Author Interviews, Hearing Loss, JAMA, NIH, NYU / 24.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_49355" align="alignleft" width="150"]Jan Blustein, MD PhDProfessor of Health Policy and MedicineWagner Graduate School and School of MedicineNew York University, New York Dr. Blustein[/caption] Jan Blustein, MD PhD Professor of Health Policy and Medicine Wagner Graduate School and School of Medicine New York University, New York MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s largest public funder of health research, provides annual reports about levels of funding for many diseases and conditions.  These reports, issued as part of the NIH’s Research, Condition and Disease Categorization (RCDC) process, allow members of the public to track funding across key conditions and across time. Hearing loss is not included among the reported conditions. This runs counter to two of the NIH’s stated goals, according to researcher Jan Blustein (M.D., Ph.D.), professor of health policy and medicine at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, in a Research Letter in the May 15th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery. “First, the NIH is committed to transparency about how it divides funds across diseases and conditions,” said Dr. Blustein.  “Second, it has said that it will prioritize its funding to those conditions that cause the greatest disease burden.”  Hearing loss causes great disease burden, ranking 10th in the U.S. among all conditions as a contributor to Disability Adjusted Life Years (a widely-used measure of disease burden), according to the World Health Organization.
Author Interviews, Hearing Loss / 12.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_47461" align="alignleft" width="150"]Keith Schneider PhD Director, Center for Biomedical and Brain Imaging Associate Professor Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences University of Delaware Dr. Schneider[/caption] Keith Schneider PhD Director, Center for Biomedical and Brain Imaging Associate Professor Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences University of Delaware MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Absolute pitch is the ability to name a musical note in isolation.  It is rare in the population, approximately 1/10,000 people have it.  The neural mechanisms of this ability have not been clear.  It is not known whether people with absolute pitch encode auditory frequencies differently, or whether absolute pitch derives from the same sensory encoding but different memory connections. We tested 20 people with absolute pitch, 20 matched musicians with the same number of years of musical training, age of onset of musical training, and number of hours of practice per week, as well as 20 controls with minimal musical training. The main findings are that people with absolute pitch have larger early auditory cortex—primary auditory cortex was enlarged about 50% relative to the other two groups, which did not differ significantly from each other.  We also found that the tuning bandwidth of the individual voxels in the early auditory cortical areas was broader in people with absolute pitch. That is, these small bits of the brain responded to a wide range of frequencies than those in the other two groups.  This suggested to us that people with absolute pitch might imply what is known as “ensemble encoding”.  That is, they use a larger network of neurons to encode sounds.  
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Hearing Loss, JAMA, Karolinski Institute / 21.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_46982" align="alignleft" width="200"]Christopher R. Cederroth | Ph.D. Docent Associate Professor Experimental Audiology | Department of Physiology and Pharmacology Karolinska Institutet  Sweden Dr. Cederroth[/caption] Christopher R. Cederroth | Ph.D. Docent Associate Professor Experimental Audiology | Department of Physiology and Pharmacology Karolinska Institutet Sweden MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Tinnitus is experienced is experienced by a large proportion of the population and affects more than 15% of the population worldwide (estimated 70 million people in Europe). However, for near 3% of the population, tinnitus becomes a chronic bothersome and incapacitating symptom. Severe tinnitus interferes with sleep, mood, and concentration and thus impacts life quality, ultimately leading to sick leave and disability pension. A high cost to society has been reported, and since the prevalence of tinnitus has been predicted to double in Europe by 2050, there is an important need for an effective treatment. And today there are none, with the exception of cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps coping with it but does not remove the tinnitus. There has been a number of innovative treatment approaches, but they are overall not successful and it is now agreed that it is likely because tinnitus is a heterogeneous condition – meaning that we cannot consider tinnitus a single entity but an ensemble of different forms or subtypes, which need to be defined. Tinnitus has always been considered a condition influenced by environmental factors, but our initial studies suggested the opposite. Adoption studies are excellent in showing the influence of shared-environment effects and establish a genetic basis for a disease or a trait. It allows to test the transmission of a trait between the adoptee and their biological or their adoptive parent. Transmission via the biological parent is expected to be due to a heritable genetic effect, while transmission via the adoptive parent is associated with home-environment, the so-called shared-environmental effect. We used medical registry data to identify tinnitus patients and adoptees.
