Translational Research in Audiology

A special issue of Audiology Research (ISSN 2039-4349).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2022) | Viewed by 30498

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Guest Editor
Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Charité Universitätsmedizin, Berlin, Germany
Interests: hearing research; inner ear immunology; ototoxicity
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Biomedical research has been applied for decades to answer research questions in audiology that cannot be fully addressed in clinics. The special issue “Translational Research in Audiology” is dedicated to the “bench to bedside and back” aspect of audiological sciences. The main topics of this issue are translational qualities of research concerning the ototoxicity of drugs, application of stem cell technology, animal models of tinnitus, hyperacusis, and presbyacusis.

Clinical audiology is supported by basic research findings, such as studies on morphological changes in the auditory hair cells, spiral ganglion neurons, and the entire auditory pathway occurring after noise or ototoxic drugs exposure. Unlike in clinical research, the fluctuations in distortion-product otoacoustic emissions or auditory brainstem responses can be measured systematically, and factors such as noise intensity, drug concentration, or time after exposure can be modulated in animal models. Growing understanding of physiological processes and morphology of the auditory system deepens our understanding of functional audiological diagnostics. However, there is still a sizeable translational gap between the clinical and basic research in audiology, the main being the inability to perform pure tone audiogram or speech comprehension tests in animals and the lack of techniques that enable anatomical and morphological analysis in humans.

This Special Issue is dedicated to the translational aspects of audiology research. Novel methods, innovative interpretation of the already known methods, research presenting correlations between the clinics and the basic research are welcome.

Conditions studied:

  • Noise-induced hearing loss
  • Ototoxicity
  • Presbyacusis
  • Hyperacusis
  • Tinnitus

Experimental and clinical audiologists, otologists, neuroscientists, and biologists dealing with all sorts of animal models and clinical audiology are warmly invited to submit their research.

Prof. Dr. Agnieszka Szczepek
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Audiology Research is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • translational research
  • clinical studies
  • animal models
  • DPOAE
  • ABR
  • tinnitus
  • hyperacusis
  • presbyacusis
  • ototoxicity
  • hearing loss

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Editorial

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3 pages, 186 KiB  
Editorial
Translational Research in Audiology
by Agnieszka J. Szczepek
Audiol. Res. 2023, 13(5), 721-723; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres13050063 - 25 Sep 2023
Viewed by 963
Abstract
The importance of translational research in the medical sciences is growing logarithmically, as this type of research provides the translation of basic research into a clinical product (a drug, therapeutic agent or means of monitoring a disease), as well as the inverse translation [...] Read more.
The importance of translational research in the medical sciences is growing logarithmically, as this type of research provides the translation of basic research into a clinical product (a drug, therapeutic agent or means of monitoring a disease), as well as the inverse translation of clinical findings into basic research models [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Translational Research in Audiology)

