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Characterizing the Effects of Chronic Substance Misuse on Auditory and Vestibular Function


Research Team


Principal Investigator: Michelle Hughes

Co-Principal Investigators: Patrick Habecker

Funding Information

Funding Agency: National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Subcontract from: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Award Date: Jul 3, 2023

End Date: Jun 30, 2024


This project is funded by a subcontract from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.

Substance use disorders continue to rise, affecting more than 35 million people worldwide as of 2020.

Research suggests that such disorders are associated with hearing loss and/or vestibular loss — one-sided weakness in the balance mechanism of the inner ear — that cause communication barriers and lack of physical independence. 

This large-scaled, multi-site project will be the first to systematically examine the implications of substance misuse on both hearing and vestibular function and to determine the factors that increase the risk for hearing and/or vestibular dysfunction in people with substance use disorders.

For the University of Nebraska–Lincoln's portion of the project, researchers will assist with study design and training, oversee project staff for data collection and data entry at UNL, and will assist with data interpretation and manuscript/presentation preparation. They will also review and optimize the questionnaire before data collection and assist with our interpretation of the questionnaire findings.

Social, Emotional and Behavioral Well-being

Michelle Hughes, professor of special education and communication disorders, is leading the University of Nebraska's portion of a large-scale, multi-site project examining the implications of illicit drug use on both hearing and balance.
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