Audiology in Brief A multicenter clinical trial underway at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and 15 other sites nationwide is the largest study to date comparing the effectiveness and side effects of two common treatments for sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL). The study will compare corticosteroids taken orally and injected directly ... News in Brief
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News in Brief  |   June 01, 2008
Audiology in Brief
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Hearing Disorders / News in Brief
News in Brief   |   June 01, 2008
Audiology in Brief
The ASHA Leader, June 2008, Vol. 13, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB.13082008.5
The ASHA Leader, June 2008, Vol. 13, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB.13082008.5
Clinical Trial on SSHL
A multicenter clinical trial underway at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and 15 other sites nationwide is the largest study to date comparing the effectiveness and side effects of two common treatments for sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL).
The study will compare corticosteroids taken orally and injected directly into the ear to determine which treatment for SSHL is more effective and has fewer side effects. Researchers are now recruiting subjects 18 years and older who experienced the onset of unexplained hearing loss in one ear within the previous two weeks.
In the process of conducting the study, the researchers also raise awareness in the emergency medical community about SSHL, which is frequently overlooked as a diagnosis. If treated early, generally within two weeks of discovering the hearing loss, SSHL is potentially curable. For information about the study, visit the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Web site. For fact sheets on SSHL by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, which is funding the study, visit NIDCD’s Web site.
Hearing and CMV
In a large-scale 10-year prospective study of 14,021 infants, researchers at the Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussels studied the incidence, characteristics, and evolution of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) in infants with a congenital cytomegalovirus infection (cCMV).
Of the study population, 0.53% (74) infants were congenitally infected with CMV, with four (5.4%) symptomatic at birth. SNHL was found in 21% of the asymptomatic and in 33% of symptomatic congenitally infected infants. Late-onset hearing loss was detected in 5%, progression in 11%, fluctuation in 16%, and improved hearing threshold in 18% of the infants with cCMV.
The research underscores the need for long-term follow up and repeated audiologic testing, because progression, fluctuation, improvement, and late-onset hearing loss are important features of cCMV infection. The study was published in the March 2008 Journal of Pediatrics.
Virtual Reality and Balance Disorders
Virtual reality games may be a potential therapy for people with balance disorders and chronic dizziness. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have established a Medical Virtual Reality Center to study how people maintain balance and identify potential interventions for balance problems. A virtual reality grocery store will be used as part of a clinical trial to test a new model for balance rehabilitation. A custom-built treadmill and four computer-controlled projection systems simulate grocery store aisles that range from visually simple to daunting. A person walking on the treadmill controls the speed up the aisle and turns down the next aisle by pushing on one side of a real shopping cart adapted for the facility.
During balance therapy sessions, clients begin with easy tasks, such as finding paper towels in the paper goods aisle, and progress to more visually challenging tasks such as finding a small, colorful jar amid scores of baking ingredients.
If clinical trials show promising results, the next step is to develop a plug-and-play version of the virtual reality grocery store for use in a physical therapy clinic or at home. For details, visit the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s virtual grocery store.
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FROM THIS ISSUE
June 2008
Volume 13, Issue 8