Emerging Research Grants for 2014 Announced

By Tara Guastella

HHF is proud to announce that 10 leading hearing scientists have been an awarded an Emerging Research Grant. It was an incredibly competitive funding cycle and it is a true honor for these investigators to have risen to the top and received this award.

Six grantees are first-year grant recipients and are studying areas such as noise-induced hearing loss, tinnitus, ototoxicity (hearing loss caused by certain drugs and medications), age-related hearing loss, and hearing aids.

Four previous grantees are receiving a second year of funding for their work. This group is researching such areas as central auditory processing disorder (CAPD), auditory physiology, cochlear implants, genetic hearing loss, and Usher syndrome.

One first-year grant recipient, whose work is funded by the continuing support of the General Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons International, is aimed at developing better ways to assess auditory processing disorders. Here is an excerpt on his work:

Srikanta Mishra, Ph.D.

New Mexico State University

Medial Efferent Mechanisms in Auditory Processing Disorders

Many individuals experience listening difficulty in background noise despite clinically normal hearing and no obvious auditory pathology. This condition has often received a clinical label called auditory processing disorder (APD). However, the mechanisms and pathophysiology of APD are poorly understood. One mechanism thought to aid in listening-in-noise is the medial olivocochlear (MOC) inhibition— a part of the descending auditory system. The purpose of this translational project is to evaluate whether the functioning of the MOC system is altered in individuals with APD. The benefits of measuring MOC inhibition in individuals with APD are twofold: 1) it could be useful to better define APD and identify its potential mechanisms, and 2) it may elucidate the functional significance of MOC efferents in listening in complex environments. The potential role of the MOC system in APD pathophysiology, should it be confirmed, would be of significant clinical interest because current APD clinical test batteries lack mechanism-based physiologic tools.

Read more about the research all of the 2014 grant recipients are conducting.

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