NIH Spends Relatively Little on Hearing Loss

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jan Blustein, MD PhDProfessor of Health Policy and MedicineWagner Graduate School and School of MedicineNew York University, New York

Dr. Blustein

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.

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Tinnitus: Study of Adoptees Suggests Genetic Predisposition

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Christopher R. Cederroth | Ph.D. Docent Associate Professor Experimental Audiology | Department of Physiology and Pharmacology Karolinska Institutet  Sweden

Dr. Cederroth

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.

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LOUD Outdoor Concerts Lead To Temporary Hearing Loss, esp in Men

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).

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Volunteers Plus Free Hearing Aids Can Supply Adequate Auditory Care

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.

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Early Deafness, Cochlear Implants Associated With Cognitive Delays in Children

William Kronenberger, Ph.D., HSPP Professor and Director, Section of Psychology Acting Vice Chair of Administration Department of Psychiatry Indiana University School of Medicine Riley Child and Adolescent Psychiatry ClinicMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
William Kronenberger, Ph.D., HSPP
Professor and Director, Section of Psychology
Acting Vice Chair of Administration
Department of Psychiatry
Indiana University School of Medicine
Riley Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Kronenberger: The main findings of the study are that children with cochlear implants had two to five times the risk of delays in executive functioning compared to children with normal hearing.  Executive functioning is the ability to regulate and control thinking and behavior in order to focus and achieve goals; it is important for everything from learning to social skills.  The areas of executive functioning that were most affected in children with cochlear implants were working memory, controlled attention, planning, and concept formation.  Approximately one-third to one-half of the sample of children with cochlear implants had at least mild delays in these areas, compared to one-sixth or fewer of the normal-hearing sample.  We think that reduced hearing experience and language delays cause delays in executive functioning to occur at higher rates in children with cochlear implants.
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