Author Interviews, Columbia, Depression, Hearing Loss, JAMA / 08.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_46841" align="alignleft" width="147"]Justin S. Golub, MD, MS Assistant Professor Otology, Neurotology, and Skull Base Surgery Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center Dr. Golub[/caption] Justin S. Golub, MD, MS Assistant Professor Otology, Neurotology, and Skull Base Surgery Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Age-related hearing loss is extremely common, yet few people do anything about it. We studied a population of over 5,000 individuals and found that hearing loss was related to feelings of depression. The worse the hearing loss, the worse the symptoms of depression. Even people with just mild hearing loss had nearly two times the odds of depressive symptoms compared to normal hearing people. Among people with moderate hearing loss, the odds of depressive symptoms were four times as high. These statistics take into account various factors that can cause both hearing loss and depression, such as age and demographic background. 
Aging, Author Interviews, Hearing Loss, JAMA / 11.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_45881" align="alignleft" width="168"]David Loughrey PhD Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health Global Brain Health Institute DeafHear Research Partner NEIL Programme Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience Dr. Loughrey[/caption] David Loughrey PhD Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health Global Brain Health Institute DeafHear Research Partner NEIL Programme Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The World Organisation (WHO) estimate that one-third of older adults aged 65 and over have a disabling hearing loss. Increasingly, research is finding that age-related hearing loss (ARHL) may be associated with other negative health outcomes, including dementia which currently affects 50 million people worldwide. A study recently published in The Lancet reported that of nine possible modifiable risk factors, addressing age-related hearing loss (ARHL) could potentially lead to the largest reduction in the prevalence of dementia globally.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Duke, Geriatrics, Hearing Loss, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA / 08.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_45750" align="alignleft" width="189"]Nicholas S. Reed, AuD Assistant Professor | Department of Otolaryngology-Head/Neck Surgery Core Faculty  | Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health Nicholas Reed AuD[/caption] Nicholas S. Reed, AuD Assistant Professor | Department of Otolaryngology-Head/Neck Surgery Core Faculty | Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This study was a true team effort. It was funded by AARP and AARP Services, INC and the research was a collaboration of representatives from Johns Hopkins University, OptumLabs, University of California – San Francisco, and AARP Services, INC. Given all of the resent research on downstream effects of hearing loss on important health outcomes such as cognitive decline, falls, and dementia, the aim was to explore how persons with hearing loss interacted with the healthcare system in terms of cost and utilization. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: Over a 10 year period, untreated hearing loss (hearing aid users were excluded from this study as they are difficult to capture in the claims database) was associated with higher healthcare spending and utilization. Specifically, over 10 years, persons with untreated hearing loss spent 46.5% more, on average, on healthcare (to the tune of approximately $22000 more) than those without evidence of hearing loss. Furthermore, persons with untreated hearing loss had 44% and 17% higher risk for 30-day readmission and emergency department visit, respectively. Similar relationships were seen across other measures where persons with untreated hearing loss were more likely to be hospitalized and spent longer in the hospital compared to those without evidence of hearing loss.
Author Interviews, End of Life Care, Hearing Loss, JAMA / 28.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tae-Min Rhee, M.D. Chief of Undersea and Diving Medicine, Underwater Medical Institute, National Maritime Medical Center, Republic of Korea Navy, Changwon Republic of Korea MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) has an incidence of 5 to 20 per 100,000 person-years in the general population and sometimes results in permanent deafness followed by considerable socio-economic costs. The causes of SSNHL are often unclear, and in these cases there are no treatment of choice that is proven to be effective. In addition, spontaneous recovery is not uncommon in SSNHL, making it difficult to predict the natural course of the disease, and thus a well-controlled clinical trial is rare in spite of its clinical significance. Many treatment options (systemic or intratympanic steroids, antiviral agents, vasodilators, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy) have been suggested and tried to date, but only systemic steroid therapy has been the most effective among them. However, for the cases with contraindications to steroids, or steroid-refractory SSNHL, there is paucity of information on the second line treatment option. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), i.e., high-pressurized oxygen therapy, is a method of treating patients within a chamber saturated with 100% oxygen maintained at a high pressure of 2.0 to 2.5 atm. Cochlea is an organ that relies more on the diffusion of oxygen than the direct vascular supply, and thus it is known to be vulnerable to ischemia. Since this is suggested as one of the main pathophysiology of SSNHL, we wanted to prove the hypothesis that, by providing high-pressure oxygen, the partial pressure of oxygen delivered to the inner ear is maximized, and the additional or complementary therapeutic effects can be observed. A number of reports have been published for 20 years, but there is no systematically organized evidence except a Cochrane Review in 2012. Therefore, our research team tried to integrate the evidence through a comprehensive meta-analysis and to provide important clues for further research. 