Research

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18 pages, 2307 KiB  
Article
Universal Recommendations on Planning and Performing the Auditory Brainstem Responses (ABR) with a Focus on Mice and Rats
by Ewa Domarecka and Agnieszka J. Szczepek
Audiol. Res. 2023, 13(3), 441-458; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres13030039 - 2 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2591
Abstract
Translational audiology research aims to transfer basic research findings into practical clinical applications. While animal studies provide essential knowledge for translational research, there is an urgent need to improve the reproducibility of data derived from these studies. Sources of variability in animal research [...] Read more.
Translational audiology research aims to transfer basic research findings into practical clinical applications. While animal studies provide essential knowledge for translational research, there is an urgent need to improve the reproducibility of data derived from these studies. Sources of variability in animal research can be grouped into three areas: animal, equipment, and experimental. To increase standardization in animal research, we developed universal recommendations for designing and conducting studies using a standard audiological method: auditory brainstem response (ABR). The recommendations are domain-specific and are intended to guide the reader through the issues that are important when applying for ABR approval, preparing for, and conducting ABR experiments. Better experimental standardization, which is the goal of these guidelines, is expected to improve the understanding and interpretation of results, reduce the number of animals used in preclinical studies, and improve the translation of knowledge to the clinic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Translational Research in Audiology)
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9 pages, 228 KiB  
Communication
Tinnitus Education for Audiologists Is a Ship at Sea: Is It Coming or Going?
by Marc Fagelson
Audiol. Res. 2023, 13(3), 389-397; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres13030034 - 25 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1873
Abstract
Subjective tinnitus is a highly prevalent sound sensation produced in most cases by persistent neural activity in the auditory pathway of the patient. Audiologists should be confident that they can employ elements of sound therapy and related counseling to support patients in coping. [...] Read more.
Subjective tinnitus is a highly prevalent sound sensation produced in most cases by persistent neural activity in the auditory pathway of the patient. Audiologists should be confident that they can employ elements of sound therapy and related counseling to support patients in coping. However, patients with bothersome tinnitus may be challenged by mental health complications, and they struggle to find adequate care when tinnitus and psychological distress co-occur. Audiologists in many cases lack the confidence to provide in-depth counseling while mental health providers lack basic understanding of tinnitus, its mechanisms, and the elements of audiologic management that could support patients in coping. At the very least, audiologists should be able to explain the mechanisms involved in and contributing to negative tinnitus effects, conduct valid measures of these effects, and offer reasonable options for managing the consequences linked by the patient to bothersome tinnitus and sound-related sensations. This brief communication summarizes the current state of tinnitus-related opportunities offered in US audiology training programs, and the substantial need to improve both the education of practitioners and the delivery of services to patients in need. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Translational Research in Audiology)
11 pages, 881 KiB  
Article
Sound Quality Factors Inducing the Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response
by Ryota Shimokura
Audiol. Res. 2022, 12(5), 574-584; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres12050056 - 13 Oct 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2405
Abstract
The acoustical characteristics of auditory triggers often recommended to generate the autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) on Internet platforms were investigated by parameterizing their sound qualities following Zwicker’s procedure and calculating autocorrelation (ACF)/interaural cross-correlation (IACF) functions. For 20 triggers (10 human- and 10 [...] Read more.
The acoustical characteristics of auditory triggers often recommended to generate the autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) on Internet platforms were investigated by parameterizing their sound qualities following Zwicker’s procedure and calculating autocorrelation (ACF)/interaural cross-correlation (IACF) functions. For 20 triggers (10 human- and 10 nature-generated sounds), scores (on a five-point Likert scale) of the ASMR, perceived loudness, perceived pitch, comfort, and perceived closeness to the sound image were obtained for 26 participants by questionnaire. The results show that the human-generated sounds were more likely to trigger stronger ASMR than nature-generated sounds, and the primary psychological aspect relating to the ASMR was the perceived closeness, with the triggers perceived more closely to a listener having higher ASMR scores. The perceived closeness was evaluated by the loudness and roughness (among Zwicker’s parameter) for the nature-generated sounds and the interaural cross-correlation coefficient (IACC) (among ACF/IACF parameters) for the human-generated sounds. The nature-generated sounds with higher loudness and roughness and the human-generated sounds with lower IACC were likely to evoke the ASMR sensation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Translational Research in Audiology)
