Elmhurst, Illinois – February 11, 2021 – The American Hearing Research Foundation (AHRF) announced today that it has awarded seven grants to investigators who are exploring hearing and balance disorders of the inner ear. AHRF awarded more than $300,000 in grant monies in 2021.
AHRF Research Chair Donna Whitlon, PhD, commented, “I’m very excited about the studies AHRF is funding this year. Early-stage research is the bridge that connects us to the potential for better treatment of hearing and balance disorders. They may not get the spotlight of public attention, but hearing and balance losses have a profound impact on people’s lives.”
AHRF awarded its first Birtman Grant, a single grant of $75,000, to Northwestern University researcher Jennifer Krizman, PhD. Her study aims to understand the mechanisms that allow middle-aged listeners, with and without hearing loss, to recognize speech in noise compared to accented speech.
Five Regular Grants of up to $50,000 each also were awarded. These studies address the therapeutic effect of combining hypothermia with medication to treat noise-induced hearing loss, inflammation’s effect in the inner ear, the role of specific inner ear cells with Meniere’s disease, and an online protocol to understand cochlear implant users’ everyday experience with speech recognition.
In 2021, one otolaryngology resident received a Bernard & Lottie Drazin Resident Grant. AHRF offers this grant program to encourage individuals who might pursue a career in hearing and balance research. Each year AHRF offers up to five $1,000 awards to otolaryngology residents at specific institutions. Residents in their third year of otolaryngology programs are required to conduct basic science or clinical research projects.
The 2021 grant recipients, academic institutions, and research projects are:
Birtman Grant ($75,000) New in 2021
Jennifer Krizman, PhD; Northwestern; Identifying the auditory mechanisms supporting speech-in-noise and accented-speech recognition in middle-aged listeners with and without sensorineural hearing loss
AHRF Regular Grants ($20,000 to $50,000)
- Kathleen T. Yee, PhD; University of Mississippi Medical Center; Effects of mild traumatic brain injury on the mammalian cochlea
- Suhrud Rajguru, PhD; University of Miami; Combinatorial therapy for preventing noise-induced cochlear synaptopathy and hearing loss
- Dwayne Simmons, PhD; Major Mostafa Ahmed MD; and Bob Kane, PhD; Baylor University; Mitigating Noise-Induced Inflammatory Responses in the Inner Ear
- Justine Renauld, PhD; Case Western Reserve University; Understanding the role of pigmented cells in Meniere’s disease
- Terrin Tamati, PhD; Ohio State University; Investigating the Impact of Social Networks on Speech Recognition Outcomes and Quality of Life in Adults with Cochlear Implants – A Study Using an Online Testing Protocol
Bernard & Lottie Drazin Memorial Grants for Otolaryngology Residents ($1,000)
Christopher Mularczyk, MD; University of Illinois at Chicago; Temporal and Spectral Manipulation and Vocal Pitch Perception in Cochlear Implant Users
AHRF is a nonprofit organization that has been making new discoveries possible for more than 60 years by funding novel research to better understand and overcome hearing and balance disorders of the inner ear. Since 2010, the organization has funded 95 projects with nearly $2.3 million in research grants.