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Hearing and Balance Program

Description:

Research and development related to lost auditory function. Development of treatment modalities to prevent or lessen the effects of hearing disorders; development of new hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other assistive devices; development of systems designed to increase utilization of computers, telecommunication devices, or alerting systems by individuals with hearing impairments; development of improved screening technologies to assess hearing loss, especially in neonates and infants; development of new or improved batteries for hearing aids and or cochlear implants, including solar rechargeable devices; development of system on a chip technologies (e.g. DSP/VLSI/ASIC) to provide self fitting, self adjusting, or other features that increase performance, accessibility, or affordability of hearing aids; development of better earmolds to address allergy, occlusion effect and/or feedback complaints; development of new outcome measures for assessing the efficacy of treatments for hearing disorders; development of technologies for the study, diagnosis and treatment of tinnitus including development of neural prostheses to treat specific neural deficits; development of technologies for the study, diagnosis and treatment of otitis media including non-invasive diagnostics to identify middle ear pathogens, novel antibacterial strategies, and prophylactic anti-microbial strategies.

Research and development related to lost vestibular function. Development of tests and treatments for balance disorders, particularly for the elderly; development of clinical tests, instrumentation and software systems to assess balance/vestibular function, including otolithic functions and eye movements associated with the vestibulo-ocular reflex; development of instruments and tests measuring head stability and vestibular function during natural stimulation of the vestibular system including during locomotion; development of perceptual reporting techniques and psychological indices for the clinical assessment of the balance-disordered patient; development of tests and new outcome measures for assessing the efficacy of physical rehabilitative regimens for balance disorders; and development of assistive devices for balance disorders, including prostheses involving electrical stimulation of the vestibular system.

Development of new research tools to aid in the study of the auditory and/or balance systems including neuroimaging techniques (e.g. software tools, neuroanatomic tracer; optical and, multielectrode methods of assessing neural activity; new animal models of impaired function; diagnostic tools for inner ear function, including DNA-based assays and biochemical markers of disease. Development of improved tests and instruments for screening and diagnosis of inner ear function; development of technologies to enable gene transfer to the inner ear, including viral vectors; development of cell type specific markers and probes to examine cell lineage in inner ear regeneration; development of relevant software, including computational modeling tools, databases or web sites.

Roger L. Miller, Ph.D.

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

301-402-3458, Fax: 301-402-6251

Email: millerr@nidcd.nih.gov

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