Dr. Frank Lin is a junior faculty member in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head &Neck Surgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine where his clinical practice is dedicated to hearing loss and otology. He previously completed a Ph.D in Clinical Investigation at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where he applied conceptual models of functioning developed by the World Health Organization to the assessment of pediatric cochlear implantation (CI). With the support of this Mentored Career Development Award, Dr. Lin seeks to better understand the impact of hearing loss on the health and functioning of older adults and the role of therapeutic modalities such as CI in mitigating these effects. Dr. Lin will enhance his research knowledge and skills with coursework in geriatrics and biostatistics, receive directed mentorship by an interdisciplinary team of experienced clinical researchers, and be immersed in the interdisciplinary research and clinical environments of the Longitudinal Studies Section of the National Institute on Aging, the Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health, the Johns Hopkins Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology, and the Johns Hopkins Listening Center. This CDA will provide Dr. Lin with the resources that he needs to become an independent investigator and future leader in hearing loss and clinical research. Building on his prior research experience in utilizing conceptual models of health outcomes, Dr. Lin has developed a novel framework to understand and study the impact of hearing loss on older adults that draws on the fields of cognitive psychology, social epidemiology, gerontology, and the hearing sciences.
In Aim 1, he will use four established prospective datasets to study the effects of hearing loss on domains of cognition, social isolation, dementia, functional decline, health care expenditures, and mortality. This work will establish the basis for the impact of hearing loss in aging.
In Aim 2, he will prospectively recruit adult patients undergoing CI at the Listening Center into a study examining the effects of CI on domains of health and functioning. This work will inform strategies for hearing aid and cochlear implant delivery and future clinical trials of hearing loss interventions.
The impact of hearing loss on older adults is poorly understood despite the growing prevalence of hearing loss and the rapidly aging population. Studying the effects of hearing loss on critical domains of aging such as cognition, dementia, and functioning will allow us to understand how aural rehabilitative modalities and preventative interventions could be utilized to improve the health and functioning of older adults.
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