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News - Medical
March 29, 2016

Improving the health of the deaf and hard-of-hearing population through accessible patient-reported outcome measures is the goal of a $1.6 million National Institutes of Health-funded study, led by Rochester Institute of Technology.

Researchers and providers will, for the first time, have a tool for assessing their deaf and hard-of-hearing patients' health-related quality-of-life outcomes in American Sign Language. Resulting data will lend new insights in patient outcomes research and improve prevention and treatment models for the underserved deaf and hard-of-hearing population, said Poorna Kushalnagar, a health psychologist and research associate professor in RIT's Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science.

Patient assessments evaluate symptoms, well-being and life satisfaction, as well as physical, mental and social health. Surveys designed for English speakers present a language barrier for many users of American Sign Language and accessible services, Kushalnagar said.

Read more . . . NIH-funded




NIH - National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
September 10, 2015

Using powerful microscopy techniques, a research team led by scientists at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has pinpointed in mice the precise cellular location of two proteins known to be important for hearing and balance. The discovery provides additional evidence that the proteins, TMC1 and TMC2, are part of the channel complex that is essential for the inner ear to process sound and the signals that are key to balance.

Read more  . . . key proteins 

Credit: Bechara Kachar and Andrew J. Griffith, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), National Institutes of Health (NIH).


Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is 100 percent preventable. Yet approximately 26 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have high-frequency hearing loss from overexposure to loud noises at work or during leisure activities. More than 30 million Americans are exposed to dangerous levels of noise on a regular basis1. Children also are frequently exposed to noise levels that could permanently damage their hearing. Noise levels generated by activities as common as doing yard work, playing a band instrument, and attending sports events can result in NIHL. Research suggests that NIHL experienced at an early age may accelerate age-related hearing loss later in life.


In October 2008, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), launched It's a Noisy Planet. Protect Their Hearing. The Noisy Planet campaign is designed to increase awareness among parents of children ages 8 to 12 ("tweens") about the causes and prevention of NIHL. With this information, parents and other caring adults can encourage children to adopt healthy habits that will help them protect their hearing for life.





NIDCD is focusing its campaign on the parents of tweens because children at this age are becoming more independent and developing their own attitudes and habits related to their health. They also are beginning to develop their own listening, leisure, and work habits—or soon will do so. Consequently, the tween years present an open window of opportunity to educate children about their hearing and how to protect it.

Parents still have a great deal of influence over their tween's behavior, and the Noisy Planet campaign provides them with resources that they can use to educate their children about the causes and prevention of NIHL. The campaign Web site at provides parents with facts about NIHL, tips on how to encourage their tween to adopt healthy hearing habits, and other steps they can take to protect their tween's hearing. The site also offers information specifically for tweens, such as interactive games about noise and hearing.



NIH-funded research points to factors related to environment, cultural subgroup, and certain medical conditions

Embargoed For Release: 
Thursday, May 28, 2015
11 a.m. (EDT)

NIDCD Press Office
(301) 496-7243

Spanish version of this press release

In the largest study to date of hearing loss among Hispanic/Latino adults in the United States, researchers have found that nearly 1 in 7 has hearing loss, a number similar to the general population prevalence. The analysis also looked at the differences between subgroups and found that Hispanics of Puerto Rican descent have the highest rate of hearing loss, while Mexican-Americans have the lowest. The study identified several potential risk factors for hearing loss, including age, gender, education level, income, noise exposure, and diabetes. The study, which was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Read more  . . . NIH STUDY



Democrat & Chronicle
By Stephen Dewhurst
December 27, 2014

Recently, I was invited down to the National Institutes of Health to visit with Dr. Hannah Valantine - the NIH’s first Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity.

I came as part of an unusual joint group from both RIT/NTID and the U of R - led by Gerry Buckley, the President of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID). Dr. Valantine had specifically asked to meet with us because of Rochester's growing reputation as a hub for innovative training and access programs for deaf and hard of hearing students - including a recently launched joint program between RIT and URthat prepares deaf students to enter Ph.D. programs in biomedical research.

This is an important issue because deaf individuals are profoundly underrepresented in the U.S. biomedical research workforce.

Rochester is in a unique position to serve as a national model for training deaf biomedical scientists, because of the combined strength of NTID's decades of experience and innovative educational programs, and its partnership with a premier research university (UR).

Dr. Valantine wanted to know about lessons learned, and experiences gained - because of her view that biomedical research is strengthened by the different ideas and perspectives that come from a diverse scientific workforce. The challenge lies in creating the opportunities to make that happen - and to ensure that (deaf) young people interested in science get the chance to live their dream.