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, ENT, Environmental Risks, Hearing Loss / 19.04.2018

Christine Marie Durand, M.D. Assistant Professor of Medicine Johns Hopkins Medicine MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Véronique J. C. Kraaijenga MD Department of Otorhinolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: During the past two decades, the frequency of hearing loss among young people has increased and going to music concerts, clubs and festivals may part of the reason. Noise-induced hearing loss because of recreational noise exposure is reduced by using earplugs. Our study evaluated 51 adults who attended an outdoor music festival in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in September 2015. The study measured music festival visit for 4.5 hours (intervention); temporary hearing loss (outcome).
Author Interviews, Hearing Loss, Pediatrics, Technology / 05.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_39835" align="alignleft" width="300"]BruceBlaus - Own work An illustration of a cochlear implant. An illustration of a cochlear implant: Wikipedia image[/caption] Niki Katerina Vavatzanidis MSc Department of Neuropsychology Max Planck Institute for Human and Cognitive Brain Science Leipzig, Germany Technische Universität Dresden, Germany      MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Cochlear implants (CIs) are a way of providing hearing to sensorineural deaf individuals. The implant works by first picking up sounds from the environment and transforming them into an electric signal. Via an array of electrodes the implant then transmits the signal directly to the auditory nerve, which then leads to auditory sensations in the brain. In our study, we were interested to see how language acquisition is affected when language immersion occurs at an untypically late age. Children with cochlear implants that grow up in exclusively or predominantly hearing environments will have their first language encounter at the time of implantation, which nowadays is roughly between the age of one and three. Besides the later starting point in language acquisition, children with CIs are facing a compromised input quality compared to typical hearing. We know from typically hearing children that it is around the age of 14 months that their vocabulary becomes robust enough to react to name violations. That is, when a picture is labelled incorrectly, their brain waves will display with the so-called N400 effect. In our study we were interested whether children with CIs would also show the N400 effect and if so, how many months of hearing experience are necessary. We measured the brain activity of children implanted between the age of one and four at three time points: 12, 18, and 24 months after implant activation. To our surprise, congenitally deaf children whose only language input had been via the cochlear implant already displayed the N400 effect after 12 months of language immersion, i.e. earlier than seen in typically hearing children.  
Author Interviews, Geriatrics, Hearing Loss, JAMA / 30.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Handicapped Hearing Impaired” by Mark Morgan is licensed under CC BY 2.0Madeline Sterling M.D., M.P.H. Fellow, Department of Medicine Weill Cornell Medical College - New York Presbyterian Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Heart Failure currently affects 5.8 million people in the United States and is becoming increasingly common as the population ages. Because it has no cure and tends to get progressively worse, physicians recommend that patients control their symptoms by taking multiple medications, maintain a diet low in salt, monitor their weight and blood pressure, and watch for changes in their symptoms. At the most basic level, in order to understand and follow these instructions, heart failure patients must be able to hear them.  Hearing loss, however, had not been studied in heart failure.  There are a lot of chronic diseases in which hearing loss is more common than in the general population, including coronary heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. And many adults with heart failure also have these conditions. So, we thought it would be important to understand if hearing loss was prevalent among adults with heart failure, especially since so much of heart failure management revolves around effective communication between patients and their healthcare providers.
