2016 Student Research Forum Winners
On Friday, April 15, 2016, the five recipients of the 2016 Student Research Forum (SRF) Awards gave five outstanding podium presentations. The SRF has been in existence for about a decade, and would not be possible without funding in part by the American Academy of Audiology Foundation (AAAF) and an underwriting grant from Plural Publishing, Inc. Each year, the SRF awardees are selected through a rigorous review process from a competitive pool of exciting student research from across the country.
For one-and-a-half hours, audiology attendees, supporters, and guests gathered together to listen to the summaries of five research presentations on a wide variety of topics. What we hear about each year at the SRF is but a small window into the kind of work that students are conducting all over the country with their mentors and collaborators, and each project helps to advance the science of audiology and related fields. Students who complete these projects in partial fulfillment of their degrees have the opportunity to become better informed about research and, as a result, better consumers of science. This year’s recipients and presenters include the following:
Improving Cognitive Performance Through Amplification in Impaired Listeners with Dementia
Presenter: Kyle Harber, Communication Sciences, and Disorders, BS–AuD Student, University of North Texas
Untreated hearing sensitivity increases the risk of reduced cognitive processing in older adults. Research indicates that hearing aids can improve a listener’s cognitive processing ability through auditory plasticity. Listeners with reduced hearing sensitivity and differing cognitive processing abilities (i.e., no dementia, moderate dementia) were fit with contemporary hearing aids, with cognitive processing measured at four intervals over a six-month span. Results indicate improvement in cognitive processing and functional behavior. Auditory training provided additional improvements in cognitive processing and functional behavior.
Correlation Between Overall Dietary Quality and Audiological Results in Young Adults
Presenter: Janelle Kelley, BHS, BS–AuD Student, University of Florida, Fourth-Year Extern at Mayo Clinic Florida
The relationship between audiological outcomes and dietary quality of young adults was assessed. Subjects entered dietary intakes into the Automated Self-Administered 24-hour Dietary Recall database. Otoscopy, tympanometry, DPOAEs, TEOAEs, standard and high-frequency audiometry were performed. Participants’ overall nutritional quality and audiological outcomes were compared. Analysis suggests more robust DPOAE amplitudes and lower hearing thresholds in participants with higher dietary qualities. Conclusions may become part of future clinical recommendations and counseling sessions concerning hearing conservation.
PSAPs vs. Hearing Aids: An Electroacoustic Analysis of Performance and Fitting Capabilities
Presenter: Chase Smith, BA–AuD Student, Northwestern University
Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs) are increasingly being lauded as a simple and cost-effective alternative to hearing aids. Yet because of their unregulated nature and a wide range of prices, audiologists have largely remained skeptical of their utility. This research highlights the differences between hearing aids and PSAPs and uses readily-available electroacoustic verification measures to determine what audiometric configurations can be appropriately fit with various commercially available PSAPs in comparison to traditional hearing aids.
Hearing Loss in a Novel Polygenic Mouse Model of Type II Diabetes Mellitus
Presenter: Krysta Gasser Rutledge, Honors BA–AuD Student, Program in Audiology & Communication Sciences, School of Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis
Most Type II diabetes mellitus (T2DM) models are based upon the C57Bl6 mouse, which has early-onset presbycusis. TallyHo, a relatively new T2DM model, has a Swiss-Webster background with late presbycusis. This pilot study shows that 1) the TallyHo mouse develops T2DM-related hearing loss (HL); 2) HbA1C is an early biomarker of said HL, and 3) further study could explore whether lowering of blood glucose levels with statins prevents T2DM-related HL in the TallyHo, mouse model.
Long-Term, Low-level Noise Exposure: Unexpected Plasticity in the Ear and Brain
Presenter: Adam M. Sheppard, BA–AuD, PhD Student, University at Buffalo
Research indicates long-duration, low-level noise exposures can induce plasticity in the auditory cortex, which can impair auditory perception; however, it is unclear if these functional changes originate more peripherally in the auditory pathway. Using a systems approach, we investigated the physiological plasticity that occurs in the cochlea and auditory midbrain following long-term, low-level noise exposures. The unexpected results are interpreted and discussed in relationship to environment-induced impairment and implications for treatment of auditory disorders such as tinnitus and hyperacusis.
Samuel R. Atcherson, PhD, was the Research Podium Chair at AudiologyNOW! 2016.