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Audiology Faculty Research

Dr. Chris Sanford

photograph of Chris Sanford

Audiology Research Lab: Current Project

Conventional clinical tests of middle-ear function are useful for identifying some types of middle-ear pathologies but have not been useful for predicting the presence or degree of conductive hearing loss associated with a given pathology. While emerging research shows that relatively new, wideband (broad frequency range) aural acoustic tests have this potential dual use, normative data is lacking for individuals across a broad age range and for a variety of middle-ear pathologies. The aim of one study, currently underway, is to obtain wideband acoustic measurements from infants, children and adults with a variety of middle-ear pathologies. It is hypothesized that different middle-ear pathologies will be characterized by significantly different wideband aural acoustic responses. Data is currently being gathered at the ISU Audiology clinic and at an ENT physician’s office, here in Pocatello.

A portion of this study is funded by an Idaho State University, Faculty Research Committee Grant, FRC 1024 (Co-Principal Investigators: Chris Sanford and Jeff Brockett).

The long-term goals of this current program of research are to combine results from the present project with those of future studies involving infants, children and adults with normal middle-ear function, to assess the sensitivity and specificity of these wideband tests in terms of 1) detection of middle-ear pathology and prediction of conductive hearing loss, and 2) monitoring of middle-ear surgery outcomes.  An improved, objective diagnostic test to identify middle-ear disorders and conductive hearing loss has the potential to provide more accurate audiologic information for individuals of any age, but would be especially useful in difficult to test populations such as young children and infants. 


Student Projects

Sam Peterson: AuD Capstone Project- Measuring Wideband Acoustic Transfer Functions in Clinical Populations: Case Study Evaluations.


Recent Publications

Keefe, D.H., Fitzpatrick, D.F., Liu, Y., Sanford, C.A. & Gorga, M.P. (2010). Wideband acoustic reflex test in a test battery to predict middle-ear dysfunction. Hearing Research, 263, 52-65.

Sanford, C.A., Keefe, D.H., Liu, Y., Fitzpatrick, D.F., McCreery, R.W., Lewis, D.E. & Gorga, M.P. (2009). Sound conduction effects on DPOAE screening outcomes in newborn infants: Test performance of wideband acoustic transfer functions and 1-kHz tympanometry. Ear and Hearing, 30(6), 635-652.


Recent Presentations

Sanford, C.A., Keefe, D.H., Ellison, J.C., Fitzpatrick, D.F. & Gorga, M.P. (2010). Wideband Acoustic Transfer Functions Predict Conductive Hearing Loss in Children. Poster presentation at the American Auditory Society, Scientific and Technology Meeting, March, Scottsdale AZ. 

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