Along with our partner, the Hearing Health Foundation, we are excited to announce our Emerging Research Grant for 2018.  This grant demonstrates our commitment to uncover the mechanisms associated with hyperacusis on our path to a cure.  We are extremely grateful for our donor support which makes this grant possible. The grant goes to Kelly Radziwon, Ph.D., of the University at Buffalo who will be studying noise-induced hyperacusis in rats with and without hearing loss.

Pictured at top: Bryan Pollard, Kelly Radziwon and Senthilvelan Manohar at University at Buffalo

While there are clinical assessment tools for people such as loudness discomfort levels, in the lab researchers cannot ask animals to “rate” sounds. Instead, to measure loudness perception in animals, the lab at Buffalo trains rats to detect a variety of sounds of varying intensity. By measuring how quickly the animals respond to each sound—faster in reaction to higher intensity sounds and more slowly to lower intensity sounds – researchers can obtain an accurate picture of perceived loudness in animals. By comparing electrophysiological recordings with behavioral performances of the individual animals, this project aims to characterize the relationship between changes in neural activity and loudness perception in animals with and without noise-induced hearing loss.

The long-term goal is to broaden our understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying loudness perception in order to find a potential therapeutic target to correct, or mitigate, bothersome hyperacusis.

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