplicating their placement pattern in the ear. This new information will help us understand how things go wrong in hearing conditions where tonotopic organization is disrupted, and help inform attempts to generate or regenerate the hearing organ and/or nerve.

NIDCD participated in the dedication ceremony for the second phase of the NIH John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center. Completion of the second phase of the center consolidates the NIDCD’s entire intramural research program at NIH’s Bethesda, Maryland, campus for the first time, enabling NIDCD’s intramural scientists to engage in new collaborations with neuroscientists from ten other NIH institutes who also conduct research in the building.

Budget Policy:
The FY 2016 President’s Budget for the Intramural Research program is $37.250 million, an increase of $0.550 million or 1.5 percent from the FY 2015 Enacted level. The NIDCD Intramural Research Program has been a leader in research on hereditary hearing impairment and has identified many genes whose mutation causes hearing loss. In FY 2016, NIDCD intramural scientists will continue their efforts in identifying mutation in genes, which impacts hearing, and identifying or studying additional genes involved in communication disorders in humans and animal models.

Program Portrait: NIDCD Scientists Seek to Understand Enlarged Vestibular Aqueduct (EVA) and Childhood Hearing Loss

FY 2015 Level: $1.3 million
FY 2016 Level: $1.3 million
Change: $0.0 million

NIDCD’s intramural investigators are constantly making critical discoveries that help us understand the inheritance of communication disorders. One research team has developed an important new mouse model of a childhood hearing disorder. Enlarged vestibular aqueduct, or EVA, is the most commonly observed inner ear malformation in children with hearing loss. Its cause and treatment have long stymied investigators.

EVA can be a sign of a genetic disorder called Pendred syndrome, a cause of childhood hearing loss. Approximately one-fourth of the people with EVA and hearing loss have Pendred syndrome12. Hearing loss associated with Pendred syndrome is usually progressive, which means that a child will lose hearing over time. Some children may become totally deaf. Pendred syndrome can affect the thyroid gland and sometimes creates problems with balance. Because of the link between EVA and Pendred syndrome, previous research efforts focused on the protein, called pendrin, which is mutated in Pendred syndrome. When scientists generated mice that lacked pendrin altogether (“knockout” mice), the mice had much more severe symptoms than humans with EVA and were, therefore, not very helpful for understanding the human disease. Rather than knock out the gene altogether, the team withheld pendrin during a critical period of mouse development. This technique produced mice with problems that closely mimicked human EVA. Importantly, the animals’ hearing ability rose and fell erratically and one ear was often more affected than the other. These are the precise features of EVA that medical practitioners struggle to understand and treat.

The team found that the fluid that fills the inner ear in the EVA mice is unusually acidic, suggesting that this abnormality could underlie hearing loss in people with EVA. When they examined the inner ears of the EVA mice, they noted damage to the stria vascularis. This structure is important for maintaining ion concentrations in the inner ear. Damage to the stria vascularis could disturb these crucial ion levels and impair sensory cell function, resulting in hearing loss. The NIDCD intramural team is now testing this hypothesis.

In addition, the research team continues to pursue the identification of novel genes for EVA in humans, and to generate and characterize novel mouse models for EVA. They are using these models to better understand the causes and disease progress of hearing loss in EVA. They are also currently conducting a clinical study to identify and understand the various factors that can lead to EVA and hearing loss13. They hope to use what they learn to develop better treatments for EVA and, in the future, to prevent, reduce, or reverse hearing loss in individuals with EVA.

Research Management and Support (RMS) Program: NIDCD RMS activities provide administrative, budgetary, logistical, and scientific support in the review, award, and monitoring of research grants, training awards, and research and development contracts. RMS functions also include strategic planning, coordination, and evaluation of the Institute’s programs, regulatory compliance, international coordination, and liaison with other Federal agencies, Congress, and the public. The Institute currently manages the oversight of approximately 1,300 research grants, training awards, and R&D contracts.

NIDCD continues to expand its education and outreach of science to the public. For example, NIDCD sponsored a new speaker series called, “Beyond the Lab, Understanding Communication Disorders,” which is designed for NIH administrative and support staff as well as scientists and the public. The series offers the opportunity to learn about NIDCD’s research advances in communication disorders. In addition, NIDCD launched “EARssentials: Concepts and Techniques of Contemporary Hearing Research,” an introductory course for scientists and those interested in science. The course provides students with an overall conceptual view of the auditory system as well as hands-on exposure to laboratory techniques unique to research on the inner ear. Also, NIDCD hosted a visit by the Friends of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus. The visit, which was attended by 13 congressional staffers and 12 members from advocacy organizations, included scientific presentations from NIDCD intramural scientists and tours of their labs.

