$5.7 Million NIH Grant To UB Center For Hearing And Deafness To Fund Four Major Projects On Acquired Hearing Loss

February 12, 1999

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo's Center for Hearing and Deafness, one of the world's leading hearing research laboratories, has received a $5.7 million program project grant from the National Institutes of Health to expand studies geared to understanding and treating acquired hearing loss, a condition affecting 28 million people in the United States alone.

The five-year grant funds four projects on the function of the peripheral and central auditory system that aim to determine how and why noise and certain therapeutic drugs cause loss of hearing.

Richard J. Salvi, Ph.D., professor of communicative disorders and sciences and otolaryngology, is chief investigator on the project, which is grounded in a dozen years of research conducted at UB by a team of internationally recognized scientists in the Center for Hearing and Deafness. The center is a multidisciplinary effort involving 30 scientists spanning eight departments and three schools within UB.

"To understand why a patient experiences difficulty in processing complex sounds, we need first to understand how the auditory system processes acoustic information along the entire auditory pathway," said Salvi.

"Damage that originates at the periphery, or inner ear, can cascade through the system, disturbing activity throughout the entire auditory pathway, even spilling over to other sensory, motor, cognitive and emotion centers. This functional reorganization, or plasticity, is poorly understood because of a lack of an integrative research approach to acquired hearing loss. Our project provides such an approach."

The team in recent years has produced a body of groundbreaking basic research into the causes and mechanisms of acquired hearing loss.

In recent years, the research has focused on four overlapping themes that form the basis for the current program project grant.

The projects target molecular and cellular mechanisms of hearing loss, effects of ototoxic agents and noise on cochlear function, functional alterations of the central auditory brain regions after partial or temporary hearing loss and the role ears' inner hair cells in the brain's processing of auditory stimuli.

Each of the four areas of study funded by the grant addresses a major problem, while relating and interacting with the others. As in their past studies, the researchers will use chinchillas as an animal model, because their hearing range is similar to a human's.

The projects are: In addition to their basic scientific merit, the four projects have implications for preventing and treating hearing loss in humans. Salvi said the first two projects were motivated by a growing awareness that loss of ears' inner hair cells may underlie many of the perceptual difficulties experienced by people with sensorineural hearing loss and by concern over the lack of clinical methods for assessing loss of inner hair cells.

The third and fourth projects were motivated by the sense that susceptibility to hearing loss from ototoxic drugs and noise may vary tremendously among individuals, that identifying factors that contribute to susceptibility may be crucial to preventing or treating acquired hearing loss and that a possibility exists that pharmacologic intervention may reduce the hearing loss produced by exposure to noise or ototoxic drugs.

The center has active collaborations with a number of institutions, including the Robert Taft Research Labs at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the U.S. Navy.

University at Buffalo

Related Hearing Loss Articles from Brightsurf:

Proof-of-concept for a new ultra-low-cost hearing aid for age-related hearing loss
A new ultra-affordable and accessible hearing aid made from open-source electronics could soon be available worldwide, according to a study published September 23, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Soham Sinha from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia, US, and colleagues.

Ultra-low-cost hearing aid could address age-related hearing loss worldwide
Using a device that could be built with a dollar's worth of open-source parts and a 3D-printed case, researchers want to help the hundreds of millions of older people worldwide who can't afford existing hearing aids to address their age-related hearing loss.

Understanding the link between hearing loss and dementia
Scientists have developed a new theory as to how hearing loss may cause dementia and believe that tackling this sensory impairment early may help to prevent the disease.

Study uncovers hair cell loss as underlying cause of age-related hearing loss
In a study of human ear tissues, scientists have demonstrated that age-related hearing loss is mainly caused by damage to hair cells.

Hair cell loss causes age-related hearing loss
Age-related hearing loss has more to do with the death of hair cells than the cellular battery powering them wearing out, according to new research in JNeurosci.

How hearing loss in old age affects the brain
If your hearing deteriorates in old age, the risk of dementia and cognitive decline increases.

Examining associations between hearing loss, balance
About 3,800 adults 40 and older in South Korea participating in a national health survey were included in this analysis that examined associations between hearing loss and a test of their ability to retain balance.

Veterinarians: Dogs, too, can experience hearing loss
Just like humans, dogs are sometimes born with impaired hearing or experience hearing loss as a result of disease, inflammation, aging or exposure to noise.

Victorian child hearing-loss databank to go global
A unique databank that profiles children with hearing loss will help researchers globally understand why some children adapt and thrive, while others struggle.

Hearing loss, dementia risk in population of Taiwan
A population-based study using data from the National Health Insurance Research Database of Taiwan suggests hearing loss is associated with risk of dementia.

Read More: Hearing Loss News and Hearing Loss Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.