People suffering from hearing, balance and other related disorders would visit an audiologist to diagnose and help correct the problem. Audiologists also work with people who are adapting to cochlear implants, hearing aids and other hearing disabilities. The first university courses in audiology were offered at Northwestern University in 1946. The field has expanded since then, and there are numerous topics to use for a research paper.
Central Auditory Processing Disorders (CAPD)
CAPD is a problem that affects approximately 5 percent of all school-aged children. These kids do not hear the subtle sound differences in many words, especially if there is a lot of background noise. If left untreated, these kids could suffer from speech disabilities and academic problems. This disease may be misdiagnosed as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), as the symptoms are similar. A research paper on this topic could delve into how CAPD and ADHD are similar and how doctors can recognize the differences in the disease. A shorter report could focus on the disease itself, as well as treatments.
A genetic default, Apert Syndrome is recognized by deformities to the head, midface region, hands and feet. While most children have cranial plates that fuse as they age, a child suffering from Apert Syndrome would have plates that fused too early and do not let the brain grow normally. A research paper that studies Apert Syndrome could focus on the effects on hearing from the syndrome, how the syndrome is diagnosed and treated or on the genetics that cause Apert Syndrome.
Otoacoustic Emission (OAE)
OAEs are sounds that begin in the inner ear. Evoked OAE responses are used to test ear health and to test for sensory loss. OAEs are used to determine the amount of noise-induced hearing loss in children and adults. Spontaneous OAEs occur in healthy ears and are thought to originate in the cochlear area. A research paper could focus just on noise-induced hearing loss and how OAEs can be used to determine the amount of loss. Alternatively, a paper could focus on the range of sounds produced by a healthy ear or the role ear canal hair plays in relaying sound.
Other Paper Options
Since this field is relatively new, an in-depth study of audiology is possible. If even more detail is needed, connect audiology to related fields, such as deafness and the progress that has been made there. Alexander Graham Bell and his history as it relates to deafness could be a paper all on its own. Then there is also the history and development of sign language. Another way to tackle the assignment of a research paper is to use the topic of a class taken during the study of audiology. Speak with that professor for ideas regarding references and research options.
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