Budget Policy:
The FY 2016 President’s Budget for the Research Management and Support program is $20.850 million, an increase of $0.315 million or 1.5 percent from the FY 2015 Enacted level. Additional funds will be utilized to cover increased costs of pay and central services, as well as scientific workshops, improved public online services, enhanced web-based information systems to improve scientific and administrative management, and strategic planning.

 

NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Budget Authority by Object Class1

(Dollars in Thousands)
  FY 2015
Enacted
FY 2016
President's Budget
FY 2016
+/-
FY 2015
Total compensable workyears      
Full-time employment 140 140 0
Full-time equivalent of overtime and holiday hours 0 0 0
Average ES salary $173 $175 $2
Average GM/GS grade 12.3 12.4 0.1
Average GM/GS salary $105 $106 $1
Average salary, grade established by act of July 1, 1944
(42 U.S.C. 207)
$106 $107 $1
Average salary of ungraded positions $155 $157 $2
       
OBJECT CLASSES FY 2015 Enacted FY 2016 President's Budget FY 2016 +/-
FY 2015
Personnel Compensation:      
11.1 Full-time permanent $10,667 $10,814 $148
11.3 Other than full-time permanent 4,964 5,033 69
11.5 Other personnel compensation 334 339 5
11.7 Military personnel 108 109 1
11.8 Special personnel services payments 2,314 2,346 32
11.9 Subtotal Personnel Compensation $18,387 $18,641 $254
12.1 Civilian personnel benefits $5,022 $5,151 $129
12.2 Military personnel benefits 51 51 1
13.0 Benefits to former personnel 0 0 0
Subtotal, Pay Costs $23,459 $23,843 $384
21.0 Travel and transportation of persons $310 $315 $5
22.0 Transportation of things 31 32 1
23.1 Rental payments to GSA 3 3 0
23.2 Rental payments to others 0 0 0
23.3 Communications, utilities, and misc. charges 213 216 3
24.0 Printing and reproduction 0 0 0
25.1 Consulting services $138 $140 $2
25.2 Other services 1,850 1,880 30
25.3 Purchase of goods and services from government accounts 41,966 44,758 2,792
25.4 Operation and maintenance of facilities $596 $596 $0
25.5 R&D contracts 3,415 3,246 -169
25.6 Medical care 338 346 8
25.7 Operation & maintenance of equipment 555 564 9
25.8 Subsistence & support of persons 0 0 0
25.0 Subtotal, Other Contractual Services $48,858 $51,530 $2,672
26.0 Supplies & materials $1,846 $1,875 $30
31.0 Equipment 1,816 1,686 -130
32.0 Land and structures 0 0 0
33.0 Investments and loans 0 0 0
41.0 Grants, subsidies and contributions 328,672 336,741 8,069
42.0 Insurance claims and indemnities 0 0 0
43.0 Interest & dividends 0 0 0
44.0 Refunds 0 0 0
Subtotal, Non-Pay Costs $381,748 $392,398 $10,650
Total Budget Authority by Object Class $405,207 $416,241 $11,034

