Clinical Research



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The Duke Division of Head and Neck Surgery & Communication Sciences is at the forefront of clinical research and trials that seek to improve treatment for hearing and balance disorders, head and neck cancer, and voice, speech, and swallowing disorders.

Current Research

Researchers in the division are involved in a breadth of projects related to hearing and balance disorders, assistive technologies, swallowing disorders, and speech and voice disorders.

Hearing and balance research

Assistive technologies

  • Researchers from our division are leading research endeavors to test and develop assistive technologies that individuals with speech and auditory disorders can use to better communicate.
  • Additionally, we are involved in research to create outcomes measurement tools and techniques that measure the impact of assistive technology devices on the lives of people with disabilities and their caregivers.

Rhinology and endoscopic skull base surgery

  • The research program maintains a database of all its patients, allowing for outcomes research in both inflammatory and neoplastic conditions.
  • In addition, we utilize Duke University’s data repository (DEDUCE, or Duke Enterprise Data Unified Content Explorer) for retrospective studies.
  • We also have research collaborations with Dennis O. Frank-Ito, PhD, within the Division of Head and Neck Surgery (computational fluid dynamics), and William Parker, PhD, in the Division of Surgical Sciences (biome enrichment with helminths).

Swallowing research

Speech and voice research

Global health

  • Projects in global health include improving head and neck cancer screening through a low cost fiberoptic scope and providing solar powered hearing aids to low income children (Vietnam).
  • Several of our residents have been awarded the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Resident Travel Award for various humanitarian work in Africa, Asia, and Central America.
  • We are working with Kenyan otololaryngologists to develop a hearing screening program with the goal of starting a cochlear implant program.

Clinical Trials

Duke enrolls patients in many clinical trials, including a multi-center trial accessing how chemoradiation versus laryngectomy for head and neck cancer affects swallowing and speech.

Learn more about clinical trials in the Department of Surgery