About the KHRI

The Kresge Hearing Research Institute, part of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Michigan, consists of a dedicated group of scientists, physicians and staff working on basic and clinical aspects of hearing and balance, in health and disease. Our mission is to:

  • Advance scientific knowledge of the development, function and pathology of hearing and balance;
  • Translate today's scientific discoveries into tomorrow's clinical treatment;
  • Train the next generation of scientists and clinician-scientists from the United States and worldwide;
  • Promote diversity in academia and facilitate integration of persons with special needs into the research community; and
  • Educate the general public about hearing health and the benefits of biomedical research.

About Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is one of the most common conditions in the U.S., affecting almost 50 million people. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:

  • About 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears.
  • More than 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents.
  • One in eight people in the United States (13%, or 30 million) aged 12 years or older has hearing loss in both ears, based on standard hearing examinations.
  • About 2% of adults aged 45 to 54 have disabling hearing loss. The rate increases to 8.5 percent for adults aged 55 to 64. Nearly 25 percent of those aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent of those who are 75 and older have disabling hearing loss.
  • Approximately 15% of Americans (26 million people) between the ages of 20 and 69 have high frequency hearing loss due to exposure to noise at work or during leisure activities.

About Vestibular Disorders

The vestibular system includes the parts of the inner ear and brain that process the sensory information involved with controlling balance and eye movements. If disease or injury damages these processing areas, vestibular disorders can result, such as vertigo, lightheadedness or imbalance. Vestibular disorders can also result from or be worsened by genetic or environmental conditions or occur for unknown reasons.

It is estimated that as many as 35% of adults aged 40 years or older in the United States—approximately 69 million Americans—have experienced some form of vestibular dysfunction. Although this statistic represents only adults over the age of forty, vestibular disorders affect people of all ages, adults and children alike. Individuals who suffer from vestibular disorders experience a decreased quality of life and are at a higher risk for falls.