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10 pages, 1543 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Pluronic-Coated Gold Nanoparticles in Hearing Preservation Following Cochlear Implantation-Pilot Study
by Cristina Maria Blebea, Violeta Necula, Monica Potara, Maximilian George Dindelegan, Laszlo Peter Ujvary, Emil Claudiu Botan, Alma Aurelia Maniu and Marcel Cosgarea
Audiol. Res. 2022, 12(5), 466-475; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres12050047 - 28 Aug 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2299
Abstract
Introduction: During cochlear implantation, electrode insertion can cause cochlear damage, inflammation, and apoptosis, which can affect the residual hearing. Nanoparticles are increasingly studied as a way to increase the availability of inner ear protective factors. We studied the effect on rats of Pluronic-coated [...] Read more.
Introduction: During cochlear implantation, electrode insertion can cause cochlear damage, inflammation, and apoptosis, which can affect the residual hearing. Nanoparticles are increasingly studied as a way to increase the availability of inner ear protective factors. We studied the effect on rats of Pluronic-coated gold nanoparticles (Plu-AuNPs) containing dexamethasone, which were applied locally in the rat’s middle ear following the implant procedure. Methods: Seven rats were used in the study. The right ear served as a model for the Dex-Plu-AuNP group. Following the intracochlear dummy electrode insertion through the round window, Dex-Plu-AuNPs were placed in the round window niche. In the right ear, following the same insertion procedure, free dexamethasone (Dex) was placed in the same manner. Auditory brainstem response thresholds (click stimulus, pure tones at 8 kHz, 16 kHz, 24 kHz, and 32 kHz) were measured before and one week after the procedure. A two-tailed T-test was used for the variables. Statistical significance was set as p < 0.05. Results: In the Dex-Plu-AuNP group, the threshold shift was less than that in the free dexamethasone group, but no statistical significance was noted between the groups. When compared individually, only the 8 kHz frequency showed statistically significant, better results after one week, in favor of the Dex-Plu-AuNP group. The mean postoperative 8 kHz threshold in the Dex-Plu-AuNPs was significantly lower than that of the control group (p = 0.048, t-test). For the other frequencies, statistical analysis showed no significant differences between the mean threshold shifts of the two cohorts. Conclusions: The local application of Plu-AuNPs containing dexamethasone following cochlear implantation may better protect the residual hearing than dexamethasone alone, but a larger sample size is needed to reach a possible statistical significance. Dex-Plu-AuNPs do not seem to cause ototoxicity and may be used as a carrier for other agents. In a clinical setting, Dex-Plu-AuNPs may have the effect of protecting lower frequencies in patients with partial deafness who are candidates for electric acoustic stimulation (EAS). If we consider this tendency, Dex-Plu-AuNPs may also be beneficial for patients with Ménière’s disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Translational Research in Audiology)
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10 pages, 5391 KiB  
Article
Lateralization Pattern of the Weber Tuning Fork Test in Longstanding Unilateral Profound Hearing Loss: Implications for Cochlear Implantation
by Mohamed Bassiouni, Sophia Marie Häußler, Stefan Gräbel, Agnieszka J. Szczepek and Heidi Olze
Audiol. Res. 2022, 12(4), 347-356; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres12040036 - 21 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3654
Abstract
The Weber tuning fork test is a standard otologic examination tool in patients with unilateral hearing loss. Sound should typically lateralize to the contralateral side in unilateral sensorineural hearing loss. The observation that the Weber test does not lateralize in some patients with [...] Read more.
The Weber tuning fork test is a standard otologic examination tool in patients with unilateral hearing loss. Sound should typically lateralize to the contralateral side in unilateral sensorineural hearing loss. The observation that the Weber test does not lateralize in some patients with longstanding unilateral deafness has been previously described but remains poorly understood. In the present study, we conducted a retrospective analysis of the medical records of patients with unilateral profound hearing loss (single-sided deafness or asymmetric hearing loss) for at least ten years. In this patient cohort, childhood-onset unilateral profound hearing loss was significantly associated with the lack of lateralization of the Weber tuning fork test (Fisher’s exact test, p < 0.05) and the absence of tinnitus in the affected ear (Fisher’s exact test, p < 0.001). The findings may imply a central adaptation process due to chronic unilateral auditory deprivation starting before the critical period of auditory maturation. This notion may partially explain the poor outcome of adult cochlear implantation in longstanding single-sided deafness. The findings may suggest a role for the Weber test as a simple, quick, and economical tool for screening poor cochlear implant candidates, thus potentially supporting the decision-making and counseling of patients with longstanding single-sided deafness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Translational Research in Audiology)
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Review

