A technique used to create images of your retina is now being repurposed to help identify hearing loss in patients, Brain Applegate, PhD, director of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M University, said at the Frontiers in Optics Conference in Orlando, Fla.
Conditions like hearing loss, vertigo, and disequilibrium are the result of damage to the cochlea, part of the inner ear. There's no cure for these conditions, and doctors have a hard time identifying them using MRI and CT scans, because the images are not clear enough.
Using a technique called optical coherence tomography (OCT), which is similar to an ultrasound but uses light waves instead of sound waves, images of the cochlea can be shown in extreme detail. The technique is also very sensitive to small scale motion.
"[With OCT] we can't just tell [patients] that they do have hearing loss, but also why," Applegate said. "This is important in developing effective treatments down the road."
For more information, go to: http://www.opticsinfobase.org/abstract.cfm?URI=FiO-2013-FW4A.3