What is a balance disorder?
A balance disorder can cause you to feel unsteady, giddy, woozy, or to have a sensation of movement, spinning, or floating. The source for this disorder can be linked to the brain, the nervous system and to an organ in the inner ear called the labyrinth. An important part of our vestibular (balance) system, the labyrinth interacts with other systems in the body, such as the visual system (eyes) and skeletal system (bones and joints) system, to maintain the body’s position. more »
“Now I wake up each morning to the sound of birds”
A cochlear implant is a small, complex electronic device that can help to provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard-of-hearing. The implant consists of an external portion that sits behind the ear and a second portion that is surgically placed under the skin. An implant has the following parts: more »
Research on balance disorders is ongoing. Recent findings from studies supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) suggest that the vestibular system plays an important role in modulating blood pressure. The information from these studies has potential clinical relevance in understanding and managing orthostatic hypotension (lowered blood pressure related to a change in body posture).
Additional studies of the otolithic organs, the detectors of linear movement, are exploring how these organs differentiate between downward (gravitational) motion from linear (forward-to-aft, side-to-side) motion. more »
Researchers are looking at ways to apply new signal processing strategies to the design of hearing aids. Signal processing is the method used to modify normal sound waves into amplified sound that is the best possible match to the remaining hearing for a hearing aid user. NIDCD-funded researchers also are studying how hearing aids can enhance speech signals to improve understanding. more »
Movement of fluid in the semicircular canals signals the brain about the direction and speed of head rotation. In other words, it lets the brain know if you are nodding your head up and down or looking right to left. Each semicircular canal has a bulbous end that contains hair cells. Rotation of the head causes a flow of fluid, which in turn causes displacement of the top portion of the hair cells that are embedded in the jelly-like cupula. more »
Discover how to clear the way for better hearing.
Hearing begins when soundwaves enter the outer ear (the visible portion of the ear located on the outside of the head) and are channeled down the auditory canal, a tube-like passageway lined with tiny hairs and small glands that produce ear wax. more »
Whether you wear hearing instruments, are just acquiring devices, or simply wish to improve your listening skills, LACE – Listening and Communication Enhancement – training will help you get the most out of the sounds of life. Because it is a computerized, internet-based program, we can track your results and discuss them with you. more »