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Geriatrics, Hearing Loss, JAMA / 11.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Hear” by Jaya Ramchandani is licensed under CC BY 2.0David G. Loughrey, BA(Hons) NEIL (Neuro Enhancement for Independent Lives) Programme Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, School of Medicine Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Age-related hearing loss, a common chronic condition among older adults, has emerged in the literature as a potential modifiable risk factor for dementia. This is of interest as current pharmacological therapies for dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease only offer symptom-modifying effects. Treatment of risk factors such as hearing loss may help delay the onset of dementia and may provide an alternate therapeutic strategy. However, there is variance in the research on hearing loss and cognition with some studies reporting a small or non-significant association. In this meta-analysis, we investigated this association and we only included observational studies that used standard assessments of cognitive function and pure-tone audiometry (the clinical standard).
Author Interviews, Hearing Loss, JAMA, Pediatrics / 30.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_36161" align="alignleft" width="180"]Dr. Carlijn M. P. le Clercq, MD Speech and Language Pathology, Pediatrics, Otolaryngology Erasmus MC , Rotterdam  Dr. Carlijn M. P. le Clercq[/caption] Dr. Carlijn M. P. le Clercq, MD Speech and Language Pathology, Pediatrics, Otolaryngology Erasmus MC , Rotterdam MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There has been increasing interest for acquired hearing loss among children, and concerns about its prevalence possibly rising over time. One of the questions that come up, is whether there is an association with the growing use of portable music players with headphones, including smartphones and tablets. There have been few longitudinal studies to explore this relation. In order to examine this relation, among other factors, we have conducted a formal hearing screening among more than 5000 9- to 11-year-old children from a population-based birth cohort in the Netherlands. Our study showed that nearly one in five children did not have normal hearing. Of the cohort, 7.8% of the children showed signs of permanent hearing loss.
Author Interviews, Hearing Loss, Technology / 20.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview Provided on behalf of: Jan Janssen, Senior Vice President Research and Development Cochlear LimitedJan Janssen, Senior Vice President Research and Development Cochlear Limited MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this device? Response: Cochlear implants treat hearing loss by electrical stimulation of the hearing nerve, bypassing the damaged parts of the hearing pathway. Cochlear implants system consist out of an external sound processor that detects and processes the sounds and then sends them to the implant. The implant receives this information and turns it into electrical signals that are delivered to the hearing nerve and from there to the brain. The Nucleus® 7 Sound Processor is the world’s first and only Made for iPhone cochlear implant sound processor, allowing users to stream sound from their iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch® directly to their cochlear implant sound processor. It not only enhances the experience of talking on the phone, it also makes features like enjoying music or watching videos, as well as audio apps such as Maps or FaceTime, more easily accessible. The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is also the smallest and lightest behind-the-ear sound processor on the market.
Abuse and Neglect, Hearing Loss, JAMA, Johns Hopkins / 04.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_35679" align="alignleft" width="200"]Nicholas S. Reed, AuD Instructor | Department of Otolaryngology-Head/Neck Surgery PhD Candidate  | Graduate Training Program in Clinical Investigation Center on Aging and Health Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health Dr. Nicholas Reed[/caption] Nicholas S. Reed, AuD Instructor | Department of Otolaryngology-Head/Neck Surgery PhD Candidate  | Graduate Training Program in Clinical Investigation Center on Aging and Health Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Hearing Aids are medical devices regulated by the FDA which must be purchased through a licensed individual while personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) are essentially unregulated devices some of which can manipulate and increase sound similar to a hearing aid but cannot market themselves are devices for hearing loss. PSAPs can be purchased online or in the back of a store and are generally less expensive than hearing aids. We aimed to explore a select group of PSAPs to see if they helped someone with mild to moderate hearing loss improve speech understanding (i.e. ability to repeat back sentences) in the presence of mild background noise (think a lunch crowd at a restaurant) as well as a hearing aid. We selected four PSAP devices that were technologically strong (i.e. meet many standards a hearing aid might be asked to meet) and one PSAP that was technologically fairly poor (i.e. lots of sound distortion) after an in-house electroacoustic analysis of devices. Our hearing aid was selected because it was a popular choice at a university audiology clinic. Forty-two people completed the speech testing unaided (i.e. with no device) and then with each of the five PSAPs and one hearing aid (order of devices was randomized). We looked at improvement with the devices from unaided. We found that some PSAPs help people understand speech about as well as a hearing aid in this controlled environment while one PSAP actually hindered participants’ ability to understand speech due to sound distortion – imagine how difficult it can be when listening on a poor cell phone signal.
