Henderson Receives Hearing Conservation Award

By Lois Baker

Release Date: February 17, 2006 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Donald Henderson, Ph.D. professor in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences in the University at Buffalo's College of Arts and Sciences, received the 2006 Outstanding Hearing Conservation Award from the National Hearing Conservation Association at its annual conference in Tampa, Fla.

A leading scientist with UB's Center for Hearing and Deafness, Henderson has been at the forefront of international research to determine the biological mechanisms through which toxins and noise exposure kill hair cells, the organs in the inner ear responsible for transmitting sound to the brain's hearing center.

This work has led to two patents for new drugs to prevent or reverse the loss.

Henderson's research group was the first to show that noise exposure increases the level of oxygen free radicals in the cochlea, which destroy hair cells. The research has shown further that this destruction can be slowed or prevented through two approaches: by conditioning the hair cells to withstand noise, and by using antioxidants to protect the hair cells from free radicals.

In conjunction with other colleagues at the center, Henderson has shown that a protein kinase inhibitor developed by David Hangauer, UB associate professor of chemistry, to treat cancer has significant promise to prevent noise-induced hearing loss by blocking hair cell death.

Another drug Henderson was instrumental in developing has proven effective in lessening hearing loss due to exposure to deafening battle noise in tests conducted by the U.S. military.

Henderson, along with Richard Salvi, professor of communicative disorders and sciences and director of the Center for Hearing and Deafness, was instrumental in arranging an international symposium held last October that focused on major developments in research, treatment and prevention of acquired hearing loss and tinnitus.