The Neurosensory Disorders Center at the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute is committed to developing clinical and basic science research programs to help us understand, diagnose and treat all types of diseases and disorders of the senses.

Our team is involved with innovative research and clinical trials. With more than $4 million in funded research, our goal is to foster multidisciplinary relationships that advance science and lead to new treatments.

Clinical Trials

For a list of ongoing clinical trials, click here and search by keyword or category.

Voice Research

Asymmetric Vocal Fold Motion

Our research suggests that airflow patterns and acoustics may be affected by a high degree of asymmetric vocal fold tension. This research will help determine when and why reinnervation vs. medialization produces a better quality voice.

Treatment of Vocal Fold Scarring

We are investigating the use of fat vs. a new bioengineered Reinke’s space substitute (developed by another investigator) for vocal fold scarring. A Steve Gray minithyrotomy is used to free the scar and implant the material. Measuring the resulting aeroacoustic and aeroelastic properties should offer insight into optimizing vocal fold scarring treatment.

Otology Research

Evaluation of Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Our previous work has set the standard for what types of evaluations should be performed on children with hearing loss to determine the etiology. We are currently evaluating the effects of unilateral enlarged vestibular aqueduct and studying the natural history of unilateral sensorineural hearing loss. We have just completed studies defining the risks of progression and asymmetry in patients with and without GJB2-related hearing loss.

Advanced Molecular Diagnostic Testing for Hearing Loss

As part of a longstanding interdisciplinary effort, we are developing the first resequencing microarray to evaluate for genetic causes of deafness in young children with hearing loss. These advances will allow us to more accurately predict the clinical course of the child, appropriate treatment and secondary medical diagnoses.

Family Studies for Hearing Loss

Our center enrolls families interested in studies to determine the genetic cause of their hearing loss. U.S. families, along with those from India, Bangladesh and Singapore, have been studied here. These studies help to identify novel genes the gives scientists new in roads to the understanding of hearing.

Outcome Studies in Young Children with Hearing Loss

We are studying the affects of early treatment on the clinical course of young children with hearing loss. Early identification and treatment are thought to be critical to the success of children with hearing loss, but the optimal utilization of initial language, education and socially based strategies for these children is ill-defined. Our research should point early intervention specialists toward more effective therapeutic options.

Mitochondrial Genetics in Hearing Loss

Mitochondrial mutations play a significant role in the development of hearing loss in children, both nonsyndromic and in association with the administration of aminoglcyoside antibiotics. We have studied the molecular mechanisms of mitochondrial mutation in cell, animal and human models.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)

Our Center features one of the largest research imaging groups dedicated to childhood diseases. fMRI allows our researchers to examine the direct effect of sound and the lack of sound on the brain pathways and processing. These findings are leading our researchers to better predict which children would be best served with a cochlear implant to restore hearing.

Molecular Development of the Inner Ear

With at least half of all cases of congenital hearing loss resulting from genetic or hereditary factors, it is relevant to study the genes involved in normal development of the inner ear as well as the consequences to the ear and hearing when critical genes are perturbed. By identifying the key genetic processes involved in forming a normal inner ear, we begin to understand the possibilities of either correcting mal-development of the inner ear or potentially finding novel ways to correct defects of the ear and deafness.

Congenital Cytomegalovirus-related Inner Ear Disease

Of all the cases of pediatric sensorineural hearing loss in the United States, a significant portion of the cases are due to inner ear infections caused by CMV. However, the ability to detect this infection clinically and our understanding of how the virus causes inner ear damage and hearing loss is limited. Researchers are in the process of screening several thousand newborns for this congenital infection, while striving to determine the natural history of pediatric hearing loss. Concurrent research is directed at examining the potential benefits of delivering antiviral drugs directly to the inner ear and thereby avoiding the major side effects that result from administering antivirals systemically.

UC Voice Consortium

The mission of the research arm of the UC Voice Consortium is to perform translational and clinical interdisciplinary research into understanding, diagnosing and treating voice and swallowing disorders. The Consortium is composed of investigators from a number of different disciplines, including aerospace engineering, adult laryngology, pediatric otolaryngology, pediatric pulmonary medicine, anesthesiology, thoracic surgery, and adult pulmonary medicine. Two active labs are the Laryngeal Biomechancis Lab and Computational Flow Dynamics (CFD).

Projects in the Laryngeal Biomechancis Lab include:

A. Asymmetric Vocal Fold Motion. Our animal research suggests that airflow patterns and acoustics may be affected when the degree of asymmetric vocal fold tension is high enough. This work may help us determine, for example, when and why reinnervation will produce a better quality of voice than medialization.

B. Treatment of Vocal Fold Scarring. We are investigating the use of fat vs. a new bioengineered Reinke’s space substitute (developed by another investigator) for vocal fold scarring. A Steve Gray minithyrotomy is used to free the scar and implant the material. The resulting aeroacoustic and aeroelastic properties will be measured. This should offer insight into optimizing the treatment for vocal fold scarring.

C. Swallowing disorders. We are presently looking at the laryngeal biomechanics and aerodynamic correlates involved in dysphagia.

D. Sources of Sound. Our work has identified vortices during phonation that can produce sounds. Now we are concerned with identifying the clinical significance of these vortices in normal and abnormal phonation.

Projects in the Laryngeal Biomechancis Lab include:

A. Pediatric Sleep Apnea. Computational flow modeling of the upper airway is being used to better understand the pathophysiology of obstructive sleep apnea in children. Correlation of CFD results with physical models is also being done.

B. Subglottic and Tracheal Stenosis. Computational flow modeling is being used to understand airflow through the compromised upper respiratory tract. This research program strives to understand 1) the types and characteristics of respiratory tract narrowing that lead to the physical symptoms of shortness of breath; and 2) how specialists can most efficiently correct airway anomalies to alleviate symptoms of shortness of breath.

For more information, please contact:

Angie Keith
Marketing Specialist
University ENT
UC Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
222 Piedmont Avenue, Suite 5200
Cincinnati, OH 45219
Phone: (513) 475-7366
Fax: (513) 475-8228

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