Special Interest Group 06 - Hearing and Balance Sciences: Research and Clinical Applications

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Advances in Hearing Diagnostics, Treatment, & Prevention
Format(s): SIG Perspectives
These three articles describe current issues and advances related to hearing diagnostics, treatment, and prevention. The first article is a detailed description of the impact that COVID-19 face masks and social distancing regulations have had on speech recognition and how face masks affect the acoustic signal and increase cognitive effort in listeners with hearing loss. Suggestions for mitigating these deleterious impacts on communication are provided. The second article is a research study examining the correlation between self-perceived hearing difficulty, determined using a questionnaire (Adult Auditory Performance Scale), and speech-in-noise performance (Listening in Spatialized Noise–Sentences Test) in listeners with normal pure-tone thresholds. Results highlight the relationship between self-perceived hearing abilities and binaural speech-in-noise performance supporting the inclusion of speech-in-noise testing even in those with normal pure-tone thresholds. The third article is a review of current genetic, stem cell, and pharmacotherapy research for treatment and prevention of hearing loss. Animal models are discussed, as well as steps to translate this research into clinical practice.
Clinical Applications of Vestibular Scientific Advancements in Specialized Populations
Format(s): SIG Perspectives
These Perspectives (SIG 6) articles describe current research, diagnostic, and management techniques for three different vestibular populations, including individuals with Usher Syndrome, Meniere’s Disease, and aging populations. The first article examines age-related changes in vestibular function and discusses findings in animal studies examining specific structural and functional changes occurring within the system. The second article is a review designed to advance understanding of the clinical presentation of individuals with Usher Syndrome and discuss the importance of a multi-disciplinary team in diagnosis and management. Additionally, the latest research in gene-therapy treatments for Usher Syndrome are discussed. The final article is a large scale retrospective study of patients with an active Meniere’s Disease diagnosis. The study examines correlations between disease duration and diagnostic assessment findings.
Evaluation and Management of Challenging Patient  Populations in Audiology
Format(s): SIG Perspectives
These Perspectives (SIG 6) articles focus on diagnostic tools and considerations for management of several challenging patient populations in audiology. The first article discusses utilizing magnetic resonance imaging to determine the functional and structural neural alterations associated with chronic tinnitus. Researchers are utilizing advanced imaging techniques to study variability in perceptual characteristics and reaction to tinnitus. The second article discusses the continuum of disorders known as “cortical hearing impairment,” supported by a comprehensive summary of clinical presentations. Despite its rarity, an audiologist must understand etiologies of cortical hearing impairment and know how to evaluate and characterize the accompanied hearing difficulty. The third article examines the effects of concussion of the vestibular system and presented an assessment battery for athletes postconcussion and for determining return to play.

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