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Establishment of Joseph B. Nadol, Jr. Chair in Otolaryngology at the Mass Eye & Ear


Joe Nadol was the 16th (1989-90) president of the ARO. Celebration of the establishment of Joseph B. McKenna, also ARO member, is the first incumbent of this Chair.

The Massachusetts Eye and Ear community (MEEI) gathered at the Four Seasons Hotel on May 8, 2017, to celebrate Joseph B. Nadol, Jr., MD, and Michael J. McKenna, MD, as Dr. McKenna, who is also a ARO member, became the first incumbent of the Joseph B. Nadol, Jr., MD, Chair in Otolaryngology at MEEI.
This Chair, named for Dr. Nadol, represents and honors his esteemed career, not only for his leadership as the Chief of Otolaryngology at MEEI/Harvard Medical School for nearly 30 years, but also for his significant research contributions, continuous mentorship, and dedication to the field. In a way, this Chair will serve as a vehicle for others to follow the unparalleled example that Dr. Nadol has set and will preserve his legacy for generations to come.
As the first incumbent, Dr. McKenna’s academic activities will be supported through this Chair. He has made significant contributions to otosclerosis—his laboratory was the first to discover an association between the measles virus and otosclerosis—and this Chair will help support his future research endeavors.


Photo shown from the left: Michael McKenna, Joseph Nadol, and Brad Welling, Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear, who is also ARO member.   





Frederick (Erick) Gallun, PhD

Research Investigator, VA RR&D National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, VA Portland Health Care System, Portland, OR


Associate Professor, Department of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery & Neuroscience Graduate Program, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR




Central Auditory Dysfunction After Exposure to High-Intensity Blasts


Over the past decade, one of the core questions concerning both our laboratory and others has been the extent to which the central auditory system is vulnerable to damage from physical forces external to the body, specifically the effects of blast-induced pressure waves on the brain (for a full review and complete references, see Papesh and Gallun, 2015). Both animal and clinical research in shows that visible damage to the auditory cortex and brainstem can impair auditory function. What we wanted to know was the degree to which damage that could not be observed using medical imaging could also lead to auditory dysfunction. This question became of clinical relevance when the VA and military hospitals in the US began to see a large number of individuals with auditory complaints and yet presenting with normal audiograms, which is the clinical gold standard for peripheral auditory function.  Read more.......

Dr. Bob Carlyon, Deputy Director

MRC Cognition & Brain Sciences Unit
15 Chaucer Rd.
Cambridge CB2 7EF






Research update: Cochlear Implants


As it stands


Cochlear implants (CIs) have restored hearing to more than half a million deaf people worldwide. A typical CI processor extracts the slowly varying envelope in each frequency band; each envelope then amplitude-modulates a train of electrical pulses applied to one of an array of electrodes inserted in the cochlea, with higher-frequency bands applied to more basal electrodes. Variations on this theme include so-called n-of-m strategies, where in each short time window only a subset of electrodes, corresponding to the more energetic bands, are activated, and fairly recent strategies that convey information on the temporal fine structure of the lower-frequency channels.  Read more.....




Simon Carlile

Starkey Hearing Research Centre

2110 Shattuck Ave #408 Berkeley CA 94704 USA

School of Medical Sciences

University of Sydney, NSW 2006 Australia



Hearables – a snap shot

Light and sound dominate our world. The consumer electronics industry has invested hugely in visual displays such as HDTV: 2D and 3D and now head mounted displays. Audio has enjoyed less investment but low energy Bluetooth and inexpensive DSP have enabled a wide range of reasonable quality, untethered audio devices that can travel with you or live in your ears. Another major area of development are the so-called smart technologies in the home, the car and wearable tech that can sense and even react to the environment. Activity and fitness trackers are the most visible of the wearable technologies, although they are yet to demonstrate lasting traction in the market. More interesting developments are at the intersections of these technologies such as AV displays for virtual and augmented reality and more recently, so-called hearables – headphones with benefits.  Read more.....

Hidden Hearing Loss – the Problem and the Promise

 Sharon G. Kujawa and M. Charles Liberman


     Most adult hearing impairment is sensorineural in nature and arises from inner ear dysfunction.  Dogma has long held that hair cells are the most vulnerable cochlear elements and that cochlear neural loss typically occurs only after, and because of, hair cell degeneration. Work from our lab, and others, over the last 10 years has shown that this is not true for key etiologies of acquired sensorineural hearing loss, including noise, aging, and ototoxic drugs (Kujawa and Liberman 2015).  These insults can cause massive (>50%) loss of cochlear nerve peripheral synapses without any hair cell loss (see Figure).  This extensive cochlear synaptopathy has remained a “hidden hearing loss”, because 1) diffuse neural degeneration does not significantly elevate cochlear pure-tone thresholds, or the behavioral audiogram, until it reaches 80%, 2) the synaptic connections between cochlear neurons and hair cells are hard to see in routine histological material, and 3) the cell bodies and central axons of cochlear neurons,  survive for years to decades despite their loss of functional connection to the hair cells. Read more....


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