Hearing and Balance Research
Our research seeks to advance our understanding of hearing and balance disorders through the development of innovative assessment and treatment techniques, service delivery approaches, and understanding the impact of these disorders on the health and well-being of the whole person, their significant others, and the public at large. Our research program is strengthened by strong partnerships with the Duke Otolaryngology Clinics, Duke Audiology Clinics, Duke Vestibular Clinic, Duke Clinical Research Institute, Duke Pepper Center for Aging, Duke Department of Population Health Sciences, and Duke Clinical & Translational Science Institute.
Our Department also spearheaded the formation of a practice-based research network, the CHEER Network, to enhance clinical research in hearing and balance disorders. Our work is funded by the National Institutes of Health, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, Department of Defense Congressional Directed Medical Research Program, Department of Veteran Affairs, and industry partners.
Howard W. Francis, MD, MBA
Dr. Francis' research is focused on improving the results of skull base surgery and cochlear implantation in children and adults. Dr. Francis has published over 100 journal articles on these and other topics in collaboration with colleagues from other disciplines. Among other contributions, this work has reduced complications related to acoustic neuroma surgery and has improved the ability to identify older adults who require additional support with their cochlear implant.
Kristal M. Riska, AuD, PhD, CCC-A
Dr. Riska’s research program’s overarching goals are to improve the diagnosis and management of dizziness, falls, and vestibular disorders. Her research focuses in three strategic areas: 1) improving the identification of Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo in primary care settings to enable timely access to cost-effective treatment, 2) characterizing the role of vestibular function and rehabilitative strategies in post-concussive/mild traumatic brain injury related dizziness; and 3) identifying and understanding the 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.
Sherri L. Smith, AuD, PhD, CCC-A
Dr. Smith's 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.
Debara L. Tucci, MD, MS, MBA, FACS
Dr. Tucci's research focuses on the identification and treatment of hearing loss in adults. Her research team works with primary care providers and a national network of otolaryngology providers to identify and address barriers to hearing health care, with the goal of facilitating treatment and improved overall mental and physical health.
Hearing and Balance Research Laboratory
Research in the Hearing and Balance Research Laboratory focuses on advancing understanding of hearing and balance disorders through the development of innovative assessment and treatment techniques, and service delivery approaches. Furthermore, it is the lab's goal to carry out multi-disciplinary research to better understand how hearing loss and balance disorders impact the health and well-being of the whole person, in addition to their significant others and the public at large.