Tinnitus Test Research
OtoScience Labs is licensing tinnitus testing technology invented at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and is further developing this technology to become a research tool and clinical assay for the measurement of tinnitus in humans. This research is being funded in part by a grant from the US Department of defense. Tinnitus and hearing loss are major concerns for
the military and veterans. For example, tinnitus is the most common service-connected disability for military veterans, costing the VA approximately $2 billion in disability payments annually. Tinnitus and hearing loss are also common problems in the workplace and are related to workplace noise and chemical exposures.
OtoScience Labs conducts contract research on hearing loss and tinnitus (ototoxicity) in rats and mice. We use a patented system for the measurement of tinnitus and hearing loss to help pharmaceutical and biotech companies develop preventative and treatment strategies for these maladies. Our ototoxicity testing is also used for screening drugs or chemicals for damage to the ear. Approximately 30% of FDA approved drugs have tinnitus or hearing loss as a side effect. The ear is one of the first systems to display signs of damage from environmental toxins, medication side effects, or pathological medical conditions. We use the ear as an early screening/sentinel tool for ototoxicity.
Machines with moving parts wear over time. Ultrasonic noise can be used to monitor the earliest signs of wear in mechanical systems and predict failure in motors, pumps, valves, bearings, gear boxes and electrical systems. This service provides more data and flexibility when it comes to scheduling maintenance, pre-ordering parts, and preventing expensive downtime. Even minor compressed air and gas leaks in noisy environments can easily be detected with ultrasonic. Detection and repair of leaks helps abide by EPA regulations and minimize lost energy and wasted resources.
Noise, ultrasonic noise, and vibration are present in all research animal facilities and laboratories but are rarely measured. These unrecognized variables can confound research and cause unnecessary distress in animal models. Ultrasonic noise is of special concern because it is not audible by the researchers or animal caretakers and therefore is not recognized. Because mice, rats, and most other models hear very well in the ultrasonic range, such noise can serve as a "quiet" confound to biomedical researchers, potentially distressing research animals and adding variability to our measurements, resulting in greater statistical ambiguity in our research and the need for more animals. Not knowing what ultrasonic noise is present in the facility is analogous to not knowing when the lights are on or off! There are many sources of ultrasonic noise in biomedical research facilities and laboratories, such as fluorescent lighting, motors that run the ventilated caging systems so common in animal facilities, computers, etc. We conduct vibration, noise, and ultrasonic noise audits of facilities and provide advice on how to remediate problem areas.