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Epidemiology and Statistics Program

The Epidemiology and Statistics Program (ESP) supports epidemiological (clinical) and population-based research studies in all seven NIDCD mission areas: hearing, balance, taste, smell, voice, speech, and language. Studies assess communication disorders across the lifespan, including risks associated with other health conditions as well as behavioral, demographic, environmental, and genetic factors.

ESP staff plan and participate in the development and implementation of epidemiologic studies on the incidence, prevalence, and determinants of deafness and communication disorders. For example, the ESP funds community-based and nationally representative health interview and examination surveys to advance knowledge of the prevalence and determinants of communication disorders.

The ESP maintains research collaborations on national health interview and examination surveys with other federal agencies and with academic and private sector organizations via research contracts and/or interagency agreements. These studies address NIDCD mission areas, but may also overlap with the mission of other institutes and centers within the National Institutes of Health (e.g., the National Institute on Aging also supports research on age-related hearing loss).

The ESP team also contributes to the analysis and interpretation of trends for Healthy People objectives related to the Sensory or Communication Disorders topic area. Healthy People is a major Department of Health and Human Services program that sets data-driven national objectives to improve health and well-being over 10-year cycles.

Statistical information for the epidemiology and statistics section of the NIDCD website is collected and provided by the ESP.

Population and Clinical Database Resources for NIDCD Mission Areas

The ESP maintains a resource list of examples of publicly available databases that scientists can access to conduct research relevant to NIDCD’s mission areas. The list is not intended to be comprehensive.


NIDCD sponsored a 2005 Workshop on the Epidemiology of Communication Disorders. Participants reviewed epidemiologic knowledge in the field of communication disorders, suggested ways to encourage more epidemiologic research, and presented findings from earlier epidemiologic investigations and reports on useful biostatistical methods.

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