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6 pages, 940 KiB  
Review
Translational Research in Audiology: Presence in the Literature
by Agnieszka J. Szczepek, Ewa Domarecka and Heidi Olze
Audiol. Res. 2022, 12(6), 674-679; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres12060064 - 28 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2053
Abstract
Translational research is a process that focuses on advancing basic research-based clinical solutions and is characterized by a structured process accelerating the implementation of scientific discoveries in healthcare. Translational research originated in oncology but has spread to other disciplines in recent decades. A [...] Read more.
Translational research is a process that focuses on advancing basic research-based clinical solutions and is characterized by a structured process accelerating the implementation of scientific discoveries in healthcare. Translational research originated in oncology but has spread to other disciplines in recent decades. A translational project may refer to pharmacological research, the development of non-pharmacological therapies, or to disease monitoring processes. Its stages are divided into basic research focused on the clinical problem (T0), testing the developed means in humans (T1), conducting trials with patients (T2), implementation and dissemination of successful approaches (T3), and improving community health (T4). Many audiological studies are translational in nature. Accordingly, this scoping review aimed to evaluate the use of the terms “translational audiology” and “translational research in audiology” in the literature and examine the goals of the identified studies. PubMed and Web of Science search identified only two publications meeting the search criteria. We conclude that identifying translational audiological studies in the literature may be hampered by the lack of use of the terms “translational audiology” or “translational research”. We suggest using these terms when describing translational work in audiology, with a view to facilitating the identification of this type of research and credit it appropriately. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Translational Research in Audiology)
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11 pages, 540 KiB  
Review
The Otoprotective Effect of Ear Cryotherapy: Systematic Review and Future Perspectives
by Dominik Péus, Shaumiya Sellathurai, Nicolas Newcomb, Kurt Tschopp and Andreas Radeloff
Audiol. Res. 2022, 12(4), 377-387; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres12040038 - 5 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2427
Abstract
This systematic review investigates ear cooling and cryotherapy in the prevention and treatment of inner ear damage and disease, within the context of animal models and clinical studies. A literature search was carried out in the databases Pubmed and Cochrane Library. Ten studies [...] Read more.
This systematic review investigates ear cooling and cryotherapy in the prevention and treatment of inner ear damage and disease, within the context of animal models and clinical studies. A literature search was carried out in the databases Pubmed and Cochrane Library. Ten studies were identified concerning the otoprotective properties of cryotherapy. Nine of these were rodent in vivo studies (mice, rats, gerbils, guinea pigs). One study involved human subjects and investigated cryotherapy in idiopathic sensorineural hearing loss. The studies were heterogeneous in their goals, methods, and the models used. Disorder models included ischemia and noise damage, ototoxicity (cisplatin and aminoglycoside), and CI-electrode insertion. All ten studies demonstrated significant cryotherapeutic otoprotection for their respective endpoints. No study revealed or expressly investigated otodestructive effects. While limited in number, all of the studies within the scope of the review demonstrated some degree of cryotherapeutic, otoprotective effect. These promising results support the conducting of further work to explore and refine the clinical applicability and impact of cryotherpeutics in otolaryngology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Translational Research in Audiology)
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8 pages, 517 KiB  
Review
The Ethics of Translational Audiology
by Aleksandra Bendowska, Roksana Malak, Agnieszka Zok and Ewa Baum
Audiol. Res. 2022, 12(3), 273-280; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres12030028 - 13 May 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2809
Abstract
Translational research moves promising primary research results from the laboratory to practical application. The transition from basic science to clinical research and from clinical research to routine healthcare applications presents many challenges, including ethical. This paper addresses issues in the ethics of translational [...] Read more.
Translational research moves promising primary research results from the laboratory to practical application. The transition from basic science to clinical research and from clinical research to routine healthcare applications presents many challenges, including ethical. This paper addresses issues in the ethics of translational audiology and discusses the ethical principles that should guide research involving people with hearing loss. Four major ethical principles are defined and explained, which are as follows: beneficence, nonmaleficence, autonomy, and justice. In addition, the authors discuss issues of discrimination and equal access to medical services among people with hearing loss. Despite audiology’s broad field of interest, which includes evaluation and treatment of auditory disorders (e.g., deafness, tinnitus, misophonia, or hyperacusis) and balance disorders, this study focuses primarily on deafness and its therapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Translational Research in Audiology)
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Other

