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The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) is one of the institutes and centers that comprise the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH is the federal government's focal point for the support of biomedical research. The NIH's mission is to uncover new knowledge that will lead to better health for everyone. Simply described, the goal of NIH research is to acquire new knowledge to help prevent, detect, diagnose, and treat disease and disability. The NIH is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Established in 1988, the NIDCD is mandated to conduct and support biomedical and behavioral research and research training in the normal and disordered processes of hearing, balance, taste, smell, voice, speech, and language. The institute also conducts and supports research and research training related to disease prevention and health promotion; addresses special biomedical and behavioral problems associated with people who have communication impairments or disorders; and supports efforts to create devices that assist individuals with hearing loss or other communication disorders.

It is estimated that more than 46 million people in the United States have a disorder affecting their hearing, balance, taste, smell, voice, speech, or language. The NIDCD has focused national attention on these areas, with the goal of improving the lives of millions of individuals. The NIDCD has made important contributions to the body of knowledge needed to help those with hearing loss and other communication disorders and to advance research in these areas.

The NIDCD accomplishes its mandate through its intramural research program, which conducts basic and clinical research at the NIH, and through its extramural research program. The NIDCD extramural program supports research grants, career development awards, individual and institutional research training awards, center grants, and contracts to public and private research institutions and organizations. The Institute also conducts and supports research and research training in disease prevention and health promotion and the special biomedical and behavioral problems associated with people having communication impairments and disorders.

The NIDCD's extramural grant portfolio demonstrates a balance of basic and clinical research. The intramural research program spans a variety of topics, including, but not limited to, the development of a vaccine against otitis media, the identification and characterization of genes responsible for hereditary hearing impairment, genes associated with neoplasms affecting human communication, and treatment of voice disorders.

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