Research

Our researchers are leading pioneering research to address hearing loss and balance disorders in both adults and children.

Steven J. Eliades, MD, PhD

Research by Dr. Steven J. Eliades focuses on the neural basis of vocal communication.  Communication is a dynamic process that encompasses both production and perception, occurring in an interactive and contextually-dependent fashion. The Eliades research group approaches this both through basic scientific model systems and through parallel experiments in human subjects, including patients with hearing and communication disorders. Dr. Eliades is particularly interested in questions of vocal self-monitoring, that is, how do you hear yourself when you speak, how does your brain process that information differently than others sound you might hear, and how do you use this to help you control your voice.

Howard W. Francis, MD, MBA

Research by Howard W. Francis, MD, MBA, includes the study of best practices of acoustic neuroma treatment, the examination of functional outcomes of cochlear implantation in young children and older adults, and the development of best practices in surgical education. In close collaboration with members of the Division of Communication Sciences and the Duke Aging Center, he is a co-investigator in studies that evaluate new delivery models of hearing care, best practices for hearing intervention, and health consequences of hearing and other sensory deficits in aging.

Harnessing the Power of AI in Otolaryngology & the Communication Sciences

David M. Kaylie, MD

Research by David M. Kaylie, MD, examines balance disorders after cochlear implant surgery and hearing preservation following skull base surgery. As co-director of the Duke Skull Base Center, Dr. Kaylie is assessing techniques to preserve and restore hearing after acoustic neuroma surgery using cochlear implants. As medical director of the Duke Vestibular Disorders Lab and the Duke Otolaryngology Clinic, Dr. Kaylie conducts testing and therapy for a wide range of balance problems and vertigo.

Kristal Riska, AuD, PhD

Kristal Riska, AuD, PhD, leads a research program with the overarching goals to improve the diagnosis and management of dizziness, falls, and vestibular disorders. She conducts both health services research that aims to improve the identification and treatment of vestibular disorders. She currently is funded as a co-investigator on a Department of Defense grant aimed at understanding factors and care pathways associated with dizziness symptoms resolution among Veterans with chronic symptoms post-TBI. She also was recently awarded an NIH R21 to identify potential explanatory mechanisms that mediate the association between falls and hearing loss in an effort to develop interventions that will modify falls risk in the hearing impaired population. Finally, she along with colleagues Drs. Sherri Smith, Howard Francis, and Juliessa Pavon are internally funded to examine the impact of facemasks on patient-provider communication during COVID-19.

Sherri L. Smith, PhD, AuD, CCC-A

Sherri L. Smith, PhD, AuD, CCC-A, is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Head and Neck Surgery and Communication Sciences and Population Health Sciences, and a Senior Fellow in the Duke Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development. She also holds a Research Audiologist position at the Durham VA Health Care System. Dr. Smith is an audiologist and federally-funded clinician scientist whose core research focuses on improving the assessment and treatment of hearing loss in older adults. Specifically, her work centers on comparing the effectiveness of current hearing interventions, developing new, innovative clinical tools, and examining alternative service-delivery approaches that help patients reach their individual hearing goals and improve their quality of life. Dr. Smith also collaborates with multi-disciplinary teams to better understand the impact of hearing loss on other health conditions and services. Her primary clinical expertise is in aural rehabilitation, hearing aids and cochlear implantation.