Author Interviews, Hearing Loss, Pediatrics / 23.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_35574" align="alignleft" width="200"]Peter Carew Lead author, MCRI PhD student  Clinician Peter Carew[/caption] Peter Carew Lead author, MCRI PhD student Clinician The University of Melbourne MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The age at diagnosis of a congenital hearing loss has dropped over time. This has allowed for earlier fitting of amplification (hearing aids, cochlear implants) and earlier access to education intervention programs, all intended to lessen the impact of hearing loss on development. Much research has focused on the outcomes achieved by children with severe and profound losses, but relatively little attention has been given to milder hearing losses (mild and moderate). Despite this lack of evidence, we are observing children with mild loss being fitted with hearing aids earlier than ever before. From a historical age of fitting not uncommonly at 2 years of age or older, today the largest number of children under 12 months who receive a hearing aid for the first time in Australia have a mild hearing loss in their better hearing ear. To this end, clinical practice may have jumped ahead of the evidence in terms of understanding any benefits children with mild hearing loss receive from having hearing aids earlier.
Author Interviews, ENT, Hearing Loss, JAMA, University of Michigan / 17.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aileen Wertz, MD Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery University of Michigan  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The key finding of this study is: free, comprehensive audiologic care, including hearing aids and fitting, is feasible within a well-established free clinic model. We found that donated hearing aids and volunteer health care providers were able to run the clinic and that 20 patients have thus far been fit with hearing aids.
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Endocrinology, Hearing Loss, Menopause / 11.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_34518" align="alignleft" width="164"]Sharon G. Curhan, MD, ScM Channing Division of Network Medicine Department of Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02115 Dr. Curhan[/caption] Sharon G. Curhan, MD, ScM Channing Division of Network Medicine Department of Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02115 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Hearing loss affects approximately 48 million Americans and the number is expected to increase as the population ages. Some previous studies suggested that menopause may increase the risk for hearing loss, presumably due to the reduction in circulating estrogen levels, and that postmenopausal hormone therapy might slow hearing decline by “replacing” estrogen. To evaluate the role of menopause and postmenopausal hormone therapy as risk factors for hearing loss, we examined the independent associations between menopausal status, oral hormone therapy, and risk of self-reported hearing loss in 80,972 women who are participants in the Nurses’ Health Study II, aged 27-44 years at baseline, and were followed from 1991 to 2013. After more than 1.4 million person-years of follow-up, 18,558 cases of hearing loss were reported (~23% of the women developed hearing loss). We did not observe an overall independent association between menopausal status and risk of hearing loss. However, the risk among women who underwent natural menopause at an older age was higher. Specifically, the risk among women who underwent natural menopause at age 50 or older was 10% higher than among those who underwent natural menopause before age 50 [multivariable-adjusted relative risk (MVRR): 1.10, 95% CI 1.03, 1.17]. When we conducted an analysis restricted to women who underwent natural menopause and did not use hormone therapy (HT), the multivariable-adjusted relative risk among women who underwent natural menopause at age 50-54 years was 21% higher (MVRR: 1.12, 95% CI: 1.10, 1.34), and among women who underwent natural menopause at age 55+ years was 29% higher (MVRR: 1.29, 95% CI: 1.11, 1.50), compared with women who underwent natural menopause before age 50. Among postmenopausal women, we also found that use of oral HT was associated with higher risk of hearing loss, and the magnitude of the risk tended to increase with longer duration of use (p-trend < 0.001). Compared with women who never used any type of HT, the MVRR of hearing loss among women who used oral HT for 5-9.9 years was 15% higher (MVRR: 1.15, 95% CI: 1.06, 1.24), and for 10+ years was 21% higher (MVRR: 1.21, 95% CI: 1.07, 1.37). When specific types of oral HT were examined, longer duration of use of either oral estrogen-only or of combined estrogen plus progestogen HT were each associated with higher risk. Fewer women reported use of progestogen-only oral HT, yet among these women a higher risk was suggested, but not significant (MVRR: 1.15, 95% CI: 0.98, 1.35). Transdermal HT use was less common, but the associations observed were similar to those with oral hormone therapy. When examined separately by type of menopause, the results for HT use were similar.