1. Includes FTEs whose payroll obligations are supported by the NIH Common Fund.

NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Salaries and Expenses

(Dollars in Thousands)
OBJECT CLASSES FY 2015 Enacted FY 2016
President's Budget
FY 2016
+/-
FY 2015
Personnel Compensation:      
Full-time permanent (11.1) $10,667 $10,814 $148
Other than full-time permanent (11.3) 4,964 5,033 69
Other personnel compensation (11.5) 334 339 5
Military personnel (11.7) 108 109 1
Special personnel services payments (11.8) 2,314 2,346 32
Subtotal Personnel Compensation (11.9) $18,387 $18,641 $254
Civilian personnel benefits (12.1) $5,022 $5,151 $129
Military personnel benefits (12.2) 51 51 1
Benefits to former personnel (13.0) 0 0 0
Subtotal, Pay Costs $23,459 $23,843 $384
Travel & Transportation of Persons (21.0) $310 $315 $5
Transportation of things (22.0) 31 32 1
Rental payments to others (23.2) 0 0 0
Communications, utilities and miscellaneous charges (23.3) 213 216 3
Printing and reproduction (24.0) 0 0 0
Other Contractual Services:      
Consulting Services (25.1) 138 140 2
Other services (25.2) 1,850 1,880 30
Purchases from government accounts (25.3) 27,686 28,250 564
Operation and maintenance of facilities (25.4) 596 596 0
Operation and maintenance of equipment (25.7) 555 564 9
Subsistence and support of persons (25.8) 0 0 0
Subtotal Other Contractual Services $30,825 $31,430 $604
Supplies and materials (26.0) $1,846 $1,875 $30
Subtotal, Non-Pay Costs $33,224 $33,867 $643
Total, Administrative Costs $56,683 $57,710 $1,027
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Detail of Full-Time Equivalent Employment (FTE)
OFFICE/DIVISION FY 2014 Actual FY 2015 Est. FY 2016 Est.
Civilian Military Total Civilian Military Total Civilian Military Total
Division of Extramural Activities                  
Direct: 19   19 19   19 19   19
Reimbursable: - - - - - - - - -
Total: 19   19 19   19 19   19
Division of Intramural Research Program                  
Direct: 64 1 65 65 1 66 65 1 66
Reimbursable: 4   4 4   4 4   4
Total: 68 1 69 69 1 70 69 1 70
Division of Scientific Programs                  
Direct: 15   15 15   15 15   15
Reimbursable: - - - - - - - - -
Total: 15   15 15   15 15   15
Office of Administration                  
Direct: 33   33 33   33 33   33
Reimbursable: - - - - - - - - -
Total: 33   33 33   33 33   33
Office of the Director                  
Direct: 3   3 3   3 3   3
Reimbursable: - -   - - - - - -
Total: 3   3 3   3 3   3
                   
Total: 138 1 139 139 1 140 139 1 140
Includes FTEs whose payroll obligations are supported by the NIH Common Fund.
FTEs supported by funds from Cooperative Research and Development Agreements. 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

 

   
Fiscal Year Average GS Grade
2012 12.4
2013 12.4
2014 12.2
2015 12.3
2016 12.4
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Detail of Positions1
GRADE FY 2014 Actual FY 2015 Enacted FY 2016 President's Budget
Total, ES Positions 1 1 1
Total, ES Salary 171,423 173,137 174,869
GM/GS-15 22 22 22
GM/GS-14 20 20 20
GM/GS-13 14 14 14
GS-12 21 22 22
GS-11 8 8 8
GS-10 0 0 0
GS-9 10 10 10
GS-8 4 4 4
GS-7 5 5 5
GS-6 0 0 0
GS-5 1 1 1
GS-4 0 0 0
GS-3 1 1 1
GS-2 0 0 0
GS-1 0 0 0
Subtotal 106 107 107
Grades established by Act of July 1, 1944 (42 U.S.C. 207): 0 0 0
Assistant Surgeon General 0 0 0
Director Grade 0 0 0
Senior Grade 1 1 1
Full Grade 0 0 0
Senior Assistant Grade 0 0 0
Assistant Grade 0 0 0
Subtotal 1 1 1
Ungraded 48 48 48
Total permanent positions 105 105 105
Total positions, end of year 156 157 157
Total full-time equivalent (FTE) employment, end of year 139 140 140
Average ES salary 171,423 173,137 174,869
Average GM/GS grade 12.2 12.3 12.4
Average GM/GS salary 104,239 105,281 106,334
1. Includes FTEs whose payroll obligations are supported by the NIH Common Fund.

1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24604103
2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24604103
3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24828650
4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24840596
5. Based on NCHS/NHIS data for 2007.
6. Based on prevalences from the 1994–95 Disability Supplement to the NHS and current US population estimates.
7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20203554. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12784222
8. http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/smelltaste/Pages/stquickstats.aspx
9. http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/vsl/Pages/stats.aspx
10. http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/pages/vsl.aspx
11. http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/vsl/Pages/stats.aspx
12. http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/eva.aspx
13. http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00023036

* Note: PDF files require a viewer such as the free Adobe Reader.

Last Updated Date: 
June 22, 2016