Dedicated equipment for ear and hearing research
The EAR Lab houses dedicated equipment to measure the vibrations of auditory structures, such as the skull and middle ear, in response to sound. The equipment includes:
- several scanning and single-point laser Doppler vibrometers
- vibration isolation facilities
- microvibration testing facilities—likely the best for ear micromechanics research in Canada
- optical coherence tomography (OCT) unit, a custom built ear imaging system
- high frequency ultrasound imaging systems (50MHz array based systems with precision pulsed Doppler vibrometry), used for imaging of the ear and the decalcified cochlea
- custom built facilities to image cochlear implant insertion trajectories in the cochlea
- In vivo Doppler systems for small animal cochlear vibrometry
- endoscopic imaging probes for ex vivo cadaveric imaging
- animal testing facilities used for experimental work on gene therapy for treating hearing loss
Developing tools for the clinic
Our equipment allows us to be a centre of excellence in many areas, particularly microvibration measurements. We are committed to using these facilities to develop tools that we can translate to the clinic.
For instance, the OCT and ultrasound systems are being designed to eventually be used as diagnostic aids to visualize the middle ear and inner ear in the clinic so that we can better plan surgeries and avoid unnecessary surgeries.
In another example, our gene therapy and inner ear protective molecules research may prevent cisplatin toxicity from chemotherapy. Our new diagnostic technologies will help us better diagnose disorders such as Eustachian tube dysfunction and pulsatile tinnitus.