Read Original Article


Indianapolis Recorder
Posted: Monday, June 23, 2014


Are Americans warming up to a free over-the-phone hearing test developed by Indiana University researchers and funded by a grant from NIH? As news about the test spreads, the answer seems to be a resounding “Yes!” Better yet, the test is being offered free through the end of June.

“Many European countries and Australia already offer this kind of test,” said Dr. Charles Watson, chief scientist for the National Hearing Test. “Nearly half of adults over 48 experience hearing loss, yet few seek help. The National Hearing Test lets them assess their own hearing by phone in the privacy of their own homes.”

Left untreated, hearing loss can lead to job problems and income reduction, social isolation, embarrassment, and significantly lower quality of life. Hearing loss is irreversible, but if caught early, steps can be taken to keep its effects from worsening.

This was the impetus for a new hearing test now widely available in the United States and offered free during June. Within one month of the National Hearing Test’s first major national push, more than 30,000 Americans have used the service.

Developed by hearing scientists with funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Hearing Test is a quick and accurate hearing screening. The screening can be conveniently taken over a telephone in one’s home or office. To take the test, a person simply calls the toll-free National Hearing Test number at (866) 223-7575 and follows the directions provided. The test takes approximately 10 minutes.

The National Hearing Test is provided on a non-profit basis as a public service and has no financial connection with any hearing products or services. The test regularly costs $8.

Read More  . . .



Released: 3/18/2014
Original Source 

Newswise — (Boston) – Boston University (BU) College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College was recently awarded a five-year, $2.75M grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) to test and refine a prototype Visually Guided Hearing Aid (VGHA).

Gerald D. Kidd Jr., professor in the department of speech, language & hearing sciences at BU Sargent College and director of BU’s Sound Field Laboratory developed the VGHA prototype in collaboration with an international research team and Malden, Massachusetts-based Sensimetrics Corporation.

According to the NIDCD, 17 percent of Americans have hearing loss in one or both ears, and the prevalence of hearing loss increases with every age decade. For the majority of hearing losses that are not medically remediable, a hearing aid is the only viable treatment. However, only about 1 in 5 people who could benefit from hearing aids actually wear them. One reason, according to Kidd and colleagues, is that even the most sophisticated modern hearing aids come with a fundamental challenge: how to selectively amplify the sounds the listener wishes to hear while excluding unwanted, interfering sounds.

Read More . . . .

Published on March 13, 2014 at 2:13 AM

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have received a five-year, $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the effects of asymmetric hearing loss in adults and children.

Read more . . .


Deaf Employee Is Heard,
NIH Mission Statement Is Amended


By Rich McManus, nih record

At the suggestion of a National Eye Institute employee who is deaf, NIH recently amended its official mission statement.

The one-sentence statement had said, “NIH’s mission is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life and reduce the burdens of illness and disability.”

But because David Rice, a management analyst at NEI since October 2009, felt that his particular disability was not a burden, he wanted to know if NIH director Dr. Francis Collins would be willing to modify the mission statement so as not to offend people who do not consider their disabilities to be burdensome.

Recently, the phrase “the burdens of” was removed from the statement, which now reads, “NIH’s mission is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life and reduce illness and disability.”

According to Debra Chew, director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management, this was a lesson in NIH compassion and responsiveness.

“This was a very important event from a diversity perspective,” said Chew, who arrived at NIH last July. “It shows that an individual employee can raise concerns that Dr. Collins will take seriously and address. I think that’s good. NIH has no wish to have a mission statement that offends people…It just goes to show you that we all have different perspectives.”

David Rice
NEI’s David Rice objected to NIH’s mission statement and took his concerns to NIH leadership, who ended up agreeing with him. 

Chew met Rice last fall at a “meet and greet” and mentioned that he had a problem with the mission statement. As she recalls, “He told me, ‘We don’t consider ourselves to be burdens, nor do we consider our disability a burden…Would you ask Dr. Collins to consider a change?’”

Chew broached the issue with Collins, “who was immediately agreeable to a change,” she said. “No one had really looked at [the statement] this way. David really raised a good point.”

Chew took the suggestion to Kim Kirkpatrick, OEODM’s disability program manager, who also chairs NIH’s disability committee. “Once we realized that Dr. Collins was open to a change, we got input from the disability committee on proposed language,” said Chew. Two versions were proposed and the three-word change was adopted.

“This is a symbolic moment for NIH,” said Chew. “It’s really about [Rice’s] courage. He did a great thing for the NIH.”

Rice, who became deaf at age 4, recalls the “grace and integrity” with which his parents dealt with his removal from the school system once he became deaf; they found a school better equipped to handle his needs. “It was the fire that my parents had that led me to want to become an advocate not only for the deaf community but also for all those who have a disability,” he said.



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