BY CHRISTINA REAVES, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH ADMINISTRATION
In conjunction with the House Children’s Hearing Center (HCHC) opening, the House Institute Foundation (HIF) will open the House Center for Pediatric Hearing Health Research in 2022. Our experienced clinicians and researchers will collaborate to study the causes of hearing loss, develop and improve interventions for hearing loss, and assess the effects of hearing loss on childhood development.
HIF acknowledges that there is still much work to be done in the field of pediatric hearing health and is committed to developing methods to quantify each child’s deaf and hard-of-hearing experience. We will analyze how hearing loss impacts behavior and speech development, genetic factors, and the role social determinants of health may play in ear-related disorders and the success of interventions.
FUTURE AREAS OF RESEARCH
Early Identification The early identification of hearing loss and the need for cochlear implants and hearing aids can be crucial for successful treatment in children, as auditory development plays a huge role in the social and emotional development that occurs at young ages.
Binaural Perception Binaural perception is the utilization of sound cues from both ears and is useful in determining the direction and origin of a sound. Delayed intervention in hearing loss in one ear can prevent binaural processing from developing. It is important to quantify binaural perception and development in pediatric patient groups.
Parent Education Training the brain to hear is an essential component of (re)habilitation of children after they receive hearing aids and/or cochlear implants. Pediatric outcomes depend strongly on the involvement of parents or caregivers. Hence, they need to understand the nature of their child’s hearing loss, how the hearing device works, and how to provide a supportive environment for their child’s auditory development. We aim to develop easy to understand training materials for parents in their native language.
Single-Sided Deafness Research and clinical outreach in patients with cochlear implantation for single-sided deafness may provide invaluable information regarding binaural development with acoustic and electric hearing.
Proteomic Testing of Perilymph Fluid Proteomics is the study of proteins. The analysis of protein profiles can identify disease-specific biomarkers. While the study of proteomics has been successful in many other disciplines of medicine, there have been a minimal number of proteomic studies of the inner ear. Discoveries may lead to better diagnosis and treatment options for inner ear diseases.