15 pages, 546 KiB  
Study Protocol
A Protocol to Investigate Deep Brain Stimulation for Refractory Tinnitus: From Rat Model to the Set-Up of a Human Pilot Study
by Gusta van Zwieten, Jana V. P. Devos, Sonja A. Kotz, Linda Ackermans, Pia Brinkmann, Lobke Dauven, Erwin L. J. George, A. Miranda L. Janssen, Bernd Kremer, Carsten Leue, Michael Schwartze, Yasin Temel, Jasper V. Smit and Marcus L. F. Janssen
Audiol. Res. 2023, 13(1), 49-63; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres13010005 - 31 Dec 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2666
Abstract
Background: Chronic tinnitus can have an immense impact on quality of life. Despite recent treatment advances, many tinnitus patients remain refractory to them. Preclinical and clinical evidence suggests that deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a promising treatment to suppress tinnitus. In rats, it [...] Read more.
Background: Chronic tinnitus can have an immense impact on quality of life. Despite recent treatment advances, many tinnitus patients remain refractory to them. Preclinical and clinical evidence suggests that deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a promising treatment to suppress tinnitus. In rats, it has been shown in multiple regions of the auditory pathway that DBS can have an alleviating effect on tinnitus. The thalamic medial geniculate body (MGB) takes a key position in the tinnitus network, shows pathophysiological hallmarks of tinnitus, and is readily accessible using stereotaxy. Here, a protocol is described to evaluate the safety and test the therapeutic effects of DBS in the MGB in severe tinnitus sufferers. Methods: Bilateral DBS of the MGB will be applied in a future study in six patients with severe and refractory tinnitus. A double-blinded, randomized 2 × 2 crossover design (stimulation ON and OFF) will be applied, followed by a period of six months of open-label follow-up. The primary focus is to assess safety and feasibility (acceptability). Secondary outcomes assess a potential treatment effect and include tinnitus severity measured by the Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI), tinnitus loudness and distress, hearing, cognitive and psychological functions, quality of life, and neurophysiological characteristics. Discussion: This protocol carefully balances risks and benefits and takes ethical considerations into account. This study will explore the safety and feasibility of DBS in severe refractory tinnitus, through extensive assessment of clinical and neurophysiological outcome measures. Additionally, important insights into the underlying mechanism of tinnitus and hearing function might be revealed. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03976908 (6 June 2019). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Translational Research in Audiology)
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4 pages, 586 KiB  
Obituary
In Memoriam: David Mark Baguley
by Don McFerran and Laurence McKenna
Audiol. Res. 2022, 12(6), 585-588; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres12060057 - 24 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2049
Abstract
Reverend Professor David (Dave) Mark Baguley, audiologist, hearing scientist, tinnitus clinician, educator, and Church of England priest, died suddenly and unexpectedly in Nottingham, UK on 11 June 2022, at the age of 61 (Figure 1) [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Translational Research in Audiology)
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10 pages, 1842 KiB  
Brief Report
Towards Auditory Profile-Based Hearing-Aid Fittings: BEAR Rationale and Clinical Implementation
by Raul Sanchez-Lopez, Mengfan Wu, Michal Fereczkowski, Sébastien Santurette, Monika Baumann, Borys Kowalewski, Tobias Piechowiak, Nikolai Bisgaard, Gert Ravn, Sreeram Kaithali Narayanan, Torsten Dau and Tobias Neher
Audiol. Res. 2022, 12(5), 564-573; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres12050055 - 9 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2460
Abstract
(1) Background: To improve hearing-aid rehabilitation, the Danish ‘Better hEAring Rehabilitation’ (BEAR) project recently developed methods for individual hearing loss characterization and hearing-aid fitting. Four auditory profiles differing in terms of audiometric hearing loss and supra-threshold hearing abilities were identified. To enable auditory [...] Read more.
(1) Background: To improve hearing-aid rehabilitation, the Danish ‘Better hEAring Rehabilitation’ (BEAR) project recently developed methods for individual hearing loss characterization and hearing-aid fitting. Four auditory profiles differing in terms of audiometric hearing loss and supra-threshold hearing abilities were identified. To enable auditory profile-based hearing-aid treatment, a fitting rationale leveraging differences in gain prescription and signal-to-noise (SNR) improvement was developed. This report describes the translation of this rationale to clinical devices supplied by three industrial partners. (2) Methods: Regarding the SNR improvement, advanced feature settings were proposed and verified based on free-field measurements made with an acoustic mannikin fitted with the different hearing aids. Regarding the gain prescription, a clinically feasible fitting tool and procedure based on real-ear gain adjustments were developed. (3) Results: Analyses of the collected real-ear gain and SNR improvement data confirmed the feasibility of the clinical implementation. Differences between the auditory profile-based fitting strategy and a current ‘best practice’ procedure based on the NAL-NL2 fitting rule were verified and are discussed in terms of limitations and future perspectives. (4) Conclusion: Based on a joint effort from academic and industrial partners, the BEAR fitting rationale was transferred to commercially available hearing aids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Translational Research in Audiology)
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