The Ear Institute of Chicago has long been involved with research. From the clinical FDA trials that helped establish cochlear implants as standard practice in the USA, to investigations in which all physicians participate--there is an established history of clinically applied research and publication.
We recently became involved with a national network for clinical investigations in Otology and Neurotology. This is called the CHEER network: Creating Healthcare Excellence through Education and Research. We are part of a national alliance of academic and community practitioners that analyze our own data with the help of a research assistant who collects data. Some of these studies are retrospective. For example: currently we are analyzing approximately 1000 surgical cases of acoustic neuroma to study trends that lead to quality improvement. The same thing will be done in key disease areas: otosclerosis, Meniere's disease, cholesteatoma, and various other disorders of the inner ear.
The following is a list of some other research/clinical studies in which the Ear Institute of Chicago is involved:
Vibrant Soundbridge for Conductive/Mixed Hearing Loss
The Ear Institute of Chicago is currently working with the MED-EL Corporation on their Clinical Trial of the Vibrant Soundbridge as a Treatment for Conductive and Mixed Hearing Loss, Using Direct Round Window Cochlear Stimulation. The Soundbridge device has been successfully implanted in patients with sensorineural hearing loss for many years. The Conductive/Mixed Hearing Loss study is evaluating the benefit derived by patients with various degrees of conductive and mixed hearing losses.
The internal device (Vibrating Ossicular Prosthesis) and external device (Audio Processor) are the same as when used for sensorineural, conductive, or mixed hearing losses. In cases of sensorineural hearing loss, the internal device is attached to the second of the three middle ear bone (incus). For cases of conductive/mixed hearing loss, the intermal device is positioned against the round window of the cochlea. The round window is a small membrane that separates the cochlea from the middl ear. When sound enters the Audio Processor and is sent to the internal device, the internal devices vibrates against the round window to stimulate the cochlea to result in hearing. So far, the results of the Vibrant Soundbridge for conductive/mixed hearing loss seem very promising. For further information regarding the Vibrant Soundbridge, please click here.