National Temporal Bone Registry
What is Temporal Bone Donation?
If you have hearing loss, a balance problem or facial nerve paralysis, this information is for you. Temporal bone research aims to further explore what is known about hearing and balance, especially the problems related to each. Having the support from people like you can help physicians and researchers find new treatments and cures for ear problems.
Inside the Ear: Still a Mystery
Millions of people across the globe are affected by hearing loss and other ear problems. Research into the causes of these problems is difficult because our hearing and balance organs are found deep within the skull, hidden and protected inside the temporal bones. For researchers trying to learn about different ear conditions, it is not easy to examine these hidden organs directly in living people; therefore, studying donated temporal bones after death is one of the best ways to learn about the causes of ear disorders and to devise new treatments and cures.
Hearing or balance disorders are more common than you think:
- One of every 10 Americans has some degree of hearing loss.
- By age 65, 1 of every 3 persons experiences some hearing loss. After age 75, this rises to 1 out of every 2 persons.
- An estimated 5 million Americans over age 65 have dizziness that significantly interferes with their lives.
- At least 12 million Americans have tinnitus (they hear a ringing, hissing, or buzzing in their ears when there is no external sound).
- About 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born deaf or hard-of-hearing. This does not include others who develop hearing problems during childhood.
- An estimated 615,000 individuals have been diagnosed with Ménière’s disease in the United States (symptoms include attacks of dizziness, tinnitus, and hearing loss that recurs and progresses).
Questions You May Have About Donation
It is likely that you have some questions about temporal bone donation. Here are the answers to some of our commonly asked questions. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact us for further information.
In most states, the next of kin makes the final decision about organ or body donations. Inform them and your doctors of your wish to be a temporal bone donor. Be sure that they understand that their cooperation is needed.
The Registry is supported by NIH Cooperative Agreement U24DC013983 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
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