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Hearing Loss, Nature / 13.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_33853" align="alignleft" width="163"]Lukas Landegger MD Molecular Neurotology Laboratory (PI Konstantina Stankovic) Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Dr. Landegger[/caption] Lukas Landegger MD Molecular Neurotology Laboratory (PI Konstantina Stankovic) Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Genetic hearing loss affects more than 125 million people worldwide and constitutes a major hurdle for language acquisition and child development in general. Technological advances over the last decades, such as cochlear implants, have made it possible for deaf children to partially regain their sense of hearing. However, these devices still have several shortcomings, especially when listeners attempt to understand speech in noise or listen to music. In establishing Anc80L65 as a reliable vector for gene delivery in the inner ear and releasing the first data demonstrating convincing hearing and vestibular function rescue in mice, we provide a foundation for other researchers interested in assessing the benefits of gene therapy in animal models of human disease.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Hearing Loss / 07.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_32744" align="alignleft" width="182"]Larry Humes, PhD, CCC-A Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences Indiana University Bloomington Dr. Larry Humes[/caption] Larry Humes, PhD, CCC-A Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences Indiana University Bloomington MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: About 40% of adults over the age of 60 have significant hearing loss, yet only about 20% of these older Americans seek help and eventually purchase hearing aids.  There have been several national calls for improvements in the accessibility and affordability of hearing health care for adults, especially older adults, including a 2015 report by the President’s Council of Advisors in Science and Technology and a 2016 report by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.  One strategy in common to both of these recent reports is to make hearing aids available directly to the consumer via over-the-counter service delivery. This study was a double-blind placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial investigating two different service-delivery approaches, best-practices and over-the-counter, and two different purchase prices for the hearing aids ($600/pair, $3600/pair).  For the most part, purchase price had no influence on outcomes.  Hearing aids delivered via the best-practices service-delivery model were confirmed to be efficacious, but almost identical positive outcomes were obtained via the over-the-counter service-delivery approach.
Aging, Author Interviews, Hearing Loss, JAMA, Johns Hopkins / 06.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Adele Gorman PhD Johns Hopkins Center on Aging & Health The Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, Maryland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Hearing loss affects many people, especially older adults. We have previously estimated how common hearing loss is across different age groups and how many adults have hearing loss today. However, we did not know the number of people that are expected to have hearing loss in the coming decades. This is important to know in order to appropriately plan for future hearing health care needs. Recently the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine highlighted the crucial need to address hearing loss and made recommendations to improve hearing health care services. However, these recommendations should be considered by policy makers in the context of the number of adults with hearing loss in the coming years.
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Genetic Research, Hearing Loss, Nature / 09.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_31894" align="alignleft" width="100"]Gwenaelle Geleoc, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Otolaryngology F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School Boston, MA Dr. Gwenaelle Geleoc[/caption] Gwenaelle Geleoc, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Otolaryngology F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School Boston, MA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We seek to develop gene therapy to restore auditory and balance function in a mouse model of Usher syndrome. Usher syndrome is a rare genetic disorder which causes deafness, progressive blindness and in some cases balance deficits. We used a novel viral vector developed by Luk Vandenberghe and package gene sequences encoding for Ush1c and applied it to young mice suffering from Usher syndrome. These mice mimic a mutation found in patients of Acadian descent. We assessed recovery of hearing and balance function in young adult mice which had received the treatment. Otherwise deaf and dizzy, we found that the treated mice had recovered hearing down to soft sounds equivalent to a whisper and normal balance function.
Anemia, Author Interviews, ENT, Hearing Loss, JAMA / 31.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kathleen Schieffer, BS, PhD Candidate Biomedical Sciences and Clinical and Translational Science Clinical and Translational Science Fellow Hershey, PA 17033 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Hearing loss is common in the United States, with its prevalence increasing with each decade of life. Iron deficiency anemia is a common, reversible condition, associated with negative health outcomes. The inner ear is highly sensitive to ischemic damage and previous animal studies have shown that iron deficiency anemia alters the inner ear physiology. Understanding the association between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss may open new possibilities for treatment.
