Increased Risk of Vestibular Dysfunction Post-Implantation
Student: Ashley Evers
Ashley is working on a research project to assess the incidence of vestibular disorders and increased risk of falling in adults post cochlear implantation. This is a pilot study, which will help to determine if we can isolate the exact structures that are impaired during cochlear implantation surgery that lead to vestibular impairment and increase the risk of falling in this patient population. The goal for this study is to serve as a precursor for a large-scale study in order to document the incidence of these impairments and eventually provide alternatives to surgical procedures and appropriate recommendations for rehabilitation.
Survey of Audiologists' Views on Risk of Falling
Student: Jessie Shives
Currently, Jessie is conducting a survey that will be going out to randomly chosen Audiologists who are members of the American Academy of Audiology. The goal of the study is to determine audiologists' views on Risk of Falling (RoF) topics that relate to training and education, screening and assessment, prevention and intervention, the impact/effectiveness of RoF assessment and challenges associate with RoF assessment in the audiology clinic. Currently, there is limited information available on Audiolgists' opinions toward RoF assessment as it relates to evaluation and providing intervention for older adults who may or may not have fallen. This type of information is needed to address how Audiologists assess older adults potentially at risk of falling, and understand clinicians' opinions on the impact/effectiveness of RoF assessment. Ultimately, this information may relate to "best practices," service delivery and how we teach students to be clinically competent in this area.
Bedside Dynamic Visual Acuity (DVA) Testing for Identifying Falling Risk
Student: Choongheon Lee
The vestibule-ocular reflex (VOR) is essential for maintaining stable vision during head movements. Decreased visual acuity resulting from an impaired peripheral vestibular system may impede balance and postural control and place an individual at risk of falling. Dynamic Visual Acuity (DVA) testing evaluates a person's ability to use the VOR for appropriate visual acuity during head movements at a fixed speed. The long-term goal of this research is to improve the identification and care of patients at risk for falls. The primary goal of this investigation is to determine if bedside Dynamic Visual Acuity (DVA) testing can identify falling risk in individuals with a history of falls. The hypothesis of the project is (1) that bedside DVA testing is a more sensitive predictor of falls risk than is the less clinically available and more costly method used to assess inner ear balance, computerized DVA; (2) that bedside DVA is a more sensitive predictor of falls risk than the current gold-standard assessments.
Modified Head-Shake Posturography: Sensitivity and Specificity
Student: Choongheon Lee
Computerized Dynamic Posturography (CDP) is an assessment of a person's ability to maintain upright stance. CDP has a subtest called the Sensory Organization Test (SOT). SOT evaluates how a person is able to use vision, proprioception and inner ear information to maintain upright stance. The addition of a head-shake motion (back and forth movement of the head) while performing standard SOT testing improved the performance of the test for identification of inner ear balance problems; however there were flaws with the proposed methods. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the performance of a modified head-shake posturography test in a large series of persons with chronic balance problems. Sensitivity and specificity of the head-shake posturography test will be calculated and overall performance of the identification of inner ear balance problems will be compared against the results of a gold standard test known as caloric irrigations.