Auditory Physiology and Psychoacoustics Laboratory (APPL)

Current research projects within the Auditory Physiology and Psychoacoustics Laboratory (APPL) include two Nemours-funded protocols to assess the subjective and objective balance disorders in children with Chiari type I malformation (a structural defect in the part of the brain that controls balance), and the vestibular deficits and related impairments in children with otitis media with effusion (fluid in the middle ear space without symptoms of an acute ear infection) as well as the efficacy of tympanostomy tube placement (ear tubes) in relieving static and dynamic imbalance. Three externally funded studies are also underway. The first study examines auditory, speech and vestibular abilities in patients with Friedreich ataxia (an inherited disease that causes progressive damage to the nervous system and can result in gait disturbance and speech problems). The second study will investigate the hearing aid and frequency modulation performance in children with auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder (ANSD: a problem with transmission of sound from the inner ear that makes sound disorganized by the time it reaches the brain). The third study will investigate the medial olivocochlear bundle (a tract of nerve fibers that originate in the brainstem and transmit sounds from the ear) and speech-in-noise deficits in children with auditory processing disorders.
The APPL also runs a clinical program targeting the diagnosis and management of ANSD in infants and children, and maintains a database to help identify risk factors that can be helpful for early intervention.