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Friday, November 16, 2018

New NIH Study to Investigate Hearing Loss among Firefighters

​A new study funded by the National Institutes of Health will examine the connection between heavy metal exposure, genetic predisposition, and auditory dysfunction among firefighters, paving the way for the development of preventive measures to reduce the risk of hearing loss within this population. The nearly $400,000 three-year research project will test the hearing, assay bone lead, and urinary cadmium levels of 200 firefighters in Detroit, MI, and assess the frequency of two distinct variants of an antioxidant gene (SOD2) to determine the interaction between environmental exposure to heavy metals, genetic factors, and hearing loss. Samson Jamesdaniel, PhD, an assistant professor in the Institute of Environmental Health Sciences at Wayne State University who will be leading this study, said this research is expected to directly benefit firefighters by identifying the environmental risk factors and genetic susceptibilities that contribute to hearing impairment. "The ultimate goal will be to apply this knowledge to human remediation studies in this vulnerable population and identify preventative measures that will protect firefighters and others from hearing loss caused by environmental exposure," Jamesdaniel said.