Single exposure hearing loss test wins research grant for Utah prof


hearing protection

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We hear a lot about noise-induced hearing loss from repeated exposure to loud sounds, but research into a new hearing test that can diagnose single-exposure hearing loss has now attracted crucial funding.

Recent studies have shown that sounds such as close-range gunfire without hearing protection can cause the hearing nerve to separate from the inner ear, leading to hearing loss. But according to Aryn Kamerer, assistant professor in Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education at Utah State University and director of the Hearing Health Laboratory, current hearing tests are designed to detect inability to hear very quiet sounds and are therefore not as reliable in diagnosing this type of damage.

The researcher is collaborating on the grant - from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders - with researchers at Boys Town National Research Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska.

“Up to 10% of patients who get their hearing tested because of hearing concerns end up with a diagnosis of normal hearing,” explained Kamerer. “The goal of this project is to see if there are some quick and easy tests that can diagnose this kind of damage so that we can help people who may be able to hear just fine in quiet environments but have trouble understanding speech when there is background noise,” she added.