Author Interviews, Hearing Loss / 20.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_29023" align="alignleft" width="150"]Samira Anderson, AuD., Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences Faculty, Program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Sciences Faculty, Maryland Language Science Center Director, The Hearing Brain Lab www.hearingbrainlab.umd.edu University of Maryland – College Park Dr. Samira Anderson[/caption] Samira Anderson, AuD., Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences Faculty, Program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Sciences Faculty, Maryland Language Science Center Director, The Hearing Brain Lab www.hearingbrainlab.umd.edu University of Maryland – College Park MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: It is known that older adults ability to understand speech in background noise is enhanced by factors other than hearing. Older adults draw on cognitive resources to improve their understanding of what is said more so than do younger adults. Specifically, they can use the context of the conversation to fill in the gaps of what they might have missed due to background noise. They also benefit when the distracting noise or talker is speaking in a language that is unintelligible to them. So  someone who speaks English will understand the conversation better when the distracting talker is speaking a language other than English. If the background talker is speaking a different language, then that background talker is easier to ignore. In this study we were motivated to find out what is happening in the brain when older and younger adults are listening to a story spoken in English and ignoring a background talker who is speaking either in English or in Dutch. We found that overall the neural responses of older adults were degraded by noise to a greater extent than in younger adults, despite that fact that they had normal hearing. However, the neural response in older adults improved when the background talker was speaking Dutch compared to English, and this same improvement was not seen in younger adults. The older adults also reported that it was easier for them to focus on the English talker when the background talker was speaking Dutch, but the young adults said it didn't make any difference.
Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, Hearing Loss, JAMA, Occupational Health / 22.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_26290" align="alignleft" width="150"]Harrison W. Lin, M.D. Assistant Professor Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery UC Irvine Medical Center Orange, CA 92868 Dr. Harrison LIn[/caption] Harrison W. Lin, M.D. Assistant Professor Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery UC Irvine Medical Center Orange, CA 92868 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We reviewed the data from the Integrated Health Interview Series, which is a project funded by the National Institutes of Health to supplement the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), a household-based, personal interview survey administered by the US Census Bureau and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since 1957. The NHIS serves as the largest source of health information in the civilian population of the United States. Analyzing the available data on tinnitus symptoms from this survey, we found that approximately 1 in 10 Americans have chronic tinnitus. Moreover, durations of occupational and leisure time noise exposures correlated with rates of tinnitus – people who reported higher rates of loud noise exposures at work and recreationally more frequently reported chronic tinnitus. Finally, health care providers provided advice and treatment plans to patients with chronic tinnitus that were infrequently in line with the clinical practice guidelines published by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery Foundation.
Author Interviews, Hearing Loss, OBGYNE / 22.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_25408" align="alignleft" width="200"]Dr. Álex García-Faura Scientific Director of the Institut Marquès Spain Dr-Álex-García-Faura[/caption] Dr. Álex García-Faura Scientific Director of the Institut Marquès Spain MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our clinical research during the last three years has been focused on the effects of music during the early stages of life; in our preliminary studies, applying music to pregnant patients using abdominal speakers, we discovered that there was no fetal reaction to music and that the fetus would only be able to hear it as a distorted whisper because of the effects of the abdominal wall. We thought that it would be necessary to get the music closer to the fetus, and we decided to try to apply the music vaginally. It was a great decision.
