Hearing and balance problems are typically the result of benign conditions. However, they can also be signs of serious, life-threatening disease. Accurately distinguishing between life-threatening diseases and benign conditions must occur before a person chooses to use hearing aids or other non-medical treatments.
The research of David A. Zapala, Ph.D., improves physicians' and audiologists' ability to make this determination so that individuals seeking non-medical treatments, such as hearing aids, can do so safely.
- Neural aspects of audition
- Computational modeling of auditory function
- Role of the vestibular system in spatial orientation and balance
- Development of information technology to support clinical decision making
Significance to patient care
The overall aim of Dr. Zapala's research is to improve patient care through better clinical decision making (efficient and accurate diagnosis). When a person has a hearing or balance problem, he or she often complains of symptoms that can indicate the presence of several different diseases.
Dr. Zapala develops new tests and assessment techniques, supported by refined statistical models, that help clinicians establish the probability of each possible disease given a person's symptoms and test results.
- Jerger Award for Mentoring Clinical Research
- Grant Reviewer, Veterans Administration
- Member, Board of Governors, American Board of Audiology
- Member, Board of Directors, American Academy of Audiology
- Member, Board of Directors, American Balance Society