Research Activities

Research activities of our staff span from basic science to translational to clinical, but all have improved understanding, management and prevention of hearing loss as their goals.

We are interested in the hearing function of the very young. Our development of an infant hearing screener based on the recording of brainstem auditory evoked potentials, contributed significantly to the implementation of nation-wide programs for early identification of handicapping hearing loss. Infants with such hearing losses are now routinely identified before they ever leave the newborn nursery.

We are also interested in the hearing function of our seniors. By the age of 75, more than half of us will have a hearing loss significant enough to interfere with our communication with others. Some of us, however, will develop a more severe hearing loss than others, and we are actively studying factors that may shape susceptibility to hearing loss as we age and as we are exposed to noise or other agents that damage our hearing.

Our extensive clinical database has been used to improve diagnostic criteria for tumor detection, refine tests of speech intelligibility, and develop better techniques for hearing aid fitting.

New approaches to cochlear diagnostics, using computer-intensive comparisons of word recognition and hearing thresholds, have led to development and use of a quantitative model of physiologically-determined word recognition outcomes for use in hearing aid recommendations and rehabilitation.

For additional information on hearing research see also Eaton-Peabody Laboratory of Auditory Physiology at Mass. Eye and Ear.