Author Interviews, CDC, Hearing Loss, Occupational Health / 06.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elizabeth A. Masterson, PhD CPH Dr. Masterson is an epidemiologist in the NIOSH Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies CDC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Masterson: Occupational hearing loss, primarily caused by high noise exposure, is the most common work-related illness in the United States. It is a permanent but entirely preventable condition. Researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, compared the prevalence of hearing impairment within nine industry sectors and the associated impact on quality of life for noise-exposed workers. Hearing impairment is hearing loss that impacts day-to-day activities. The Mining sector had the highest prevalence of workers with any hearing impairment, and with moderate or worse impairment, followed by the Construction and Manufacturing sectors. Impact on quality of life was measured by calculating disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). DALYs represented the number of healthy years lost because of hearing impairment. This study found that 2.5 healthy years were lost each year for every 1,000 noise-exposed U.S. workers because of hearing impairment. These lost years of good health were shared among the 13% of workers with hearing impairment (about 130 workers out of each 1,000 workers). Mining, Construction and Manufacturing workers lost more healthy years than workers in other industry sectors (3.5, 3.1 and 2.7 healthy years lost, respectively, each year for every 1,000 workers). Mild impairment accounted for 52% of all healthy years lost and moderate impairment accounted for 27%. 
Author Interviews, Hearing Loss, Rheumatology / 28.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_23868" align="alignleft" width="149"]Dr-Amir-Emamifar Dr. Emamifar[/caption] Dr. Amir Emamifar, MD Department of Rheumatology Odense university Hospital Svendborg Hospital, Denmark [caption id="attachment_23869" align="alignleft" width="139"]Associate Professor Inger Marie Jensen Hansen, PhD, DMsci Department of Rheumatology, Odense university Hospital, Svendborg Hospital, Denmark. University of Southern Denmark. Dr. Hansen[/caption]   Associate Professor Dr. Inger Marie Jensen Hansen, PhD, DMsci Department of Rheumatology Odense university Hospital Svendborg Hospital University of Southern Denmark   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic, inflammatory disease that affects 1% of the general population. Apart from main articular manifestations, rheumatoid arthritis may involve other organs including heart, lung, skin, and eye. The auditory system can be affected during the course of the disease as well; however the association between rheumatoid arthritis and hearing impairment has not been clearly defined. It seems that hearing impairment in rheumatoid arthritis is a multifactorial disease affecting by environmental factors and disease and patient characteristics. We did a comprehensive review of all published data to reveal the potential link between rheumatoid arthritis and hearing impairment.
Author Interviews, Hearing Loss, JAMA / 07.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_23274" align="alignleft" width="200"]Prof. dr. Wilko Grolman MD, PhD Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands. Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/wilko-grolman-73a4927 Prof. Grolman[/caption] Prof. dr. Wilko Grolman MD, PhD Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands. Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/wilko-grolman-73a4927   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Grolman: The importance of healthy hearing is extremely important for us humans. Decline in hearing will potentially affect not only our functional status but also our emotional and social health but also our economic status. It is impossible to imagine what the impact of losing one’s hearing ability is while still having a healthy hearing. Although many of us will eventually suffer from reduced hearing as part of the physiological effect of getting older, scientists are alarmed by the fact that hearing loss is on the rise and especially the number of youngsters that are affected is increasing. The WHO in their report of March 2015 reveal some alarming statistics; 360 million people have disabling hearing loss. In the acquired hearing loss group, excessive noise from personal audio devices and concert and festival visits has gained importance. Occupational noise has long been recognized as a source of acquired hearing loss. The WHO recognizes that half of the hearing loss cases can be prevented by primary prevention. For the noise induced hearing loss category, it is important to reduce exposure to loud sounds by raising awareness about the risks, implement relevant legislation and to encourage the use of personal protective devices such as earplugs, noise-canceling earphones and headphones. Our previous systematic review of the effectiveness of wearing earplugs to music venues showed that there were only two studies on this subject of which only one was a randomized clinical trial but had a major different set-up.
Author Interviews, Geriatrics, Hearing Loss, JAMA / 25.09.2015

Kevin J. Contrera, MPH MD Candidate Johns Hopkins School of MedicineMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kevin J. Contrera, MPH MD Candidate Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Hearing impairment is common in older adults. The prevalence of clinically significant hearing loss doubles with every decade of life, affecting two-thirds of adults 70 years of age or older. Hearing loss has been shown to be associated with various negative cognitive, mental, and physical health outcomes. In a nationally representative sample of 1,666 adults aged 70 years or older, moderate or greater hearing impairment was associated with a 54% increased risk of mortality. This was after we statistically took into account factors that could influence this association. Essentially, the worse the patient's hearing loss, the greater the risk of death.